We are living in a time of accelerating change and uncertainty, which can often feel chaotic and threatening. Animals, including human beings, have an instinctive tendency to automatically react to sudden changes as threats. Throughout most of humanity’s existence, life-threatening dangers were prominent and a hair-trigger reactivity served to protect us in a world that included saber-toothed predators. Humans haven’t changed much biologically in the last hundred thousand years. Our nervous systems are wired to fight, flee, or freeze at a moment’s notice.
When triggered by internal feelings of anxiety, we react as though we are face-to-face with real danger even if there is none. This may be the reptilian part of our brains automatic way of operating, but it is not the only way. We can learn to use our newer brains and do better. We can intervene with a beam of conscious awareness and interrupt our automatic reactions. We can train our tricky brains to go beyond fight-or-flight.
The situations we face nowadays rarely, if ever, involve life-or-death, split-second decisions. In the absence of real life-threatening danger, we are free to become more creative and develop potentials that go beyond just ensuring our survival in the short term. Rather than feeling threatened, we can come to regard change as a friendly force. “Change is my friend,” is a visionary belief that is promoted in the Belief Engineering chapter of my book, Intuitive Intelligence.
People who see change as a positive force are more optimistic and can enjoy the up-and-down flux of life. In order to fully embrace change, we need to develop a more fluid relationship to time. People who fear change essentially want time to stand still (or sometimes even go backwards to what their memory finds familiar). Their subconscious wish is for the illusory safety of a fixed and stable universe. The mechanical division of time into hours, minutes, and seconds—brought about by the relatively recent invention of clocks—clogs the spontaneous flow of life energy. In order to fully relax, visionaries find ways to free their minds from the domination of linear time. They understand the value of “time outs” to intentionally ignore the clock and loosen the domination of society’s over-controlling mechanical approach. This is good, but in actuality, there is nothing to escape, because as long as we keep our eyes off the clock, our experience of time has a natural plasticity.
When we enjoy life, time seems to pass quickly. When we are in resistance to circumstances, it seems to crawl. As so many great teachers have shown, the secret of joyful living is to maintain awareness of what is happening in the one time that is real—the present moment—and forget about future and past. To improve our strategic thinking and decision-making, we need to let go of trying to control things long enough to give our intuition a chance to be actively receptive.
Visionary decision-makers stay aware of how life is always in flux. The ultimate solution to “time management” is to develop a lifestyle where we can better transcend the measuring and parceling of time, and strengthen our intuitive sense of timing. Good things will come of this. Good timing, a fundamental component of every strategic decision, is the secret of surfing life’s unpredictable waves of change. When we come to regard change as a friendly force, the success brought about by an improving sense of timing will provide even more encouragement to cultivate intuitive intelligence … and one’s life becomes an adventure rather than a defensive hunkering down.
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