What would Jesus do? This catchphrase blew up in popularity during my high school years. It wasn't uncommon to see the WWJD acronym on bracelets or tee-shirts as a reminder to ask the question. But no, this is not an article about religion. I'm using the WWJD as an example of the mental mentors strategy.
A hard fact of life is that people will hear what you're about to do and think that you're fucking nuts.
- Why'd you move to another state?
- Why'd you quit your secure job to start your business?
- Why did you go to college versus get a job?
- Why did you get a job versus go to college?
- Why did you marry him or her?
- Why did you break up?
- Why did you have kids?
- Why did you decide not to have kids?
And on and on and on.
The addict knows (logically) that they may be one dose away from death.
The gambler knows (logically) that they are one bet away from broke.
The smoker knows (logically) that they are one cigarette away from cancer.
It’s not for lack of intelligence that humans do stupid things. We know better. A person with diabetes knows that they shouldn’t be slamming down 7-Eleven Big Gulps. A person trying to get out of debt should not go out and lease a brand new car.
Leaving Boston was bittersweet. It was where I spent ten formative years in college. It was where I, a country bumpkin who was born and raised 1 mile away from 3 farms, got to immerse myself in city life. It was where Emily and I first moved in together, and it was where I proposed to her.
Ever see a drunk man climb and bounce upon a traffic light as if he were riding a mechanical bull? I have. It was one of the many crazy memories from the crowds that poured into the streets to celebrate the Boston Red Sox defeating the 86-year curse. This wasn't just a curse of a sports team. It was a curse that had plagued the very souls of the people of the city.
One of the holy grails in personal development is the concept of unconscious competence. It’s the stage where something is so ingrained in you that you can achieve it automatically and without thinking. You probably already do this in several areas of your life without even knowing it. The classic example is driving a car from point A to point B. If you are an experienced driver, you can do this without remembering a single thing you did or saw along the way. Your unconscious mind took over, and you went into autopilot, succeeding without effort.
What would be more difficult and tedious than searching for a needle in a haystack? I imagine if one actually attempted this, it could take hours or even days of painstaking focus to sift through the noise before finding a needle. But why would one spend the time and effort to find something with so little value? This is why we use the phrase to indicate a pursuit not worth pursuing.
However, what if we changed the game?
As soon as I think or say these words, I know that I've already entered the danger zone with my 6-year old daughter.
Of course, my intent is usually positive. I see her struggling. I see her about to make a mistake that would lead to a huge mess or perhaps getting hurt. So the next impulse thought is that she clearly NEEDS my help. And being the good and loving parent that I am, I should step in immediately and without asking to HELP her. Ha!
Hate is a word that is so overused that it loses its meaning and intensity in most contexts. People will “hate” everything from a politician to their least favorite food (I’m looking at you broccoli). However, this is nothing compared to the states of impulsive rage or festering anger that occurs when a person truly and completely hates something.
Imagine a pregnant mother telling the doctor that she didn't want any pain medications during the final, excruciatingly painful moments of labor. She must have a screw loose in her head, right? 10 years ago, I might have agreed. Modern science has given us all of these amazing tools in the form of medications. These allow us to skip over the bad parts (e.g., labor) and get right to the good part (e.g., the healthy baby). So why wouldn't you take the easy way out? Why would someone choose to embrace pain?