Attitude - Part 2

Last month we talked about spending the week listening to that voice that's constantly running in your head. Assuming that you've been able to actually listen rather than participate in the conversation by now you should be starting to realize how nonsensical much of that conversation is. You should also have noticed that the conversation rarely has anything to do with what is happening right NOW but instead seems to concentrate on what went wrong yesterday and how tomorrow is going to be better.

So if you have arrived at that point it's now time to take the next step and start getting a little more into the present and into taking back control of your life. One of the nice things about trucking is that you get a lot of time to think. Driving is not really something once you've mastered it that requires much thought. You learn the patterns that are required and then your subconscious takes over the chores for you. 99% of what we do every day is done on auto-pilot.

Think about that for a minute as you need to realize how this works. Let's take a typical example - do you ‘think' about breathing? How about walking? Do you realize that if you needed to think (consciously control) all the things your body does in a day that you would never get them done? We eat, we walk and talk, we drive vehicles, fly planes and do a thousand other things that, once learned, are taken over by our subconscious mind and our bodies simply perform the actions without us thinking much about it.

Our conscious mind is really useful in learning something new but once we've learned something the conscious mind turns over its performance to the subconscious mind. Remember when you first learned to drive? There was no idle chatter in your mind. All your attention was on clutch, mirrors, gas pedal and closely watching the road. But then over time, those actions became second nature and you didn't need to concentrate on them anymore.  So now your conscious mind has been left with very little to do.  It's really pretty useless once you have gotten past the learning stage with whatever things you need to do in your day to day life so it babbles. It takes on a life of its own and its purpose in babbling is not centered on making you happy. To the contrary, it seems that for most people your mind is bent on beating you up about what you did wrong yesterday and then building you back up with a promise for a better tomorrow. But have you noticed that when tomorrow comes mind is still there beating you up about what you did wrong the day before rather than celebrating that ‘better tomorrow' it promised?

Yesterday seems to always be filled with mistakes resulting in a miserable today and tomorrow always seems to be a day away.

Awareness is power. So becoming aware of what your mind is doing is the first step to taking control of it and putting an end to its perpetual babbling and the unhappiness that seems to be our minds stock and trade. The secret is for you to stop letting your mind run you and to start running your mind. The key to doing that is to get more into the present. Yesterday is gone and you cannot modify it. If you stuck your hand in the fire yesterday you have already mastered that lesson so it is pointless to spend any time thinking about it today.  The past has value as its where we learned what we know today. But once it's past its value has been extracted. The time you spend ‘thinking' about yesterday is simply wasted time. You're treading water thinking about the past when you should be swimming if you want to get somewhere. So stop treading water and start swimming. Start paying attention to what is happening right now. What are you doing right this second? Turn off the auto-pilot and start giving your attention to what is happening around you now. In reality, all you have is now. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn't here yet. If you are spending your time in either of those places you are missing life, for life is happening NOW.  It's time to start being more aware of what's happening right this minute.  Pay attention to the scenery flowing past the window, the traffic around you, the feel of the accelerator against your foot. Start living in the present and stop letting your mind play its fantasy games. The easiest way to stop that senseless chatter is by giving your mind something to do so get it involved in life - and life is NOW!

Till next time - Be safe out there

John Ewing