“My mind begins to seem like a video game: I can either play it intelligently, learning more in each round, or I can be killed in the same spot by the same monster, again and again.” – Sam Harris, quote from his book Waking Up.
The quote above describes the feeling many of us have with bad habits we are trying to shake… whether it be ruminating over a fight you just had, scrolling through your phone all night, or blowing up on a friend. One bad habit most of us can relate to is replaying negative thoughts in our head over and over again. You probably experience this first hand all the time. Like when we have so many things on our to-do-list that instead of actually tackling our tasks, we simply sit and worry about how much we have to do without accomplishing a thing. Luckily, there’s a cheat code for this.
Finding and entering cheat codes is one of America’s greatest pastimes when it comes to playing video games. Entering cheat codes into a game to unlock a hidden feature was one of my most sincere pleasures as an adolescent. I recall there being these glorious books filled with endless cheat codes and always trying to get my hands on the best ones. Today, you can buy an exclusive video game cheat code guide (Circa, 2007), featuring over 16,000+ codes, for an advertised price of just $6.99! Now, I don’t play nearly as many video games but I do genuinely miss the ability to press buttons in a certain order to unlock special abilities…which led me to think, is there an option for unlocking special abilities in real life? What I’ve come to learn is there may just be.
What if I told you there are real-life cheat codes that can make you more successful in the most important facets of life: enhancing your love life, getting promoted at work, being “superhuman” healthy, etc. Cheat codes for the only game that really matters. The game with the most realistic graphics imaginable, and you only get one life…our actual lives.
I have been meditating for the past year and a half and interestingly enough, the practice has been able to alleviate the occurrence of recurring negative thoughts for me. However, I didn’t notice the power of this until a day that I forgot to meditate. I had quite the “aha moment”.
I realized that this negative thought pattern we all experience had a correlation to the days I did not meditate. But the days I did, it was as though I had accessed a “cheat code” in my brain to free me from negative self-talk. This cheat code gave me the ability to recognize negative thoughts for what they are.. and then refocus my attention to the present moment. By sustaining the ability of living presently, it allowed me to enjoy the pleasant nature of simply being alive. For example, framing my commute as much-needed “me” time versus dreading the hours lost in the day.
For one to take a simple breath during any anxiety-provoking situation truly acts as a real-world cheat code. Why should you care? As I mentioned in my previous blog post (about workplace burn-out), data has shown that today people are generally unhappy at work and burnt out from their 9-forever shifts. If you can relate to that, why not try what I believe is the best real-life cheat code imaginable…meditation. Even just 10-minutes once or twice a week enables us to rid ourselves of negative thoughts and focus on the beauty of the present moment… further shifting our perspective to view life’s challenges not as obstacles, but instead as opportunities.
Original Post published on July 9th, 2019.