Are you fully
Are you sure?
If I told you that something was keeping
you partially sedated for all of your waking life, you'd be
skeptical, but it's true.
Actually, two negative forces are at work:
- The first prevents you from seeing much of what is in front
of your eyes - perhaps more than half of it
- The second distorts the half you see, feeding you lies and half-truths
The more clients I work with, the more powerfully this is confirmed
in my mind. It is undeniably true. Those two forces are
at work inside us - moment-by-moment, day-in, day-out.
How can that be? How did these negative forces get there, and what
purpose do they serve?
The old chestnut used here, is to think about how you sometimes
don't remember driving home from work, yet somehow - here you are.
The driving task was completed by your autopilot, which is good,
but an undeniable element of its work is that it removed that
journey from your conscious experience. That's the bit we have
to be careful of.
Well, the first force - the one which prevents us from seeing
- is our auto-pilot.
We need our autopilot - it's part of the machinery in our
minds. Without it, our brains would be bombarded with thousands
of sensations, thoughts and decisions, every second. Input
from our senses - touches, sounds - memories of events, worries,
puzzles - all of it endlessly changing. Our autopilot allows
us to be freed of much of the mental crud which might
otherwise overwhelm us.
Tying your shoe laces is another example - so is walking. Less
obvious examples are watching TV (because .. it's on and that's
what you do, right?), or eating until all the food is gone, or delivering
one of your diatribes. You are less conscious in these activities;
less of your brain participates. As a result, quality suffers badly.
You eat all of the food on the plate because your eating program
was running. If you'd been more conscious, you'd have stopped the
program and eaten less.
So again, the auto-pilot did a useful job (imagine having to think
about every chew, every tongue movement, every swallow, every fork
movement), but it also did a less good thing - it automated gluttony
without our conscious approval.
This second factor is one I talk about a lot. If you believe
a thing, then your experience of the world will be distorted
to support that belief. Low self-confidence is a good example
from my case files. Self-confidence is all about believing
a negative thing (or things) about yourself. Let's say you
believe you're "no good" (whatever that
means). So - you approach life with that mind set. Events
out there in the real world are seen in light of the "fact"
that you are no good. So - if something goes wrong - it's
not because it was an impossible task, or you were set up
to fail, or you haven't had the training, or it's a one-off
- no - it's because you are no good. Someone who believes
they are the bees-knees is more likely to see a failure as
something other than a personally triggered disaster. They
may not even see a FAILURE at all.
I've illustrated these two forces at work often, so I won't do
it again here, but this article is to give you a new technique to
combat both forces - to show you the world more accurately, and
specifically, to show you where the "doors" are - the
opportunities for you to make positive changes in life.
Your New Key to Opportunity
This technique is simple but not easy.
It's simple because I can explain it to you in five short words
- and I will. It's not easy, because it requires that you say these
five short words very often indeed when you wouldn't normally be
thinking of them.
If you can acquire the habit of doing that, then you'll be increasing
your consciousness levels in a specific area - you'll be turning
down the dampening effects of your beliefs and your auto-pilot.
I've found it wonderfully helpful in my own life, and so have my
Dammit, I should take money off you for this stuff!
Are you ready for the five words? They are ... drum roll....
If you can respond in this way to many situations - including the
apparently irritating and trivial - then you will grow and change
your life for the better - despite any other forces trying to
The magic is twofold - firstly, it's tiny. No big system to learn.
No sitting on the floor daubing candle wax hither and thither. No
jogging. No 5-module course. Secondly it's driven solidly by self-interest.
I find most of us are comfy in that mode
OK - You Have the Key - so Where are these Doors?
They are really everywhere. I'm finding them in new places all
the time, and in new kinds of places - and so are my clients.
It can become a game, but it delivers results which aren't just
funny - they're marvelous. So, here are some from my personal experience.
- I'm driving on the M1 and yet again, the traffic is crawling.
The Archers has just started so of course, I must crush that into
silence before the "country folk" get to doing what
they apparently call "acting" (I guess I just lost a
few of you??), and I get down to the business of focusing on being
angry. But Wait! [theatrical index-finger-pop-up gesture to audience]
- What's in this for me?
Oooh, Well, this is more restful than driving, actually,
and I feel a collapse of tension. And - I now have the time I
didn't have for a laid-back chat with Steve on my mobile (hands
free). With no roaring road noise, and the relaxation that comes
with not hurtling through space at 70mph, it was a simply delightful
20 minutes I had not found time for in more than a month. That
mantra "What's in it for me" came to me as a reflex.
