Just thinking what should I write next series? For a change, I just want to pick up different topics on this “Why.” series. These whys could be from any area. For e.g. Why we pick up some new habit (eating too much food) once we quit (smoking) old habit or Why we follow some Babas or Gurus blindly?
Now in this introduction, I want to distill all 100s of complex life theories on “purpose of live” to “self-realization” to “Success”, etc into a very very simple concept. Of course, this is my view. Theory can be anything and logic can be anything…ultimately, we do everything for simple TWO REASONS.
ONE – To Feel Good
TWO – To avoid Pain
That’s it. You can test this against all the theories/religions/philosophies. Bottom line is we simply do either to feel good or avoid pain.
Of course, there area levels and qualities of “Feel Good” and “Pain”. This is altogether another subject. I have my own theory called – “Happiness ROI”. Will blog on this later.
Coming back to this “Why” series…while the broad concept is very clear (at least is for me), there are many many things we do and many times we may not know why we are doing certain things. I think this will be somewhat fun to read series.. Let’s see.
#1. Why…do we try to impress others?
As I said in the introduction EVERY THING we do mainly to FEEL GOOD or to AVOID PAIN.
We try to impress others to feel good. But you feel good for a different deep reason. When our self-esteem is low then we try to fill our inner void/emptiness by impressing others. Basically, filling the tanks with little and temporary happiness from others praise. We try to do this impression business everywhere…starts with parents, at home, in the society, to boss, etc.
Here are the reasons why this business is a LOSS MAKING one in the long term.
- This is a big addiction. And most probably you will continue with this addiction for entire life. This is most dangerous than alcohol and drugs. At least with these you know these are bad from beginning. But you may not even aware the damages of impressing business.
- It will kill your originality and destroy self-respect and eventually all the inner strength
- It puts enormous amount of stress on you in continuous pursuit of impressing others
People with high self-esteem don’t need to impress others. Their inner tanks are filled sufficiently.
Try to get out of this impressing business and start living for authentic self. Living for yourself will automatically fills your tank and you don’t need external pumping.
#2. Why…we pick up a new habit when we quit old habit?
Do you know anyone who quit smoking and started eating more and gained weight? In the contrast – what about someone who started exercise and lost the desire for eating lot of food or became a conscious eater? Or you may pick up a new social activity when you stopped some other social activity.
Going back to our foundation premise – we do things to feel good or to avoid pain. From the first example – when you smoke, your brain produces a chemical called serotonin (which is a feel-good chemical). So, when you quit smoking your brain will push you do some alternative activity which can produce the missing serotonin. So, the easiest thing is to eat food. And people around and including yourself will think this is better than smoking so you would treat eating food as a reward.
Same pattern is applicable for all habit switching. But here is the trick. When you are switching from a “bad” habit you need to replace with a “good” habit. Both good habit and bad habit will produce feel good chemicals. For e.g when you switch from “smoking” you need to replace it with “regular exercise”. If you are lucky to start with a good habit like exercise, then your serotonin kicks in so you would not need alternate thing like food.
In a way, we all are addicted (to feel good). Having right addictions will help you and put you in the forward motion.
# 3. Why…hard work is simply not sufficient?
We all have grown up with the philosophy of hard working as the main real reason for success, etc. This obviously still have lot of weightage in the overall success formula. But I think weightage has reduced a lot in the era we are living. Let me quickly explain.
Let’s say there are two people – Mr A and Mr B. A is hard working but less self-marketing skills. B is less hard working but with good self-marketing skill (probably called as “smart working”). Whom do people think as more hard working/contributing? Unfortunately, the winner will be B. There will always be some “super smart” people who just try to manage with visibility management skills.
Do you think all these are “unfair” or “not correct”, etc?. May be. But the real real reason behind this is – “low attention span”. In the digital era, people have hardly any time to really analyze and understand who is really contributing. People are battling with many distractions and low attention spans. Basically, in the shortest span people form “quick perceptions”. As the saying goes we live in times where “Perception is the Reality”.
