“If you’re pretending to be someone you’re not, I hope the illusion fades by Midnight.”
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“If you’re pretending to be someone you’re not, I hope the illusion fades by Midnight.”
We’ve heard the expression “Ready, willing, and able” countless times throughout our lives. I would like to focus on what I consider to be the most important word of the three – “Willing.”
We can be ready for something to occur and we can be quite capable of handling it, but if we own an unwillingness, the likelihood of it happening is south of slim.
How can you find out if you’re ready and able, but unwilling for something to occur in your life? It’s quite basic, look at your life and determine what’s missing. That’s what you are unwilling to have.
This unwillingness may not be on your conscious radar screen, but it exists – mostly outside of your awareness, at what is commonly referred to as the subconscious level.
I have come to discover that willingness for something to occur is singularly the most important ingredient. It’s not a sure bet, but it sure does exponentially increase the odds. The magic act that willingness performs removes the blinders and opens our peripheral vision to what is possible.
Unwillingness is a governor on expectations, and it has us miss seeing many options that are in clear view, but blocked from our sight.
Unwillingness is a pattern of behavior that keeps our possibility quotient low. We are unaware of many of the patterns we own until someone or something points them out. Reminds me of a story . . .
I worked with a radio newscaster many years ago who had a pattern of jerking his right arm about while he was engaged in conversation. It was an exaggerated movement that was totally out of his awareness. He had played some minor league baseball as a pitcher and his involuntary movement resembled a pitcher’s loosening up move. It became high comedy one day when I saw him interviewing someone over the phone. Every 7 to 10 seconds, he would perform this move and the phone would move away from his mouth about 3 feet. When the tape of the interview was played back on the air, you heard his questions fade in and out every 7 to 10 seconds. It sounded like a technical snafu. It wasn’t – just patterned human behavior.
The story got more interesting when the program director brought this activity to this fellow’s attention. The most amazing display of unawareness arose when he denied having the behavior while displaying it when being counseled. Denial is the antithesis of willingness. To underscore this assertion, notice there is no willingness present when an anorexic denies being unhealthily thin.
If what you want has been eluding you for a long time, investigate your willingness to allow it to happen. I’m not a proponent of affirmations because they are generally anemic, wishful statements that are overridden by patterned behavior. I think willingness is a more potent affirmation that builds a bridge across the gap between unconscious behavior and desired outcomes.
Willingness, as an affirmation, doesn’t expect the desire to happen; it just lays a more solid groundwork that it could happen by revealing previously blocked possibilities.
Instead of affirming “I am healthy, wealth and wise,” you would be better served by affirming, “I am willing to have health, wealth and wisdom.” The first affirmation delivers a polarity response from your unconscious that, in effect, says, “No you’re not. You’re sick as a dog, poor as a church mouse, and dumber than a stump.” The willingness affirmation suggests an openness to these conditions should they present themselves. It lessens your patterned resistance to them occurring.
Determination is unlikely to get you what you want because it’s not a matter of willpower. Success is more easily arrived at by employing its gentle second cousin – “Willingness.”
All the best,
Did you ever notice that most arguments are fueled by what we disagree about?
This practice runs the gamut from personal to political.
If our purpose in a pointed discussion is simply to be right, it will always be confrontational and about disagreement.
I believe that exploring agreement first, gives better odds to coming to a working solution. The conundrum is that this piece of common sense eludes us at the moment of opposition.
We are patterned to be right. To be wrong is the worst curse on the human ego, and it will fight into the night to be right. The Buffalo Springfield recorded a song called FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH and a portion of the lyrics illustrate how we line up for disagreement.
“What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side.”
The filter for agreement only seems to come into play after we have bloodied each other. I’m wondering if there is a way to shift that order and make agreement first in line and thereby reduce the amount of disagreeable in disagreement. With agreement as a foundation, there is a better chance of building something stable. With disagreement as a foundation, we’re more likely to build a fractured structure.
History suggests that the seeds of World War II were sown in the treaty signed after World War I. If you bully someone towards your position, the odds are high that they will display buyer’s remorse. It’s always better to get someone to buy in, and I believe the process starts with agreement.
The next time you find yourself on the other end of an issue from someone, have the presence of mind to ask yourself “Where do we agree?” I believe you will find agreement to be easier on the feathers and the quickest catalyst to consensus.
All the best,
We have been urged to forgive and forget for thousands of years and I don’t think that recommendation has ever been explored deeper than the “mom and apple pie” surface.
For example, holding a grudge and forgetting are different. When we hold a grudge, we consciously hold a memory together. Forgetting, unless as a result of diminishment of mental faculties, is impossible. We can always re-member something memorable. True forgetting is giving yourself permission to unbind a memory from the emotion that keeps it in the forefront of your mind.
