self-development

You, the Supertanker – part 2.

Last time I made the metaphor that your life is like a supertanker going full speed and that it takes time to change course.  Continuing the metaphor, what would it be like if you went to change course and nothing happened?  What would happen if the ship’s parts were stuck or no matter how much you turned the wheel, you kept heading towards a rocky shoal?  That would be a nightmare, right?

Well, I have bad news for you: this is kind of how it is when it comes to making course corrections in our lives.  Have you ever tried to make an important change in your life only to find yourself back where you started?  You try to lose weight, get fit, be a better leader or improve your finances but no matter how hard you try, everything seems to stay the same?  If your life were a ship, it might feel like your steering mechanism is frozen.

That’s because it is frozen.  Our subconscious – the part of us that manages the myriad of habits and programs that move us through our life – is doing what it is designed to do: keep things “normal.”  That is to say that our subconscious habits, thoughts and actions are designed to keep us from making changes to our life.  Our subconscious is so good at it’s job that even if we try hard to break a lifestyle or habit, it will keep things just as they are, or, even worse, if we start seeing some success in our new endeavor, it will rearrange things so that we fall back into the old lifestyle or habit – even if it is harmful to us – because that is what it knows.

Do you always have seconds at dinner?  You probably feel dissatisfied if you can’t go back for more.  Think your staff is incompetent?  Perhaps you only seem to notice instances when they made mistakes.  Think you’ll never get rich?  It’s difficult to do when you always have to have the latest tech gadget.  Program your subconscious to do and think a certain way and it will show you the results you tell it to.

Sure, we may want to lose weight, be a better leader or make more money, but the subconscious has other plans: keep things the same.  Anything that is not what you are used to is conveniently ignored or sabotaged.  Consciously trying to change habits and thoughts is like trying to get out and push a ship with your bare hands.  It takes so much focus and discipline that most of us give up after a short, valiant effort.

No wonder people get depressed.

So, the question is, if we are programmed to stay on the course that we have followed for so long, how can we get out of that rut?  A ship’s captain would call a repair team and get them to replace/fix the malfunctioning parts, right?  Who says we can’t do the same with our subconscious?  Our subconscious got programmed to act the way it does in the first place, are we so inflexible that we can’t reprogram it for a better way?

This is exactly what a good guide can do for you.  Instead of trying to make conscious changes, a good guide helps reprogram underlying habits that stop us from the kind of life we dream about.  A good guide can help you change the way you think about and perceive things so you can naturally change course.

So, rather than trying to force yourself to not go for seconds at dinner, why not reprogram your satiation gauge to need less food?  When changing your leadership style, instead of forcing yourself to act unnaturally, why not adjust your engine output to guide your team in a more balanced way?  If you are trying to be more efficient with your budget, why not replace your fun-o-meter with one that allows you to enjoy entertainment that is less expensive but still satisfying?

By reprogramming your subconscious, you naturally change your habits and perspectives.  It can be so effective that you will forget why you used to do things differently.  You will soon find that you don't even need to turn the wheel to move away from the rocky shoals because your ship itself will automatically course correct.  It will automatically steer you away from the life you had into the life you want because that is what it now knows.

Sounds better than getting out to push, doesn't it?

Next time learn how dopamine will drive your life if you don't drive it.

Am I the Best for You?

Have you ever had a discussion about which martial art is the best?  You know, the one where someone says that Karate beats Tae Kwon Do because it’s more “grounded?”  Or, that Aikido is most dangerous because it uses the opponent’s attack against them?  Or, that Jeet Kune Do is best because Bruce Lee developed it?

Martial artists love this kind of talk.  It’s fun to contemplate what style is better by analyzing and comparing techniques.  After having done martial arts for almost 25 years, though, I have come to a different conclusion.  Sure, there are technical differences that might make one art nominally better than another depending on the situation or the practitioner’s body type, but when it comes to self-defense, which style we know isn’t as important as whether we are going to be able to use it when we need it.

Though there are many factors that influence this, one of the most important is who taught us.  Is the teacher proficient?  Can s/he communicate what s/he knows?  Is s/he patient?  These and other factors influence how well a teacher can instill the tenets of his/her art into students.  Likewise, a teacher who can do this for the most people is considered the “best” teacher – and most of us want to be with the best when we learn something, right?

Here’s the thing, though: your teacher doesn't need to be the “best,” s/he only needs to be the best for you.  There are plenty of great teachers out there but even the best teachers don't connect with all students.  Mrs. Robertson was the best math teacher in my Jr. high but I know that not all students connected with her style of teaching.  Interestingly, those who didn't connect with her seemed to do well with another math teacher – different strokes for different folks.

So, when someone asks me which martial art is best, I tell them to do the one with a teacher they connect with.

The same is true with self-improvement.  In the last 30-40 years, many effective techniques have been developed, and, just as with martial artists, people in the field like to argue which techniques are most effective for self-development.  Again, as with martial arts, I think that most techniques have merit and can help people improve their lives.  It is the person we work with that makes the key difference.

The main technique I use is NLP and every once in awhile someone tells me that s/he thinks NLP doesn't work.  I’m always surprised when I hear this because I disagree.  Considering all the great results I’ve had with clients I can’t understand how anyone could pooh-pooh a system that works so well. 

You can imagine that I’ve concluded the reason for their opinion is because they must not have had a good connection with their guide.  This saddens me because I have seen people make remarkable improvements in their lives using self-development techniques.  Of course, I think the improvements came not so much from the techniques as much as from that magical connection between guide and client.

So, if you have tried self-development but haven’t seen improvement or didn't think it worked, ask yourself if you liked/trusted/connected with your guide.  In most cases, lack of success comes from a lack of connection between client and guide causing the client to give up before seeing results. 

When you embark on the path to an improved life, make sure you feel good about your guide.  If you do, the results will be impressive.  If not, you’ll walk away disappointed and a guide will lose an opportunity to make the world a better place.

Which brings me back to the title of this post: though I’m good at what I do, unless you and I have that connection, I won’t be the best for you and your desire to improve your life.  Remember that when you choose your guide and you’ll be able to achieve exciting results.

Tune in next time to find out why you are a lot like a supertanker.