Of course, not all interested to do self-marketing or have good skills at it. Whether we like it or not the truth is you will be judged based on the perceptions. We get burnt severely if don’t learn this skill. I am sure you have your own wounds on this. This happens everywhere not just in offices.
Hard work was best suited for industrial age but not for smart digital age. We need “smart working” mind set for “smart era”.
# 4. Why…you see all the black cars when you want to buy a black car?
Let’s say you are planning to purchase a black car. Then, did you start seeing most black cars on the road? May be someone you know had particular health issue. Then, did you hear more of such cases through some people or news?. What about when you are very happy? Most probably you will encounter happy events and people. Vice versa is also true !!. I am sure you have encountered some similar experiences in your life.
Here is what goes behind the scenes…
Right now, your brain is focused on reading this blog. Take few seconds and just pay attention to your surroundings. There may be some sounds, objects and different thoughts going on around you. At any given point of time there is an infinite number of information going on around us. But your brain picks up what you are interested/focused on. There is a part of our brain called RAS (Reticular Activating System), which is responsible for goal seeking mechanism. What this means is whatever goal you set your RAS stars working towards it. RAS does not cater or have intelligence to differentiate between good vs bad. It simply starts focus on and get it for you.
In a different terminology, you call this as “Law Of Attraction” or “What you wish what you get”. In the Indian mythological world – “Devatas bless you whatever you wish for”. I am not sure if Devatas bless you are not but definitely your RAS will bless you. In the scientific terminology, you can link this to “Quantum Physics”.
The real reason why you need “Goals” is simply to help your RAS to achieve them for you. Without which it cannot target and it will pass the millions of information without any filter and you will get distracted!!.
# 5.Why…our feelings keep changing frequently?
Just for a change, I asked someone what she wants to know about one “why”. She said she wanted to know “why our feelings keep changing”. So, this is our topic for today.
Feelings are nothing but emotions. Now let’s trace it back to the origin. It is not straight forward but let’s try.
Your emotions are produced by your brain. Whenever your values/beliefs are deviated from the situation then you brain will produce negative emotions. Negative emotions can be anger, sad, etc.When the situation/outcome aligns with your value system then you will experience positive emotions like happiness, feel good, etc. Basically, the root goes to what you believes in vs out come from the situation.
On a daily basis, you will deal with N number of events. And if you have your belief system very “ideal” or then you will most probably experience sad feelings. While the ideal condition is you detaching from emotions, it is not possible for all. Also, your brain structure or “wiring” has major role in what kind of emotions you will experience. For e.g some people have more emotional brains and some have logical brains – this is also called as “Right Brain” vs “Left Brain”.
And there are other elements your physiology and environment also can influence how you feel. For e.g some people get really irritated in the hot weather.
In summary, your beliefs/values, brain, physiology and environments will influence on how you feel. Real solution to get detached from emotions is – being mindful.
You can control your emotions and it possible with mindfulness practices!!
# 6.Why…there is nothing really called as “Sacrifice”
- “We have sacrificed our life to provide better life for kids”
- “I helped my friend a lot but he does not remember my help not loyal at all”
- “I have sacrificed many things to make my spouse happy but now I realize no use of it”
- “I have done so much for my company now they don’t care or recognize my efforts”, etc etc
I am sure you are very familiar with these “Sacrifices”. I honestly think there is nothing called sacrifice. If someone puts a gun on your head and ask you to do something, then it is kind of force but no one would have put a gun in the above examples.
We do everything mostly with an expectation/return. Of course, some acts can be based on “pure love/service”. But rare.
Parents would have sacrificed certain things to provide better life to kids. But in return they would have got love, some personal satisfaction, society recognition or something. If you would have helped your friend, you would have expected some “praise” or “affection” or something else. You would have worked very hard for your company expecting some promotion or recognition.
In my view, “Sacrifices” = “Investments”. We have made these investments (called sacrifices) and expected certain return. When the return is NOT matching, we project our efforts as “Sacrifice”.
By removing “Sacrifice” from our dictionary, we can make avoid lot of “emotional drama” from our lives. Accepting this “hard truth” may require real openness and boldness.
# 7.Why…many people believe in Babas
Of course, this is most applicable in India. We have deep rooted culture in believing some form of God/Guru/Baba for valid and good reasons.
