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Positive Thinking

My Example Was Bull

If you haven’t yet read yesterday’s entry, read it first.
If you found yourself agreeing with this headline after reading that post, read on.
Noticing and updating unproductive habits of mind is a skill, like karate or skating, that requires starting simply, practicing often (faltering too) and always finding room for improvement. Our ego authored those unproductive mental habits, and so it will feel threatened by any attempts to dismantle them. This is why non-ego-threatening examples are great. Examples of jogging are less threatening than, say, examples of why you remain stuck in a low pay/unfulfilling job, why you have trouble keeping a stable relationship, why you argue incessantly with loved ones, why you feel nobody loves you, why you haven’t told your parents you love them. However, a strong ego may still feel threatened by even a simple example. A strong ego will find excuses to discount the message:

  • “His sentence structure was bad, his grammar, punctuation.”
  • “He uses words that are too big (he’s arrogant)”
  • “He doesn’t use big enough words (I’m arrogant)”
  • “When I turn my head jogging is of no consequence, he’s just being overanalytical (his example was bull)”
  • “Who does he think he is, on what ground does he claim to know anything?”

These are all ego-derived arguments to keep you from questioning your ego’s primacy in your mental chain-of-command. Ego arguments all boil down to ego telling you, “ignore him, he’s wrong, you need to keep me in control, it’s for your own good.”
As I said yesterday, the best thing we can do to improve our circumstances is to observe our patterns of mind and choose which ones we want to keep and replace the others. The biggest blocker to starting this process is ego. Since ego created all of those unproductive mental patterns in the first place, it will fight to keep them there. Recognizing egoic defense mechanisms are important… until you see them you have no choice, you just go with whatever ego tells you. Once you recognize them you can choose keep listening to ego (which got you where you are today) or try something else.