Mind Games… the good kind

Okay, this is a big confession of dorkiness and maybe a touch of OCD.  I’ve been feeling very inspired today–side-effect of the great workday yesterday and some super productivity today as well.  But you can forget that except for the word “inspired.”

Sometimes I play a game called Text Twist.  It started in college with a little bit of innocent competition among suitemates.  Three of us would get on our laptops and see who could amass the most points in the shortest period of time.  It fit in perfectly during Days of Our Lives commercial breaks (only time in my life I’ve watched soap operas, and it was fun… did you know that they replace actors all the time on those shows and keep the same characters anyway!?).

The goal of Text Twist is to take the letters that they provide and make as many words as possible from those letters.  After you’ve played a certain number of rounds, it’s really difficult to make your mind stop twisting letters around.  It’s kind of entertaining at first.  You’re never bored, for one thing.  Then you really want it to stop.  I think of the word “inspired” in my head, and then I think, “spire, pies, spied, dines, snide, nips, pins, spin, sir, sired…”  You get the idea.

It’s even worse when you can’t think of any more words that use those letters.  Today, the train of thought has tended to go from “inspired” to “insipid” to a Homer Simpson “D’oh!”  It’s kind of hilarious, but also kind of like there’s a broken record playing in the background of my day.

All sorts of habits start like this one did.  They seem so productive and helpful at first.  For example, I discovered tons of three-letter words that I never knew existed before Text Twist.  Then the habit turns on you, and you have to find a new habit to replace the old one.  It never works to just stop doing whatever it is you’re doing.  You have to actively replace it.  That is one of the most useful tips I ever received.  If you don’t want to think about something or do something, you can’t just tell yourself to stop.  Then you’re concentrating on whatever it is instead of thinking about something else.  So what’s my replacement thought the next time the word “inspired” flashes into my head?  I think I might start a list of suggested ice cream flavors for my good friends at Ben & Jerry’s.

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