My Theme For 2015

Man, it is so easy to get comfortable in our safe ways.

We are creatures of habit. A big part of our life is routine and staying sheltered.

And at times it is needed.

When we were young, our parents, teachers, and coaches made sure we were safe. We were not prepared to protect ourselves, so others helped us through that stage. The environment we were put in was often not chosen by us.

Growing up, we are taught to get safe jobs through school. If you’re like me, you were easily influenced during these years and listened to this advice. We then find ourselves in those steady, corporate jobs and become scared of other options. I almost hear “Hey, it’s not as always greener on the other side” more now than the alternative. That is Fear poking it’s head.

But if there is one thing I know, it’s that change will happen whether we like it or not. It’s the basic principle of nature.

Your environment will change – sometimes it’s a new school, a new jobs, a new house, a new city…

Those you spend time with will change. People will come into your life. Others will leave…at times unexpectedly.

The way I look at it is we only have control of our response to change if it occurs externally. We must look out for ourselves and those we care about. We have to overcome change at times, while other times it comes as a pleasant surprise.

But often, the problem is our resistance to this inevitable change that occurs. We think we’re the center of the universe during these times. We try to fight this force because it is disturbing our safe environment that we are finally comfortable in.

But here’s the thing – Mother Nature doesn’t care about your plans. She has plans of her own.

So taking all of this into consideration, I was trying to decide on a new approach, and at first I thought – Embrace Change

This isn’t too far off from where my theme ended up. Embrace Change is definitely part of my theme. I really like the idea of being open to change because a part of me is often scared of what is to come. But that lead me to the issue that is even more at the heart of what I want to accomplish – Fighting My Resistance to Change

It’s a slight frame shift. I felt this to be more empowering because it puts more of the accountability on me to do the work.

Resistance is a big part of this personal battle. Embracing change is more of a passive concept. To me, it implies staying open to the external change that will occur in my life. I want to focus more on the self-created change. Noticing my natural defenses to this change and fighting/rewiring those faulty impulses is more of what I’m after.

So that is my 2015 Theme – Fight My Resistance to Change so I can eventually embrace both change that is forced on me, as well as create the necessary change I desire.

Change isn’t good. Change isn’t bad. Change just is.

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Questioning The Gatekeepers

I was reading the late Seth Robert’s blog today and he made a really interesting point about many healthcare professionals. Seth wrote a post that claimed ADHD Experts have a bad case of Gatekeeper Syndrome. He explained that people with Gatekeeper Syndrome dismiss or ignore any solution that does not involve them (or someone like them) being a gatekeeper and making money or controlling the situation in some fashion.

This hit home with me.

I had this skin condition a few years back that I couldn’t get rid of for the life of me. I tend to exhaust alternative options before going to the doctor if the condition isn’t too serious. I remember trying garlic pills, tea tree oil, new body wash, new deodorants, new lotions…nothing was doing the trick. So I went to the Dermatologist and took some prescription pills. No success. So I bounced around to a few different doctors hoping to find an answer.

I remember having an appointment one day and reading an article about Turmeric earlier regarding the benefits it may have with my skin condition, among other things. So during the visit, I asked the Dermatologist her opinion about trying this out. Not only was she clueless what Turmeric was, she totally dismissed it and told me not to touch it. Not exactly what I was hoping to hear. No curiosity. No open-mindedness.

I took the pills she prescribed and again they didn’t work. Long story short, I went through 3-4 different cycles of pills with little success. I ended up fixing it myself with some combination of a better diet (minimize sugar and carbs), probiotics, organic hemp body wash, and turmeric. An educated trial-and-error strategy at it’s finest.

Looking back on that experience, not one of the doctors mentioned anything about alternative treatments or additional options I can try. The best advice I got was to drink a soda with this pill they are giving me and then exercise afterwards. (I was actually just happy to hear how to make this pill I was about to take most effectively)

I think people are often better going with Google’s advice on certain minor conditions, as doctors are way too much by the book. And don’t get me wrong, that can be a good and bad thing. Healthcare professionals definitely have more knowledge, but that also comes with close-mindedness to other, often healthier, options. Second, doctors are trained to fix your problems immediately. I remember when my psychology teacher in college explained to our class the exact symptoms to tell your doctor to be prescribed Adderall. How crazy is that? Well, I guess not that crazy…as sales of Adderall XR and its generic equivalents totaled $1.99 billion in 12 months during 2012!

All of this comes back to what Seth mentioned with Gatekeeper Syndrome. Healthcare professionals will help fix your problem, as long as they (or their colleagues) are the ones doing it. There are no alternative options in Western doctor’s offices anymore. There is little-to-no prevention. Only short-term solutions.

Our society has tried to take control and standardize our processes (in the healthcare industry, schools, etc), and more problems continue to arise. The deeper we go, the more we stunt our creative problem solving and openness to alternative measures. That is why our society’s medicine advancement is so behind our technology advancement.

I just want to note – in no way is this an attack on doctors. I have had a few great doctors who continued their education and are relatively up-to-date with new studies and relevant information. But we must still identify the incentives the healthcare industry has when they treat us. I’ll let John Oliver help explain my point.

We get sick. They get paid.

We pay the consequences – money, health – if things go wrong. They have little downside if things don’t go as planned and we stay sick. Actually, that only means more upside for them.

That, in itself, is why we should at least question the Gatekeepers.