Ice Cream Can’t Choose Not to Melt

When ice cream is taken out of the freezer, it changes its state. I find that it usually takes a couple of minutes to go from “so rock hard that you’re going to bend the spoon” to “the spoon slips in so nicely that it would be rude not to have another.” However, if you leave it too long out of the freezer, it turns into a warm gloopy mess.

Don’t blame the ice cream. It can’t help melting when it isn’t cold anymore.

Put yourself in the ice cream’s place for one minute. You live your life in that freezer, waiting for someone to open the door, scoop you into a bowl and enjoy you. However, there is always that niggling feeling that you hope they will remember to put the rest of you back. You’ll melt quickly if you are left out and no one likes melted (and re-frozen) ice cream.

You wish that you could choose not to melt.

We are pretty lucky to be human. The ability to choose our behaviours (and even go against our instincts) is what makes us utterly unique. The rabbit freezes in the road because centuries of instinct have told him that the fox won’t see him that way…. Nine times out of ten, he is doomed to a painful demise because he is unable to adapt.

The flexibility of thought and action is what sets apart the truly successful among us, but for us mere mortals it is far easier to contemplate than it is to do. We tell ourselves that we are going to behave differently the next time some “trigger” situation comes along, but, sure enough, we revert to type, and the same destructive behaviours show up.

Choosing NOT to do something that goes against our inner nature is an incredibly hard undertaking, but even though we might fail the first few times, it gets easier with every effort. When we feel that we have moved the needle in terms of the outcome, even to the slightest extent, choosing not to melt will be that little bit more possible next time.

For me, one of the main “not melting” scenarios means curbing my natural impatience. This has a detrimental impact both at home and at work, but I am very gradually realising the benefits of giving that new client a little bit more time to think about things or letting my son take his time over the next chess move. People live their lives at different speeds, and we have to be tolerant of it. I try not to melt like this several times a day!

What are your melting moments? What are the things that you would like to change, but are not sure whether you can? Next time you raid the freezer for a couple of scoops of ice cream, feel some pity for it.

It can’t change how it reacts to life outside of the freezer. We are lucky that we can.

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