Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses
~ Alphonse Kerr
It was several years ago when I came into my house after working in the yard on a hot summer day.
I wanted a cold drink and I knew that there was a full pitcher of iced tea in my refrigerator.
As I pulled the plastic pitcher out of the refrigerator, it slipped from my hand and went crashing to the floor spilling its contents throughout the kitchen.
I immediately grabbed a towel and on hands and knees, started mopping up the mess, when out of the corner of my eye, a small body appeared before me.
As I looked up from the floor, I saw my then 4-year old daughter, Sarah. Her hands were on her hips as she looked me straight in the eyes...
"WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE!", she proclaimed at the top of her squeaky, yet authoritative voice.
I looked at her, wanted to burst out laughing, but replied sheepishly, "I’m sorry... the pitcher just slipped out of my hand".
"Well... you need to clean up this mess before you go back outside..."
...and with that, Sarah pivoted on one foot and left the room to go back to her unfinished picture book.
As I continued to clean up the spilled tea, half of me was laughing hysterically at the course of events those last few moments, while the other half was wondering when exactly did my 4-year old grow up into an adult... mimicking what I would have most likely said to her if the roles had been reversed that afternoon... including the hands on the hips gestures!
Children are a product of their environment. They innately learn to imitate their parents, siblings and other adults not because they know... but rather because they don’t know.
They didn’t choose to be born in America or China or India or Egypt... they didn’t select their name... their religion... their birth order... their gender... their social status.
They were born into these things with a roll of the dice.
A baby with basically the same genetic make-up, born into a different environment, will be indoctrinated with a completely different belief system than that of someone else in a different environment.
That baby will become the product of that environment...
That child will grow to become a part of the same religion that was practiced in the home, adopt the same customs and culture, speak the same native language, eat the same foods, support the same sports teams, have the same attitude about money, politics, and racial tolerance and intolerance.
As a child... they have little choice... their brains are incapable of reason and logic.
They believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy... because that’s what their parents told them... how do they know any different?
Our parents and families gave us their opinions on everything and everyone. The difference between right and wrong, a complete set of values and ethics, and what we should believe or what we should question.
Babies are not born into this world belonging to any political party or labor union... they aren’t racist, homophobic, elitist, war mongers or peaceniks... they don’t have a theory of why poverty exists, or know how to produce anything (other than bodily waste from one end of the body and wailing sounds from other). They don’t have inadequacy issues, fears of rejection, hang-ups about money or bad relationships.
Children assimilate into their environments. They are given love and affection for saying and doing the right things in the eyes of the adults around them. They don’t know any better... for them it’s simply a primal survival instinct.
Agreement gives them acceptance and praise... disagreement gives them a time-out in their room (or worse). These positive and negative reinforcements helps to engrain those beliefs into habits that are almost impossible to break later in life.
Sometimes those beliefs and habits are simply wrong, but as a young person, they don’t have the mental capacity or an environmental support system to distill fact from fiction.
All of these ideas are programmed into their brains at a very early age.
And by the time our brains have the capacity to understand reason and logic, our belief system is already too entrenched to allow ourselves to change and adapt.
By continually thinking and doing the same thing over and over, we condition our brains through neuro-pathways. So each time we think or do the same thing, the beliefs in our sub-conscience brain become stronger and stronger not allowing us to deviate from the habits that we created for ourselves over the years.
These habits become our second nature and our go-to default position.
One day, we might recognize that we are perhaps living our lives going in the wrong direction, but doing something to change the direction becomes too difficult so we fall back into our old habits, old behaviors, and old beliefs.
To truly change ourselves, we need to find a way to break through to eliminate our old habits and adopt a new belief system... one that helps us to become less of the person we are... and more of the person we want to be.
The first step in this transformation, is to surround yourself with a better support system that reinforces the person you want to be... not the person you are...
If you want to become healthier... find friends who are already living a healthy lifestyle. Your unhealthy friends won’t want to do healthy things... so you need new friends who will encourage you, not disparage you.
Secondly... you need to actually start doing (or not doing) the thing you want to do. You won’t change your life or your habits by reading a book, watching a video, or going to a seminar. You need to over-come the resistance and get to it...
It’s okay to supplement your new life style with positive reading or listening... but remember... we only make changes when we "do"... not thinking about doing... not preparing to "do"... but simply to "do".
Third... you have spent an entire lifetime with your old habits... they can’t be erased magically overnight... we will fail at some and succeed at some... but the most important thing is that we must never give up trying...
...trying to become the best person we can be...
Overcoming the years of habits engrained into us by people we typically love...
Thank you very much for your support of OptiFuse as we continue each day to try and get a little better.
Jim Kalb President
Email - email@example.com
Website - www.optifuse.com
Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com
Twitter - @OptiFuse