The Thought Machine

My morning is simple. . .
I wake up, which is always a good thing. I get myself to the kitchen to push the magic blue button on my coffee machine. Then I head back upstairs to my loft. I go through my usual morning routine. I write a little. I think a little. I plan my day, finish my coffee and then clean myself, brush my teeth, get dressed, head downstairs, put on my shoes, and then I head to the bus. I park in the same spot, unless someone beats me to it.
I cross the street to wait on a line with others who stand and wait for the same bus every day, seemingly mindless, lost in thought during the early morning sunrise, and still sleepy, but hey, bills are bills and work is work.

I always find my way to a window seat and lean my head against the glass. I place earpieces in my ears. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I watch video clips or movies on my phone. Sometimes I movies that date back to the days of my youth or link me to thoughts and feelings of nostalgia.
I often listen to motivational speeches or otherwise, I close my eyes and try to rest before my day starts. I do this because once the bus pulls into New York City’s Port Authority Bus Station, my day is underway and there is no time to rest.

When the bus pulls in, I get off. Sometimes the bus waits in line and lets passengers off near the staircases and escalators at the top of the ramp; in which case, I decide which staircase or escalator I’ll take because different steps take me to different places in the bus terminal and lead to different doorways.
By this point, however, my body knows which way to go. I have developed a routine and made a path for myself. I get off the bus and make my way from the Westside to the East in an automatic way.

Since time is important, I walk over to the shuttle train and take the shuttle from Tomes Square to Grand Central Station to get me to work earlier. this way I can settle in and gear myself up to complete the chores of the day.

When I reach the platform to await the shuttle, I stand in the same place each morning, walk through the same doors and stand near familiar faces looking to get to work, just like me.
But again, my body knows which way to go. I am in autopilot. I even head up the same stairs once the shuttle pulls in. I head up and walk through Grand Central Station. I walk passed the same spots every day. And there are probably a hundred different ways I could head upstairs to ground level, but I go the same way and pass the same places every morning. This is me. This is what I do from Monday through Friday to complete my shift at work from the hours of 8:00am until 4:00pm

Although it seems mindless, by this time, I have already made several decisions thus far. I have made countless choices. Some of my decisions are conscious, some are unconscious, and some are subconscious.

Before I go onward, I want to be very clear about a few things. I am not a doctor or a therapist. More accurately, I am someone that wanted to understand more about me and my personal behaviors. I wanted to learn more about the mind’s autopilot.
I wanted to learn and understand how to behaviorally improve.  I wanted to understand more about my reasoning abilities and the reward center in my brain.
The reason for my research is because I wanted to learn how to be more productive and how to feel better. I wanted to empower myself and feel see me as capable. As well, I wanted to learn how to steer away from problematic thinking and improve my decision abilities on a daily basis.

There is a part of the mind that is always seeking pleasure, always looking for reassurance, validation, comfort, and security, and always like a kid wanting a cookie. This is the reward center.
This is the irrational part of my thinking, which is always looking for the benefits of my action and whose motivation is to behave or act with the promise of a reward.
This is also the part of my thinking that self-destructs or sabotages when the reward is threatened or taken away. I throw tantrums here. I freak out. I panic. I look for instant gratification to appease the fears of a suspected or expected loss. This is the part of my thinking that has previously put me in danger.

I wanted to understand more about the way I focus and the way I see things, which is why I chose to do my own research.
I strongly believe in therapy and the need for professional assistance; however in this case, I needed to educate me so that i could have a better understanding of the way I think, feel, and behave.
And sure, there are doctors I could go to. There are shrinks, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and all that jazz. Believe me, I get it.
But in either case, I am a firm believer that the most impactful and life-changing realizations are actually self-made. Therefore, I chose to educate myself to the best of my ability.
We are most empowered when we understand ourselves and the math in our head. So to reach a strong level of empowerment, I chose to learn about my thinking and my behavior and how the two intertwine with my feelings, which result in my reactions and responses.

Put simply, I chose to learn about me.

Through my research, I learned the subconscious mind and the unconscious mind are different. The unconscious mind is survival mode.  This is what causes our body to flinch in the threat of danger or causes our eyes to blink if something gets too close. The unconscious mind is fight or flight. This is the automatic side of the brain. No introspection, just affect, and no emotion, just movement.
The subconscious mind is a little different because the subconscious mind is part of our conscious thought. This is connected to memory and previous outcomes. This links prejudices, predictions, emotions, and perception. This also leads into the programming of unconscious thought because our mind’s priority is to protect us at all cost.

Let’s go back to my morning commute. Along the way, I made countless decisions. I chose where to sit, what to listen to, and how to position my body to be more comfortable.
I chose the way to reach my destination and how to get there. I was able to let the autopilot in me cruise without interruption.
There were unconscious decisions and subconscious decisions. There were conscious decisions too. And this goes even deeper. On average, we make 35,000 decisions per day.
Some are important and some are less crucial, but this is us, always thinking and always trying to figure a way to protect us by any means necessary.

I wanted to learn how to change my behavior. I wanted to understand more about why I do the things I do. Why do I have social anxiety? Why am I so afraid of other people and outside opinion? Why is rejection such a threat to me? I s any of this real or are they a result of my subconscious and unconscious thinking?
I wanted to learn more about my depression and the deception of my perception. In order for me to improve, I learned that even small decisions could lead to big changes throughout my day.

I had to learn how to deconstruct the old foundation of my thoughts and behaviors and create new bridges to lead me through new passageways of thinking.

To lead me to change, I learned more about the programs my mind followed and the pathways of my thinking. I also learned that in order for me to change, I had to learn how to detach from my old ideas and create new pathways of thinking. 
In fact, whenever I think of this; I imagine myself removing a plug from an outlet and plugging into a new outlet someplace else, which essentially is what I am doing.

I had to learn the difference between opinion and fact. I had to learn the difference between a thought and feeling. To understand me better, I had to scale back to minimum, take a breath, and then take a deep look.

I learned that most of my overreacting was a result of overthinking that linked me back to past interactions and old concerns.
I learned, above all, that memory and perception is often an alteration of truth, which means memory and perception is not true (or fact) but instead, this is just my interpretation, which is neither fact nor fiction.

I learned that my interpretation is also linked back to old worries. But I am new now. I am changing. I am learning and I understand more about me. I understand more than ever before and on a course towards improvement; I have changed the math in my head and the way I add up people, places, and things.

I firmly believe that I can improve and achieve, which shows an incredible amount of growth.
Before I learned about my thinking, I was stuck in a less-beneficial mindset. I was caught up in my own self-deprecating lies and self-doubt. And there was a reason why I believed those lies. They were subconsciously and unconsciously programmed. However, by learning how to detach from this way of thinking and plugging into a new thought process, I was able to achieve a state of neurogenesis or otherwise known as a new way of thinking.

I do this on a daily basis. I can say this has helped me with depression. I can say this has helped me with compulsive urges. This has helped me emotionally, which in turn has affected me physically.
This is how people improve. And sure, I could go to a therapist and be reprogrammed. But I’ve already been programmed. Instead, I want to rid myself of programs.

I have more work to do. I still have bad days too. But nothing is as bad as my days used to be because I learned how to improve.
More importantly, I learned how to come to my own realizations and personal understanding because in my experience, these realizations are not only unforgettable, they are also more impactful.

This is my thought machine and my version of self-help 101.

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