There’s a new game in town!
And by game, I mean new rules or at least a new perspective.
A few years ago, maybe 5 or so, someone I was working with suggested to me that I recalibrate my life by asking the question:
“Does this feel good or bad?”
If it felt good I was to keep doing it, or at least take note of it. And if it felt bad, I was to stop it if I could, and definitely take note of it. It was a way to begin to explore how much of what I was doing was on auto-pilot and to begin to raise my awareness to my decisions and increase my accountability to my self. It was an interesting game, because I turned it into one.
On the one hand, it raised my awareness a lot. On the other hand, I found out just how adept I was at rationalization whenever subjectivity was involved. It became a mental test as much as an exploration. The “game” became enjoyable… for a while. Then it became overwhelming and exhausting. It turns out being good at rationalization is a tricky business, and it’s not fun. The mind is, indeed, powerful.
Fast forward a few years to today, and I have a revision to the game that all but eliminates the judgmental aspects of “good and bad” and therefore removes the subjectivity and rationalization almost entirely. As I said, there’s a new game in town! Or rather, a new question:
Does this strengthen me or weaken me?
Here’s the thing, with “good and bad” it is easy to rationalize unhealthier decisions. For me, my weakness is coca-cola. (Yes, it is.) I love it. I drink one a day, and I rationalize it by telling myself that I don’t drink alcohol, smoke, do drugs, or drink coffee. My only other caffeinated beverage is tea, hot or cold, without added sugar. So, it was really easy to maintain my habit of ‘one coke a day’ – even when it became two cokes a day. Or one BIG coke a day.
It was also easy to keep it in the “good” column, because of that rationalization. Emotionally, I felt it was ok. In fact, I felt it was good for me, because of ALL the other things I had already given up and wasn’t doing. It didn’t matter if it was good or bad for me physically, and that’s where the subjectivity and judgment comes in. “Good and bad” invite discussion and argument. In fact, I’ve had healthcare professionals both agree with me and disagree with me on the ‘one coke a day’ issue, further proving its subjectivity.
Everything changes when I ask the new question, however:
Does one coke a day strengthen me or weaken me?
There can only be one answer. It weakens me. That doesn’t mean I won’t drink it ever again, but it places full accountability on me for my decision to choose something that weakens me, and its subsequent consequences. More importantly, it gives me more impetus than ever before to make a different decision. Why? Because there’s no judgment.
The new question keeps things in the realm of objectivity. And change is always more possible when it stems from objective information, rather than subjective rationalization.
So, you try it. Spend one day, just one, asking the question:
Does this _______ strengthen me or weaken me?
I think you’ll be surprised at how it raises your awareness and clarifies your perspective in life. As I said, there’s a new game in town… and this is a game that’s worth playing.