25 March 2010, Thursday
Just the other day, I was travelling in a train and I was seated opposite this family of four, a young husband and wife and their two small kids, an adorable little girl and a cute little boy.
Their two kids who were seated in between the two parents provided some sort of barrier between the parents whom I suspected had a tiff and were not on speaking terms.
And as I furtively observed them through my shades, I noticed that the little boy was closing his eyes, and was blinking them numerous times (he looked really hilarious). I wasn't too sure whether he was sleepy and was falling asleep, but the minute the boy started sliding down his seat, the mum's hand automatically caught him and pulled him back without saying anything or even holding him.
And as I continued observing this family, a pregnant lady alighted the train. The minute the boy who was seated next to the husband realised there was a pregnant lady, he gave his seat up, so the lady ended up sitting next to the father of those two small kids.
But the problem is
when bad habits and behaviors become automatic. For example, if
you made a habit of waking up each day in a bad mood and thinking
negative thoughts, this could have a negative impact on the rest of your
It is mind-blowing how
many of us are living our lives on auto-pilot. We do the same things,
meet with the same people, have the same conversations over lunch, go to
the same supermarkets to buy our groceries and watch the same TV shows
when we get home. Even the arguments that we have with other people seem
to evolve around the same issues.
I got there safely, but I didn’t remember most
of the roads and turns that my husband or son had taken to get me home.
My morning routine is the same way. I’m convinced that I
don’t fully wake up until about 15 minutes after I’ve showered. Up to
that point, my brain is on autopilot instructing my body to perform my
morning routine without me being fully aware of it.
If my toothpaste or
shampoo is not in its usual place, watch out! I’ve reached for the
shampoo and squeezed shower gel or body lotion into my hair on more
than one occasion.
This phenomenon has never really bothered me until
recently. One day it suddenly dawned on me that
often I’m in autopilot mode that sometimes I'm totally immersed in my thoughts until I'm oblivious to my surroundings.
I went to watch a movie with a friend. It was the story of Children in an Orphanage. That’s really
all I can tell you about the movie, because that’s all I remember. I
remember the lights going out, and I remember the movie beginning. I
guess my mind wandered far away, because I don’t recall anything else
until the lights came up at the end of the movie and I suddenly
realized I was standing up along with the rest of the
How did that happen? I didn’t even remember the movie
ending, much less engaging my brain and instructing my legs to respond by standing up. As I looked around whilst walking out of the theatre, I realized that I had been
on autopilot again, simply going through the motions. To the casual
observer it looked like I had watched the movie and enjoyed it with the
rest of the crowd, but I had actually missed the whole thing.
The incident made me wonder how often I approach my
relationship with my husband and my children the same way, functioning solely on autopilot.
Running on autopilot can be dangerous. In a morning routine it may be
only a slight irritation. When it comes to driving it’s definitely not
recommended, coz it can cause even bigger
This auto-pilot behavior keeps us securely tied to our daily
routines, preventing us from growing professionally, slowly killing the
excitement of relationships, and sucking the fun out of our lives.
We find ourselves reacting
to outside circumstances, rather than controlling events of our life.
Deep down we keep wishing for more, without being sure if there is more
or how to get it.
Are we living on autopilot mode? Because if we are, we are about to crash.