Damn You, AutoCorrect

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It’s called “predictive text.” Based on your past texting vocabulary and also on a quirky little algorithm that thinks it knows what you’re going to say next, autocorrect comes up with not-so-helpful suggestions.

Our brains sometimes work like that, too. We’ve worn a neural groove so deep with our painful thought or fear that no matter what we are doing, saying, or hearing, we fill in the blanks with some serious ick.

Our boss says, “We need to talk.”

And the autocorrect in our brains fills in “I’m going to fire you.”

We look in the mirror and autocorrect jumps in to helpfully suggest, “Fatty.”

We don’t get the job or the gig or the guy or the girl and autocorrect shoves its way in to note that we’re losers, we didn’t stand a chance, that things just don’t work out because, well, we’re losers who don’t stand a chance.

I have a suggestion, and I’m going to get a little shouty, so you might want to back away from your screen a little:

TURN OFF THE FREAKIN’ AUTOCORRECT!

Thoughts based on the past? Fahgeddaboudem; they are in your rearview mirror and have no more to do with the present moment than your first grade report card.

Thoughts based on your fears? Ditch ’em. There is no possible positive action taken from a place of fear–unless, perhaps, you are running from a bear.

Thoughts based on what others think? About as useful as a phone that truly believes you’re desperate to know whether ducks have jackets.

Here’s what you do instead:

  • Catch yourself in your painful or fearful thought and ask, is this really true? And even if it was at one time, is it still?
  • Actually listen to what others are saying, not what you think they’re saying. Decide if their opinion resonates with you.
  • Leave the past in the past. Be here now. What’s true for you in the present moment?
  • OWN your vocabulary, your thoughts, the words you may carelessly and reflexively speak. Hear yourself and decide: is this who you want to be?
  • Retrain your brain by replacing automatic negativity with intentionally chosen—not mindless—positivity. “I am learning.” “I can do this.” “I am beautiful.” “Life is giving me just what I need.”

Yeah, you’re gonna make some mistakes—typos, if you will—along the way. Some of them will be mortifying. Some of them will be downright hilarious. Some of them will be amazing learning opportunities.

None of them will kill you.

Letting those parts of your brain that are buzzing with old programmed fears and thoughts drive your actions is about as silly as letting your “smart” phone do your thinking for you.

Turn that sucker off. And see what parts of YOU come alive in its place.

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