Take anger as an example. We can easily remember an incident that engendered anger. We can also revivify that anger by dwelling on the incident and reassembling the facts and emotions and make it real all over again. How productive is that? For some, they invite feelings into their body from many years ago that they can do nothing about now, other than to tax their mind and body. This is a time to dismember the incident.
When the incident comes to mind, immediately notice that you are having the memory. Just the impartial noticing is often enough to keep the memory from bonding with the emotion and taking on a life of its own. If you are too late to notice that there’s been a fusion of the memory and the sensation, you still have an opportunity to unbind the two by conscious interruption. It’s as basic as doing the famed technique left for us by Dr. Dave Dobson.
Forgiving is nothing a human being is consciously capable of, no more than you can consciously change your mind about a deeply held belief. The emotion has to get sucked out of that belief before a new way of thinking can enter on its own.
The key to forgiveness showing up in your life is to have a willingness to have it show up. It’s the willingness that opens the door for forgiveness to come visit us. Conscious forgiveness (lip service) is an imitation of the real thing. Real forgiveness is something you don’t talk yourself into, but feel. The only way to grease the skid for forgiveness to move in your direction is to have a willingness for it to come your way.
You’ll never have room for willingness to enter your awareness when holding together a grudge.
So, forgive and forget are tied together. If you don’t give yourself the opportunity to unbind a memory and its emotional component, you will never experience the willingness necessary for forgiveness to come visit.
So the ancient maxim is really backwards. The workable solution to peace of mind is to forget and forgive.
All the best,
Is there anyone who hasn’t had what they consider a psychic experience? It could be as simple as thinking of someone you haven’t thought of or heard from in a long time and then receiving a phone call or email from that person. Most of us own a similar experience that seems more than coincidental. It feels intuitive in nature.
I think it’s the only glimpse we get of reality before reality happens. Before we have a thought or experience, there is a comingling of energies at a subconscious level that prompts that thought or experience to emerge. Thoughts are really afterthoughts. They have already formed before we think them. I believe we sometimes tap into that energy before our sensing or thinking apparatus assembles it into shape. Let’s call this pre-formation phenomenon “Unspoken Reality.”
You’ve heard me say many times that reality is what happens and our lives are determined by our response to what happens. It’s a universal truth that we have no control over reality, so you may ask, “Why bother planning?”
I believe that planning lays the track to run on if the reality you’re planning for comes to pass. If you don’t lay the track, and your wished for reality comes to be, you won’t have the ability to move your train to the next stop. So goal setting and track building, tempered with common sense forecasting, usually pays dividends. But even the world’s most successful investor, Warren Buffet, has lost money in the recent decline on Wall Street. Reality can derail even the most powerful of trains.
Is there a way to heighten our ability to sense reality before it happens? The answer is “I don’t know” but I have a hunch.
My sense is we do this by visiting the melting pot from where all reality stems from. This is the place where thoughts aren’t allowed. It’s the quiet place of contemplation where unspoken reality forms. This is where the club meets to determine whether the tree fort will be built or not.
I think you increase the odds of you plans working out when you dip into the depths of a meditative state before embarking on your planning mission. Here is where you have the best chance of a preview on reality. That preview may come as a vision for the future, a spontaneous thought, or a gut feeling. As most people who’ve experienced this will attest, these are not run of the mill visions, thoughts or feelings. They have a sense of certainty to them that just can’t be rationally explained.
We cannot control reality, but we may be able to predict it with more regularity if the reality we plan for is preceded by a quieting of our thoughts.
If there was ever a club I would like to be a card carrying member of, it’s the “Unspoken Reality Club.” They conduct meetings 24 hours a day and membership is only denied to those who think they can control the universe.
All the best,
Fall is more than a visually descriptive name for the autumn season. It’s a word that implies descent. Whether we describe it as “a fall from grace,” “a tumble from the top,” “a plunge from your perch,” or a “drop from divinity,” it suggests falling down.
I suggest that falling down is the only way most people find humility. I don’t believe you can find humility unless you’ve lost something that you risked to acquire. Perhaps an example would be helpful . . .
Some people never emotionally risk enough to experience heartbreak. That means they never fully commit to something or someone in fear that it will fall apart and break their heart. They remain in their own space and contribute to keeping distance in a relationship. Heartbreak, though not the goal, must be risked. Truth be told, heartbreak will humble you and strengthen you.
If you never risk falling down, you’ll never find humility.
Playing it safe insures you will stay locked in place mesmerized by the fear of falling.
Humility is a teacher. It teaches us that we are not the person we made up and got comfortable with. Humility helps us to find something deeper than who we thought we were. That journey is unlikely to begin without risking a fall.
