GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or even just thinking of quitting, please join us! We kindly ask that politics be left out.
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So yesterday I was giving that ukulele cover of the Coldplay song I posted a second listen, trying to figure out what I found so charming about it. Yes, I like the sound of ukulele music in general, but it's particularly appealing to me when the artist takes a song typically rendered in a different way and makes it their own using this unlikely instrument.
I think that's a big reason for the lasting popularity of various "ukulele orchestras" (the ones from Great Britain and New Zealand are probably the best known, but they're all over the place these days); their repertoires are filled with R&B, disco, punk, pop, country, metal and even classical pieces, and even though they might be considered "one trick pony" entertainment, I think it's a pretty good trick and I'm not sick of it yet.
Someone took this humble little instrument with four strings and decided that they could play something rather complicated and unexpected on it (and some, like virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, play something transcendent). The fact that it wasn't built to play complex sounds didn't stop them. I like that kind of outside-the-box thinking.
As a rule, most folks tend to be inside-the-box thinkers when they are navigating something difficult or stressful. It's not always a bad thing: it allows us to go on a sort of "auto pilot" and not have to think too hard about our actions and reactions, or focus too much on figuring out a unique solution to our problems...after all, why reinvent the wheel if someone else has already figured out how get things rolling?
So we just do what we think we're supposed to do, and stick to things we know, and embrace conventional wisdom because we WANT it to work for us, without piling on any additional stress, becausewe'vegotplentyofTHATthankyouverymuch.
Anyhoo, because behavior modification is a tricky beast, and because people are complicated and life is complicated and people attempting to modify their behavior to change their lives is REALLY complicated, it's almost inevitable that we bump up against something that doesn't seem to fit the script very well.
And when we do, it really makes sense---even if it's hard, even if it doesn't come naturally, or feels like too much work, or seems like you're creating an opportunity for others to criticize you---to try and think outside the box a bit.
Maybe you have an idea for something you think will work for you, but it seems a little odd, or crazy, and you're pretty sure people might think you're silly for doing it? Try it anyway. What have you got to lose?
Maybe you've already tried something and it didn't work for you, but you think if you tweak it slightly, it might work out? Give it a shot! Sometimes finding the thing that ultimately works is a process of elimination, and that can take time. It'll be worth it.
Maybe you've been stuck in a particular pattern of thoughts or behaviors, and you can't figure out how to get un-stuck? Why not change the entire script and go for something different? Change something else about yourself or your life, and use that to build the tool kit (new habits, new outlook, new faith in your own abilities) you need to make this change.
Maybe you've stumbled on something you can rely on to ride out cravings or serve as a substitute for the behavior you're attempting to change, and it doesn't make any sense on the surface---perhaps something involving superstitious behavior or magical thinking---but seems to be helping? Keep doing it! The universe is full of mysterious, unexplained things. Why should this be any different?
Share your outside-the-box thoughts with GUS this evening...any hints, tips, tricks, suggestions? The floor (and any boxes you find on it) are yours.
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