Tweak Your Week: Turn Off Autopilot
Tips, tricks and tweaks to help founders each week. You’ll be surprised what a difference these tiny experiments can make.
Good morning Upsiders!
Do you ever feel like someone or something else is flying you through life or that you have arrived at point X without really noticing how you got there?
If so, you are probably on autopilot, relying on habits, established patterns of behaviour and assumptions to guide you through work, conversations, and personal interactions of all sorts.
Most people spend about half of their waking hours on autopilot, not really paying attention, missing signals, living a low-res life, feeling like they are always ON but somehow disengaged. Autopilot is easy, and it’s very efficient for everyday micro decisions that don’t require deliberation. Neurologically speaking, this is our Default Mode Network at work. But it isn’t designed to deal with the challenges and complexities of startup life. To stick with the flying analogy, the autopilot won’t climb away from a looming mountain or change heading to avoid a storm. Only you, the actual pilot, can do that.
In life, awareness (the opposite of autopilot) becomes vital when you are faced with a complex situation or a problem. Deliberately engaging the conscious brain and objectively observing your emotions will help you make the best decisions rather than relying on the unconscious and often biassed autopilot to get you out of trouble.
So, today we are going to ask you to flick your inbuilt autopilot to OFF and manually check your attitude, airspeed, altitude, vertical speed, and heading every now and again as you navigate the week.
Here’s how to do it:
Take a few moments to focus on your breathing as a way to get you fully into the present. You don’t need to breathe in any particular way, just close your eyes and concentrate on the breath’s natural rhythm.
When you’ve taken five or six breaths in and out, open your eyes and return your attention to the situation at hand.
Observe any emotional response you may be having to the situation and recognise it for what it is - an automatic physiological reaction. Acknowledge it, but don’t allow it to take over your decision making.
Then, from this relaxed, present perspective, ask yourself “what’s most important right now?”
Using mindfulness in this way resets ingrained thought patterns and naturally takes you off autopilot, allowing you to approach decisions, difficulties, or everyday moments with far greater awareness and equanimity.
Notice a difference?
Tell us how you go. Share your experiences - ‘mazing or meh - with the Upside community.
We’re all a work in progress.
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