Imagine an outstretched rubber band. Stretched at either side enough to be tight, but not tight enough to tear. What happens when you try to pull it at the middle? When you pull it to one side — towards yourself, for example — its immediate reaction is to spring back in the opposite direction with a force proportional to your pull. Its endgame? Getting back into its resting, balanced state. Simple visual. But an abstract concept that can also be used to explain much of how our bodies and minds work.
We’ve read the books and articles, heard the podcasts, listened to mentors and loved ones. We’ve been given a lot of advice on how to hack productivity, be better versions of us, and achieve our goals. You’ll find them in this (and many other) blogs, and in books that line store shelves and fill digital libraries. Some of the advice stirs our imaginations and fundamentally changes the way we see ourselves and the world. These lessons can be invaluable. But there’s a time and a place to use others’ wisdom in our own lives. More often than not, change has to start from within.
Every relationship, from the one with our family, to the one we hold with our work, to the one with our smartphones, is a system in constant pursuit of balance. Every relationship is a playground game of seesaw: you at one end, the other party at the opposite. You and your friends. You and your family. Work. Technology. The relationship depends on just how well, and how high, each end can lift the other.
In the pitch black, yellow eyes glowing and mouths snarling, they’re inching closer. Massive staying power, fearsome, dangerous, and, once they smell blood, are unlikely to let you out of their grasp. Like a pack of hungry wolves in the wild, your thoughts demand attention.
It’s simpler than we think. We have a tendency to overcomplicate what should be simple because we fear. Failure. Ego hit. Loss of social status. Societal expectations.