Computers default to their programming. Phones default to pre-installed ring tones. New cars default to factory settings for following distances and edge-of-road warnings.
I love default settings on electronics because they save me from having to make yet another decision. But problem with defaults is that they limit the power of what a computer, phone, or high-tech car can do for you.
System default settings stay the way they are—limiting the effectiveness of your device—unless you change them.
Although you won’t be transformed one way or another by the settings on your smart phone, defaulting in your choices for how to live will eradicate the possibility of creating a life you really want.
Most people default to what goes on around them.
They send their kids to the local school. They get a steady job. They toss snacks, drinks, cereal, and candy in the grocery cart because it’s easy, and everyone at home likes it. They even default to a convenient church.
But, unless you intend to ruin the life of your dreams, defaulting to whatever needs to be replaced with conscious choice.
To do that, the hard work of thinking about what you really want is the starting point.
Choose Your Settings
I’ve noted below a set of questions that address default thinking about how to do Different. Let them un-default your patterns and encourage you toward a well-thought-out, fulfilling life.
1. Are you working the job you have because that’s really how you want to spend your life? Yes, it may pay the bills and there may be some things you really like about your work. But is it allowing you to do what matters most to you—with your family, with your skills and gifts, with your vision for life?
2. Do you send your kids to public school because you truly believe it’s the best way to educate them?
There may be good reasons to send your kids to the local government-run school, but “the best way to educate them” is not one of them. Mass production of education does not make the most of any given student’s gifts and abilities (for more on this, see my post “Get Over Your Education.”)
3. Have you accepted the idea that “if it’s in the grocery store, it must be okay to eat or else it wouldn’t be there”?
Similar to the school issue: Just because it’s an edible substance doesn’t mean consuming it is good for you. Yet, aisles of soft drinks, high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden cookies, crackers, meats, and dairy products, and low-fat everythings beckon you. Don’t default to them.
4. Do you get medical check-ups and take prescriptions because you figure it’s the job of medical professionals to take care of you?
The power of professional healthcare is astounding in many wonderful ways, but it’s what you do between visits that determines whether or not you’re healthy (see my post “Be Your Own Medicine”).
5. Is your spiritual life one you’ve chosen for specific reasons, or have you simply drifted into wherever you happen to be?
It’s easy to pick up spiritual leanings from the surrounding culture. In America, ours is a blend of humanism, New Age concepts, paganism, and agnosticism. Or in our Christian subculture, the choice of “where to go to church” often defaults to the church with the best preacher. Yet, whether derived from surrounding culture or Christian subculture, you can build your spiritual life on shifting sands if you’re not careful.
6. Have you determined it’s best for your family to have only two or three children because that’s the normal thing to do?
As normal as it may be, it may not be the path of greatest blessing for you. Challenges abound for large families, but so do the rewards (check out my post “What’s Missing from Your Worldview?”).
The point of pondering questions like these is to avoid simply “going with the flow.”
If you live like everyone else, you’ll end up like everyone else.
That means, if you have a dream life in mind,
you won’t get there unless you get out of default mode.
*Photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.
To help you change your default settings, browse my previous posts and take a look at whichever ones relate to a way in which you may be defaulting. Or feel free to send me an email with questions about how to stop defaulting in any particular area.
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