The Danger of Autopilot
Have you ever heard of “autopilot?”
The definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary reads as follows: A device for automatically steering ships, aircraft, and spacecraft. I’d like to add something to that definition. Here’s how I would state it: A device for automatically steering ships, aircraft, spacecraft, or person.
Think about it. We were created to be able to do things without thinking about them. This serves us well as it would be crazy to have to think “breathe in, breath out, breathe in, breath out” all of the time! And simply getting out of our chair would take a thousand different thoughts! In fact, if you are sitting down, you probably weren’t even thinking about the pressure of your weight on your buttocks sitting in your seat – but now that I mentioned it you probably can’t stop thinking about it! Why? Because you became aware of it.
As humans, we are programmed to be able to do many of life’s everyday actions without thinking about it, or by autopilot. What’s the problem with that? The problem is that we often begin to do so many things on autopilot, we don’t even know what we are doing. Let me give you an example.
Back in 1997, Darci and I had been married two years and began attending a new church. We were looking to find new friends, and sometimes that’s hard! Well, a couple at the church asked us to come over for lunch – in an hour! We had to hurry as we didn’t want to miss this opportunity! We had planned lunch with her parents, so I called them to tell them we wouldn’t be making it. The answering machine came on and I had forgotten I was even on the phone! I was asking Darci to hurry up as we didn’t want to be late, and we didn’t have time to mess around.
We had a great afternoon with friends and then went over to her parent’s house for dinner. Her father confronted me with, “I can’t believe you treat my daughter like you do. I’m really upset.” I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about! Then he said, “Listen to this!” He hit play on the answering machine I had forgotten was on as I told Darci to hurry up earlier that day. It was embarrassing. I was yelling and screaming and acting like a bully! My heart didn’t mean for that to happen, but I was on autopilot and didn’t even know how I sounded! It really made me think.
Since then, I am more aware how I talk to people. Am I perfect? Of course not! But I do often catch myself when I get a little to passionate and I am able to calm down and speak in a gentler, respectful voice. I had become aware of my autopilot, just as you were when I mentioned that weight pressing down on your buttocks in your chair – oh yea…You’d gone back to autopilot, hadn’t you?
At The Journey Training, we focus on self-awareness – becoming aware of our personality, our actions, our autopilot decisions that we consistently make in our life. I can’t tell you how many people have left The Journey Training and said, “I can’t believe it. It’s like a whole new world!” When you become aware of what you do, and in turn aware of why you do what you do, then you can decide to change if you choose. This in turn can change your entire life! But until you become aware of your autopilot, you are doomed to let your ego and subconscious continue to make many of your decisions for you – even if they sabotage what you really want. So I ask you, “Who are you, anyway?” Because until you know that, you could be unable to make the best decisions for you, your family, and your life!
Isn’t it time you learned exactly who you are and started turning off the autopilot?
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