If you never gamble, it’s hard to lose, but at the same time improbable to win.
Humility will put you on a winning track, but you’re unlikely to get there without risking. Like the old adage says, “No risk, no reward.”
You may have all the cultural signs of winning at life and be emotionally impoverished without humility. You have to risk something in order to find the teaching of humility.
The fear of getting wet is worse than the actual plunge. The reality of the water’s wetness will determine your reaction to it, not what you think your reaction to it will be. To be fully immersed in the waters of existence, you have to risk getting wet. If you stay on the beach, you’ll never know the feeling of being tossed by the tides of life and the strength that comes from that humbling experience.
Pride may precede a fall but humility is the splint that’s necessary to heal.
All the best,
In America, there seems to be an affinity for the underdog. The interesting thing is we root for the underdog but never want to be one. Given the choice, most people would prefer to be a leg up.
The victory usually comes down to odds. How long or short are the odds of winning? The longer the odds, the less chance there is for the underdog to put one in the win column.
The biggest fight most people have going on with themselves, which has ridiculously long, underdog odds, is being at war with the present moment.
We are mesmerized by the magic mirror of the mind that we can somehow convert lead into gold or turn fat into muscle. Lead is lead and fat is fat. Neither turns into something else. The present moment is the present moment. It’s not yesterday or 5 minutes from now.
When we fight with the reality of the present moment, we ratchet up the odds of remaining the underdog. This is a fight we cannot win. Someone has to throw in the towel for us because if they don’t our vision will be savagely punched shut by the crushing blows we continue to take by fighting with reality.
There is a more peaceful way of living our life and it’s as simple as this: Give up the fight.
Our presence of mind tosses in the white towel. It recognizes that its fighter is battered past recognition, can never win, and can only do more harm by staying in the fight. We all have presence of mind in our corner. We just have to empower it to act on our behalf. Give yourself the permission to allow your presence of mind to work for you when you find yourself fighting with the behemoth known as the present moment.
This moment is the only time you own. Your past is sold and gone and your future is on layaway. Take ownership of the present moment. Accept the reality it presents and discover how a cease fire leads to clearer vision and more options.
We can’t turn this moment into the next one by fighting with it. When we engage in this battle, we elongate the time frame of the moment we refuse to accept.
Acceptance is the catalyst to newer moments. When you deal with what’s currently right in front of you, it will naturally move off your list and make way for something new.
Have the presence of mind to accept the moment you are in. It’s the quickest way to unglue the denial that keeps us blindly swinging at an opponent we need to be our ally.
The present moment can be friend or foe. It’s really a choice you get to make every moment. How bruised and broken do you have to get to recognize that?
NOTE TO THE FEISTY: When you have the presence of mind to throw in the white towel, you are surrendering to the reality of the moment – nothing else. It’s the recognition of reality that offers the quickest path to move us from underdog to victor.
All the best,
Billy Joel has a song called “Leave A Tender Moment Alone,” and there is an axiom in golf to leave your driver in the garage. There is logical reasoning in both recommendations, but it is never the logic that makes or breaks the moment.
Let’s examine the advice of both positions.
A tender moment is often dissected. When you do that, it’s no longer a tender moment but a compilation of ingredients. The logical attempt is to be able to recreate the moment as easily as you can bake brownies from a recipe. It’s the difference from being able to capture a lightning bug or lightning in a jar.
Every golfer has hit a memorable drive off the tee. It was an especially sensational swing. They don’t know how they did it, but they mentally begin to break it down into pieces. The difficulty is that they logically think about their next drive which often causes it to be less than stellar. Many golfers, especially men, when they tee off, select the largest, most powerful club in the bag – the driver. They usually over swing instead of letting the club do its work and the ball often goes way off line into the deep grass, the woods or water. The errant logic, for some, after this shot goes astray is to not use the driver. Thus the expression, “I should have left my driver in the garage.”
The logic leaves you diminished in both cases.
What would happen if you just took the time to appreciate a great drive or a special moment and let the feeling sink in?
Here’s some alternate logic you’ll never hear elsewhere: You have to let lousy moments sink in too.
The most useless question we never stop asking is “Why do I feel this way?”
Did you ever take that question to the logical conclusion, that if you did get an answer, it doesn’t make you stop feeling that way? Knowing why may sate the intellect, but it does little to ease the pain.
Whether your moments are tender, memorable or miserable, they are a reality, and logically pulling them apart will not enhance, preserve, or diminish them.
Being with the emotion of the moment is the best use of that moment.
We rarely just sit with the glow of a tender moment. We have the need to logically recreate it because we’re driven by the fear that we’ll never have this feeling again. It’s a basic lack of trust in our ability to naturally and spontaneously create whatever the moment calls for.
