“Familiarity”

 

The Feeling:

So there I was. For about the tenth time; watching that same movie all over again. Oh it was a great one; a really great one. I knew what was going to happen, the plot twists, the drama, and most importantly, the ending. It was a classic. And I knew it all. I remember thinking to myself that I could never get tired of this one. I could watch this any time, any day and anywhere.  The day could be long and I remember imagining myself in bed with a plate in front of me and my laptop playing that same old movie. Pure bliss it was. Or was it?

The point is one will always feel comfortable around that which he or she knows. Whether that makes one really happy or not is of little significance because comfort is considered instinctively vital by the human mind. Or so I believe.

One could easily go back to being with someone he had a history with because they feel the sense of familiarity there. One could stay in the same job regardless of its bad outweighing the good because it feels safe there. I could choose to watch the same movie over and over again because even the thought of watching something new made me anxious mainly because I did not know how it was going to unfold. Give a person comfort and you will never be his or her enemy in their eyes.

The Thought:

I once heard a story about a soldier who fell asleep on duty. The punishment for doing so was that he had to face the firing squad; which meant he was sentenced to death. One of the Generals in the army however, gave him an option to take a chance and save himself. It was that he chooses to walk into either of the two doors in front of him. The first door behind which was the firing squad.  This meant that he was assured of his death. With the second door, he was not told of what was behind it. He could face anything for all he was told. It could have been anything. The point is he did not know what he was going to face. The choice was his.

The guy chose to enter the first door and face the firing squad. When asked why, he said he did not know what was behind the second door. “Better the devil you know…” he said. He walked through the first door and faced the firing squad to his death.

I believe human beings run to what they know and what they are familiar with. Given an option, most of us would go for that which is not so new to us. It has something to do with being scared of what we do not know or understand. Perhaps it’s a psychological thing; the mind trying to protect itself from an unknown outcome? Maybe it has labeled uncertainty as dangerous and too risky?  Maybe we are all, by instinct, conservative in nature? I have no certain affirmations of these questions. Just a speculation; a thought merited on observation. After all I am not a scientist. I can only notice from what I observe.

I love the movie. And a great one it is. But….is it really the love of that movie that makes me watch it again and again? Or is the fact that I actually KNOW of how it is going to turn out the reason why I re watch it? Is the soldier’s fear of not finding out  what was behind the second door greater than the fear of death?

The Crux:

The choice of familiarity over uncertainty by the most conservatives of us then begs the question of why live in the first place. I mean when one wakes up every morning and walks or drives to work, does he or she really know of what he is going to encounter along the way? Yet, he or she does the same thing with faith that the day will go well. Is any one of us assured of tomorrow? Yet, we are hopeful to wake up the following day whenever we tuck ourselves to sleep at night. What do we call this?

Maybe it all started with the movie, or it was the instinctual conservative nature of every human being. But I found myself going for the things that I only knew or had an idea of how they are going to be or turn out. I avoided new challenges, new opportunities and any chance that I didn’t know or have an idea of its outcome. I felt comfortable in my zone. I knew that if I did this, this would be the outcome. To be honest, I was not growing. The same person that I was the previous month was the same person that I was the month after that. The same old movie, the same old choices, the same old routine: the same boring life. What a waste! After all, if you keep doing what you do, you will always get the same results. Deservedly, I got the same results.

The Plea:

Don’t. Don’t waste away like that. Go for that which challenges you. Please do. It will grow you. Really grow you. Even if it scares the wits out of you, go for it. Go for it just because it scares you. There are only so many chances in this life. Start that project. Work on that idea. Walk away from that which anchors you. For your own growth: for your own sake. Remember: just because it feels familiar it does not necessarily mean it’s good for you.

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