I used to love reading Tom Clancy.
One of my favorites was “Hunt for Red October.”
In part because it reminded me of a Star Trek episode.
Where Captain Kirk and his crew were following the Romulans.
They had just discovered their “cloaking device.”
So it was a cool game of cat and mouse.
Very much like the fictional Red October.
They’d developed a super-secret engine that didn’t give them any sound.
So it was hard for the Americans to track them.
Just like the Romulans.
One of the coolest parts was when the Russians (Whose captain was the original James Bond) had to try and “hide” through a bunch of undersea canyons.
These canyons were deep in the ocean, and because they knew they were being tracked, they couldn’t use any techniques to figure out where the canyon walls were.
So they had a big map, and a stopwatch.
They were completely going blind.
They knew the precise layout of these undersea canyons.
They knew their speed, and they knew the time.
So without being able to actually measure where they were, they had to use basic math to CALCULATE where they were.
One miscalculation and they’d crash into the canyon walls.
This is a fantastic metaphor for our conscious and unconscious minds.
Normally, our unconscious keeps us on track.
It literally MAKES us do stuff that keep us alive.
If we had to CALCULATE (like they were doing in the movie) how much we should eat, how long we should sleep, WHEN we should feel afraid, etc., it would be impossible.
Much like in the movie, whenever we use our conscious minds to control stuff, it takes a lot of effort and focus.
And unlike the Russians (and James Bond) we usually screw it up.
This is what they mean when they say, “get out of your own way.”
One of the problems is that our instincts are calibrated for an old way of living.
A way we don’t live any more.
Pretty much EVERYTHING is different.
But our instincts, our internal guidance system, doesn’t know.
Which is why we keep “crashing.”
Of course, in modern times, “crashing” means feeling fear when we really shouldn’t.
It’s like we’re driving in wide open areas, but our instincts are screaming that we are about to crash into canyon walls that don’t exist.
As a result, we move through life VERY SLOWLY and carefully.
But if you can RE-CALIBRATE those instincts, you can jam as fast as you can.
No stopwatch and map required.