“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” ~ Warren Buffett
We repeat ourselves.
We are not made for our ambitions, nor are we made for the will we aspire to have. It takes a while to come to this sobering realization, but however we got here, it’s good that we’re here. Because now, we can talk frankly, openly, honestly. Now, there is the glimmer of hope, that perhaps, just maybe, we could arrest this “lifestyle” and address the problems. We’ve arrived at a starting point.
We are not our facades. The gap between our truths and reality aren’t as bad if we just step into it. It’s better that we get to know this gap, live in this gap, than it is to delude ourselves that it doesn’t exist. Because hiding this gap is dangerous work. Hiding this gap steals our lives away from us. We all want to live, but most of our lives are controlled by fear—whether consciously, or subconsciously. That’s not a way to live, but self-preservation instincts are real.
We’re all shackled to something: a routine, a comfort zone, a partner, a family, a deadline, a job, a contract, a boss from hell. In the increasingly interconnected world, there are more links and chains around us than ever. If they are the right people, these links could be sources of wonderful, life-changing support, but most of us aren’t that lucky by default. We don’t tend to fall into jackpots; we tend to fall into problems and chaos. A life by design is not easy, but it’s the only way we could really take control, and it’s the only way we could live the life we aspire to. We are our own engineers and architects, but most of us don’t think this way. It’s time to.
We are not made for the best parts of our lives, because we are creatures of habit. We learn things at a young age, form our behavioral patterns, go to school, and repeat our behaviors into the future…most of the time subconsciously carrying forth all that we don’t want, all that we don’t really need, and all that won’t help us get to where we are—because of the gap. Adult human behavior is the most difficult to change of all—difficult, but not impossible. Humans are capable of extraordinary things.
Yet, we are not our highlight reel. But we can be closer to it, if we build our habits and tailor them to the specs of the highlight reel, and pursue that relentlessly. We must set standards, and operate according to that. We must retrain our habits, and everything in human nature will go against that, so it will be a battle. Many people give up, and many people carry on with their chains—because they have become too strong to be broken, the same chains that will shackle them to their death bed. If you’ve ever visited an old-age home, you’ll feel the regrets in the air. You can smell it. Lives unlived…
Between “temporary” and “perpetuity” is time—that’s all there is. That’s all life is. What you spend time on is what you end up practising. What you spend time on is, ultimately, what your priorities really are. It doesn’t matter what you say they are, or think they are, or should be…how you spend time is a fact; how you wish you could spend time is fiction. If you want to test your gap, this will help.
We live by the death of others. It’s not a morbid thing to say; everything is relative. Life is, ultimately, a negotiation between risk and safety, desires and fears, controlled by our worldviews, paradigms, and beliefs. Everything can be trained.
Have you heard of the story of the elephants in zoos? They capture and shackle the baby elephants since birth, so that they cannot escape. The sad reality is that once they mature into adults and develop the strength that could set them free and trample over their masters, they won’t even try…
We repeat ourselves. Between “temporary” and “perpetuity” is just time—that’s all there is.
What are you shackled to?
Author: Xiren Wang
Image: Flickr/new 1lluminati
Editor: Travis May