Stop Drifting

Human nature depends fundamentally on laziness. This is mentioned in a number of books or articles recently, including the famous The Chimp Paradox, Thinking Fast and Slow or The Power of Habit.

I would like to re-emphasize that our brain tends to spend as less energy as possible during the day, trying to create habits through our daily actions and then give the control to the intuitive System 1.

How Does It Work?

This is very powerful and the reason we human beings stay sane despite having an overdose of information on a daily basis. We have news, messages, texts, phone conversations, and connected to the real-world every second. Our subconscious mind takes over and we don’t usually need to think of how to change lanes when driving or prepare the breakfast while speaking on the phone.

Simply, more you repeat an action, more it becomes intuitive. You don’t need to be aware of the decisions you make, steps you do to accomplish it. An example is riding a bicycle. First time you learn it, it probably took you a couple of days to get used to coordinating the pedals and the handle while not trying to fall off. But by now, you can cycle while watching out the traffic and pedestrians, listening to music and even thinking of tomorrow’s meeting. It’s amazing.

Perfect For Times, But

It also has drawbacks.

One of the most important of that is we tend to lose control, avoid making decisions that we should be making. Therefore we constantly drift away rather than taking control of our own lives. We react, instead of designing. This is dangerous because it also means getting away from taking responsibility for our life. As a result we end up telling a couple of phrases to ourselves:

  • Time passes so quickly.
  • It feels I don’t have any control on my own life.
  • I don’t have any plans for the next 5 years.

To stop this from happening, we should be conscious of our priorities and our expectations, goals in life. It is so easy to forget this, but one of the ways is to simply stop, and think for a moment. It could be at home alone, or at a coffee shop with dozens of other people. Whichever suits you well. And to do this regularly; bi-weekly or at least monthly.