It is not often a movie gives me insight into my own life, but curiously enough, there is a scene in Inception that does.
In the scene, they are discussing exactly how inception works. They need to plant an idea in someone’s subconscious, but it has to appear to have grown there organically instead of being inserted. One character says to another, “For example, I tell you, ‘Don’t think about elephants.’ What are you thinking about?” The other character replies, “Elephants.”
The reason this scene strikes a chord with me is because of the many mind games I attempt to play on myself with great futility. When I get excited about something, say an impending get-together with someone, I try and trick myself into NOT thinking about it, usually with disastrous results. You see, I enjoy the rush of excitement and anticipation – my own low-risk version of being an adrenaline junkie. But instead of pushing it from my mind, it becomes the center of my thoughts and suddenly much of what I feel and think revolves around the success or failure of the get-together. See? Elephants.
That kind of attention to one event is, well, not healthy. The only way to avoid that is to keep my mind busy, not an easy order for someone whose life is marked from one period of rest to the next. So, here I am thinking about something a little too much and knowing I shouldn’t. Elephants are almost as hard to break as bad habits.