Let’s say you are making progress in spurts. You live comfortably from one day to another until you encounter a certain idea.
Not an idea. A strong idea.
Perhaps you read a book. Or you listen to the news.
Perhaps you overhear a conversation in a bus. Or your colleague shares his unusual strategy for success.
Perhaps you are surprised by a movie. Or you witness a healing.
Perhaps your employer introduces changes that will effect you in a tremendous way. Or your wife turns raw foodist.
Perhaps you learn about unschooling. Or your government makes a change in the constitution.
There comes a time when an idea you are exposed to kicks you out from your comfort zone.
It is sudden. It is shocking. It shakes the ground on which you are standing.
Wow! You are surprised that an idea has such an effect on you. The idea strikes you so deeply that it nearly takes your breath away.
You are anxious.
You are out of balance.
You want to shout.
Oh, how much you wish to get back to your old and comfy shell. But it’s not possible. Because the idea is in your mind now, happily crawling there.
Oh, yoh yoh yoh…. It’s like a bug. Like two bugs. Wait … like three bugs. No. It is a colony of bugs! They are walking around, freely exploring and digging tunnels in the decks of your mind.
What to do now???
Colony of bugs
You are confused. Yet you realize that you have two choices now. Either you starve the bugs or you organize your colony and get in charge.
You do not like the process that is ahead of you. You do not like to be outside your comfort zone. You start to pretend that you have not encountered the idea in the first place. You will do everything to ‘forget’ the idea. You will deliberately jump into certain activities such as work, mountaineering or programming, completely devoting yourself to the tasks for long hours. So long that there is no time left for thinking.
Such a strategy may help you to push the idea to the back of the mind. The idea will perhaps disappear from the conscious mind for some time.
But, no, no, no. Do not be fooled.
The idea is not dead. The bugs are dead. The idea is not.
The bugs have laid their eggs and hid them in multiple places. The eggs are well protected from your influence. When the time comes, new bugs are going to hatch from the eggs and they will start their exploration. The idea will come back. With a full force. And stronger than before.
So, once an idea gets into your mind, the only way forward is to confront it, feed it and manage it. To your benefits. Obviously, you may choose to indefinitely postpone these acts, but it will cost you time and huge effort to keep starving the bugs over and over again. Moreover, it will become increasingly more difficult. Therefore, it is much more efficient to organize your colony of bugs and become the captain of your conscious growth.
Stages of transformation or how to tame your wild bugs
How to do that?
As in any disorder or chaotic behavior you need to accept the transformation path. Change is a process. In most cases, it goes naturally through seven stages. Learn what they are. Knowing how transformation evolves will help you to be prepared and optimize both the learning and the process to your benefit. The seven stages are:
1. Surprise (the mild version) or Shock (the strong kick)
Surprise or shock occur because you often encounter such an idea by accident. Or, you are confronted with an idea that shakes your thinking patterns or challenges your behavior. The bugs invade your mind and run in arbitrary directions. Chaos is everywhere. You feel lost.
2. Denial or Rejection
Homeostasis is your preferred state so you want to find your old balance back. The only way is to reject the intruder idea. You either pretend the bugs are not really there or you force the bugs into a certain ‘compartment’ in your brain. They keep escaping, though.
3. Rational Understanding
Since the idea is a living thing in the mind and is perpetuating, your first getting along with the idea is to think it through and rationalize it. You make an effort to understand it. When you attempt to understand the idea, you start to follow the free movement of the bugs. You begin to discriminate between tunnels and pathways they make. You notice their preferences. And you think about consequences where these paths cross with paths of other bugs, bugs representing other ideas. You begin to notice the flow. The intensity. The patterns. And you slowly collect pieces of the puzzle: you begin to see the meaning of the new connections, between old and new paths.
Most of the shocking ideas are shocking because they challenge your core values or beliefs, break old patterns or present radically new concepts that require change.
Once you understand what is going on and what is required for a change, there is a rebellion. It is usually when you understand the consequences of incorporating the idea into your life. You see the gap between the familiar old self and the new one that has to yet emerge after the idea is taken on board. Crisis results from being overwhelmed by the enormity of the transformation. Mind understands it but there is pain of leaving the old, fear of unknown and anxiety about the path.
This is when the bugs start to make the ‘bzzzzzzzz’ noise in your mind. They get loud. And even louder than that. The seem to go faster. And they make even more noise. It becomes so loud and so much merry-go-round running in your thoughts that you feel you cannot handle it any longer. You shout “Stop!”.
5. Emotional Acceptance
This comes after crisis. Emotional acceptance occurs when you are willing to change your values or behaviors. You accept the transformation.
The danger, however, is that you may actually get stuck in the Crisis stage. It takes a conscious thought and managing emotional flow in order to accept what the idea brings to you. It often requires to accept the worse possible consequence or change that has to happen and come in terms with it. Once it is achieved, there is relief and a real progress begins.
A real change takes place when you accept the existence of the bugs and you allow them to penetrate your mind. Moreover, you actually start to appreciate them. You begin to like them and the novelty they brought. You enjoy observing their patterns, how they jump over certain areas while slow down in another one. You start to communicate with them. You are becoming friends.
6. Learning: Thinking -> Experimenting -> Reflection -> Realization
In this stage you experiment with the implementation of the idea or its baby steps. This step may be quite some fun if you approach it from this angle.
This is a moment in which you start new learning. You take specific actions and observe the response. You widen certain tunnel and narrow the others. You close some paths or introduce obstacles half way. You bring bugs from your other ideas and see how the communication goes. You optimize the paths for efficiency and joy. You observe.
You analyze the circumstances and the results from your active experimentation. Then you notice similarities and introduce cross-roads with bugs from other ideas. You reflect and draw conclusions. Then you re-think your whole set-up, make necessary improvements and begin a more advanced experimentation and learning. This can easily go in multiple stages.
True learning leads to new behaviors or new routines. You have changed and your new patterns of thinking and acting have been integrated into your being. The new behaviors mark your new comfort zone.
Your bugs follow clear paths in your mind. They communicate well with other bugs and together they make a fantastic, well functioning and well-orchestrated city of bugs. Ideas, I mean :).
There is a choice you can make any time you encounter a shocking idea, an unexpected change to happen or undesired circumstances to go through. It is a simple choice. You make it and you follow through.
Choose to become the captain of the idea bugs.