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Emails to my Therapist

Bold Living by Default

A friend with a martial arts testing this weekend is dealing with a stiff back. It would be possible for him to get the test put off.

Here’s what he says about that possibility: “My default setting is to ‘go for it.’ The back would have to be really bad for me to ask for a postponement.”

I love that attitude. And I wonder what my own “default settings” are. This is probably what is meant by the hidden assumptions that I’m told we build our lives on. I’d like to be able to go into my “control panel” and see exactly what mine are. Some of them are likely of the earth-is-flat variety, an idea that shouldn’t be running my life.

I asked my brother Franc once about how he came to his characteristic upbeatness. I was wanting instructions. He thought for a long moment and said, “It’s an unconscious decision.”

We usually only see the evidence of our unconscious decisions. Takes some work in the dark to find out what they are.

I do know that one of mine that has been hard to change is: “I am not allowed to screw up.” That idea still has weird power, in spite of my various screwups over sixty years.

I’d like to figure out how to attach that mysterious power to the belief of my choice. I want one of my default positions to be: No second-guessing of myself, no pointless rehashing. There’d be nothing else to do then but “go for it.”

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Categories: bold living, courage and fear, perseveration

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