Ok, I am a nerd so computer science metaphors really work for me and “default mode” is a real doozy. When a computer system is powered on and not doing anything it is in the “default mode.” Just sitting there waiting for something to do. It has all its resources memory, hard drives, processors, programs, network connections, just sitting there waiting for inputs to it can decide what to do with the inputs. Ready and waiting for the next action. In default mode, the capability of the system for action is constrained by the capabilities of the resources available to the system. Too many inputs can lead to overload. Faulty inputs can lead to errors. Buggy programs can lead to errors. Slow processors can lead to long delays in action. Small memory can lead to thrashing. The system’s capacity for action can be improved by upgrading the resources available to it. This upgrades the default mode to handle harder problems. Ok enough with the computer stuff.
Humans have a default mode also and our capacity for action is constrained by the quality of the resources available to us.
- Pick up something heavy? You have a certain strength in default mode.
- Emotional state? You have a default mode. Fearful, calm, curious, etc.
- Smarts? You have a default mode.
- Problem-solving ability? You have a default mode, a standard way to approach problems with a given toolset (resources).
The default mode can be upgraded by upgrading the resources available in default mode. Human resources are upgraded by practice, training. Practice the opposite of the default mode.
- Pick up something heavy? Practice lifting ever heavier things.
- Emotional state? Practice the desired default state. Meditation, breathwork, ketamine, psychedelics, gratitude, etc.
- Smarts? Study. Open a book.
- Problem-solving ability? Practice problem solving, preferably with proven structured mental models.
Two things to keep in your consciousness about the Default Mode concept:
- Be aware there is a Default Mode
- Practice and training can upgrade the Default Mode