Have more good days.
It’s said that 10% of life is what happens, 90% is how we react to it. Yet there is very little time dedicated to teaching students how to react differently.
Our default reactions stem from whatever neural pathways are the strongest in our mind. The things we do most are the easiest things to repeat, forming superhighway neural pathways. Like electricity, ideas want to take the path of least resistance. A large highway is much smoother to drive down than a forest service road. Repetition makes our neural pathways painless to navigate, then makes them default routes, forming mental superhighways.
New information is automatically filtered by our default paths. If we have a habit of associating certain types of information with the label “bad,” then we end up in a bad mood and have a bad day.
Changing our default pathways requires dedicated and conscious effort to learn to connect the proverbial dots. E.g. bad weather = bad day is a common pathway. Changing that will let you have more good days.
Doing so involves noticing when a default path is taken. Stepping backwards and asking why that path exists and consciously choosing another route. Choosing to be open to new possibilities. Choosing to examine information in a new way, no matter how strange it may feel. Choosing to dance in the rain.
Neuroscientist Sam Harris has stated that the quality of our lives depends on the quality of our minds. Consciously changing how we react to information creates a multiplier effect to have more good days.
Another way to say this is that our default mental models determine how we experience life. Being in the drivers seat and deciding how you want to handle information will have an immediate impact on your quality of life. Do you want to have more good days? Start by choosing how to react to information.