There is a new show this year called Limitless. The premise in case you haven’t seen it, is that an ordinary guy Brian Finch, takes a pill (NZT) every day which allows him to access every single part of his brain. This makes him the smartest man alive. While the pill is active, Brian is capable of figuring out pretty much anything and absorbing endless amounts of information. This ability makes him quite valuable to the FBI. The pill does, however, wear off at the end of each day and also has some pretty grave side effects for Brian Finch.
I have a similar pill. It’s called Google. But it too, is not perfect or without its side effects. I can quickly learn about events in history, medication interactions, even how to solve mathematical equations. The latter is something I couldn’t do before Google with any other kind of aid. Now I can find a recipe, learn how to wire a wall switch, and find out which movie stars have the highest IQ’s.
In 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He thought the world was flat. He and the rest of us were pleasantly surprised to find out it is not. We didn’t understand the basic endocrinology systems of our bodies until the mid 1900’s. (Society for Endocrinology 1946). And the calculator wasn’t invented until 1967. We’ve come a long way in our understanding of how the world works. Or rather, we believe things about the world and ourselves today that are very different than what we once believed. But remember, that which we used to believe felt very much as TRUE to us then, as what we currently believe is true now.
We all function on individual systems of truth for things both big and small. There are some assumptions we operate under because we always have. We assume they are true because they are familiar or culturally accepted. It doesn’t require much of our brain cells to operate within these because we are on auto pilot. But there are others practices we will defend to our death. We have deemed them true from our vantage point based on information available to us. It is however, information obtained from only the limited availability of our brain’s capacity.
While our access to information is limited, information itself is not limited. We can’t possibly acquire it all, which means, we always run the risk of having some part of our argument which, is indefensible. Today I hear a report that wine is bad for me. Don’t drink wine. That is true. Tomorrow I hear a study that wine is good for me. Drink the wine- that which is true has changed.
I’m not suggesting that we not adhere to truths or fight for them. I’m merely suggesting that we consider the possibility that our truths are in fact, are just that—ours. We come by them honestly enough, but so does another person whose truths are different than our own. When we are compelled to try and change theirs, we expend enormous amounts of energy, often with little if any success to show for the expenditure.
I’m also suggesting that we take the same tactic with ourselves. Engaging in patterns of behavior that leave us depleted or unfulfilled because we insist that a truth requires us to do so, may deserve a little dose of critical thinking. Perhaps the information you once used to develop your stance has changed over time and your conclusion needs revisiting.
Statements (or commands) that begin with words such as I must, I should, It would be better if, may be fertile ground for challenging why you do what you do. While many of these items may in fact, survive the scrutiny, it’s possible that some may not, making it a worthwhile exercise.
I’ll leave you today with a quote from Steve Jobs:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary,”
Please take a moment to leave me a comment- I’d love to hear your thoughts!