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It’s crazy how a change of scenery can influence your thinking and become a catalyst for new ideas. Waking up every morning, surrounded by nature, without any professional obligations is a situation many people dream of and yet I found myself completely lost. There’s an old saying that goes “Be careful what you wish you, you might just get it”. I pondered this quote during my long walks around the Carpathian Mountains and realised that in the long run, wishful thinking can only lead to negative consequences and living in the moment is the only true recourse.

PART 1 // PART 2

Thinking About Thinking

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Allow me to elaborate. Wishful thinking is different to future planning (although there is some overlap). Wishful thinking is looking to the future with rose tinted glasses and desiring something to be true without prior research and analysis. Wishful thinking can skew evidence and cause one to evaluate it very differently based on the desired outcome. This bias can be seen in all walks of life whenever one has to make a long term decision (changing jobs, romantic partners, university courses etc.).

In ones mind a situation will unfold how they believe it will but due to factors beyond their control the reality is wildly different. This leads to a cognitive dissonance between expectations and reality even if a situation is one that an individual set in motion and was looking forward to experiencing. This leads me back to the classic advice of living in the moment. For years I didn’t really understand what people were talking about. I mean I knew in principle but could never put it into action. I kept wondering, ‘Do you just force yourself to have fun?’. I’m a logical thinker so all it took was following my train of thought and deconstructing the sentence to its core.

Since we’re not defined by our past and the future only exists as a concept the only thing we have is the present moment. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank because moments happen once, pretending like you are guaranteed a chance to relive everything is a vicious circle. Enjoy the moment for what it is and go along for the ride. A moment doesn’t have to be a split second either. The age we’re living in is just a moment in time but how many people do you know who wish they were born in the 80s or have a romanticised view of the past?

“This denial is Golden Age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one we’re living in. Its a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.” – (Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen)

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I Don’t Know

If you’re constantly in your head you’re thinking about thinking. There is no room in your mind for any new ideas nor do you give your brain a chance to digest any information you’ve been feeding it. My advice is to practice meditation, spend time surrounded by nature or just go for a run. This allows your subconscious to start making sense of your environment and your subconscious is much smarter than you will ever be. Put your trust in it.

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During my time in the mountains I listened to a lot of Akala – a UK hip hop artist who really has a way with words and the song ‘I Don’t Know‘ is filled with literary gems. Ignorance is bliss but a wise man will admit that he still has a lot to learn and his education is never complete:

“So we chase the questions seeking direction,
Every time we think we’re right get a swift correction”.

“Truth you gotta seek it, wherever its hidden,
Or else you’ll find yourself dancing to someone else’s rhythm”

“Mental prison is the worst kind,
The mind is like a parachute, it only works when it’s open”

“Everybody knows a rolling stone gathers no moss”

“Face to face with the cold-hearted facts that there are no answers”

A lot of these lyrics are basically Philosophy 101 but they do leave you thinking. There isn’t a ‘right’ direction in life and you gotta be constantly searching for the personal truth that makes sense to you. Don’t take things at face value, question everything, even yourself. It’s important to follow your train of thought, not spontaneously agree with everything that pops into your mind. Expand your worldview, read some books and talk to as many people as you can.

The last line is a take on existentialism which is a philosophical belief that our world is apparently meaningless or absurd. That statement can be viewed pessimistically but I believe it’s the polar opposite. In a meaningless universe you have to find your own meaning and that journey of self discovery is unique to every individual. What will your story be?

viaduct Vorokhta ukraine

vorokhta Ворохта ukraine

Thanks for reading my latest article. Give it a share using the links below so others can enjoy it too. For more check out my trip to Malta, Ukraine or some of my latest street photography.

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