Change your appearance (Exercise #6)

April 28, 2006

What is the difference between being in a rut and being on vacation? Why do the streets seem different in Paris than they do in your current city? Why do people in Paris have to go somewhere else on vacation? It all comes down to what your mind chooses to filter out and what it chooses to let through. Consciousness only registers change… things that stay the same eventually disappear from your consciousness (even if you liked those things and want them to stick around) and a little subconscious robot stands guard next to that unchanging thing and waits for it to move. As soon as it does (BING!) a little message gets sent to your mind telling you that that sign you walk by every day is now a new color (even though you don't remember what color it was before). This is a subtle point: there is no direct way around this. You can't stare at a dot on the wall forever without it disappearing. This is your brain being efficient… it's a tool that we cannot control that helps us have enough resources to pay attention to things that matter right now.

The twist with this tip is that even when you're on vacation, you're still with yourself. How do you see yourself as if you were visiting yourself for the first time? How can you take that feeling of exploring a new city and focus that feeling on yourself in such a way that you notice all those things about yourself that subconscious robots are standing guard at and keeping from your conscious mind?

The first exercise that is an easy one to do (and which future exercises will be more specific about) is to simply find some way of changing your appearance. Shave that beard. Grow a beard. Dye your hair. Paint your fingernails. Lose 10 pounds.  A simple change like this will send ripples of subconscious robots sending messages to you whenever you see yourself in a reflection as you're walking down the street. Hey, that's me! I look different!

A curious side effect is that other people will see you as well. Some people say that doing things like this is "merely for attention" and in a way they're right. Attention is the primary currency of the consciousness… it's more valuable than money and can't be saved in a bank. People who fight for attention are simply addicts for the rush that attention brings… attention is what creates revelation and analysis and change. Most people aren't attention whores… and I would only advise this tip to someone that typically resists or is afraid of attention. But for the right person, mixing up your appearance and getting a little attention could be just the thing that makes you realize that there are a lot of things about yourself that you've stopped noticing. Sweep out those subconscious robots and maybe you'll catch a glimpse of what's actually going on with your appearance, your presentation, your body language, your tone of voice, and your approach to life.

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