Re- active or Responsive?
My story is not so unusual that it would compel me to tell it, except for one thing. Just like your story, somebody can benefit from it. Every bodies story becomes powerful when we share it for the purpose of trying to pull out the lessons to be learned.
“Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins”. (Jim Rohn)
Might I add that it is also what we all desperately need to maintain. A ferocious curiosity. It became very apparent to me from my formative schooling years that I was not born to be an academic. Teachers would ask questions of me in front of my classmates, and like a deer stuck in the headlights, I would freeze with fear. If I was lucky, one of my mate’s sitting next to me would sometimes whisper the answer to me to save my embarrassment. There was no subject at school that I related to, so I just figured that I must be very slow. .
I did however take solace in the fact that I seemed to have some natural sporting ability. So I pursued this very keenly and my results reflected positively. It was not hard to discipline myself to this because it became my identity. It was what I was known for both on and off the field. It was the one area of my life that I felt confident and could express myself well. If you were on the sidelines of a soccer match that I was playing, you would undoubtedly be able to hear me at the top of my lungs. However if you were sitting beside me in the classroom, you would not likely hear peep out of me.
The same pattern continued after I left school as I had taken on this identity that I was a very slow thinker, so I continued to place all my energy into my sport and continued to take confidence from this area of life whilst feeling rather hopeless anywhere else. I worked in many mundane, dead-end working environments as I figured it was about all I was good for.
I joined the Army when I was 21 and the same pattern continued. I excelled at Physical Training and won the award as best at P.T. in my platoon. But anywhere else, it was plain that I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. I really related to Forrest Gump. My corporal would have a go at me by mimicking me with “Der, I can run fast and I can lift heavy weights, but I don’t think too quick”. I lost count of how many times I had that line repeated to me.Regardless of such suggestions being made to me, I always tried to maintain a good attitude.
There is no greater need in human psychology than to remain consistent with our identity. We will fight tooth and nail to defend it and live true to it, even if it is tearing us apart. For example, the labels that we place on ourselves such as; I am a smoker; I am a drinker; I am a loser; I am always unlucky; I am ugly; I am fat; I am a failure; I don’t measure up; I am worthless. In my case it was that I am stupid and accompanying that were so often feelings of hopelessness. One of the most common statements that I hear people pronounce is that “That is just me, that’s just the way I am.
“We cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it” (Albert Einstein)
It is very important to understand how we created these labels so that we can start developing a different level of thinking in order to never be confined, resigned or defined. There is no greater determinant of human behavior than our environment. Even if you were to take someone with a very strongly held belief out of their environment and surround them in an environment with very opposing beliefs, over a period of time their beliefs will so often change to match the new environment.
As social creatures, we crave to be accepted and have a sense of belonging. Paradoxically, if we do not express our own unique individuality, then we feel as if we are just another number and can easily wonder if we really count for much and if anyone really care’s.
FORMING OUR BELIEFS.
From our earliest age, we are imprinted and conditioned with the power of suggestion from our environment. Here are three examples of the power of suggestion.
1.According to a study published in the Journal of The American Medical Association written by Dr Jeffrey Dach, antidepressants are about as effective as a placebo in treating patients with mild to moderate symptoms of depression. My belief is that when the recipient of the medication has subordinated authority to the doctor and has faith in that doctor, then a placebo can be just as effective as the actual drug.
- In Aboriginal culture, the medicine man can place a curse on a tribesman by pointing the bone at the accused .This ritual condemns the accused to death without a finger being laid upon them. It is a ritual that is so strongly believed that once the curse is uttered a the ritual performed upon the victim, it is only a matter of days or weeks until they die
- I was brought up in a Christian home. It is where I have had the good fortune to be presented with many great values. Completely opposed to the powerful suggestion of death from the example given above is the powerful suggestion of life. An alcoholic who had been resigned to living life from the bottom of a bottle, when all hope seemed lost, finds himself transformed from the power of suggestion, the idea that there is a love that knows no bounds. Whether you believe in a higher power, God or the universe, nobody can deny that these transformations occur very regularly and this power is always available to us, regardless of the baggage that we may be carrying.
