The Plateau

Should I write – or check my Facebook page? Maybe I’ll read instead:  that requires less focus. Better yet I’ll go grab some coffee, then I’ll read and then I’ll finish writing. Now that I think of it – tomorrow would be a much better day for writing, I’ll just relax today.

Our reptilian brains can be a real pain in the ass. We come up with a plan, get ready to execute, and the moment our internal lizard catches wind – it does everything in its power to shut us down. It’s no wonder we play it safe, we’re engaging in a never-ending tug of war with ourselves!

l see this dilemma as a plateau – caught between our biological limitations and the potential to transcend. If we give into our default setting – we stay the course consistent with the past 200,000 years. But if we put strain on what is hard-wired into us – then maybe we can achieve what seems impossible now, but in the future will not be so far fetched.

After all, this is how it works: someone has an idea to do what’s never been done and everyone doubts them – until they do it. Then it becomes the new normal – the bar has been raised. One moment it was considered impossible, and then it wasn’t.

Think about the electronic devices you own. It wasn’t long ago that talk of a cell phone, electric car, computer or tablet were products of science fiction; now they are an everyday part of our lives. These things had to become a part of our reality in order for us to believe they were possible.

To mirror what’s in our environment is a natural human response. If it’s not right in front of us – it might as well not exist. At least this was the case for tens of thousands of years: before the advent of mail, radio, television, fax and the internet  – all we knew was what we saw or what we heard.

Now we find ourselves in the middle of The Plateau – our lizard brain is still heavily influenced by its immediate surroundings. It doesn’t understand anything that’s far away or abstract. It’s at odds with our “new” brain – the cerebral cortex. Anytime our new brain dreams big or contemplates taking risks – the bells go off and the “old” brain panics.

 We possess old hardware in a new machine. 

Take for example going to college: if your parents didn’t pursue higher education, what do you think the chances are that you will?  On average 54% of students whose parents earned only a high school diploma will pursue higher education. That’s a 28% decrease compared to those whose parents earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.

This makes sense because our parents were the examples in our environment when we were young. They laid the foundation for what we would aspire to become. The good news is – this foundation is not set in stone – it’s moldable, and there’s no reason to not allow ourselves to re-shape it.

When our minds go into a state of panic it is a clear indication that our instincts are being tested. This is a watershed moment for us: do we bow down or go against our primal instincts? That’ll depend on whether you want to move forward or remain idle. Either way – you have a choice.

…what’s it going to be?

 

Copyright © 2017 Sky Patterson

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