As the year 2019 comes to a close, and a new decade begins, ask yourself this: Can you spend fifteen minutes in a room alone with yourself, with no digital devices, TV, music, books or anything else but your own thoughts? According to a study, 67 percent of men, and 25 percent of women, would rather give themselves painful electric shocks, than spend an uninterrupted 15 minutes of being alone with their own thoughts, without any distraction at all. Apparently there’s a connection between that, and why “depending on where you get your numbers, somewhere between 81 percent and 92 percent of New Year’s Resolutions fail.”
Can you face fifteen minutes alone with your own thought?
While I have zero interest in making New Year’s Resolutions, that seems like a worthy one to strive for!
This is an interesting article on how most people fail to face themselves without distraction:
“…What is striking, is that simply being alone with their own thoughts for 15 minutes was apparently so aversive that it drove many participants to self-administer an electric shock that they had earlier said they would pay to avoid.
Wilson and his colleagues summarized their findings this way: “The untutored mind does not like to be alone with itself.…”
Their ‘studies say‘ that your resolutions to avoid snacking, drinking, surfing online fail, because you need those distractions from yourself, and that,
“…We reach for a donut the same way some study participants reached for the electric shock.
Is it a surprise that we turn to celebrity gossip or Facebook again and again? Anything seems better than an uncomfortable feeling. Coping works for a few minutes, but then we reach for a distraction….”
If you too would rather indulge in any distractions, even to the point of experiencing pain, over the prospect of being alone with your own thoughts, might I suggest that rather than making New Year’s Resolutions to break bad habits… which you are 80% to 90% likely to fail at, that you instead begin the novel notion of getting comfortable with your own thoughts, by, wait for it: Thinking upon things worth thinking about?
I’ve suggested some of this before, but now that ‘studies show‘ that my suggestions might have a ‘scientific basis’ for them ðŸ˜Ž, I’ll suggest again that instead of making New Year’s Resolutions, I propose some old questions to be newly asked. And while you won’t have to return any membership fees if you fail to answer them, if you get in the habit of just asking them, you might also get to the the point of preferring your own company, to that of a painful electric shock!
Start off with some basics:
“…Western Civilization didn’t catch on because of its answers… those are still being argued about more than 3,000 years on… but because of its questions, and its method of comparing your answers to reality, and pursuing the questions which those answers lead to. Questions such as:
- What is real and how do we know it?
- What is Good? Why should we care?
- How can we recognize what is not Good?
- What is a Good life?
- What is Happiness?
- Should what is Right and Wrong, guide our actions?
- What is Beauty?…What is Truth?…What is Justice?
- What does it benefit a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his soul?
Ask the right questions, and your listeners [even if that listener is you] will question their own answers, and reality will do the rest….”
Most of all, question what you assume to be true.
There is of course also another very practical, and very important reason, to get comfortable with asking yourself these questions, and for questioning what answers you might first come to, and that is that they are consequential to your life, and to the future of this nation in the year 2020, and for the coming decade of the 20′s. The immediate impact of considering such questions is in fact very likely to be far more compelling to our new present, than when I first suggested asking yourself them five years ago:
“…As the old year slips out and the New Year opens up, it’s a particularly good time to ask questions that have to do with what is timeless… lest auld acquaintance with them should be forgot. And while it might not seem so, on the surface, these questions we’ve been asking most definitely involve issues that are timeless – see if you can see how. For instance: Where do you think you fit in, in today’s world, are you Pro-Progress, or Pro-Regress? Are you for the Rule of Law, or the Rule of Rules? Are the ‘Big Ideas’ of Western Civilization something you think much about, or do you mostly shrug them off and just kinda make a snap judgment on various news stories that happen to flit into your view, now and then… and then forget about ‘em? Or are you one of the many of us who don’t see the point of considering such questions at all, especially not in the midst of the current events raging around us today – ”I’m not getting sucked into THAT mess!’? I hate to cast a pall upon the coming New Year, but I have a sad suspicion that what most people think doesn’t matter, isn’t going to matter much longer.
Can anyone really think that the precious snowflakes on our college campuses, or the SJW (Social Justice Warriors) brigades in our streets who are openly advocating to eliminate the Freedom of Speech, or ‘unbiased’ newscasters talking openly of how those they violently disagree with are ‘enemies of the state’, can anyone really think that these types are going to be tolerant towards those who say ‘Oh, I don’t pay attention to that stuff’ for much longer? How much longer? And when that vocal ‘majority’ refuses to allow others the choice to either disagree or evade deciding, what do you suppose is going to be the reaction of those who do disagree with them, and what options will they have to do so?
Will the one side have any option left open to them, but to take the other side at their own words, as being their enemies?
No, the time is coming where all will have to decide, one way or the other, where they stand on these issues, because they are what is driving our current events, and your place within them, and brushing them off cannot remain an option much longer. Each person is going to have to choose what they support, and what they will reject. But for those who haven’t been paying attention, those – Left, Right, Libertarian and the target rich Moderate center – who’ve been coasting along on the strength of their snap judgments on this and that – what are they going to base those decisions upon?…”
Again, don’t worry so much about whether the answers that come to your mind are correct, just focus on questioning them. Even questioning just one or two of those questions, is likely to carry you through at least fifteen minutes of time. And at the very least, the results are likely to be less shocking than being left alone with nothing to distract you from them.
And remember, as the ‘studies show‘ showed,
“Try to notice: Right before you reach for the habit you want to break, do you experience an uncomfortable feeling that you are trying to distract yourself from?
You won’t break a habit if you are not comfortable with being uncomfortable….”
Break the habit. Prefer the company of your thoughts for fifteen undistracted minutes, to getting an electric shock, for after all, the new year, not to mention the new decade, is going to be very much longer than 15 minutes!
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