Unlike earlier days, now we have more need and demand for different Babas. Why? Because we have more problems than in the past. People may go to Babas to get solutions or to find some answers, etc. But most people go to them “to feel good“. Most ashrams provide very good environment (better than homes) and provide good food, etc. You will get a chance to do some yoga, meditation, etc. Of course, if we do these at home also you can feel good . Through their speeches, you will get a feeling that whatever problem you have is nothing and make you feel happy (temporarily). And whatever we hear from them comes like real “wisdom” even though we know about it already.
Babas are also under pressure now a days and lot of competition. They need to run their organizations like large enterprises. And we expect them to be purest of pure !!. Really tough job.
Overall there is nothing wrong in following a certain Baba or Guru. It helps some extent.
But I think building own personal philosophy based on your own personality helps in the long run than outsourcing it to some Guru ( just my thinking).
Read my earlier related blog Build your own ..Ism
# 8.Why…you should not give away your ideas for “FREE”
Our general tendency is that anything which is FREE we don’t value much, irrespective of its real value. Why? Because our mind values things which are scarce and ignore things which are available in abundance. Read more on this from my earlier blog => Scarcity.
Above concept is applicable for sharing knowledge, ideas, advice and everything.
There are two theories exist when it comes to sharing anything. One is share abundantly and nature will give you something back, etc. Another is get the value for your stuff so that people really value what you are giving. Both are correct. But you need to be very clear on the context clearly.
Context 1: You REALLY want to share with others for “FREE” then go ahead. But be very honest (brutally) that you are not expecting any back from any one. Even in so called “Charity” or “Help” scenarios also we expect “some things” back. We may expect recognition, praise or something. The moment you expect something back then it is no more FREE. Be clear on this so that you will not get much disappointments.
Context 2: This is more practical/day to day context. With “Innovation” being a big Buzz in today’s world, many people are generating many many IDEAS. And sharing these IDEAs freely, which is good. But unless you are part (directly or indirectly) of implementing that IDEA, you get no value back. If you just share the idea and not part of the idea, then you have to drum around saying that was your idea but no one cares. You don’t even get sympathy!
Ideas can change Life. Yes, make sure it is changing your life too. Not just someone else.
# 9.Why…Face is NOT really Index of the Mind
Neither what you see from person’s Face or Facebook pictures one can really reveal what is going in some one’s life. “Face is the Index of Mind” was probably very accurate in good olden days. But now we are expected to follow – “Fake it until you make it” or “Perception is the Realty” etc. mantras. I think this is not a problem at all as long as we are not influenced by “other” people. But I think we do get significantly influenced by what hear and see from media and other social media “updates”.
I have had enough observations and experiences in this area where, I thought someone is doing “really well” but when we give a close up shot then you will realize that the reality is very different from what is on the “Face”. This is applicable to individual people, startups sexy high valuations or even so called “great people”. Everyone goes through similar set of emotional highs and lows but depth/quality can different.
Point is very simple. Do not take get influenced by “other” people’s “visual success” and change your pace/plans/decisions. Following your path and your reality is the reality. Rest is all illusion.
# 10.Why…NOT taking RISK is the BIGGEST RISK
We have been taught from beginning to play safe, be nice and be a “good boy/girl”. So we start living in that mode to avoid any pain early in life….until we get a punch on our face with some sudden shock.
We start our careers with comfortable areas and with nice companies. We feel proud to get early job with good companies. We pity people who were struggling to get job and end up with a small company. Fast forward couple of decades, guess who will be at RISK?. The guy who sailed through all challenges will become much stronger mentally and emotionally. The one who has been “comfortable” all along will get sweating to face small pains in life. And after getting used with comforts it becomes so difficult to come down and face the pain.
This is applicable all areas of life. If you have been trying to be nice with people by agreeing what others are saying, then it becomes so difficult to voice out. You will be struggling to carry the “nice person” identity. If we don’t take risk of how to play with money then we will have life long risk of depending on money.
Early RISKS and lessons are much better. Otherwise, will have to take much BIGGER RISKS later.