In a countryside garden, a family of rabbits have taken their home. Any time I’ve watched them, they are the most opposite from relaxed you could think of – always alert, twitching left and right, expecting danger at any moment.
After time, the natural question is: how, after days and months without any threat, have they not learned to loosen up?
It’s not until you start thinking about biology you realise that if those rabbits lived 10 years without any threat or danger, they would continue to act the way they do. Even if they get everything “they want”, their brain’s survival mechanism will busy them until their dying day.
So, how could any animal, for every minute of the day, live in such an endless state of anxiousness and alertness, while being able to enjoy itself?
If we look at the case of ourselves, although man’s achievements vs. rabbits make us no match, we too have an out-dated master, albeit a two-million-year-old one.
The human brain started 7 million years ago, but most of its development happened in the last 2 million years.
No wonder then, it is programmed for the same thing as animals in a field: to survive.
But, today, survival is no longer a concern for humans, and instead, our life’s goals are set on happiness and fulfillment.
The problem is that, these new heights are not what our operating systems are designed to give us.
Instead of being worry free and at peace for every moment of the day, our brains will be busy looking for things to worry about and seeking to trigger our fight or flight response.
This is a critical misalignment of brain vs. man. Tony Robbins has said that:
“There are more billionaires in the world than there are people who find happiness in every moment”.
When our survival mechanism is always looking for things to worry about, finding what’s wrong is always available, no matter how petty it might seem.
If you were to list all of the worries you had in the last year, how much of them were worth worrying about? That’s a lot of wasted time, and unwanted stress, because “to expect punishment is to suffer it” – Seneca.
People think that when they hit x circumstances in their lives, that everything will be better.
They’re wrong; because even if we are placed in a perfect environment which gives us everything we want, we still have to live with ourselves, and our minds stay where they are.
What you need to realise about your brain is that worry, stress, and anxiety is the default, not happiness and internal peace.
When Lucilius told Seneca that he needed to go on holidays to escape from his difficulties, the 1st century philosopher replied:
“How can you wonder your travels do you no good, when you carry yourself around with you? You are saddled with the very thing that drove you away”
Yet, there is a need to acknowledge that your most negative thoughts are a symptom of biology and not a symptom of you.
It is natural to be negative.
However, if you fail to tackle your default setting, you will seize to enjoy anything.
Put simply, we don’t perform normally, and we are not present with others when we are in a state of suffering.
Deliberate action, new habits, and continued self-awareness can get you what you want.
Although what’s wrong is always available, so is what’s right.