“And do not follow the customs of the present age, but be transformed by the entire renewal of your minds, so that you may learn by experience what God’s will is–that will which is good and beautiful and perfect”. (Romans 12.2)
I maintain that I would rather believe in something that could not be proven if the thought of it brings me great peace, joy, hope and comfort, rather than a cold hard reality that brings despair and depression. We always have the power to choose.
“The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge”. (Albert Einstein)
Contrary to popular myth and legend, knowledge is often not power, but quite the opposite. Many would employ their version of themselves, their knowledge of who they believe themselves to be, only to result in their own downfall.
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”. (Mark Twain)
This includes all of our limiting beliefs, misunderstandings, misinterpretations, misgivings, misconceptions, fixed mind thinking and all of our prejudices that we have developed from our limited world view.
“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen”. (Albert Einstein)
Fact of the matter is that we have all had many of these poisoned bones pointed at us regardless of our culture. What we so strongly believe and hold onto despite the devastating effects that it might have on us are formed from these two factors.
1:- We are social creatures who crave attention and acceptance, so we will often do incredibly harmful things if we think we are going to gain either of those.
2:- We are conditioned by a cookie cutter education system that is designed to make us compliant conformists and not visionaries who are strongly in tune with our amazing imagination and encouraged to march to our own tune.
We are taught to think that only a few are meant to be leaders whilst the rest are followers. If it sounds a little revolutionary, then maybe we have hit the right note.
THE REVOLUTION THAT WE NEED.
“Those who will not allow peaceful revolution to be possible will make violent revolution inevitable”. (John F Kennedy)
As previously mentioned, our mental health statistics are sick and the trend is not favorable. If we do not find a way to honor and value our own uniqueness, then we continue to listen to the maddening crowds, everybody else’s opinions and march to the popular culture that is served up to us from being zoned out by the advertising and media moguls who slowly and insidiously infiltrate our very thoughts and ultimately our habits and behaviours.
“When the vision and the voice on the inside become more profound, loud and clear than the opinions on the outside, then you will have mastered your life”. (Dr John Demartini)
It can all sound a little bit pessimistic when we think that the odds are stacked against us, what with our human nature and our environment often times working against us. Now I will make my own suggestion to you and you can weigh it up on your own scales because if there is one thing that I would try my absolute best to get across to you is this. Whatever you do, please, please think for yourself.
“Don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them” (Buddha)
If you are lucky, you may be placed into an environment that has encouraged you to think outside the box, to be imaginative and innovative, but just be sure to ask this question.
When you wake up in the morning, are you going to work on your dream or just building somebody else’s?
In many respects, I was fortunate to have had something that I could place a positive identity on during those formative years. I know that is more than for so many. As I have gotten older of course, placing my identity in physical attributes and playing sports has diminished. Change is one of the certainties of life and are happening at an ever increasingly rapid rate. Our ability to adapt to them is imperative. How do we cope with this when there is no greater need in our psychology than to remain consistent with our identity?
“If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your inner voice, you will have betrayed yourself. The opposite of courage in this world is not cowardice, so much as conformity”. (Rolls May)
If there was one thing that I took away from my sporting career, then it was that we need to be flexible enough to re-invent ourselves often. After having two arthroscopes on my knee, I could no longer play my much beloved soccer without incurring considerable pain and swelling. High impact activities were out for me, so I took to Mountain Biking, which I am still loving.
“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still”. (Franklin Roosevelt)
Life is oftentimes a do over. We need to work toward a greater truth than belief systems that we held from the past and are not serving us.
“What lies behind and what lies before are tiny matters compared to what lies within”. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
The belief system that I had installed from all the suggestions directed at me from school and beyond was that I was stupid. It is a belief system that I have worn well, like a hand in a glove. I have lived true to that identity for many years. From that, I have spent many years feeling hopeless, useless and worthless.
“Imaginary obstacles are insurmountable. Real ones aren’t”. (Barbara Sher)
How often does life deceive us with all glitz and glammer, only to discover that what lies beneath is a very different story.Alternatively what seemed so disastrous turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Watch a demonstration of this from the movie “Oz the Great and Powerful.
