Your Mind’s User Manual

Let’s start with a computer analogy to understand your mind.

Suppose that you’re running a Windows machine with a lot of bloatware running in the background. You haven’t installed that bloatware, but your computer came with them. That bloatware slows down your computer at best, but distracts and annoys you with unasked for notifications at worst.

How would you deal with such bloatware?

If you’re like me, you go to the task manager and end the related task. You do that every time you boot your machine. After a while, you realize that ending the task every time you boot your machine is a waste of time and uninstall that piece of software from your computer.

Now, suppose that you want to install a piece of software that is useful for you. You download and run the installer. It’s as simple as that.

Our minds are similar to computers but with slight differences. Just like Windows PC’s, our minds come with a lot of bloatware. These are the programs that we didn’t install, that don’t benefit us, and in some cases, that harm us.

Who installed that bloatware to our minds? A good deal of them was developed throughout our 4.5 billion years of evolution. Some of it was installed by our family, friends, education, culture, society, and all kinds of external sources.

Unfortunately, we have installed some of that bloatware ourselves. How did we do it? We had an experience early in our lives, and we assigned a meaning to that experience. Then, we started to look at all the events in our lives from the filter of that meaning.

It’s to our benefit that we uninstall those programs from our minds. How do we do that? Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward uninstall procedure in our minds. What we have to do is to catch those programs running in our minds and then stop investing any more attention and energy into them.

That’s the equivalent of ending a task in the task manager in a Windows PC. That’s the slight difference between our mind and a Windows PC. In our mind, the programs are erased by ending them in the task manager repeatedly, over and over.

If you do that whenever that bloatware starts running in your mind, that bloatware starts to run less frequently. After a while, it stops running altogether unless you trigger it. So, you have to be careful not to trigger it because triggering it means setting it up for running again in your mind.

Installing beneficial programs are also slightly different in our mind compared to a Windows PC. Unfortunately, you can’t install a beneficial program just by consuming it once. You have to expose your mind to it over and over until it is installed in your mind.

Now, how do you hit the “end task” button on an unwanted program in your mind? There are two ways I know of. The first one is the letting go method. And the second one is journaling about it. Sometimes, one works better than the other. Sometimes, you’re better off using both of them in combination.

How do you install the beneficial programs? You do that by using the spaced repetition method.

Burak Bilgin
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.

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