Default settings….

Sounds like a weird title for a post I know.   Let me try to explain.

All of us are creatures not just of habit but of perceptual habits.   We all have customary ways of making sense of things,  lens that shape our vision,  default settings, often out of awareness,  that we fall back on and use to decide what we need to do when.   Hopefully our default settings enable us to see more clearly and act more effectively.   Too often though they leave us blind or at least with distorted vision and trying to find justification for behavior that often doesn’t work out sometimes even make sense.   I am reminded of the phrase a friend one told me….. “God gave each of us limits to how smart we can be.   He gifted us with no limits to how stupid we could be.”

Our default settings are gifts of our culture, what we learn about what it means to be a person, what you can expect from others, roles, ways to handle life and what in life is really important. It is our “normal” and much of what seems common about common sense.

I don’t like much of what seems to be my default settings. I think sometimes life for many of us is in our quest for a “new normal.” We change not just because we don’t like something but because we have come to love something else more. Planting seeds and giving root to a better me is part of building a better life.

Here are some of the common default settings I see in myself and other people :

Being important and mattering are the same thing.

Life is competition and everything is a win or loss.

Everything is something about me .

Anger gives me license .

The best solution is always to feel better.

People are always what they are called. Except for me….

Life is always about what didn’t happen instead of what could yet.

Life is vertical. Who’s over who and better living comes through better climbing.

Having is better than giving.

Arguments are over when the other person gives.

Volume equals power.

Never miss a chance to look good.

Things mess up. Count on it. Be realistic. What can go wrong will.

Take bad things personal.

Hide anything that makes you look bad. Shout good things from the rooftops. When in doubt remember…. Impress. impress, impress.

There is a good reason for everything you do. Sometimes it just takes a while to think of it.

Things are unfairly easy for other people.

Some people are less than people.

Revenge is the ultimate justice.

It is prejudice when other people do it to me. It is not when I do it to them.

The best use of your mind is to justify what you feel like doing.


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