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Know Thyself

Personal Development

The setup

Long time ago I was a youngster. Not just a youngster, but an angry youngster. I spend my days being angry at everything (although on most cases, I used to hide the fury , either until I got home or was alone).

Also at that time I was going to music school after my normal school (to give you an idea, for non-spaniards, music school is a parallel school to your school->high school->university progression).

At the music school I had a teacher of Musical Language (back then was called Solfeo), who was good, but also someone that would get easily irate. If you are British football fan and you have heard about Fergie’s hair-dryer treatment, you should get the idea. Not only my teacher would get angry, but the angriness would build up as each student was reading their part on the score and keep stumbling and failing to read. He would start slightly annoyed, transitioned to furious, and, finally, I was sure that he could be heard two streets over. To get less affected by the incoming storm, I used to sit down such as I would be at most the third student having to read the score (of course, I could have rehearsed more at home, but …).

The event

Then he disappeared for a year, before returning the next. I don’t remember if there was a rumour at all, or just me thinking based on clues, that he had been out because of cancer. More importantly, I noticed a change on his behaviour: he would still get angry if a student hadn’t done their score properly. But, significantly, the angriness would reset when moving to the next student. No longer it would build up throughout the class.

The repercussions

My assumption is that his sickness (and be aware that I never confirmed he had been sick) changed his outlook and his demeanour. Which led me to think about my own wrath. Not sure if is just correlation or there was causation, but I started to become more calm. I would not be firing on all cylinders the whole day.

The next set of realizations

Once I was calmer I discovered that I couldn’t hold a grudge to anyone. Still is the case. Doesn’t matter how much someone can hurt me, I don’t bottle it. It just fizzles out. Normally.

Which led me to the next finding: if I stay angry through the day or week, or even month, as soon as I realize that is happening, I have learned to recognise that something external is affecting me and I need to do a change. And on the moment I take the decision to do the change (even if the change itself would take time) I become calm again. I had discovered a pattern of behaviour I have.

Since then, I have unearthed others. For example, if I am grumpy (internal reasons), I know exactly why now (there are only 3 or 4 reasons for me to get grumpy). So I know how to remediate the situation.

I have discovered as well mood swings, and know when I need to ride them, or when I can do something about them.

I know that if I feel a certain way before buying something, I should not buy it because I will regret it.

All that has led to not be able to lie to myself … much. Because I have recognised those patterns of behaviour, I know exactly what is going to happen. So I don’t kid myself thinking something will (not) happen.

Furthermore, knowing those patterns, I can try things, see if doing a slight change, I can modify the pattern. I keep experimenting with myself to try to improve.

The conclusion

The only way that people can change and improve themselves is to be able to see themselves as they are, without the illusion of who they would want to be (otherwise Poledouris music will be non-stop playing while I move around).

Once we know who we are, and accept that is such the case, we can take the steps to improve ourselves.

A long way to reach to the saying: the first step to solve a problem is to recognize that it does exist.

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