Do we have control? Can we take it back?

On balance most of us make a whole myriad of decisions every day about everything that we do, don’t we? What we wear, what we eat, how we feel, our expectations of the day?

When was the last time you decided the right way to clean your teeth?
Or which sock to put on first in the morning?

The point is, it’s all habit and if not a habit yet the decisions you make are subjective and what I simply mean by that is many of our decisions are made using our experience, our feelings at that moment and our response to it.

So how come we work that way? – Why do we so often go through the motions without actually thinking it through and making a decision that is right for that moment?

It turns out, according to far more clever people than me that our brains just love to make everything we do into a habit. It relies on us as human beings to be subjective with the limited experience that we have to turn mundane processes into habits, its means the brain doesn’t have to work too hard.

This is not speculation by the way, but a large part of evolutionary science. Why is it relevant? Bear with me, it will make sense. It turns out that over the millennia our brains has figured a way to make much of what we do into literally ‘thoughtless’ actions. The more we do this the less work the brain has to work. The less work it does the smaller it can be and therefore the smaller our heads. This has a direct impact on higher survival rates for mothers and babies, therefore, securing a stronger and more successful human race. Clever, don’t you think?

What this means for us mere mortals is that when we try to convince the brain that we want to change a habit, we are up against nothing less than evolution. I am not at this point suggesting that you can use this as an excuse to eat the last biscuit and then blame evolution but it does put into context how hard it can be to change negative habits.

However, answer me this:

We must have made those decisions to clean our teeth,
put our left sock on first at some point,
so why can’t we find a way to make those decisions again?

The good news is that we can.

 

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