In Moments of Low, Hidden Perspectives Matter Most.

A precursor to Inner Activation


Do you matter?


I mean, in the bigger scheme of things, do you feel that what you do matters?


It’s a tough conversation because as far as I know, it often feels like the things you are doing don’t matter. It’s easier to look at someone and say “wow that person is amazing” or “I wish I had those kind of {insert result here}”.


You’ve often heard – If you want the results, though, you must be willing to pay a certain price for it. But I can’t help but feel that there’s a significant number of people out there who are paying all kinds of prices for things they never asked for. And I know it sucks.


It makes you look at the dark spots in your life, when in reality, that’s just one spot on a generally spotless canvas. When you zoom into that dark spot, however, it tends to look as if the world is full of darkness. When you zoom out, you can see less of the darkness and more of the light.


A client of mine once had a breakdown of his family relationships even though he was a highly successful regional leader. It seemed ironic, but how can one person be so strong in one area, and so inadequate in another area? The problem was less that he was being judged by other people. Rather, he was collapsing due to the heavy load of his expectations of himself. Rather than saying “I’m a globally recognized leader, and I can do this”, his mindset was “I’m supposed to be a global leader, and I can’t even handle my family properly, what a loser I am”. This is a tragic turn of events that I am hoping to help people to correct and transcend.


I have a basic philosophy of learning, which is, if others can do it, so can I. It’s just a question of the inner workings of your mind that bring you to execute on a strategy. But while this seems simple to do, it is also extremely challenging to do. For one, it requires you to approach the problem with no preconceived notions. And if the world’s social media has anything to prove, it is the fact that all humans have preconceived notions, and most of them cause nothing but heartache for the most part.


So if you were aiming to transform your life, you have to first transform your way of thinking. The impact you have on the world is directly related to the level of skills you have, the level of mental agility you have, and the level of action (in a given context) you take.


Skills (What You Are Good At Doing)


This leader, I shall call him DX, was a highly skiilled individual. I’d go into something called skills mining. In many cases, we are so unconscious about things we are good at doing that we forget how good we are at it. You have to begin a skills audit that makes you get clear about where you are good. The simplest way to do this is to think about ten things you are really good at doing first, and ask people to rate you on a scale of 1 to 10.


Wait, what? I already think I’m good at this but I want others to rate me?


Well, yes. This is all a perspective game. You may have overvalued some of the things that you do to a point that you have lost sight of things people truly value about you.


After they have rated you, ask them to send you input about what greatness they see about you. Often, you wouldn’t ask just anyone. But the fact is that with social media these days, it is easy to get people to respond to a simple question – “what do you think of me”.


I’m under no illusion that it is accurate. I’m just suggesting that whatever information that appears is likely to cause you to ponder further about who you are, and your many facets, good or bad.


In DX’s case, he made a list of his skills and he was pretty much surprised at how consistent he was with his peers’ opinions. From this list, we could see how to apply what he was already good at doing, and consciously apply that set of skills into his family relationship. A good example was how he consistently followed up with his team members to find out how to develop them well and support them. So when I asked him if he was doing this at home, he realized that he did this far less at home. When asked how it would impact his relationships if he applied his skillsets to home, he was blown away.


In case you are wondering, I didn’t do a single thing to “change” or “transform” him. I am the psychological chiropractor. When I can find alignment that is helpful, I make that happen with the least amount of effort. From an observer’s viewpoint, the simplest thing is “common sense”. It’s obvious for an outside that you have to open the door and walk out of a dark room. But it is not the outcome that matters here. It is the process that leads to that outcome.


Level of Action


I have come to believe something completely different, because of the pharmaceutical industry.


You see, when they make a formula to do something to your body they often do it in isolation. For example, if something blocks the production of cortisol (a stress hormone) in your body, you could technically say it reduces stress. It is a simple formula for success. Find a problem and solve the symptom.


Unfortunately, this is a challenge in life itself. When we understand the mechanism but not the system, our life becomes mono-dimensional. If you felt inadequate, you could spiral into depression. That’s not uncommon. But when the apparent problem is depression, and the real problem is that you haven’t got enough skill or experience in doing something leading to depression, the apparent solution is taking a pill for depression. The real solution is to accept that you don’t have the skill or experience, and approach the problem a little differently.


DX thought that his problem was his arguments with his family members. That was the apparent problem. The real problem was that he and his family members were under a huge amount of change and stress during a time where new family dynamics were taking place in an environment that was stressful and uncertain. In the context of understanding the real problem, DX came to realize that all was not lost, because he could shift to attend to the problem by seeing what action can be done.


At one level, the apparent level, the action cluster prolongs the problem but numbs the pain. At the real level of solutions, the action cluster reduces the problem, even if the level of pain might increase.


Mental Agility (how adaptable is my thinking)


Beliefs are significant layers in our mind. If I believe I am worthless, I will operate in worthless ways. Most people therefore, think of eliminating the belief that is at odds with their outcome.


Mental agility is the ability to shift from one level or one perspective to another that is more viable. For instance, you may have gotten stuck on a problem before, such as feeling that you are a nobody, that others are better than you, etc.


If you think about people who have been helped by you, and revisit what they say about you, then you are likely to take a new perspective. If you think about people who were grateful for your presence, then you will think of yourself quite differently.


Hence, I have often thought of beliefs not just as a “thing” you have but rather a series of layers that cover the truth of the situation. Often, a chain of layers of beliefs leads to a mistaken conclusion, leading to you making the wrong kind of decision.


Take for instance, buying a coaching program. Many people aim to learn from experts in the field of marketing because they have an apparent problem with their marketing. The truth is that there is a layered reason why they have a problem with their marketing. They may not know enough. This is easy to deal with. But what if they never connected with the identity as a marketer in the first place? What if they belief about their marketing capabilities is as tiny as a grain of sand in the ocean?


So the action you take from looking at the belief at one level causes you to look at the problem very differently. If you could shift the way you look at your belief (not necessarily the belief itself), you could potentially transform your way of life.


DX, for instance, was applying a poorly contextualized belief in his life. He felt that he was respected in the workplace, leading him to have more desire to hang around in the office, leading him to interact more with his colleagues, and more opportunity to serve his community. However, a deeper belief that he had that was preventing him from going home was the mistaken belief that things would sort themselves out at home. Obviously, DX had underestimated what was happening at home. So, he would get upset because others did not fit his expectation of “family”. When exploring this feeling of upset, the truth was a few layers beneath it. It was saying that he felt inadequate and that his world was collapsing and he did not know why. Inadequacy was telling him that he needed to develop himself in a direction that would match his intentions.


And there, his solution was born. Not to ignore it, but to uncover the real solution rather than work on the apparent solution.


Conclusion


At some point, you need to learn to believe that you have all you need to deal with the challenges you face. Just like a general marching an army into enemy territory, the way you use your troops (capabilities) is far more important than the number of your troops. Attacking the apparent enemy hideout is likely to land you in an ambush. Seeking out the real enemy that matters is going to put you in a higher probability of victory. More importantly, realizing that you think in a manner that begets war helps you to adjust your way of thinking so that you review your assumptions and beliefs to figure out if you have a different layer of belief you need to resolve or consider.


In moments of difficulty, choose to become better.

See also  Mirrors of Self Reflection

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