Why It’s Important To Be Mindful Of The ‘Quick Fix’
A quick fix is just that, a fix. It is not a solution, nor does it tend to last for long. Society loves a quick fix. Bing, bang, boom, and done. Let’s slap a patch on it and call it complete. Fast, because there is no time. Time and reality are illusions of our own creation. As Einstein famously said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Humorously, Douglas Adams said in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”
The problem is, because of our linear perception of time, we think it has a lot of limitations to it. People are frequently saying that they haven’t enough time, time is running out, there are not enough hours in the day, and so on. As such, a quick fix that can get the job done immediately is often the answer.
The trouble is, more often than not the quick fix doesn’t address the underlying issue. A bandage on a puncture wound is one thing, but a bandage on a gunshot wound isn’t going to address the issue of internal damage. Both will stop the obvious bleeding, but the latter neglects to address the deeper matter. This is why mindfulness matters like it does. Because we tend to go about our lives half-asleep, we believe that a quick fix is adequate to address whatever problem arises. When we are more aware of what we are thinking, feeling, and acting upon, we are much more capable of seeing in greater depth the underlying matters.
The quick fix tends to neglect deeper matters
I could write a really lengthy treatise on mindfulness, awareness, quick fixes and the like. I am currently editing a whole book on this subject. Do you have the time for that as you are browsing the internet? Likely, your answer is no. This perception of time that most of us either work with or are inundated with is where quick fixes are born. The technology that instantly connects us creates a visceral immediacy that we wind up feeling demands an instantaneous response. So rather than a considered, exploratory response, we patch it with a quick fix.
For example, healthcare reform in the United States is going to require a fairly massive overhaul of the system. To do this effectively, the underlying problems of costs, insurance, and profit need to be weighed and measured. To truly repair the system is going to take thorough research, and new thoughts and approaches.
How long will that take? Impossible to guess, but it won’t be quick. This requires not a quick fix, like the Affordable Care Act, but a real overhaul that addresses the underlying issues. I’m not even going to get into politics and underlying beliefs of lack and scarcity that will come up in a real attempt to solve this matter. We tend to fear diving too deeply into underlying matters. Why? I think it’s because we either do not desire to acknowledge our contributions to the issue, and/or our lack of self-awareness when it comes to the lives we lead.
The quick fix tends to ignore mindfulness
It is really easy to wear a mask in our modern world. And by that, I mean put on a persona to present to the world semi-anonymously online. I think a lot of the anger, hatred, and venom people spew online comes from the notion that words on the screen offer anonymity in-person and even verbal discussions lack. Further, there is a certain finality in being able to type your thoughts out and share them online. I find it pretty ironic that the technology we created to better connect with one another tends to pull us apart and divide us more. Why? Because of the ease of losing ourselves in the sea of instant gratification lessens mindfulness.
Let me be clear, this is not about the hooky-spooky, spiritual mindfulness, per se. Can you readily answer these questions?
- What are you thinking?
- What/how are you feeling?
- What are you doing based on your thinking and feeling?
Mindfulness is not some abstract, spiritual, or philosophical notion. It is an awareness of the self. Being mindful is being aware of yourself in the here-and-now. Yet because we tend to go go go and slap patches on problems for quick-fixes, we tend to let our subconscious do the thinking for us. When the subconscious is where our thinking lies, our feeling tends to follow. And this, I believe is where depression and anxiety and other similar negative feelings come from.
No, I am not in any way knocking psychotherapy or medication or other modalities we employ to better ourselves and how we are feeling. Yet, if we do not consider the underlying matters, all they may be is a quick fix. No quick fix seems to ever truly solve the matter, whatever it may be.
Recognize the quick fix for what it is
There are times when a quick fix is part of the solution. Stopping the bleeding from the previously mentioned gunshot wound buys time to get to a hospital where a doctor can address the internal damage. Taking the anti-depressant to even out your emotions likewise allows you to better dive into the underlying matters. Once again, mindfulness comes into this. How? By recognizing the quick fix for what it is. Right here, right now, matters. Maybe you need to close the wound, be it tangible or intangible, but you also likely need to address the invisible, underlying damage. When you are aware of your thoughts, feelings, and subsequent actions through mindfulness, you can better find solutions.
I know from personal experience that this can be scary. A lot of people would prefer to not be mindful because they are afraid of what and who they are. I think Marianne Williamson summed this up best in her work Our Deepest Fear with this, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Why? Because we see those who are “in power” frequently abuse that power. What’s to say that in a similar situation, we won’t do the same? The answer is you. You can choose for yourself what to do when you are thus empowered. The only real control anyone has is over their own thoughts, feelings, and actions. When we are mindful, we become aware of just that. As such, we enable ourselves to take control of our own destinies. When you recognize a quick fix for what it is, you become more aware of what it will take to truly repair the matter at hand. Recognizing this is the key to true self-help and improving ourselves, as well as helping those around us.
Are you mindful of what YOU are thinking; what and how you are feeling; and what actions those are leading you to take?
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