Reality Cheat? Life in the Matrix

via Daily Prompt: Cheat


Consider, for a moment, what it would be like if your entire life was a computer simulation.  Only, you didn’t know it was a simulation.  Everything around was created for you, all bodily sensations, etc, and the “real you” was a body lying in a vat somewhere, or hooked up to cables as a battery, or something like that.  It might even just be a disembodied brain.  Or it could be that long ago, your consciousness was digitized and uploaded into a vast matrix – and the entire world as you know it was in some huge group of servers.

What if you became aware of this?  Would it change how you behave?  You couldn’t really change the laws of the place your consciousness resided in, because the program would work the same way, so there wouldn’t be any Neo like abilities to suddenly know Kung Fu or fly a helicopter.  But, might that realization change how you face the world?

Might your own habits seem a bit less immutable?  Might you live differently, knowing your thoughts and perceptions were under your control?  Might you decide to really crack this oyster of a world and learn all there is to know, and gain real influence?

Maybe not… but maybe so.

You wouldn’t have had a way of knowing what this Matrix was beforehand, after all.

Also, how could you know that this isn’t really happening right here and now?

Success – step by step


It’s good to have goals.  Sometimes, no matter what we do, we fail at them and don’t think we can succeed. How does a person deal with that? We try and try and never get anywhere. This can happen with weight loss, creating a business, kicking a bad habit, writing a book. I’ve found that large goals are pretty hard to achieve unless you do it the right way.  I call this Incremental Success.  Here’s how.


Shift your Mindset

If you are going to succeed, it’s very important that you shift your mindset. You knew that, though, right? Easier said than done. The simplest way to do that is to take extra time out to focus on the successes you have made. Get better and better at doing that and soon it will be more natural to think of solutions before roadblocks, strategies instead of why you can’t do something.


Make Small Goals

Finally, keep your goals small. Keep your efforts incremental. That way you can notice and mentally celebrate whenever you achieve a step. Also notice those little non measurable aspects of success. In weight loss, for example, how it’s easier to get up off the floor after a few days of exercise, or maybe you are less winded after your walk.


Enjoy the Process

While you are not giving up and focusing on success, there’s a way to make it fun! Get interested in the process. The journey is as important as the destination. When you encounter a roadblock, you can almost make a game of thinking of ways around it. Get creative whenever possible. Accept that you will have failures and decide you will learn from them.


Don’t Give Up

Most successful people will agree that the main key to achieving goals is not giving up. That sounds incredibly obvious, but it’s also rather easy to do. Many of us give up by default. But persistence is the one thing that the greatest people in the world, past and present, share.

To continue with the weight loss example, here is how you might follow the incremental plan under this circumstance. It’s easy to see how this could translate to any long term goal.
First, shift your mindset and decide that you can lose weight. Focus on times in the past where you have shown self control. Prove to yourself in this way that it’s possible.

Next, instead of deciding “I am going to lose ten pounds” which seems like a reasonable goal, decide “I am going to cut 100 calories a day.” Or “I am going to take a fifteen minute walk every morning.”

Then, as you do this, notice all the small ways your new habit is benefiting you. Maybe you breathe a little easier. Maybe you feel a little better. Continue with new goals and keep them small.

Don’t give up. If you have a bad day, or even a lapse of a week, get back to it. Just stop giving up. Keep on doing it.

That is how you can achieve incremental success.


“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

Sir Winston Churchill


“It is wonderful what great strides can be made when there is a resolute purpose behind them.”

Sir Winston Churchill

Invictus: teaching myself to be strong


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.                                                        -William Ernest Henley


This poem is truly inspiring to me. Though it seems a bit trite because it’s been quoted so often, it shows me a better, stronger, more enduring path to walk in life. At times I think “am I lying to myself? My head has been bowed by circumstance plenty of times, I have been an incredible coward.”

However, reading this poem and learning it is not about honesty – it’s about replacing old thoughts with new. It’s about convincing myself that the old way of doing things is wrong, that there’s a better way. It acknowledges that life is tough but I can make it. It gives me good, strong, positive thoughts to fasten on, so that when a weak, cowardly thought comes up, there’s something to stand up against it. In effect, it’s “perseverance practice.”

The only things I have done in my life that were worthwhile, happened because I didn’t give up. Invictus is a poem about not giving up. I wish I had learned this poem as a kid. I wonder if I would have been stronger?

Is there a poem or quote that you use to become a better person?

Responsibility vs. helplessness – “It’s not my fault!”


So many people now are being taught to be helpless.  If you are unsure of what I’m talking about, consider this:  How many times do you hear people blaming others for anything and everything?  Whether it’s job loss, lack of a boyfriend or girlfriend, bad health, bad grades, being late to work, or whatever, it’s never anyone’s fault.  If you, like me, are immediately thinking of exceptions and reasons why, then this idea really deserves some thought.

When you think about it, it’s unhealthy to blame the rest of the world for things.  Not only that, but it leads to continued failure.  Have you seen the kids who get a participation prize whether they win or lose?  As the sting is taken away from the losers, the sting is taken away from the winners.  I know a girl who won a foot race.  She told her dad “it doesn’t matter, everyone got a trophy.”  It’s the same thing with life.  If we blame the world for our failures, who do we credit for our successes?

It’s a lot healthier to find the places we can take charge of our lives.  Instead of blaming traffic for being late to work, we leave earlier or check the traffic online.  Instead of blaming circumstance for our health, we exercise and eat better. What we can control, we do.  When we are in a bad relationship, we managed our own responses so we can deal with the other partner with a clear head.   Even though modern society seems to reject personal responsibility, we embrace it so we don’t have to be so storm-tossed and rudderless as everyone else.

The benefits of personal responsibility can be seen in all aspects of life – love, work, play, finance, health, relationships.  I think it’s useful to think about why personal responsibility is subtly undervalued.  Why would people want us to be so dependent on outside forces?  Could it be because we make better consumers when we feel helpless?  I know I have a lot of thinking to do in that direction.  I’m not perfect, but I have myself to thank for that, and myself to improve.  Even if the media keeps teaching me to blame others, and schooling, and my upbringing, I am a thinking being and I have a choice!