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Cooking Up Change

It’s only been for about the last 10 years that I’ve said to myself “It’d be good to get better at cooking different things.” Well a few weekends ago I experienced a massive peak in this lifestyle area. Does that make it sound more impressive? Cooking new things might seem like a trivial thing to you. You may already be a master in the kitchen or you may not care at all. If this is you, don’t focus on the content of this experience. Rather, concentrate on the process of change that I unwittingly stumbled across. You can use this process in another area of your life that’s actually relevant to you. The first thing to know about change:

What you are changing to needs to outweigh the safe, comfortable zone you’re currently in

There is always a part of the brain that wants to keep us safe by not doing new, potentially risky and dangerous things. This is for survival. When you’re doing a bunch of things that already result in you surviving the mind wants to keep doing this winning formula. For the last 10 years I’ve been happy with my simple food choices. So why the sudden change? My Dad. A few weekends ago I went back to Melbourne and caught up with family. On that weekend I stood and chatted to Dad while he was cooking. I watched his calm, slow, focused movements as he prepared the meal. Using only four or five ingredients, not taking much time or any particular fancy skill. And the result was a tasty, filling, beautiful meal. This experience was the catalyst for change at my unconscious level, even though at the time I wasn't aware of that. I was engaged with the conversation. It was the first time I had witnessed someone cooking in a calm, relaxed, easy way. Using ingredients I knew and a skill set I already had. Whenever I have watched mates cook they’d say things like “just add a bit of this to make it tasty.” I’d asked “what is this and how do you know how much?” They’d say things like “well you know, whatever you want.” For my unconscious this was an alarm bell. I didn’t know. This was a risk and threat. Or I’d watch a cooking show and they'd chop the ingredients so quickly that my mind was like “there’s no way I’m going to do that, I’ll loss a finger!” Another alarm bell. These alarm bells combined with lots of other ones (which I won’t bore you with) resulted in my mind coding the whole cooking experience as “danger, danger, stay away!!!” Yes, at a conscious level I knew that these new ingredients weren’t going to kill me and that I can decide to chop onion slower if I want. But here’s another key point about the unconscious:

The unconscious always responds quicker than the conscious

Think about your instincts, habits, emotions; these happen instantaneously. Again, another survival thing. These are all run by the unconscious because if you had think about doing all these things you’d be overloaded with information and not able to function. So the “danger, danger, stay away” was kicking in before these logical, reasonable suggestions could. Watching Dad cook in this new and different way sent a clear, totally different message to my unconscious. It allowed my unconscious to be updated because it saw cooking presented in a way that was safe, harmless and with a great result. What does this mean for you? By simply experiencing and exposing ourselves to things in a safe way our mind can be updated. Find the people who have the skills and behaviours that you want. Watch what they’re doing and let your mind absorb it. As long as they’re doing it in a safe, non-threatening way, of course!

Something to think about...

"A ship is always safe at shore but that is not what it's built for." - Albert Einstein

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