Watching and listening to Dave Asprey on London Real show has inspired me to write about this concept that I have been exploring since long.
First, we need a way to figure out if you have been mentally aging unnecessarily and by how much. One of the ways is to ask yourself if you would dance spontaneously in front of others if asked to. I wanted to say ‘Be honest with your answer’, but instead I would say that there is a high chance that the answer might be biased, given that we humans tend to perceive things with questionable objectivity. Data from such experiences in your past would serve as a more reliable metric.
Okay, now, let’s try to make sense of this stuff. See if the following description fits anyone in your own life, maybe even yourself: A person whose default response to anything new is ‘No’; who is afraid of doing things that they love; who wears boring clothes; would never dance, sing or do any silly or whimsical thing, because of ‘what people would say’. They talk about safe topics, like the weather, politics, etc. They move slowly, even though their physique allows for more movement.
Sounds so depressing, right? It sure is. I bet this description matches a lot of people in your life. This is a classic description of someone who has been mentally aging. Mental aging, which might not be a formal term in psychology, describes a condition in which people, after years of conditioning, lose their spontaneity and start identifying with the older population which exhibits such characteristics. The main driving emotion behind all this illogical stuff is fear; fear of being criticized and the fear of standing out of the crowd. So, they choose a ‘safe’ path and blend with the crowd.
And unfortunately, it seems that our social system, in some ways, leads to such behaviour. Also, there is a self-preserving aspect of such mental aging. Such people tend to project their fears onto others, like their children, students, etc. Subtle forms of reward and punishment also contribute to the emergence of these characteristics.
Even after understanding this, most people would not change, because, after years of conditioning, these patterns become set. But, if you see such characteristics in yourself AND you are at that level of consciousness where you have started questioning things in your life, then, perhaps, you might benefit from the awareness about this condition.
To the people in this category, I say, work upon increasing your spontaneity, understand the concept of feedback loops, and start doing small silly things, which would build your tolerance to criticism. So, when the time comes to actually do something great by going against the grain, it will be easier to do so.
And lastly, dance!