Every day is a new chapter full of characters, challenges, curiosity, and adventure. But as we write this book, the pencil gets smaller and smaller. Some of us create with longer utensils, while some of us do not, but we aren't in control of this. What we are in control of is how we take care of our pencil and what we tell it to write. If you were to look back on your story, would it be one worth reading? Regardless of your response, know that reading this means your heart is still beating. The truth is we're all dying as our pencil gets smaller and smaller, but how many of us have truly lived? You are the author of your life, the creator and the destroyer of ideas, the living and the dying.
You Are the Author
"You are the author of your life..." a profound saying so unique for each of us, but so universal. In life things will happen that we simply cannot control, such as the death of a loved one, the development of a disease, or even falling in love. It's difficult for humans to accept the fact that their lives are ungovernable, meaning that each and every second is a new surprise. No one on Earth can predict the exact future because, as humans, this is something we are not able to understand. We live in the present moment, day-to-day, minute-to-minute, second-to-second.
Of course, I am not telling you that you should stop planning for the future or you should never stop thinking about it because it's not possible for the human mind to do that. The brain is built to predict, assume, and expect; every second you subconsciously collect, assess, and predict data. For example, the visual cortex in the occipital lobe at the back of the brain is responsible for collecting raw visual data from our eyes. This information is then sent to the association areas where our brain determines what we are seeing. Because this takes time, you are technically seeing everything in the past as your brain has to figure out what you are seeing before you can become consciously aware of it. This happens so fast that there's never dark or blank patches in our vision.
If you had read my article on the "Chemical Mind" and "The Consciousness Paradox" or from previous knowledge, you are aware of the incredible complexity of the human brain. Within all of that wiring is a unique skill that we all have: the ability to learn. Through what neurologists call neuroplasticity, your brain constantly remodels itself with each new bit of information. By the end of this article, you will not be the same person as you were when you started as your brain has learned new information. This ability means that we can watch, listen, taste, feel, or hear something and then learn from it to avoid producing the same mistakes. The old saying "practice makes perfect" couldn't be more correct in suggesting that appropriate levels of repetition literally rewires and remodels the brain until it can reproduce the desired results.
The benefit in neuroplasticity is that you can use it to socialize yourself. Socialization is a sociological and psychological process in which the ideas, morals, beliefs, practices, etc. of a society or group become a part of us as the brain learns from others. However, as you grow older, you become more conscious and more responsible of what you accept as true and false depending on how it resonates with you.
As a writer, I can strongly say that the emotions and events of the day will influence your writing and your decisions throughout the entire day. But as the author, you are responsible for what you write in your story and what your characters do about it. You cannot change everything, and you cannot please everyone, but you can control how you react to the things that happen to you. Your perspective is governable.
The Reputation Illusion
We often think that we know what another person is thinking by their body language, facial expressions, actions, words, and tone of voice. However, what we fail to realize is that it is impossible for any of us to understand another person well enough to know their thoughts as we cannot live that perspective. Your brain is locked within your skull and operates your body solely; even couples who have been together for 60+ years can never truly know what the other person is thinking or feeling.
For example, your friend pranks you while you sleep by drawing all over your face and they post this visage online. When you wake, you open your phone to find two comments from your on the picture. You are furious, but why? In reality, there are only two comments and before you even check to see the "views" section you are already enraged because you believe that everyone has or will see it and they will make fun of you. The truth is that the majority of individuals who see this post will forget about it within minutes or likely develop no reaction to it at all. Sure, your reputation may feel at stake, but that's because you believe that you know what everyone else is thinking when you don't.
Perhaps this is why individuals become self-conscious of how they look in the eyes of others. This can become damaging when the individual changes their behavior, beliefs, values, or ideas to meet the standards of others. We often leap to blame society for the way it portrays women and men, but what we forget is that we, the people, are the society we are blaming. We need to learn how to change for ourselves to become the best version of ourselves. If you want to wear makeup, workout, shave, dress a certain way, etc., then do it because it's an expression of who you are. However, do not do anything because you want to please someone else if it comes at a cost to your perspective of yourself. If everyone loved themselves and worked hard to better themselves, society would improve. It starts with you and me. It starts with perspective.
Some Helpful Tips to Dramatically Change Your Life
1. Realize That Today is It
In my article "The Greatest Privilege" I share my realization on how important it is for human beings to live in the now. Today is the only day you and I are alive. It's strange to think, but it's true. You are not alive yesterday, and you are not alive tomorrow, but you ARE alive today. Today is all we have. We don't have tomorrow, we don't have the past. That common statement, "there's always another day...", so wrong, yet so natural. We act as if there's always more time, but what would happen if we all acted like today was the only day we had left? Something isn't beautiful because it lasts forever, but because it uses its limitations to be the best version of itself. Make today the story worth reading.
2. Don't Be Sad It's Over, Smile Because it Happened
This is a powerful quote I came across on social media not too long ago which dramatically shifted my perspective on life. As humans, we like to attach ourselves to what makes us comfortable and what makes us feel secure. It can be difficult to lose something or someone that means so much to us. The grief and the sadness can become overwhelming to the point where we feel as if we're drowning without what we once had, but what is done is done. In Western society, funerals are the sign of sadness, loss, and pain, but in many countries around the world, they are celebrations of life. This does not mean that you are to not feel sadness, loss, or grief, as these are ingrained human emotions; however, it does mean that through the pain a smile can be found while time forms a stronger heart and soul.
3. Everything Changes — You Are Not Always in Control
The realization that we are not in control of everything in our lives can be scary because we want to be the most secure, comfortable, and happy. However, we live in a universe of such rapid change that we have to be flexible to adapt effectively. The best way to adapt is to change your perspective to realize that it is not the things you need to control but how you react, for your behavior will determine the impact something has on your life more than the event itself. It is also important to realize that without change, we would live a stagnant and dull life with little to no understanding of the world around us. Neuroplasticity works because the brain uses what it receives, compares it to previous experience, and then develops predictions on how to make it better next time. If everything was positive and perfect, we could never truly evolve.
4. You Are the Author of Your Life
One day during a deep meditation I developed this powerful realization that I often plaster throughout my social media because I believe in it so strongly: "the reality of which you seek lies no further than the eyes from which you've sought from". The real lesson here is that you can have whatever life you want for yourself if you believe in yourself. When you work towards realistic goals and remove yourself from worrying about what other people think, your world will change. This means that you cannot hope for a better life or wish for a better life and expect it to change. You have to want it on such a profound level that you do not step down to the challenge and that you put in great effort for great results.
What will your story say?