On Insanity and Repetition

Albert Einstein supposedly said that insanity is doing something the same way and expecting different results.  Now, if there’s one thing that really ticks me off, it’s repeating myself.  Maybe it’s because I’ve always been quick at grasping new concepts.  You seldom have to explain something to me more than once (except names; I can never seem to remember someone’s name at the first go). I can usually instantly evaluate a new concept, decide whether it’s worth applying or not, and should I decide it’s worth it, I’ll instantly internalise the idea and start practising it.  Sorry if I’m sounding incredibly pompous, but that’s simply the way it has always been for me.

Consequently, it frustrates me without end when other people cannot seem to do the same.  On a daily basis I encounter people – at church, at work, even in my own home – who have the knowledge of principles that can greatly improve their lives.  It doesn’t matter whether that knowledge pertains to their religious lives, relationships, communication skills, job efficiency or personal actualisation – they have the knowledge, they know which principles to apply to solve whatever problems or obstacles they’re experiencing or to make their lives more fulfilling, but they don’t.  It makes no sense to me. In most cases the application of said principle would have the minimum cost: a small lifestyle change; a moment’s reflection before reacting; a giving away of something you won’t miss anyway, but people don’t seem to be able to do it.  Sometimes I’d talk to them about it and they’d agree with me that they already know the solutions to their problems, turn around, and keep doing what they’ve been doing up to now.  And without fail they’d be surprised that things don’t turn out differently.

I cannot understand it.  People would keep running into walls, smash their heads in, get up and try again.  Does no-one think of investing in a ladder, sledgehammer or wrecking ball?  Life can actually be so simple.  Most of us have the tools to help us cope with life or, if not, the means to acquire those tools.  We all have access to people who have experienced our situations before or who have the knowledge even if they don’t have direct experience.  All we need is to listen to what we already know and do it.

But we don’t listen.  We smile and nod our heads and decide we know better…and charge at that wall again, telling ourselves this time our heads will be harder.  It makes me furious, especially as I see myself doing it every day.

There needs to be a change, or we’re all doomed to insanity!