I talked in an old blog post about the trances we live by, every waking moment of our existence. Our life is a never-ending series of trances constantly following one another, continuously unfolding. Some people call them states or moods. Our waking state of consciousness shifts depending on whether we are angry, loving, affectionate, sad, stressed, driven, anxious etc… We pay attention to our environment with varying degrees of alertness and we are more or less open-minded and able to think rationally, depending on the nature of the trance we find ourselves in.
The nature and quality of each of these trances determine essentially the quality and intensity of our thinking, our feelings and our behaviour in that moment. Our trances lead us to make decisions, and these very decisions determine for a large part the results we get. This is true in both our personal and professional life.
We know that our states determine the way we are and how we are being in the world in any given moment. Did you ever feel that you did something unlike you and then said: “I don’t know why I did this?” Well, let me tell you something: I bet on some level you did. We are just tirelessly telling ourselves a story about who we are. We strive to show to the world how the circumstances were responsible for how we feel, when deep down we know we are always free to make a different choice…
But here’s the real issue. States and trances are like reality tunnels. We are fully immersed in them. Because we perceive the world through our own thinking, we can never really accurately see or analyze HOW we think. We are always biased. Even when we try and do it consciously through specifically-designed processes, Daniel Kahneman would tell you that our intuition, running outside of our awareness (he calls it “System 1”), is by definition invisible to us. At least a small part of our thinking, the very first thoughts which happen in a fraction of a second, are inevitably invisible to us. And then we get caught up in them and believe that our thoughts represent what’s real.
So we permanently evolve through a network of reality tunnels. Some are very narrow, some are really broad. Some lead somewhere, some don’t. And we are not only blind about how we are building these tunnels, but we are also blind because we cannot see anything outside of the reality we are in. We don’t see the alternatives. But you bet there are alternatives! We might hear about them but we don’t want to really pay attention to what we could see if we just looked. Because it feels more familiar in our own little tunnel, even if it may be uncomfortable… This feels safe, this is home, and we don’t want to look at what we have never learned. Some people might even be seduced by the idea that they don’t have time to waste in considering all this nonsense; they believe the way forward is to keep digging! Because that’s how you get things done. Because that’s how you deal with things. Because that’s how you become successful… Right?
Well maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t.
If you choose to keep on digging blindly, burying yourself into a version of reality that is yours only and that is not serving you, then that is entirely your choice. If you choose to take a breath at the surface, open your eyes and take a look at what the real world has to offer, you may be surprised by what you discover.
As with all other things in life, it’s a matter of choice.