Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Never Thought that Was an Option

"Wait did you say peanut butter?"

"Yeah, peanut butter, lettuce and tomato on sprouted wheat toast. It's really good."

"It doesn't sound very good."

"Well, you've gotta use the right kind of peanut butter. If the side of the jar says anything other than peanuts and salt, it's probably not gonna be that good. Then you're really talking about corn-syrup, lettuce and tomato."

"Well, if it's so good, then why is it I never heard of it?"

"Can't tell you that. That's more about you than it is about PBLT."

Your WTA
One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how often I stumble upon simple solutions to longheld problems that I could have employed for years, but simply never considered the possibility. I think there lies in each of our minds a processing center that we'll call the Way-Things-Are center or WTA.

The WTA provides a mass store of catchphrases such as, "But you have to be home for Christmas" and "You can't just pickup and leave" and "What would happen if everyone did that?" Sometimes it holds combos such as "Everyone needs a good education" inextricably linked to "a good education means going to college." The WTA is s the central processor for guilt, uncertainty, fear and doubt. Most importantly it provides the body's primary defense against change, excreting legions of mental antibodies at the first sign of any thought that might disrupt status.

If it weren't for the WTA, the average age of motorcycle-enthusiasts would plumet to forty and the number of people who played music rather than simply listening to it would double; College enrollment would be reduced by 50% and job satisfaction ratios would increase by 100%.

The WTA keeps people in unhappy marriages while simultaneously serving as the source of unhappiness by substituting guilt for desire as a primary motivator and by limiting expectations of what the relationship could become.

Your Sousaphone and You
It's that combination of "what you should do" and "what's possible" that makes the WTA so powerful. To undermine and self-improvement initiative is child's play. For example, lets say that you've always wanted to learn the Sousaphone. The WTA quickly manufactures and dispatches shouldness antibodies: "What gives you the right to go off taking Sousaphone lessons when you already don't spend enough time with your kids?" or "Remember when you tried trumpet as kid? Your parents spent all that money and you never did anything with it!"

Next come the cannotness antibodies: "Besides, you can't afford Sousaphone lessons right now" or "It takes at least 10,000 hours to become any good at playing Sousaphone. You'll be dead before you ever really learn to play the thing."

Because of the WTA, we don't think: "Hey, wouldn't it be funny if little Susie and I both took Sousaphone lessons together? Susie with her little half-size Sousaphone and me with my big one." or "I wonder if there are any YouTube tutorials on Sousaphone playing. Maybe there are cheap Sousaphones on eBay?"

When I was ten or so, my dad the doctor told my dad that he needed to drop a few pounds, to diet and to exercise. This is of course long before I fully understood the inner workings of the WTA and how it was using me to thwart his efforts to run daily.

One day I discovered a brand new pair of running shoes in my dad's closet. Since my dad never did anything even remotely athletic, I was excited. I asked him about them and when he mentioned jogging I said, "Cool, can I go jogging with you?"

The look on my dad's face indicated that the WTA had completely hoodwinked him.

What's your WTA telling you?

Happy Tuesday,

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