Avoiding the autopilot mode


Few months back, while I was playing table tennis I realized that I was not being 100% conscious in every shot I played. I have been playing table tennis since I was 10 and I have been doing the same mistake all the time! I was just not 100% into every shot I played! What was the reason? Autopilot mode!

Let’s see how this works. When you do a certain thing for hundreds and thousands of time, your brain knows how to do it. For all the next times in future you try to do that thing, you no longer have to do it consciously. As your ease grows, the task is shifted from conscious to subconscious brain and things start to happen automatically. For example, when you start to learn how to drive a car, you require 100% concentration while driving and tremendous mental efforts to coordinate the things. But after a certain period, you no longer require the same amount of mental work. You can even think about some random stuff while you’re driving and you don’t even remember how you drove the car when you reach the destination. Thanks to your subconscious brain.

I call this subconscious work of the brain as autopilot mode. This autopilot mode has been very helpful in our evolution, turning difficult tasks into habits. But the same autopilot mode proves to be detrimental to your improvement without you realizing it.

What if you have got comfortable doing a thing before you got the perfection? In that case, you are never really trying to improve! Is that the reason why some people are better than others in doing certain thing because they remain extra attentive always? The answer is probably yes.

As soon as I dragged myself out of the autopilot mode, I realized I had dramatic improvement in my play! And the same principle can apply to so many things in life! So avoid the autopilot!

Besides the advantage of progressing towards perfection, it will also make you more mindful. More living in present, more meditation.

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