“You can’t trust your eye’s if your imagination is out of focus”. (Mark Twain)
The two gifts that I can thank my past experiences for are to have a deep empathy for people with their hurts and struggles from past experiences and an insatiable appetite to learn about human behavior. As I understand that we are social creatures and we learn from social proof, then I needed the role models that could take me where I wanted to go and not be stuck in some past version of myself that was not serving me well.
We are all modelling something and if we have not specifically identified what we are modelling by design then we are sleepwalking through life and will model society by default. Considering that the obesity rates have more than doubled since 1980 and depression has increased tenfold across developed nations in the last 40 years, then I am highly recommending against modelling society.
The power of contrast allows us to see things in a new light. Many of our values are formed by our perceived voids. Our social environment, the suggestions that have been made to us and our interpretations of them create our world view and our identity within that world view. In my case, it had been suggested to me many times from authority figures that I had subordinated to, that I was stupid. Naturally from this perceived void, I placed a huge value on intelligence.
“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers”. (Khalil Gibran)
As I learned from my sporting life that we need to re-invent ourselves oftentimes and that there is a gift in all things, then this amazing imagination that we all have can truly be exercised. It is not about gain or loss but about transformation. Not what happens to you, but what you become from what happens to you. We can choose to be a victim or a victor.
“We are all free to the point of choice, but then the choice controls the chooser”. (Mary Crowley)
Since social proof is what we learn from and I had been holding onto this version of myself that totally lacked intelligence, then I needed some role models that were more intelligent than the authority figures whom I had subordinated authority to from the past. So I started doing the research and exploration and came up with a number of people both past and present who would fit the criteria. Upon memorizing and pondering the thoughts and words of these people, it started to sink into my spirit.
Clearly Einstein had hit on what I had been doing most of my life. Comparing myself to others. It is very clear that this is one of our key drivers of depression as countries with high social expectations have very high rates of depression. In a society that is so focused on status, competing and comparing, measuring ourselves according to someone else’s expectations or judgement. When this is our world view, then we often will see ourselves coming up short. Compare this to the world view that we had when we were very young. Then we can once again use the power of contrast to make the key distinctions.
We were born to learn. To be ferociously curious, to have a playful adventurous spirit, inquisitive, to be fascinated with the wondrous miracle of life, filled with possibility and hope. This was our natural state. It is a transformational state because nothing just is.Everything is on the way, not in the way. There is no such thing as failure, just experimentation.
CRUSHING THE CYNIC MONSTER.
“A cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”. (Oscar Wilde)
If there is one thing that causes people to get stuck with an identity that is not serving them, then it is the cynic monster.
The thought that this is just the way that it was, this is the way it is and this is the way that it will always be. In relation to that, this is just who I am and for so many of us including myself so often in the past, it is at the end of hope and the beginning of despair. This is where learning, curiosity, possibility, wonder and anticipation stop. All the wonderful qualities that we were naturally born with. These are then replaced with arrogance, indifference, cynicism, apprehension causing distress, high pride and self-righteousness.
Regardless of whether we went with Science or religion, the transforming power is found in the same place. This source is the key driver of optimism, hope and possibility. It is the contemplating of the unknown, the power of the mysterious and the development of the ferociously curious.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause in wonder or stand wrapped in awe is as good as dead. His eyes are closed. (Albert Einstein)
Our energy state is very easy to determine here.Do you place your head space and invest time where you can regularly pause in wonder and be wrapped in awe or is it more like focusing on places where you are constantly pausing in horror and wrapped in fear?
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. (Hebrews 11.1)
WHAT ARE YOU EXPRESSING?
Everything we do is an expression of ourselves. The question is whether we express fascination or frustration?
Do we present our inspiration to the world or our discouragement? Our enthusiasm or our disinterest? Our appreciation or our depression.
If time and experience has only resulted in dumbing us down to develop a cynic’s mind, then it is time to re-learn what we already knew before we un-learned it. We were born to be progressive and to grow. No doubt that we are all growing but we cannot get away from the fact that whatever we feed grows. Do we continually feed our bitterness, resentment, regrets and victim mentality or our appreciation, possibility and an in dominatable, overcoming spirit?
