call me the tumblin' dice
As a student of basic human psychology, I am obsessed with how people think. And when I get curious about something, I try to do as much digging as I possible can (reasonably speaking of course).
I read an article recently that explained the two basic systems of the human brain. System one houses everything that's "automated". This includes, comprehension of speech, reading texts on your phone, eating, turning on your computer, driving home after work, making over-easy eggs (God, I love those), calculating 2+2, and basically anything that requires very little to no thought. Our survival instincts are found within System One. It's in our DNA to make things easier on us. Very little energy is wasted, leaving us more fuel, time, and resources to do more. That is why we are constantly trying to put every day to day human function in the System One part of the brain.
System Two includes everything that takes deep thought/mental effort to figure out. Deep thought and problem solving can often be sluggish, which can lead to frustration. Nothing in System Two is automated. Math calculations (in your head) such as 23X14, finding your way to an unknown destination (without GPS), and learning a new language all require the activation of System Two.
In essence, System Two is lazy. To activate System Two requires mental effort. Mental effort is costly in time and also in energy.
Our goal as humans is to limit the activation of System Two as much as possible. After all, limiting system two makes life easier and that is why businesses exist - to make life easier! Who doesn't want an easier life?
The only problem with limiting System Two is there are many, many good things that come from using it. Growth, opportunity, change, and evolution come from using System Two... not System One.
People do not quit the jobs they hate, or leave bad relationships, or get a new routine at the gym, or go after what they truly love, or accomplish that bucket list item because it usually requires being uncomfortable for a brief amount of time. No matter how you look at, most jobs are all about doing the same thing over and over, requiring very little change up from year to year. Most relationships become extremely comfortable even if they are pure garbage. Most new gym routines will highlight your weaknesses (and nobody like that). And most bucket list items are challenging - even downright scary! Being comfortable is all about using what we are familiar with - SYSTEM ONE!
The moment you step outside of your comfort zone and do what is NEW, your instincts will constantly be shouting "You are making it tougher on yourself! What are you doing? You need to survive! Make it easier on you! Use System One! It will keep you alive!"
This is where you must fight your instincts as much as you can. Like I said, growth, happiness, opportunity, and change come from moments of being uncomfortable. The more you use System Two, the more you will see your own personal value increase. Problem solve, explore, and try new things. You will learn more about you (and the world) than ever before.
WAIT A TICK! I am not condoning putting down the calculator for every math problem, I am simply conveying how important it is to think for yourself and realize all the benefits that can come from putting yourself out there in extremely uncomfortable situations. Your skin will thicken, mind will sharpen, and confidence will grow. You might even inspire a few people along the way!
Tonight, as I take the motorcycle or bicycle out for a ride, it will be my mission to find a new road to travel. I will do my best to get lost in a town that I know so well. I might see something new, I might meet someone incredible, or I might find a new way home. Whatever happens, I know I will be using System Two. Something good will come from it... I know it.
So, turn on System Two, turn up Rolling Stone's Tumbling Dice as loud as you can, and go get lost in a sea of uncertainty. I guarantee it becomes one helluva chapter.
Mike Fallat helps entrepreneurs write bestselling books and teaches them how to use it as the ultimate marketing tool. Contact him today for more details.