Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Auto Pilot

Volkswagen Beetle
Originally uploaded by drewmaniac

Are you on auto pilot?

I'm as guilty as anyone of this. I'll be moving along in life and then when I stop for a moment to look around I realize I've just been coasting. Somewhere along the way I've turned on the auto pilot and I've been going through the motions. It's the comfortable thing to do after all.

There is nothing wrong with some structure, rules, or goals in life that require focus and some commitment. That said, there are times when we could stand to venture off track a little. Explore a little. Learn something new. Turn off the auto pilot.

Turning off the auto pilot isn't as difficult as it may seem. Toss out the excuses we too often use like, "I'm too busy", "I've just always done it that way", or "I'm afraid" just to name a few. Stop and take a deep breath. Look around. Take action.

  • Read a book that's outside your normal genre.
  • Go home a different way and take note of the scenery.
  • Take a walk someplace different.
  • Explore.
  • Look at a map. What nearby towns or cities have you never visited? Go there for the day.
  • Try that hole in the wall restaurant you've always wondered about.
  • Make a new friend on purpose.
  • Learn a new (to you) sport. I did this with golf a few years back and I found a new sport that I loved.
  • Take the day off.
  • Find something at work that you don't know and learn it.
  • Talk to someone you always see, but never really speak to for some reason.
Just doing one or a few of these things will cause you to turn off your auto pilot for a moment. What are some of your ideas? Why not turn off the auto pilot and begin?


Tim Jahn said...

Great list and advice!

I especially like "Go home a different way and take note of the scenery". I've done this before and it opens up a whole new world (especially if you enjoy people watching like I do).

It's good to expose yourself to new ideas, people, colors, concepts, roads, etc. Keeps ya fresh.

Thanks for the reminder :)

Danny Brown said...

Being on auto-pilot is just the same as switching off your senses and letting the machinery take over.

You miss the real things that are happening, the real stories, the real people.

Fine if you're a machine, but as a human being?

Auto-pilot is life's blindfold.

Andrew Weaver said...

@Tim You're welcome for the list. There is much more that can be added. Glad to hear someone else enjoys people watching. :) It's one of the reasons I like to go to restaurants and cafes by myself. I can watch people and learn.

@Danny Your comment is a blog post in and of itself, Danny. Brilliant. I have nothing further to add. :)

Danny Brown said...

Ha, cheers - feel free to use and abuse accordingly. ;-)