Socially Distanced Thinking

Want to change the results in your life? Put some space between you and your thoughts!

Instead of focusing on the frustrations of Social Distancing, apply the concept to your thinking and watch your world change for the better.

The gap between thought and action can be the difference between piercing regret and inner calm. As in: slow down, and take a minute to consider your thoughts, rather than acting upon their every whim and listening to the nonsense from the Bitch in your head (your inner critic). Put some space between you and your emotions, let them breathe before doing.

In the first month of lockdown there was an aggressive road-rage incident outside my window. (I live on the corner of a main road in South London that some drivers treat like they are completing at Le Mans. On the plus, a plastic-free shop is opening five doors down. Balance, eh?) Two men had gotten out of their cars and were screaming into each other’s faces only inches apart, ironically fully face-masked up. The Bitches in their heads had taken over as their children looked on in horror from behind their seat belts.

This is where some socially distanced thinking would have come in handy. One can assume that someone wearing a face mask while driving a car would ‘normally’ practice social distancing, yet here were two grown men so close they could kiss – if it weren’t for the pesky masks. After tempers subsided and a few hours had passed, I imagine these chaps felt the sting of behaving like an idiot in front of their kids, coupled by challenging the reason they put the mask on in the first place. If they had given their angry thoughts and emotions some space before acting on them, this situation could have been avoided. The Bitch could have been kept at bay.

Applying social distancing to your mind’s workings gives you the opportunity to glance in the mirror before acting and assess – is this what I want to do, do I believe in this, do I want to do this? I know you’re all sick of the sight of yourselves because of the unflattering laptop angles of Zoom, Teams and Slack; you realise that your wisdom is showing up in your face in ways you hadn’t considered pre-lockdown.

What’s the opposite of socially distanced thinking? Immersed thinking. Boxed in, nailed up, thinking in the dark. How can you possibly come up with the right answer when you can’t even see all the evidence?

Being immersed in your thoughts means you’re unaware; of yourself and what’s really going on in the world. It’s jumping off a cliff before understanding how deep the water is. It’s using a map that’s 100 years old. It’s expecting everyone to believe what you believe. It’s believing you know enough. It’s losing your rag and shouting mindlessly at someone in the supermarket. It’s jumping on the bandwagon. It’s being a sheep.

Put your glasses on. Take a closer look. Question your thoughts.

Applying social distancing to the way you approach what goes on in your head means you’ll be responding to your thoughts instead of reacting to them. Unpacking the bullshit we’re fed by the media, culture and societal norms. Acting according to your values,  instead of abiding by someone else’s. And if you don’t truly know your values – the reasons behind why you do what you do – then there’s fun and challenging work to be done, but that’s another conversation.

Turn on the light in your mind, mind the gap between thought and action and live more in alignment. This will give you the 20-20 vision this year is demanding from us.