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GPS makes my brain lazy! (Blog #441)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

When I got my Prius about a year or so ago, I was not enamored with the GPS. Really? Why did I need it? I had gone through life for about 40 years without it; why now? What really would I gain? I have a good sense of direction. I figure anytime I get lost is just another possible route to somewhere. I can use a map. And these days, I can prepare with an online map search.

I was pretty surprised at how quickly I got used to using this tool though! I realized quickly how less stressed I was when having to go between schools I was unfamiliar with. I use it once or twice a week now. I even use it when I really do not need to.

And, then... last week I had to leave my car at the shop and had a rental without a GPS. OH!! What an odd feeling that was! I had to go somewhere I had been recently used my GPS to get to. My brain slowed to a halt as I tried to get my bearings and figure out how to get there. I dredged up old skills for navigating and eventually got to where I needed to go. But not without having to really focus.

That all got me thinking about how my brain gets so easily lulled into passive activity. It does not take much to think I am doing something productive (driving and arriving) when in fact my brain has disengaged and is not doing much. The skills I have honed for years to problem solve, to pay attention to the signs around me, to find my way to the end point shrunk quickly when I started using the GPS. I hesitated before being able to re-engage when I was without the GPS.

As I continue on my healthy journey, I have to be careful not to get lulled into passive activity, activity that does not require my brain to engage. it is all well and good to develop a habit, but even then, I have to avoid the tendency to think I am doing more than I really am. I can't just push the GPS button and blindly go through the day. I have to problem solve, pay attention to the signs along the way and direct myself to the goals I have set for myself. There is no easy "GPS" system that will make this journey driverless. I personally have to engage. I have to take the steering wheel. I have to decide that my autopilot with my built in GPS may not be my best friend.

Today was one of those days when my focus won. I tossed the GPS away and walked a nice long walk.. close to 9 miles. I focused on keeping the water intake steady. I focused on other good nutrients. When I was done, I had a sturdy lunch. Got some work done and then kept the water intake high. Yup. Tossed the blind driving aside today and reverted back to some good old fashioned walking!

Tomorrow is probably one of the last rides of the year filled with fall colors. I will be heading out early for a 50 miler through the maples and birches of Oregon. It is supposed to be another glorious day. Cannot wait!

"Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention."
Jim Rohn

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