It is always in the subtle distinctions that we need to be vigilant and conscious of because over time, they create the chasm between the continually frustrated and the ferociously fascinated. Between the inspired mind and the depressed mind.
“The happiness of most people is not ruined by fatal errors or catastrophe’s, but by the repetition of daily destructive little things”. (Ernest Dimnet)
Just as lung cancer was not developed from one cigarette and a person does not become obese after eating one too many donuts, most people suffering depression didn’t likely develop it in a day. It is a slow, insidious compounding process. Whilst we cannot change our destination overnight, we can change our direction. We can set a different sail and set a different course.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. (Dr Wayne Dyer)
So how do we take our frustration and turn it into fascination? How do we take our depression and turn it into inspiration and appreciation?
The way to change the way we look at things is through the power of contrast. You cannot appreciate a sunny day without a cloudy day. You cannot appreciate feeling great if you never felt poorly. You cannot experience fulfillment without perceiving a void. As we have already discovered, we were born with the greatest qualities already installed and the process of life can create this perception that they are removed. Anything you perceive as missing is only an obstacle illusion, but an opportunity to serve your purpose of life, which is to grow and learn. Growth does not occur on the mountain tops of life. They occur in the valleys where the soil is fertile. It is in the perceived failures, the challenges, the heart breaks, the pains, hurts and struggles.
In his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” Victor Frankl as a prisoner of war, watched as all his family and many of his friends were put to death. However, he was able to make some incredible discoveries about the power of the human spirit, whilst suffering the horrors of the Nazi death camps in such atrocious places as Auschwitz. Frankl was a psychiatrist, so he was able to disprove some theories that Sigmund Freud had deduced. Freud believed that if you strip a man of absolutely everything he has, that we would all be the same and just revert back to our primal fears. He believed that we are all just pleasure seeking beings. However, Freud’s theories were proven to be just that; theories. Victor Frankl had the chance to put the study to the test in the most practical, be it totally harrowing environment. He came to the conclusion that there is one thing that no-one can ever take away from you and that is your ability to choose your attitude. Those who were most likely to survive had a very strongly held vision in something after the horror would be over. Whether it was family to get back to or some strongly held purpose or meaning, those with such a vision reflected a certain energy that raised their probability of survival considerably. His study of logotherapy was ground breaking in the field of psychology.
Essentially, he discovered that when a person cannot realize his or her “will to meaning” in their lives, they will experience an abysmal sensation of meaninglessness and emptiness. The frustration from the lack of meaningful goals can easily give rise to aggression, addiction, depression and suicidal tendencies. It has also been strongly connected to an increase in psychosomatic maladies and neurotic disorders. He stated that ever more people have the means to live but no meaning to live for. Frankl believed that meaning came from three possible sources. Purposeful work, love and courage in the face of difficulty.
Let Rocky provide some inspiration and remind us that we are always better and bigger than the obstacle.
We just gotta KEEP MOVING FORWARD.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through the experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved”. (Helen Keller)
I will suggest to you that our striving for a life of ease is not serving us. Since when did ease become a virtue that added any value to ourselves or others?
“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value”. (Albert Einstein)
Wanting to have more but not become more is always a set up for failure, because growth is such an important human need. Fulfillment is not an end game. It is a dynamic process that is constantly evolving. This is where the ever growing rapid changes of modern society are reaping havoc with our emotional state, because if we have not developed the strength of character that is steadfast and assured from a purpose that inspires us to grow, then we are just blown around by the vagaries of pop culture, what’s in vogue, trendy, fashionable and needing to participate in status games in our incessant competing and comparing society.
“All the energy and influence we ever want in life is controlled by one thing. Whether or not we are purposefully acting as our highest selves. From that place of character flows grace and love, and in that place we find happiness and meaning”. (Brendon Burchard)
When this energy is directed into a mission and a vision that we are excited and passionate about working towards, it keeps us focused and clear and provides a sense of empowerment around who we are and what we are about. It provides definiteness of purpose. This is what I would call the truly wealthy mind and it is well worth examining it and breaking it down and then understanding how we can apply it in the most practical way.
Find out how in my free report “Depressions Gift.Blending the Secret Sauce to Transform Scarcity To Abundance”.