Pauseability 101

What Is Pauseability?

Pauseability in One Sentence

Pauseability is the ability to pause the response to an impulse.

Pauseability in One Paragraph

In our fast moving lives, it’s easy to lose perspective. We are unsure if we are doing the things we really want to do, or if we are going where we really want to go. With Pauseability, or the ability to pause the response to an impulse, we can slow things down, and regain the power to choose what to think and feel, so that ultimately, we can do what’s right for our happiness and fulfillment.

Pauseability in One Diagram

Figure: Pauseability

Pauseability in Three Questions

Why am I not getting what I want out of life?

Because you’re living a life which defaults to mediocrity. You are unconsciously making choices which will lead you away from what you really want.

You live on autopilot mode, sleepwalking into an existence which is predictably humdrum at best, or depressingly soul-sapping at worst.

OK. So why do I live on autopilot mode?

Blame evolution and natural selection!

Putting yourself on autopilot is a self-preservation trait. Instantaneous reaction to threats is hard-wired into your brain because it’s essential for survival.

Your brain’s responsibility is to make sure that you are safe. However, this comes at a cost. Being on autopilot means that you are not in charge of your life. You will be controlled by what happens to you – because your actions are determined automatically and instantaneously by your impulses, not by your free will and deliberation.

When you are on autopilot (or, the “Default Mode” as we like to say here), your actions follow your impulses automatically. This keeps you safe from threats, but it won’t make you happy and fulfilled.

How do I stop myself from living on autopilot?

You will have to create the distance between your reaction and your impulses – so that you don’t automatically react to your thoughts or the things that happen to you. We call the space between reaction and impulse Pauseability – the ability to pause a response to an impulse.

To stop living on autopilot, you must slow your reaction and keep your impulses at bay. The space between your reaction and impulse is where you will have the freedom – the freedom to make the right choices for a happier, more fulfilling life.

Pauseability in Ten Steps

  1. There are two paths in a man’s life. The first is the path to superiority, happiness and fulfillment. The second is the path to mediocrity, despair and squandered potential.
  2. The first is obviously desired, and yet most end up taking the second (usually unconsciously).
  3. The reason for this is that the human brain is conditioned for mediocrity by default. This results from the “flawed” nature of the brain: that it prioritizes survival over happiness.
  4. Your survival depends on how fast you can react to impulses triggered by an event. So, you run on “Default Mode”, where you will react automatically to impulses without thinking. The Default Mode is, therefore, the natural state of being.
  5. Because the Default Mode is pervasive and dominant, overriding it requires deliberate intervention. This intervention is unnatural, uncomfortable and painful.
  6. To override the Default Mode, one must deliberately build the space between reaction and impulse, so that reaction does not get triggered automatically by impulse. This space is known as Pauseability.
  7. Pauseability is like a muscle, but in the mind. And like any muscle, is malleable. It gets stronger if trained, and it atrophies if neglected.
  8. The stronger one’s Pauseability, the more power he has to activate the “Deliberate Mode” in the mind, overriding the “Default Mode”.
  9. Under the “Deliberate Mode”, one can have the power and freedom to deliberately choose to do the right things, the things that will put him in the path of superiority, fulfillment and happiness.
  10. Pauseability is the meta skill that precedes every other self-improvement skill – because it creates the space for the other skills to be built on top of it.

Pauseability in One Essay

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Pauseability in One Book

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