Bookmark the Good Stuff

Shannon Wilkinson's favorite bookmarkYour unconscious mind does this all the time.

It’s what is happening when your buttons get pushed, an aroma takes you back to a moment long ago, or a song reminds you of a particular person. At some point, your unconscious mind made a connection and a pathway was created linking two unrelated things.

Most of the time, this happens outside of your conscious knowledge. But, it can also be done purposefully, using that amazing skill for your benefit.

For example.

I did something that I’ve been putting off for about a month. It wasn’t a particularly complicated thing, checking into a medical bill that I was pretty sure was billed to me twice, once by the doctor and once by the company providing the service. I knew that it was going to require a couple of calls, and possibly a third, and most likely a heavy dose of being assertive and insistent and repeating the same information over and over and over again. And, I was dreading it.

Clearly my unconscious mind had bookmarked this kind of thing as quite unpleasant.

As happens with these things, the scales tipped today, when the pain of not doing it surpassed the expected pain of doing it. Knowing that it wasn’t going to be easy, I set myself up for success as best I could:

  • I gathered all the information I would need.
  • Prepared a big mug of hot honey lemon ginger tea.
  • Planned to do it during a virtual co-working party with Cairene.

When the time came, I made the first call. It was both more complicated and oddly not as bad as I expected. Then I made the second call. The first person I spoke with couldn’t help me, and transferred me to someone she said could. Of course, that always seems like taking an unexpected left turn smack into customer service hell.

Pleasantly surprised.

The second woman ended up being very friendly and helpful. She explained the situation, listened to my concerns and then told me how we could take care of them.

It turns out, by making these calls, I just might get a benefit ten times greater than what I thought it was going to cost.

And that’s what I want to bookmark.

How awesome would it be to remember that sometimes things that seem daunting, sometimes have pleasantly surprising outcomes?

That they’re usually much less difficult than you think they’re going to be.

Or at least, it feels so good having them done and over.

So I took a moment to feel how great it felt to have an unexpectedly positive outcome, talk with helpful people, have the dreaded task out of the way. And I bookmarked that feeling, connecting it to the desire to put off a potentially difficult task, consciously creating that pathway, so next time, it might just be a little bit easier.

Photo: My favorite bookmark, given to me by a friend and colleague during our NLP Trainer’s Training.


3 comments to Bookmark the Good Stuff

  • You reminded me that I finally called the car insurance people, which I was avoiding, mostly because of the amount of time I thought it would take. Which it did, but in the process, the woman mentioned that I had windshield replacement coverage and I remembered that I had a windshield repaired and I didn’t even think to ask them about it and the woman told me that I should submit it for reimbursement, even though it happened two summers ago. That was a lovely unexpected outcome.

  • This is SUCH a great post, Shannon! It reminded me of an interview I heard recently of Tara Brach on the topic of mindfulness in relationships… She commented on how it’s the hard things that most easily get our attention and that we are wired (evolutionarily speaking) to remember and anticipate the things that make us fight/flight/flee… She and her husband have made a practice of saying out loud something like, “THIS is it!” whenever in the midst of a nice/good/lovely moment that otherwise might fly under the radar of what is tagged important in our minds. Usually the other retorts, “No, THIS is it.” And so on… Kind of sweet. And helpFUL, just like your post today. Thank you.


  • (In case you wanted to hear or watch the Tara Brach interview: — I think you would like it very much)

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