I came across the term “Character Pathology” at work yesterday, and I stumbled over it. I couldn’t quite get a handle on the concept. It has something to do with a psychological disorder related to multiple personalities, or so I deduced.
I called for back-up and reached out to a bona-fide professional and he explained it to me this way.
“The brain does well what the brain does often.”
As in, if you are attacked by murders of crows every day of your life your brain is excellent at swishing your arms around your head and screaming. This is not a problem and a perfectly healthy way to respond to bird attacks, and not just crows. It becomes a problem when the crows go away and get replaced by other things, like having to be at work on time, or improving your lap time at Munson Hills, or responding to stressful situations. Your many years of arm-flapping screaming become hard to undo.
I am talking about habits I think.
We all know it is hard to get up and exercise, it is hard to learn new things, it is hard to quit smoking, it is hard to change your life in any measurable way because we are all suffering by degrees a level of character pathology, or more simply, inability to adapt or initiate new behaviors.
Stuck in a rut. Give someone a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
“Would you like a glass of water?”
Response: (Waves arms about head and screams a lot.)
“Does that mean no?”
“I’m sorry, I spent a significant portion of my life being attacked by crows, I would love a glass of water.”
If any real psychotherapist would care to weigh in and save me now would be a good time, but what I am really getting at is that in order to change something significantly, like a lap time at Munson, you have to lean in towards the adversity and change the way you think, which changes the way you act.
You can’t just buy a new bike.