Twenty-five years ago I was playing with computers. “Installing” software required me to enter a whole bunch of information about the computer in order for it to work. This obviously took some time, and was prone to human error.
Then one day, a revolutionary innovation came to the software world! New software would come with “default” settings–settings that would likely be correct for most computing environments.
Today, thousands of settings are pre-configured with new software installations automatically. Most people have no idea what those settings are nor what could happen if any one of them were to change.
And you know what, our brain works very much the same way…
Dig a Little Deeper
Traditional education gives people knowledge and skills. That’s just the surface of what controls human potential. Going deeper, many personal development programs have people examine their values, beliefs, and conditioned rules from their childhood and social culture.
Our brain “settings” are like filters through which we see the world. These settings influence our automatic way of being. Landmark Education calls it our “already always listening” where we listen for only that which we would like to hear. How can a mind like that be changed? It’s not through new information nor motivation, but rather by figuring out our default settings.
Where’s Your Control Panel?
In some applications, the settings are under the main “Tools” menu, then under “Options”. In other programs it is under the main “Edit” menu and then “Preferences”. Yet in other software interfaces, it is “File”, then “Properties”. I’ve also seen the word “Customize” in some instances. (In technology, there’s a one-word oxymoron called “standards”.)
If you think that’s confusing, you’ll find the brain is even more convoluted. Our brain works by association to past memories, triggering subconscious reactions. Dianetics through the Church of Scientology has programs which specifically help people sever their negative unconscious associations to various stimulants.
One Default Setting Changed, Can Change Everything
Some people could be working with a particular software suite for years, even thinking that they are a “professional” understanding most of the features in great detail. Yet, “one” feature they did not know about, could have saved them a significant amounts of time over the years.
Consider the “Full-Screen” feature of your latest word-processor. It may seem trivial, but this feature changes the entire viewing screen. This gives the user so much more screen real estate to edit their document. That extra space could mean the difference of glancing at larger sections of the document at the same time, allowing the author to create better flow and continuity (and not get distracted by all the buttons, toolbars, and menus.
One default setting changed, and the entire interface of your life could be transformed! How? Here are some examples.
It’s Awesome That It Sucks
When I was in China for a book tour some years ago, I ran out of money, and my debit/credit cards wouldn’t work. I couldn’t speak any Mandarin, I couldn’t see facial expressions, and nobody at the bank could help me. Just when I was almost about to cry, I started laughing. I knew the situation would make a great story on stage, and my automatic habit of knowing that it is awesome that it sucks, prevailed.
Do you know the song “Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie? It may sound cheesy, but a positive attitude like that makes a world of difference.
Our mind chatter tries to outsmart us by suggesting that that (everything is awesome) always can’t be true. Why are we lying? Why are we being inauthentic?
We must outsmart the mind chatter. Yes, some things suck. But it is awesome that it sucks… It is awesome because we can learn from it, we can laugh about it, or we can at least find value in it. When we’re doing that, we are being honest and authentic.
Every Communication is Either an Expression of Love, or a Cry for Help
We may all understand intellectually how people have different perspectives and we may try not to make them wrong. That can take a lot of work, figuring out the details of situations, and authentically considering endless alternative possibilities.
Let’s simplify it. “A Course in Miracles” teaches that people only do thing because they are expressing love, or they are crying out for help. While this may not be accurate, it is an empowering default setting to adopt.
Imagine, no matter what happens, we either are appreciating the beauty that is before us, or helping someone out through kindness.
No Right Settings – Just Different Defaults
There’s no magic bullet that’s going to make everything perfect. There’s no need to try and import someone else’s default settings, because they are not perfect, either.
It’s a shame that many personal development programs promote themselves by telling us why every other program doesn’t work. Spiritual gurus and religions, same thing. I guess (and hope) that’s just marketing. All transformational modalities work for different people in various phases of their lives. And the default settings these programs offer that were good many years ago, may not be appropriate now.
In the movie Solaris (2002), it was said “There are no answers, only choices.” In the movie Unfaithful (also 2002) it was said “There is no such thing as a mistake. There are things you do, and things you don’t do.”
Have your default setting be that there are no mistakes. Defaults are just defaults, and can be overridden. We always have manual override.
If you have enjoyed these default settings, save them as one of your Favorite Profiles, or embed them into your morning start-up rituals. Forward this file by sharing with your friends.
Let’s love the world together…
[)anish /|hmed, blind visionary
My Geeky Life Story