Category: Blog

Speed and Road Choice

That might seem like an odd title, or perhaps a not very helpful one.

But it will soon make sense.

A mentor of mine sent me a message that contained the following line:

If I am on the wrong road it doesn’t matter how good I get at speeding down the road. It’s the wrong road. – Steve Chandler

It’s not enough to be fast, or efficient; you must be doing the right things.

It really doesn’t matter if you can go 150+ miles per hour if you going down the wrong road. All that’s going to do is get you further from where you want to be, and faster.

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But how do you know if you’re on the right road each day?

How do you sort the myriad tasks before you, how do you choose amongst all the things competing for your attention?

You must know: 1) what you Value; 2) what your Commitments are and 3) what your Goals are.

Values are those things that are fundamental to you. Things that make you you, at your best.

Commitments are those things are non-negotiable – things you simply will not abandon or give up (easily).

Goals are those things you want to do and have.

Unless you are clear on those three things, and are able to focus on them, you will spend at least some time on the wrong road, sometimes going faster than is wise.

How To Be of Value

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. – Albert Einstein

Success is an abstract, relative term.

It’s a made-up thing, it doesn’t actually exist anywhere, like “time.” (You can show me a clock, but you can’t show me time . . . .)

And it means different things to different people.

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Better to be valuable – to be worthy of the gift of the life you have.

But how to be valuable?

Be of service.

Intelligently and authentically make a difference in the World.

Without neediness or expectation, give freely of your gifts and talents.

When you do this you will both be successful, and feel successful.

That is what we seek.

The Four Fs – How To Transform Your Life

Between a recent meeting I had with a wise and generous colleague and a Robin Sharma video I just re-watched, I was inspired to create a four-part list of key things we need to identify, understand and integrate into our lives.

Please take some time to read, and think, about these four things as they could help to transform your life (if you’re willing . . . ).

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1) FEARS — (Name and) Understand

We all have fears, they are what keep us safe, and paradoxically (in our modern world) small and unfulfilled.

By small and vulnerable I mean that we have a neuro-biology optimized for safety and preservation – we’re built to a) avoid the saber-tooth tigers; b) gorge when there’s good food available and c) stay close to whoever we can.

Without going into the particulars of a, b and c above, suffice it to say that life is not as tenuous as it was for our ancestors. We live in an amazing world of opportunity and abundance, yet we – largely – allow our lives be constrained by minor fears and insecurities.

Let me put it simply: whatever you truly, deeply want (that you’re not moving towards) lies just beyond an irrational fear.

When you – coolly, calmly and curiously – name your fears, or, usually, more effectively, when you name what you want and suppose there’s a fear that stopping you from going for it, you can actually start working on creating exactly what you want.

Because there’s either 1) Irrational Fears; 2) Obstacles or 3) Things You Didn’t Really Want.

2) FANTASY — (Name and) Transform

Something I’ve come to learn is that fantasies are almost as bad as fears. (I would have said as bad, but I don’t want to do anything to diminish the place of fear as the #1 thing that keeps us from living amazing lives.)

Fantasies, in the narrow case of “entertainment” are all well and good. It can be fun to be transported to a different place or time via a book, movie, TV show or video game.

But that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the difference between dreams and fantasies. If you’ll allow the distinction, dreams are things we want, that resonate with us and are actually achievable (by us). Fantasies on the hand are things we think we want, or things that we think getting will make things magically “okay.”

The key difference between dreams and fantasies is dreams are intrinsic (i.e. of our own making) and fantasies are extrinsic (meaning they, somehow or another, come from without).

Why this is so important is that we won’t work hard, over time, for things that aren’t ours.

Fantasies are something that someone else wants, or designs, or portrays, and while very seductive, they are something we’ll never create ourselves – they only serve to waste our times, keeping us stuck and wishing.

3) FACTS — (Name and) Incorporate

Just as we need to name and face our fears, we need to understand the facts of our (current) situation.

BUT, we need to do so carefully and with one key thing in mind: stories are not facts.

Another way to think about “facts” is to ask ourselves “What’s the reality of my situation, right now?”

And to ask ourselves, “Given what I deeply truly want, and the Facts of my current situation, how do I best proceed?

If you want to see a sunrise, don’t walk into a cave. (Much better to either start walking East, or better yet, get to bed early so you can see the sun rise where you are.)

Another way to understand this is: if you want to run a marathon, and walking up three flights of stairs takes your breath away, you need to start small and work up to running a marathon.

The key here is 1) be clear-headed about where you are now and 2) be willing to see the steps you must take as a worth-while challenge (in service of an authentic goal).

4) FREEDOM — (Name and) Embrace

The key to realizing the promise of today’s amazing and abundant world is to not just think that we have tremendous freedom and opportunity, but to embrace it

This is a question of mindset.

Every day we get up and live out our lives according to our mindset. Our mindset includes our values and beliefs and habits and routines.

If we truly value ourselves and believe we have tremendous freedom and opportunity (and abundance), we will act one way — and have certain experience and create one set of results.