In the case of a lackluster moment, we logically do everything we can to chase it away. That logic keeps it coming back. It’s like Dr. Dave used to say, “It’s like attempting to hold a beach ball under water.” Allowing yourself to feel that moment will do more to let the air out of it than a semester’s worth of Aristotle’s syllogisms.
There are great uses for logic but attempting to use it to figure out or dissect your emotions pays paltry dividends.
When you practice feeling whatever the moment brings, you’ll naturally arrive at a new mantra – leave the logic in the garage.
All the best,
For the most part, I live my life on automatic pilot and so do you. Thank God!
There are so many things that we do that are automated so we don’t have to think about them. It wasn’t always that way. Reminds me of something I learned from my NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) training . . .
There are four stages of becoming competent at something. They are:
1. Unconsciously incompetent
2. Consciously incompetent
3. Consciously competent
4. Unconsciously competent
Here’s an example: When learning to tie your shoes, you had no experience with shoe tying, and it appeared foreign to you. You were unconsciously incompetent—no experience in the files.
After observing your model (e.g., parent ) tie his or her shoes or your shoes for you and encouraging you to make the attempt, you found yourself to be consciously incompetent—the specific motor skills had not yet developed.
Then came that glorious day when you could do it all by yourself. It took all your conscious attention to get it done. You could now do it. That’s conscious competence.
Finally, you evolved to the point where you could direct your conscious attention elsewhere while simultaneously tying your shoe. That’s when it becomes part of us. We are then unconsciously competent. It’s now patterned behavior. We now own that ability or talent. You are now fully able to tie your shoes with the best of them.
These sub-routines, known as patterns, can make life so much easier.
Patterns can also lull us to sleep, as I said in yesterday’s blog, causing us not to notice.
It’s useful to take inventory of our patterns from time to time to see which ones are working and which ones keep us stuck in gear. It’s great that we can tie our shoes without thinking, but how useful is it to paint ourselves into the same corner time after time by running the same routine?
Here’s what these two patterns have in common. We had to practice them both for them to become routine. One serves us well; the other gets in our way.
The same element that made a counter-productive pattern a routine is the same element we need to outgrow it – Practice.
We would be well served to practice interruption. Interruption keeps stimulus and response from staying in contact. When you notice a pattern and interrupt it, you have momentarily caused the automatic connection to associated behavior to become temporarily suspended. Interrupting something once is interesting; practicing it over and over becomes transformative.
Ask any accomplished musician and they will tell you there is no substitute for practice. Look at anyone at the top of their game and you will find the common denominator of practice. Practice is what takes someone who has a lot of potential and makes them into a household word. Practicing interruption is the key element in outgrowing a pattern that’s on automatic pilot – one that’s flying you into the mountainside every time.
Financial Guru Jim Cramer says you’ll never be wealthy until you learn to save, and my experience suggests you’ll never grow up ’til you learn to interrupt.
When you interrupt automatic behavior, you create a space between the stimulus and response. It’s from this space that new patterns emerge, take hold and grow. It simply takes practice.
I won’t ask you how to get to Carnegie Hall. You already know the answer.
All the best,
I heard an expression on morning TV today that captured my attention – “Wired for success.”
This phrase is so telling about our patterns being the generator of behavior.
Many of our patterns we get by accident through social, cultural and parental conditioning. If we got productive patterns from our models, our chances for success are greater than those who had less than productive models to learn from.
Productive patterns wire us for success. Patterns are the foundation for all that we do.
Patterns, per se, don’t talk or justify, they cause us to act. If our actions are producing less than success, we have to examine and outgrow our patterns if we expect to change course.
Recognition is always the first step in change. When we recognize that what we routinely do is not working, we are at the doorstep of discovery with the option of opening a new door.
Justifying our failures is one of the most self-limiting things we can do. It keeps our wiring plugged into failure. The late Dr. Dave Dobson spoke of this phenomenon many years ago when he referenced an old telephone switchboard. He said imagine a call coming in for extension 302 and the operator accidentally plugging the cord into your extension of 203. You’re going to get an entirely different message than the one intended.
That’s the way patterns are. They don’t care where they get plugged in, they just deliver their message. If you’re receiving messages that don’t support your success, you would do well to examine what you’re plugged in to.
We are so caught up in the concept that we are what we think that we overlook the reality of, we are what we do. Legendary football coach, Bill Parcells says,
“You are what your record says you are.”
Justification is a losing strategy – a pattern that’s not working towards our success. Recognition is the fuse that leads to the explosive device known as action.
Whether your house is old or new, it pays to check the fuse box from time to time to make sure you’re wired for success.
All the best,