What would happen if we had the power to choose what we like and what we don’t? Wouldn’t life be much easier? It is said that likes and dislikes are not a product of our personal choices. Instead, they are just there, they are part of us and they have no explanation. Is it really like that? How different would everything be if we could influence and modify our likes and dislikes?
“Since tomorrow, I will like jogging and I won’t like chocolate”. We take that decision and we try to put it in our minds, we want it to become a part of us. We want to love exercise and we want to completely hate eating things that are bad for our health. Is that possible? Loads of people would say it’s not. The may be right, but we must say that letting us being influenced by ourselves (or at least trying to) is not wrong, and that if we set that as a goal we can achieve extraordinary results.
None of us knows why we like eating burgers or drinking beer, why we like chilling out on the sofa and watch a movie or why we like resting on Sundays. We don’t know either why we hate diets, paying the bills, and so on. There might be some reasons that could roughly explain these things, but there’s not a 100% logical argument. The lack of a clear reason takes us to other fact: there’s not a way, either. If I don’t know why I like wine, I don’t know how to change that feeling. If I don’t know why I hate waking up early, I don’t know how to make it into something I enjoy. It will always be like that: we will never know why we like things. The most important thing here is to convince oneself. Repeat it, like a woodpecker that keeps pecking your head. “I like eating healthy, I like eating healthy, I like eating healthy”. “I don’t like procrastinating, I don’t like procrastinating, I don’t like procrastinating “.
We can’t deny that everything would be much easier if we could choose what we like. We wouldn’t have constant internal discussions with ourselves. If we liked the things that “are right” and we didn’t like their opposites, we would have a “good life”, without temptations or situations that bring obstacles to our lives.
The hard thing, like always, is to actually do it. It may sound impossible and I understand that some people think so: there are things that just won’t change. But, if we do know the benefits that it will bring to choose the things we like, isn’t it worth at least trying? Let’s do this: choose something you like or you don’t like and try to turn it into the opposite. It’s hard, seems useless, but at least try, you have nothing to loose.
In the TV show How To Get Away With Murder there’s a scene that may help to summarise all this. Annalise, the main character, has a talk with one of his students. (No names, no spoilers). This student can’t believe how a person he loves might be a murderer. Annalise says to him, “just keep thinking that that person is not a killer. Think about it over and over again until it becomes true”. hey same could be done with the thinks you like and the thinks you don’t. Think, think and think, it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not, till it becomes part of your everydayness and you don’t have to question it anymore.
Let’s set an obvious target: it would all be easier if we could choose what we like. Is it hard? Yes. Is it impossible? Maybe. Is it worth trying? Of course.