“I think I lost my memory.” “Your what?” I can’t remember.”

How far back can you remember? As far back as 3 years old? How about 8 Years old? Let’s try for 15 years old. For so many people memories just don’t seem to be there. Yet things we do remember easily are either related moments of pleasure or to moments of trauma. In some instances, we remember an event that has nothing to do with us. A moment in history. I remember when South Africa declared itself bankrupt and the stock exchange closed for a day or two and how many people lost fortunes. It wasn’t my fault, I had nothing to do with that. Yet I can’t remember much of my youth that passed me by at high speed. How did I survive those wonderful years? To tell you the truth I was on auto pilot. The habits I formed with the help of my parents, siblings and peers got me through. A simple routine like going to school every day, sleeping, eating, playing with friends and so on all on auto pilot. I don’t remember much of my school years. I remember sports I played and some of the highlights. I remember being in love with my English teacher. She was a beauty and smart. I don’t think I learnt anything though. Autopilot is often the default function of our brain. Our brain likes habit and it likes things to be easy. This causes us to go through life as a tourist even though we work hard and play hard. The trouble is autopilot is not a great strategy. Autopilot is becoming an extension of our consciousness. I mean think about it. We all would like a Tesla car. They seem fantastic. Very soon you will just get in and punch in the address of where you want to go and the car will go there on autopilot. Planes have been flying on autopilot for years now. The pilot takes off and lands, in between it flies by itself. Your brain does this too. I remember driving home from work and can’t remember if the traffic lights where green or what route I took. Why is autopilot a bad strategy you ask in desperation? It is because it keeps you in the past. Your actions are habits derived from past actions. So how do you get out of the past and into the present? What if the change is overwhelming? Here are a few tips to help you.
  1. Just by being aware you are on autopilot is a step in the right direction.
  2. Change your routine as often as you can without compromising your life structure and discipline.
3.Look at everything you do as if it’s the first time you are experiencing it. Look for the wonder in it and derive joy from it. Even things like ironing.
  1. Go for a walk and be conscious of what you are seeing out of your peripheral vision.
  2. Plan your activities and action them thinking about the result you require.
These tips will bring you into the present. You remember things better when you concentrate on them. In a short while you will default to a state of awareness and autopilot will be when you want to switch off for a while. Those of you going through big change like divorce or a breakup will recover your life and self-confidence much quicker when you are not on autopilot. Let me know by commenting below on your experiences of autopilot.