supertanker

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.

You, the Supertanker - Part 1

It’s really amazing how big supertankers are.  The largest one, the Seawise Giant, was 460 meters long (over ¼ mile) and fully loaded weighed over 560,000 metric tons.  That’s a lot of ship.

These ships don't go super fast, but once they get up to speed, they don't stop or turn easily.  Depending on a ship’s size, speed, weight and load, it can take a few kilometers for one of them to stop or reverse course.  Of course, considering the amount of momentum they have, that’s no surprise.  On top of that, when they turn, it can take over an hour.  That’s a bit slower than a sports car.

Our lives are like a supertanker at full speed.  We set a course in our 20s and for the most part stay on that trajectory.  We more or less stay the same weight; have about the same amount of money/income, similar types of jobs, and the same sorts of relationships.  We might stray from our norms sometimes, but usually find ourselves back on track – whether we like it or not – soon enough.

Of course, if we are satisfied there is no reason to change.  However, as I said in my last post, if we decide to make a change, one of the best ways is to connect with a guide we can trust.  Conversely, trying to charter a new course and failing can be because we don't have a guide we connect with.  This is still true.

The other way we usually fail to change course is if we give up too soon.

When we realize our ship has gone off course, one common reaction is a bit of a freak out – a frantic need to get back on track as soon as possible: “I don't like the way things are going.  I have to fix everything, NOW!” 

Of course, it’s a positive thing to make changes when life is going the wrong way.  The thing is that, just as it takes time to change a supertanker’s course, it takes time for us to go outside of our current course.  Though we might want to fix everything overnight, trying to do so can cause unnecessary stress and disappointment – especially if things don’t change right away. 

When I have a new client, I ask them to pre-pay for 7 weekly or bi-weekly sessions.  This is important because by pre-paying they are committing themselves to achieving their goals and, more importantly, they are sending their subconscious a message: “This is what we are going to do.  I expect you to get on board with it.”  By committing financially, the subconscious mind knows that we are serious and it will work with, instead of against us.  Likewise, because it is a set number of sessions, the subconscious feels a bit of pressure to meet the “deadline” we have created.

This, then, is the magic combination for success: a guide we connect with, good techniques, and our commitment to put in the time.  Sure, I’ve had clients get incredible changes after only 1 or 2 meetings but they are the exception rather than the rule.  Most of my clients need a bit more of a commitment to work on the various aspects of their goal.  By doing so, they can get long-term, satisfying results.

So, when you decide to permanently lose weight/get fit, start that company you’ve always dreamed of or to break and into a better wealth zone, remember to commit some time and money.  Make this investment in yourself and I am sure you will get a great return. 

Here’s the bad news: your ship would rather crash into an iceberg than change course.  Tune in next time to find out how your subconscious keeps you stuck on the course you are going and what you can do about it.