Why does the word “consistent” seem synonymous with dull, boring, monotonous, mind numbing and uncreative? My EGO hears that word and it feels trapped in a tiny cell with no light. It pops up at every turn and my ego runs in the other direction indignant at the mere suggestion the solution to all my problems is consistency.
What does the word really mean? “Reliability or uniformity of successive results or events”. How interesting. I balk at the idea of consistent exercise. Yet am I not CONSISTENT in my inconsistency?
Am I not consistent that the same things from yesterday are my problems for today? Are you like this? Still overweight and you’ve been like that for years? Do you consistently feel tired, afraid, stressed out, angry, or just plain flat and detached from life? When is the last time you LIVED, really lived a happy, full and useful life?
Perhaps, there is too much consistency in my life. Too much of the same “Reliable” and “Uniform” limiting behavior that creates all those “Successive Results” or “Events” in a negative state. Ouch that sounds familiar.
Do we not consistently go though life in the same way hoping for different results? Wait, that is the definition for insanity; doing the same things expecting different results. So if the ego produces insanity then mindfulness produces a sane state. “In English, the word “sane” derives from the Latin adjective sanus meaning “healthy”. The phrase “mens sana in corpore sano” is often translated to mean a “healthy mind in a healthy body” – Wikipedia.
So why do we resist sanity? Why do we resist consistently doing those things we know create a “healthy mind in a healthy body”? Why do we sell out those consistent habits, for those worn out limiting habits, that have CONSISTENTLY and PERSISTENTLY held us back for years?
If consistency is not my problem because my life history shows I’m really, really good at it then what is?
Perhaps it’s “RESISTANCE TO CHANGE” that is really my achilles heal. Consistent NEW HABITS are really the challenge. Consistent new habits mean change.
It’s easy to be consistent in old habits because they require no thought. We can numb out and devote very little energy to “monkey see, monkey do, monkey eat and monkey poo”. Is your life “Eat, Poo and Sleep” counting down the clock to when you can “relax” and “tune out”? Ouch!
If this is our state then how can we mindfully parent, live, work, play, and engage life? I was like this and had no idea. I took the Matrix’s “blue” pill or was it the red one? The problem is we don’t fully realize when we are in it, unless we decide to. Unless we listen to that gnawing feeling in the pit of our stomach that sees happy marriages, happy people, happy children and think “is there a different way”?
A smart question is the beginning. Yes there is a different way. If you know someone that is a great parent or super fit or whatever else it is you want to accomplish, observe them, ask them questions.
Don’t let your ego be so insecure and prideful as to avoid asking them questions for fear of being judged. If you want to be an informed person then read a lot of books and ask questions all the time.
Great parents for example CONSISTENTLY look for ways to evolve. They never believe they have “arrived”. This is a mindful approach. They can see patterns and limiting behaviors their children are stuck in because they are mindful of their own internal state. They lead by example.
The problem is we think “WE KNOW”. I KNOW is the barrier to I GROW. If you really know then you would not be overweight. If you really know then you are not an overwhelmed parent. If you really know then you are a happy worker. If you really know then you would not be in conflict patterns. We say “I know but do not do”. Then you do not know. If you did know then you would do and then you would know what it is to do. You do not know. Want proof? We look back 2, 5, 10 years and often think “wow I had no idea what I was doing”. Why not just embrace NOW “I have no idea what I am doing” and be open to learning?
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates.
Apply this openness at work, at home, with your children, your weight and your old worn out consistent habits that are keeping you stuck from realizing just how amazing you are. You are amazing. You are a great person. You have good intentions. You may just be doing what you know and what you know may be limited. So give up what ‘you know’ and open your mind to grow.
“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” – Confucius.
Begin: One smart question
Learn: Ask more questions. Read books. Observe what works for others and give it a try.
Grow: Apply the new techniques you’ve learned.
Change: The CONSISTENT application of new techniques.
Evolve: Repeat above steps and continue to be mindful as you go through your day.
“Life Begins at the end of your comfort zone”.