Thursday, March 06, 2008

Autopilot is a "Sheeple" Thing

It's getting to that time of year- the changing of the season... the snow melts and the sun comes out and people's spirits are lifted. The days are longer, complete strangers are nicer to one another, and the world seems to have taken on a fresh perspective... so what can possibly be wrong with that?

The answer is nothing on the surface... days where everyone gets along, stops honking their horn, and smells the air as they wake up with purpose and vigor- they are what life is all about. The problem is 10 months from now when, by the same collective behaviour (call it seasonal affective disorder or sheepish behaviour) when we all get depressed, complain about the weather, and stop making the most of our days.

There are very few people who need to read swim upstream to find motivation to get busy living during the summer when activities and social engagements abound: the problem is we almost all need a healthy kick in the rear when the days are shorter, darker and colder.

The real lesson to take from today is that the first sunny day of the year that gives you such purpose to live life is that same sun that makes you feel lazy in the dead heat of August... the only difference is the 'newness' of it; the change from the norm.

If we wait for the weather to change, or for our boss to give us a raise, or for our birthday for an excuse to celebrate- we are living on autopilot. As a society, we spend a lot of time getting into routines (some of which are necessary and needed to make us feel sane) which can easily lead us all to act as "Sheeple". Examples;

- getting the car washed on the first sunny day
- getting your oil changed on saturday morning
- going to IKEA on the weekend
- going to a movie on opening night
- going to the gym as part of your new year's resolution, or to get into that bikini for summer; instead of staying committed all year round to a routine or to lifestyle activities you enjoy
- lavishing tons of time, money, and flowers on your loved one on Valentine's day and then forgetting your wedding anniversary
- doing your Christmas shopping at the last minute
- honking at the car in front of you in a traffic tie-up even though there are hundreds of cars in front of them

the funny thing is every one of those situations causes our blood pressure to rise as we wait in line-ups; even though we had a choice every time to a) be more organized and do said tasks on a different day or b) choosing not to conform (some of the happiest couples I know boycott valentine's Day, you always can get an oil change at lunch hour or after work, and you can always hit the most popular movie in an intimate setting with a near empty theatre if you are patient)

The fact is- most of these stressful line-up-involved "Sheeple activities" can be avoided through insightful planning. By remaining on autopilot and only realizing you need to do something because it pops onto your radar as a 'must' or a 'threat' to your day or week- we become a slave to errands, tasks, deadlines, homework, and everything else that was supposed to increase our comfort and enjoyment levels.

Want to get your comfort, enjoyment, and free time back? Well then switch off the autopilot, and make sure you- not the day of the week or your circumstances, are making those decisions for you.

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