Taking (Much) Less

“The Truth is always the truth.”-Somebody (my favorite quote)

What is your obsession with unlearning behaviors and beliefs? Was your life bad or something?

My life was not bad, but until I started unlearning, it wasn’t TRULY mine. The amount of outside influence on our souls is staggering if we aren’t paying attention. Do you know how freeing unlearning is? But do you know hard it is? In my experience, it is unequivocally, indisputably, undeniably, flat out harder to unlearn a behavior or belief than it is to learn a new one. Oh, and also, I am now fully paying attention.

Go on.

Think of the last time you had to say something just because it was politically correct, but it wasn’t you. Think about the last time you put a post up just to get more “likes”. Think about the last time you sold your soul for a dollar. Think about the last time you bought something because the marketers said you needed it. Think about the last time you did something that makes absolutely no sense in 2019 because your 3rd grade pastor’s voice is still in your head. Think about the last time you said, “Well, Mama always said…”. Do you agree with what she said, or just because she said it, it must be gold?

I could go on for days, so be careful when you say “Go on.”

So what’s your point?

I wanted to put myself in a position so that I could eliminate or, at least, minimize any need for me ever to be inauthentic again. To never have to think or act in a manner that is contradictory to what I actually believe.

To accomplish this, it was important for ME to get away from it all. I needed to fully rewire and refocus, and I was willing to sacrifice a ton (paycheck included) to align every single move and thought with who I really was. I had to OWN IT.

The premise of inauthenticity holds people captive every single day. And instead of unlearning, we are told to learn and consume more. How To this and How To that. I’ve gone the other way (surprise, surprise). Focus on clearing out the bullshit first. Life changing, obviously.

You said that was hard?

For my regular abk friends, you know it took 671 days. For my abk golf folks, today is day 110, and I am still fighting like hell to rid myself of bad habits.

Of those 671 days, 85%+ of that time was spent unlearning. I wasn’t out there reading Aristotle and Socrates to learn more and sound fancy. I was asking myself “why” in every single life category that already existed.

Once I decided that nonjudgmental, open-mindedness was going to be my North Star, the vast majority of my evolution became very simple. Unlearn everything that didn’t fit in that category. So simple. So, so incredibly difficult.

I used to be a big consumer. I definitely took more from the world than I gave back. Now, I’m in the process of flipping that. Other than massive quantities of BBQ, I consume very little now.

I watch very little TV. I don’t consume the news. I basically browse Instagram, listen to or watch comedy, and watch sports. I’ve traded in everything else for sunlight, water, grass, animals, and trees. I love seeing my alligator buddy on the 10th tee every day.

It keeps my mind clean and clear to produce the writing and the encouragement and the wry laughter that I want to give to the world.

How do you know what’s going on in the world then?

In three minutes max, I can gauge the pulse. I don’t need the details. The body and mind weren’t built for all these details. It just brings people down. Worries them. Scares them.

I’ve learned so much more by consuming so much less. I’ve learned that my refusal to compromise or conform comes from a good place and not a bad place. It has allowed the bad habits to slowly die. By DOING more and not consuming more, I’m quieter. I talk less. I like the silence. It aligns perfectly with what I am trying to do. Inward happiness, peace, and calm. I imagine that must be very difficult to find when consuming all the noise.

Are you worried unlearning all these behaviors will offend the folks who taught them to you?

I actually NOW think they would be proud. Parents and teachers are supposed to equip us with the skills to navigate life, not tell us what to do or how to live our lives. My dad, in particular, is a genius at this. All of these good peoples’ imprints are all over me, and I’m very thankful. I’m just going to make my own decisions.

Any last words?

Successful doesn’t necessarily mean happy, and rich doesn’t necessarily mean free. Free means free, and it takes lots of work.

Have a great week.-Benj

Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis and @abkgolf.

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