Be Impeccable With Your Word: Day 9
This is part of an ongoing series of articles/posts detailing my experience with experiencing The Four Agreements. If the content below doesn't make any sense out of context, then be sure to check out the original post to better understand my goals and motivations for doing this.
More Poison Being Spread Faster
An interesting post on the web today at Huffington Post entitled As Internet Use Grows, Is It Polarizing Political Views? It could be more aptly titled "As Internet Use Grows, More Poison Being Spread Faster?" Gossip is black magic, a poisonous use of our powerful words to create more illusions that have little or no basis in reality. It reminds me of a (probably fictional) story I heard a few years back about the negative power of gossip.
A woman thought she saw a preacher flirting with one member of the congregation. Jealous of the beautiful woman, she started telling her friends rumors of a secret love affair between the two. Within days the entire town 'knew' of this secret. Pretty soon people called out for the preacher's resignation for having violated their trust. The woman felt horrible, having started all of this from a single, simple statement bred out of jealousy. She confronted the teacher to apologize and asked for his forgiveness. The woman pleaded again, asking if there was anything she could do.
The preacher said there is but one thing. He took the woman to the edge of the town on the windiest day and brought a pillow. He ripped it apart, exposing hundreds and thousands of little feathers. They all blew into the wind and spread throughout the town quickly, racing away from them and dancing around the town. He told her: "If you can return every single feather into this pillow, I will forgive you. For just like these feathers have spread far and wide within this town, so too have the rumors you started. And they may never be returned to where they came from, for the wind spread them too fast..."
Hundreds and thousands of years ago, rumors traveled very slowly because they were rate limited by how fast the messages could physically travel by the people that carried them. Inventions such as the mail system and telephone lines sped up the transmission across long lines, but were still largely point to point. Radio and TV offered an application because now one message could reach thousands of people simultaneously, greatly multiplying the effect of a single poisonous rumor.
Now we live in the social media age of twitter, facebook, blogs, comments, forums, etc. It is now possible for at least a billion people in this world to post their ideas to the internet at and almost blinding pace, without any filters and without any worry of repercussions (because we can be anonymous in our posts). Even if we have a fleeting thought of gossip, of black magic, we can spread these ideas so quickly.
And when each side of a political debate can spread these mind viruses so rapidly, polarization of ideas seems more inevitable than surprising.
This has been no easy task, that's for certain. I went into this a little overconfident, thinking I didn't need to expose myself to the material on a daily basis. I knew better! In my experience using affirmations, it always takes multiple exposures over several weeks for the concept to truly sink in at a deeper level. So I've gone back to re-reading the entire chapter every morning for the past few days. It has helped me a lot. And surprisingly enough, every read I learn something new; even though I'm reading the exact same words every time.
I'm still having trouble saying 'no' and setting up realistic expectations of what I can accomplish in a day and only by myself. That seems to be my biggest struggle. On the plus side, I've been very aware of when I start to slip into a gossip mode—about others and myself. Now that doesn't mean I've been able to eliminate it completely. What it does mean is I'm very aware of it as its happening so now it's a matter of having the discipline to choose a new pattern when I'm about to slip into this old habit.
I know there are deeper agreements beyond just the everyday life and work ones. But promises and assigned tasks are more tangible compared to be beliefs, which sometimes remain hidden in our unconscious because we are either so used to it being there or because we simply don't want to deal with it. My hope is that in becoming better with my work agreements, that I'll build more confidence in dealing with and changing my unconscious beliefs as well.
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About Rick Manelius
Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.