If, however, we believe that life is hard, and the odds are against us and world is a scarce, cut-throat place we will have a certain experience and create a very different set of results.

Take a minute, in a quiet, safe space; close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply for 15 or so seconds and and ask yourself which experience you would prefer, and which set of results would you be proud of and value?

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The above is a lot to take in, but each “F” offers a number to the combination of a great life.

I like to think that our lives are “perfect.” And I wouldn’t want my life to be any different than it is.

How, and why?

Because my life is the way it is – almost exclusively – because of the choices I made and what I did and didn’t do along the way.

Thus, whatever I want — to preserve and to change/create – is up to me. I need only make different choices and do the work of creating the life I want – and Life will give me all the feed-back I am willing to notice along the way.

 

 

Where Experience (Actually) Comes From

I subscribe to a couple different “coach/guru” newsletters and dutifully read each one that appears in my Inbox.

They are always interesting and/or useful (or I would soon un-subscribe), and occasionally one will offer an idea that I blog on.

Today’s post is the entirety of an e-mail that I received from Michael Neill – it was just that good.

Please take a few minutes to read the below.

*****

I was listening in on a coaching session done by one of our Supercoach Academy students the other day and heard their client making a compelling case for why her situation was uniquely hopeless. As I listened further, I could see the inarguable chain of her logic, and was not surprised when the coach’s attempts to reassure and encourage her were falling on deaf ears.

When I thought about what I might have said had I been on the call, I realized I wouldn’t have attempted to rebut, redirect, or even offer an alternative way of looking at the young woman’s case. I would instead have called upon a somewhat uniquely named doctrine in jurisprudence known as “fruit of the poisonous tree”.

In legal terms, “fruit of the poisonous tree” is a metaphor used to explain why illegally obtained evidence cannot be used in court. Since the methodology used to obtain the evidence was illegal (“the poisonous tree”), any evidence gathered (“the fruit”) is inadmissible as well.

When it comes to being human, the “poisonous tree” is the idea that our experience of life is the product of our environment or circumstances, and that the way the world looks to us in a low state of mind is the way the world actually is. But since we live in the experience of our thinking, which is variable moment by moment, and not our circumstances, which change much more slowly if at all, any conclusions we may make about our lives or the world based upon that fundamentally false premise, no matter how logical they may seem, are “fruits of the poisonous tree” and inherently false as well.

For example, this past week has brought us the tragedy of Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and injured more than a dozen more because, in his words, he’d “been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires all because girls have never been attracted to me.”

Imagine meeting him in a bar before the fact and hearing him pour his troubles out to you. If you accepted his basic premise – that his experience of misery came from the people in his life and that the way the world looks to us in a low state of mind is the way the world actually is – you would likely go to work on his self-esteem and attempt to convince him that he was lovable and a good looking kid and would get a great girl one day if he just kept at it. Or you would encourage him to get out of his own little world and go do volunteer work in the inner-cities or a third world country where he could see what “real suffering” looks like.

But Elliot Rodger’s entire 144 page manifesto was based on a fundamentally false notion – that but for the behavior of others, he would be happy and fulfilled. The details of what needed to change and which people needed to do what were all fruits of the poisoned tree – and sadly, six people (seven including Rodger himself) paid the price for that misunderstanding.

I recognize that this example may still be too fresh in people’s minds, and indeed, the fact that he attended many of the same schools as my own children who are just a few years younger than him makes it seem close to the bone for me too. Yet I can’t help but think “what if he had known?”

What if he had known that we live in the feeling of our thinking, not our circumstances? What if he had known that the loneliness and suffering he was experiencing were the fruits of his own fevered thoughts, and had looked to the deeper wisdom and innate mental health inside him for relief instead of out into a world that he could only see through the filter of his own distorted thinking.

What if he could have glimpsed the oneness of life, and felt the deep sense of connection and intimacy with all things that makes the ups and downs of personal relationships so much easier to bear?

The truth is, most of the fruits of the outside-in misunderstanding aren’t so bad. People suffer a bit more than they need to, and don’t tap into the infinite creative potential of the deeper mind as often as they could. But every now and again something happens which reminds me of how important it is that we share our understanding and even more importantly, our kindness and compassion as best we can with as many people as we can.

It may not always help. But you never know if your next act of kindness might save a life, or if the next person you speak with that hears something true beyond your words will be the one to change the world.

*****

For more on Michael Neill, visit his web page here.

Be Kind Because You Can

One theory says that if you treat people well, you’re more likely to encourage them to do what you want, making all the effort pay off. Do this, get that. Another one, which I prefer, is that you might consider treating people with kindness merely because you can. Regardless of what they choose to do in response, this is what you choose to do. Because you can. – Seth Godin

The reason why Seth is right about being kind because you can is that karma* always wins.

It.

Just.

Does.

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* Being nice because you want something is a quid pro quo and it’s even slimier if the other person doesn’t know it. Don’t do it. Be kind because it’s the right thing to do. Because it makes you feel good – being kind is it’s own reward. And don’t worry, karma will see when you’re kind just because you can be as well.