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Automate your life!

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The photograph is of a Manor House, that one wasn’t my first choice.  I chose a photograph of a farm shop and then realised I had used that one in a previous blog. We tend to do things automatically and then we forget that we have done them. We drive through traffic lights and then wonder if they were on green!

Cycling and driving

Riding a bike and driving a car are both things we learn how to do and then we do them automatically because they’re quite complex things to do. I saw two children this week riding their bikes and they not only had to pedal and balance at the same time but they made the task even more complex. They were steering with one hand and eating ice creams with the other hand! This is because they have practiced riding their bikes so much that it is automatic now. They control the cycles with their subconscious minds and consciously they are aware of where they are going and their surroundings. They can make decisions about where they are going very quickly.  This is similar to driving and I do lots of things at the same time when I’m driving. I can operate pedals, change gear, steer the car and be aware of what’s in front of me as well as checking the mirror. I can even talk to my passenger, but too much information and things can go wrong. I was talking to the passenger last week and approaching a roundabout and didn’t see the traffic lights until I nearly drove through them on red. My mind instantly switched from nearly all automated to being more conscious of what I was doing.

Repetition and Error

We program our minds to work automatically by repeating tasks over and over until we can do them without error. It is repetition and error recognition that automates our behaviour. We will touch the curb when we are driving a few times when we’re driving a different car while we learn through repetition and error to judge correctly the width of the car. I have learned (more or less) to use a computer keyboard through repetition and error. I can carry out quite a complex task without making too many typos!

Information overload

We can try to do too many things at once or take in too much information as I did when I was talking when driving and approaching traffic lights. A typical and dangerous overload occurs when people try to use mobile (cell) phones while driving. The driving is automatic and they feel they can talk too, but the driving can’t be relegated to completely automatic. This often leads to error but an error when you are driving can lead to serious injury or even death.

Automate your work

Whatever work we do we try to automate it and that makes doing a complex task easier and we can often do things very quickly. Using a computer keyboard is a classic example and practice makes typing very much quicker and efficient. We try to automate all tasks though and we forget the tasks we perform automatically. Things we do every day like getting dressed in a morning are forgotten after breakfast because we have done it so many times before it is now automatic. We can apply repetition and error correction to any task we want to do well.

Thinking can make you feel ill

Yes, thinking can actually make you feel ill! We tend to do everything automatically even talking to people, we have done it so many times before. When you have a job interview, it’s only talking to people but you tend to get nervous because you think about it and switch off your automatic mode! Anxiety can become an illness when people think about things too much. Instead of wandering around the supermarket picking up what they fancy; they think about it and feel anxious. Instead of walking down the street putting one foot in front of the other automatically, they think about it and become anxious. This can even cause a phobia when we think about going out, getting on a plane or whether there is a spider in the bath! If you listen to people talk, you will realise they do it without thinking. It’s automated! Politicians say the same things repetitively and make the same errors over and over again! They do need to stop and think, of course and so do we sometimes, but working automatically can be really good. If you watch someone skilled doing something, they do it really fast compared to you; they have done it so many times before and corrected their errors. If you want to master something new, you must be repetitive and recognise errors and be willing to correct them. Programming your mind to work on automatic can help you do just about anything. Smoking cigarettes is an automated task and if you replace it with another automated task, preferably one that involves some exercise, you will stop smoking fairly easily. I drank water repetitively when I wanted to stop smoking and haven’t smoked for years now.

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3 responses

  1. Hi Mike, for a moment there, I thought you were going to talk about exploding heads again, lol! I agree, going on automatic can help sometimes (like keyboard typing), but hurt in other ways. Even when I’m not holding a mobile phone (when I’m using Bluetooth), I don’t like to talk and drive. It’s too hard to concentrate on two things at once.

    A study was done though with audiobooks and the study showed that audiobooks don’t make people drive poorly. I think that’s true but I have missed my exit more than once because the audiobook I was listening to was so good!

    Thanks for another amazing post!

    6, August 2011 at 4:22 pm

  2. Hi Carolyn,

    You have read some blogs today! 🙂

    6, August 2011 at 4:52 pm

  3. Pingback: Mini bus hire in Manor Farm : Coach Hire in Manor Farm

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