“You have a great brain but when you don’t use it, it causes trouble.”

I said this to a friend back in our university days. Being smart and bored is a deadly combination. Does your very good brain cause trouble when it’s under-challenged? I think we often waste our brains, using them to build stories that trip us up. Flights of fancy, paranoia, poor me… blah blah blah.

Often when I let my mind have it’s own way, it runs off and turns into dark alleys. There are monsters. Now I’m a bit older I occasionally notice and put a stop to this. Stop! Wrong way, go back! (that’s an Australian street sign that indicates you’re about to hit eight lanes of oncoming traffic).

The mind is a great servant but a poor master. Tell it to stop thinking shit. Tell it to just stop. One of the best ways for me is to ask a new question.

Ask a new question

I have a distractable child brain. It loves a red herring. A good new question makes me drop the ball and reach for the ice cream cone. Actually, many things make me reach for the ice cream.

  • What do I really need here?
  • What might get me the result I want?
  • What if I knew we were both on the same side?
  • Is it true? Really?
  • Is this thought leading anywhere good?
  • What do I want? Is this helping?
  • What’s good right now? What do I have to be grateful for?


I forget this all the time. I so often look at problems, asking what to improve and how to change things. At any given time though, so much is right. There are so many reasons to be grateful.

When our monkey minds are bored they look for threats. What’s wrong in your environment?  The bear didn’t eat you but maybe a lion will. Bears and lions don’t even live in the same habitat (I think that’s true). Your brain doesn’t care. So now you have a steady income, but what about your health, your superannuation, your parents’ health, their superannuation….

What about the endless housework (in your tiny apartment), your lack of free time (2 hours of junk TV daily is necessary) and your vast responsibility (for a goldfish named Josephine). What about this endless need to exercise. You did it yesterday and now you need to do it all again today! What about that.


What’s good? What’s better than it was last week, month or year? How are you blessed by all the Gods (in whatever form you know them)? Why is it all ok? Why can you relax and breathe? What is precious about your life?

And if you really do have big challenges, is there still some small blessing?

Change your mind

So change your mind. Ask a better question. Distract it. Your brain is an energetic kid. It needs to run off all that energy. Give it a new job. Suggest a better activity.

And if it’s throwing a real wobbly? Are you done now? Have a nap. It’s all ok, mostly.