Not a day goes by where there isn't some new trend in self-help or human performance introduced. The draw to find answers from outside yourself is strong and all of the trends in this area are seductive. From dopamine fasting to electronic brain wave stimulators. The only issue I have with all of these new trends is that they are all in some way a dilution of the originals, that is to say, the original tried and true principles for self-examination and improvement. Take for example if you had just walked across a desert, you were dying of thirst. There I stand offering you the choice between cool clear water or a Coke which would you choose, which would do you the more good. There are no lack of people that will tell you, "well your blood sugar is probably low so I would take the Coke and then see if you can get some micronutrients blah blah blah" We all know on a deep level, water good, Coke bad!
We all know on a deep level, water good, Coke bad!
So why is it so hard for us as a species to avoid these new trends, the shiny new things? One answer is we seem to be hard-wired to look from outside ourselves for answers to problems we have within. We find a new gimmick or hack and we try it for a while, inevitably we will see some improvement. After some time we lose interest when we have only scratched the surface of it's potential because we see some new thing and become bored with the old. If we could only hang on and spend more time with it, become more focused, we would start to see all of the other levels within that given discipline. Take for example yoga most people who pick it up go to a class once or twice a week. Each time they go to class it gets a little easier and they start to get a bit more flexible. Some are intrigued by the benefits there seeing and decide to start doing it 4 days a week. Now they're getting more confident in their ability and are enjoying the benefits of the breathwork and the increased focus. At some point, they figure I would like to feel this way every day so they go deeper and realize that there is enough in yoga for a lifetime of learning. The choice is simple when you think about it, learn a little about some things or become a master at something. Learn to become aware of the things that don't serve to make you truly better. Look at every “opportunity” and say to yourself, will this serve me, will it help to make me an even better version of myself or is it just a shiny new thing?