I have learned to associate it with the onset of negative emotions.
In that way, it snaps me out of auto-pilot (I have a get-angry-then-rant
program which I would normally run when any one of very many
aspects of our Great British Nation touch my life), and
puts me into a resourceful state. I actually enjoyed my M1
delay and my self-image stepped up a notch. Life
is a little bit better.
- I'm hard at work in the office. My in box pings. Well, more
of a gentle ding really. Anyway, I scurry over, in a mousy kind
of way, hoping for a lewd lady-missive, but no. Some Stupid
Spamming Moron sent me email about something that is nothing
to do with me. But Wait! [that same ridiculous hand gesture is,
I'm thinking, probably optional] What's
in This for me?
OK - now I'm snapped out of auto-pilot mode. I have another
program called There-are-so-many-selfish-idiots-out-there
which I would normally have run (should I be telling you all this??),
but my new mantra just kicked it in the crutch, and it's now bent
double contemplating its nausea. Hah! Yeah suck it up, program,
if that's really your name..
So now, instead, I'm thinking in an entirely different way.
I'm not angry, I'm interested. I'm not focusing on a problem,
I'm looking for opportunities. And whadyaknow? Ping! Turns out
the sender thinks I might be interested in her online book. Well,
I'm really not - rodent taxidermy was never my thing, but I AM
interested in how she made the book, as I've been thinking about
writing an E-Book for some time, but had some un-resolved issues.
So we corresponded, and I now know exactly how to do it (and,
depressingly, how to mount a ferret..). Life
is a little bit better.
- My windows XP computer was getting old and slow, and I was increasingly
irritated by having to wait for it to come on, go off, transfer
a file, refresh a view or whatever, I'd minimize the annoyance
by making tea whilst it was busy or turning my back on it to show
it I wasn't concerned. (Pssst... you can't let them know).
Then the old index finger did its thing and I wondered ... What's
In This For Me?
So again, the autopilot - in this case, running my "cope-with-a-slow-PC-and-try-not-to-hate-it"
program was disengaged, and I became more conscious for a while.
Well, there's not a lot in a slow PC for me, in the strict sense
of the question, but my improved level of consciousness decided
enough was enough.
As I type this I'm sitting next to a 2.4 GHz quad-core processor
PC, and gazing at a 24 inch wide-screen, flat-screen, scrumptious-screen,
monitor. My office experience is now more
than a little better, every single day.
- I'm holding a stunning young lady around her waist (bear with
me, please). She's looking uncomfortable. Is this an imprisonable
offence? Not in a salsa dance class it ain't, but I'm feeling
grim anyway, because - though I hate to inflict my aging presence
on one so young and comely, it's sort of required for the lesson.
Not to hold her is not an option. Ting! Doctor Digit does his
Ditty. What's In This For Me?
Hah! Improved consciousness appears, and I recognise that
my whole experience of this uncomfortable moment is founded on
a belief that the reason she is uncomfortable is because I
am an embarrassment to her. Seems pretty solid, but I test,
by smiling and saying "You're not looking too happy, I'm
sorry - but at least it'll all be over in a minute". She
looks at me."Ho no, it's not you - I'm useless at this, and
I just trod on that man's foot and he was really fed up with me".
I could have said nothing, and just toughed it through, but then
I'd have been left with a hurtful belief which was totally untrue.
And I think she felt better too. Life got
a little bit better.
- I'm standing in line in M&S waiting to pay for my lunch
Bento Box, running my "Oh-how-I-hate-queueing-why-don't-they-staff-these-tills-properly-at-lunchtime"
program, when - you've guessed it. Mr. Index Finger made his presence
felt (no, not there). What
was in this for me?
Turns out, it was the lovely little old lady behind
me. Humbly patient. Quietly good-natured. Over-ly-coated, as tradition
demands. I can't say we shared more than a grin and a couple of
grunts but her peaceful countenance showed me how a different
mind might experience our queue differently, and by extension
- other tedious experiences. That glimpse resonates still, and
each time it does, my life is a little better.
So, whenever anger, irritation, sadness or any negative
emotion bubbles to the surface, you can try this technique. I'd
love to hear about your experiences.
Go forth and have fun...
... with your index finger!