I Think and Therefore I Must Be

Ok, I might have changed a word or two. Yes, René Descartes, Cogito, ergo sum first written in his Discourse on the Method, is usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am“.

Our minds are flawed. Many times our perceptions of things are not as they seem and more of a figment of our imagination. Biggest problem is that our minds can’t tell the difference from real and unreal.

Case in point. Imagine this rather large, very ripe juicy lemon is resting in the palm of your hands. As you look at this photo, what is happening in your mouth? Even as I write about it, I find that there is an increase of saliva filling up around my tongue.

That is your primitive brain in action! It sees the pattern of a lemon and reacts accordingly. It does not matter if the lemon is just a photo.

The other half of this equation is that we love to add meaning and values to a lot of what happens in our life. Only humans do this by the way. If a lion stumbles on his hunt, I am pretty sure, although I can’t say for certain it doesn’t go, “shit, there I go again, being clumsy again. I guess this hunting thing is just not for me.”

We do this all – the – time!

Ah – NO! With the lion, it’s more of a reset of all systems and let’s try this again.

When this happens to human, primitive brain, which I affectionately call, ‘the Idiot’, will try and add meaning.

Oops, I tripped. Darn I am so clumsy. There must be something wrong with me. Maybe I just had a stroke! Maybe I have an incurable medical condition. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

Or maybe, you just tripped!

A worse case, is when this happens to a young human and a strong authority figure adds the meaning! “God, you are so clumsy!” backed up with “I can’t trust you!” A one, two punch and you are out!

The idiot loves this stuff and when YOU anchor this as a belief, a justifiable true belief, it (the idiot) will bring to your attention and provide you with lots of evidence to prove to you that you are a clumsy human. After all, I think I am clumsy and therefore I am a clumsy human being.

Now that you believe this, you will now act accordingly.

You start to maneuver your life and start to make chooses and actions based on that simple belief. That trail suddenly becomes too rocky, too steep, too whatever because after all you are a clumsy human being!

You might a slight awakening and say, ‘this is silly’ and challenge the belief. The first stumble you have the Idiot speaks up and tells you, “see I told you are clumsy. What do you think you are doing anyway? You are too clumsy to attempt this.” And you listen, and you go back to your safe place never to try that again.

Most of this is happening at the unconscious level and accounts for a very interesting attribute of the mind; automaticity. It loves to run patterns automatically when it can get away with it. See a squirrel and chase it!

Hey wait a minute, I don’t chase squirrels!

If you stop being conscious of your mind, you will find that it functions quite well without you and will develop patterns of behaviour to keep you safe and sound. If you are not aware of these patterns and it’s insatiable need to operate this way, you will wake up one day wondering, “Why am I acting this way?”

Take clumsy out of the sentence and replace it with any other belief you might have about yourself. A belief that holds you safe and back from being who YOU feel you are. Then ask yourself, where in the hell did the Idiot come up with that one?

There are good patterns and bad. The good ones do actually keep us alive and not get us eaten by zombies. However, many of our patterns are out dated. They don’t serve us well at all any more and need to be updated or even thrown out all together.

If your ever wondering who YOU is; it the YOU who is listening to the Idiot. For your life to work under your terms requires YOUR participation. The Idiot is a poor fill in. After all, you might have just tripped.

RICK RUPPENTHAL is a professional Personal and Leadership Transformational Coach and a Certified Change Practitioner. As a retired paramedic of 30 years, Rick has held positions in leadership, education, as a coach and a mentor. Through those experiences, understanding, and adaptability, Rick has dedicated his life to a continual journey of self-discovery, adventure, and guiding others on their own journey of being their best self.

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