by Yann Girard — Get free updates of new posts hereTweet
I have to admit it. I'm afraid of doing new things. I love doing the same things over and over again. I know that this is completely stupid but that's just the way I roll. I somehow lost my inner explorer along the way.
I like to eat the exact same stuff at the exact same restaurants. I'm afraid that if I try out something new and I don't like it that I'll be disappointed for the rest of my life. That I paid money for an unpleasant experience. Maybe I'm also just a cheap ass. I don't know.
I also don't like to meet new people. It stresses me out. Constantly having to read between the lines, analyzing their facial expressions or their body language. That's just super exhausting. I prefer hanging out with folks I already know. Folks I already know what they're up to.
Where I don't have to dance the get-to-know-me-dance.
I also have a hard time learning new things. Well, actually not so much to learn new things but getting started. Every time I come across a new tool, a new project or a new whatever where I know that this might facilitate my life or improve something I struggle to get it started.
I procrastinate like crazy. I know I've already said it a few times but I'm going to say it one more time. I'm probably the world's biggest procrastinator. In case you haven't read it yet, here's my secret sauce for getting into the flow and fighting my ugly habit of procrastination. Anyways.
So just the other day I found out about a tool that would help me improve my workflow. I knew that it would save me a lot of time. Still, it took me more than two weeks to actually take a look at it. It cluttered my brain for almost ten days. I was already telling people about how awesome it was.
But still, I couldn't get started.
Luckily, I slowly started taking a look at it yesterday. And boom! An entire day wasted trying to dissect, understand and getting this thing to work. Needless to say that I didn't get it to work smoothly enough to be satisfied. So it still clutters my brain.
As you can see it trashes my brain so much that I'm even writing about it.
That's how much this kind of stuff clutters our brains. But that's not what I wanted to talk about here. What I wanted to do instead is to analyze why we (well, mostly me) are so afraid of doing new things, learning new skills and collecting new experiences.
Why we are so afraid of disrupting our own lives.
So why and when the hell did we stop being explorers? When did we stop going out there, being curious about the world and what it has to offer?
When did we become optimizers instead of explorers?
I guess it all started during the industrial revolution when we got replaced by robots and machines. That must have left a really deep scar in our brains. A scar that our parents and grandparents had to carry with them for their entire lives.
Scars they passed on to their children And their children's children. To me.
And then we started working in offices. The factory was transformed into an office. Now an office might not look like a factory but it somehow follows the same patterns. You get up every day, show up and do the same tasks over and over again.
Tasks a monkey could usually do if you'd train him properly (or an algorithm if you'd feed it with enough data).
Then you go home, watch the news, read newspapers and everything you see and read about is bad. People being fired, houses being foreclosed, economies breaking down, entire countries filing for bankruptcy, people getting killed, bombings, terrorist attacks...
And then the cycle starts to kick in. You're scared. Your boss scares you. You're afraid that your coworkers talk shit about you. You don't want to loose your job. You have to feed a family (or you have champagne to pay for).
So you run away and try to hide. You hide by working more and more hours. You're trying to increase your productivity. You become more and more efficient. You try to blank out everything that might distract you.
That's your way of trying to be safe in a world that doesn't seem so safe anymore.
And that's when you turn into the factory worker once again.
You're back in the factory. You're wearing the same outfit everybody else is wearing. You're eating the same stuff everybody else is eating. You're buying the same stuff everybody else is buying at the exact same stores.
You completely give up your individuality once again. You give up your freedom in exchange for the factory workers uniform. Your life becomes a uniform of sameness.
You're constantly driven by the fear of being replaced (or being rejected). Your biggest fear is that technology is going to replace you. Well, maybe it isn't. There are actually only a few people that admit it. That don't close their eyes to the obvious.
Unfortunately, it's already here. It's already happening. They're going to get you. Some robots (or algorithms) are going to take over your job. Panic.
So what you do is that you're trying to compete with technology. Your entire day seems like a spurt. Only the fastest will be able to compete with technology. Will be able to keep their jobs.
You run and don't look back. You don't look to your right. You don't look to your left. You only look what's in front of you. You're trying to become more and more efficient every single day. You become a machine.
A machine trimmed to be as efficient as possible.
And that's what happened to our inner explorers. To my inner explorer.
They were wiped out by efficiency. By believing that efficiency is the solution to all our problems. Our inner explorers were replaced by human machines.
Machines that are running the same program every single day. Machines that are trained to do one single thing perfectly. Algorithms that get better and faster the more often they run through the exact same problem and solution.
And it would simply cost too much to change their program. To code a new algorithm. So you simply replace the machine and buy a new machine instead of teaching the old machine a better (or new) way of doing things.
And that's the reason why I'm so afraid of learning new things. Of being an explorer once again.
We are all afraid that we might get replaced if we're not churning out things fast enough. That the time it takes us to learn something new might lead to a tremendous drop in efficiency. A decrease in producing stuff that nobody really cares about anyways.
That we're going to lose our jobs.
That's just the way our brains operate these days. They're wired in a weird way. They're guided by the fear of losing what we already have.
Even though we might know that the only way to not be replaced is to learn new things and to disrupt our own lives, we remain still and prefer to not do anything at all.
But what we really should be doing is to take our time and take a close look at our left, then our right, then to what's behind before we mindlessly rush into what's in front of us...