There are quite a few quirky things about us humans. One of which is our attachment to the linear narrative. Of course, there’s an evolutionary purpose here. Putting things into a story makes things easier to remember, understand, and recall. For example, I want you to take a glace at the following letters and recall them without looking:
No shot, right? Now, glance at these letters and recall them without looking:
[One small step for man]
These two memory tests achieve the same goal as they include exactly the same letter, just in a different order. The first is nearly impossible, while the second is a slam-dunk. This is made possible by the use of a linear narrative.
This seemingly helpful tool has its negative side, however. We’re constantly looking for ways to make sense of the world and in doing so we turn almost everything into a story. For example, we experience an outcome and it’s human nature to connect whatever dots leading up to that outcome and call it the cause (SEE: conspiracy theory).
“One pitch at a time.” The problem with this is that it makes it difficult to focus on the moment independent of the past or potential future. Take a streak, for example. Joe Dimaggio hit safely in a record 56 straight games in 1941. Getting a hit in Major League Baseball is as difficult a task as any, and considering that so much outside of his control goes into that outcome, couldn’t one agree that trying to get a hit is hard enough without the added burden of adding the consequences of breaking the streak? Jumpin’ Joe’s best strategy would be to treat every at bat the same without increasing the importance or pressure of the situation each time he didn’t hit safety in any one game.
“One day at a time.” Other streaks come to mind that are relevant here, too. I think of the harsh realities lived by the courageous folks in the sober community. Living with addiction is a full time job in and of itself. Now, add that stress to the fact that breaking down and having a sip of alcohol would break a streak of 12 years of sobriety. Just the thought stresses me out. A motto of sobriety, of course, is “one day at a time” for this very reason.
“One decision at a time.” Many of you are enrolled in the Whole Life Challenge with us. You may have a streak of your own going, too. Rather than bear the burden of your streak, embrace tried and true tactics of mastering the moment. Rather than navigate your life with the ever increasing burden of your streak, try to step outside of your linear narrative and take each decision and each moment as their own, instead of rationalizing your decision based on history.
Max Shoulder to Overhead (135/95)
-Rest 2 Min-
Max Back Squats