A Thought…

What you believe shapes your experience of life.

What would your life look like if you did not believe what you believe about yourself and the world?

IF you don’t like your life, change your beliefs

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How urgency stops you being at your best

urgency

The human temptation is to prioritise taking action on what is urgent. Urgency is a state of mind, in which you have the feeling that you ‘have to act now’, to avoid a perceived unpleasant consequence. People use creating a sense of urgency to attempt to manipulate their own and other people’s thoughts and actions, sometimes through over-committing themselves or others.

It is a way of getting a result, but the quality of the result could be far higher if people used a different mechanism.

The human mind operates on the basis of being 5 times more inclined to perceive a threat than it is to see a possible reward. On a day to day basis, it operates like a radar scanning for danger, and putting 5 times as much effort into that as it does scanning for opportunity. It is scanning for the danger of exposing feelings associated with a threat – fear, failure, anxiety, shame, isolation, humiliation, rejection, unfairness etc. When it perceives a danger or potential threat, the ego part of the brain automatically takes over and without thinking, drives the owner down a well practised path of self defence to escape the immediate perceived danger.

It is a reactive, automatic process, and one that requires no thinking from the individual affected. Their thinking, if you could look inside their brain would be something like‘what do I have to do to avoid getting caught out here?’, or ‘what will keep me looking good in this situation?’ They are thoughts of self defence.

This reactiveness becomes an addictive form of behaviour, as by avoiding the perceived threat, you experience a brief reward by feeling relief – the threat is no longer there. The mind will create urgency in order to get this feeling of relief. It is not long lasting however, and within minutes, the same mechanism is back scanning the environment for danger, the feeling of relief forgotten.

Whereas this ‘fight or flight’ reaction may be fine in certain circumstances, when over used, or in situations that do not represent a real threat, it diminishes the person’s ability to be at their best, as it is always has the primary purpose of self protection. Putting all your energy into self protection means that there is nothing left to work towards creating a more productive, longer term outcome or solution to the situation, and there is no room for the quieter, more productive parts of your brain to contribute.

People at their best are not using reactive same thought patterns. If you could look inside their heads, you would see a different process. They have made a considered response in relation to a stimulus (moving beyond the automatic behaviour in reaction to a perceived threat), and have chosen their action.

On the outside, you may see a calmness; a peaceful, powerful intentionality in their way of being. They are not acting primarily in order to defend themselves, as although they may perceive a threat, they are able to work beyond their mind’s automatic reactive processes, and are tapping into a different part of their brain. Their efforts and actions are in line with a different perspective – perhaps ‘what works best here?’, or ‘what has to happen for this to move ahead?’

They have taken a conscious responsibility for their behaviour, choosing their behaviour in response to the circumstantial stimulus, rather than being reactive.

Responsive behaviours involve a pause to inwardly reflect on what is possible beyond just self defence. That pause is critical to see and stop the automatic escape or fight mechanism running its course.

So next time you find yourself feeling driven by urgency, just pause and check in with yourself. Ask yourself ‘who is running the show right now – my ego (defence) or my better self (looking for an outcome which is in line with my values)?’ That pause to question is in itself often enough to choose a path which will give you a better outcome than just survival.

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Does life have to be like playing Whack-a-mole all the time?

whack a mole

Have you ever played that game whack-a-mole? It is a carnival/ arcade game that involves hitting mechanical moles with a mallet as they pop up from their holes.

One of the attractions of playing whack-a-mole is that it is very engaging, and gives an instant feeling of power and success. The quicker you react and hit the ‘mole’ popping up, the quicker you get the momentary relief, and score points for doing it better, or faster than someone else.

Like many games, the reason it is successful is that it engages your ego, and the satisfaction gained from playing it is short lived. For some, it can become addictive, and players look for more and more opportunities to ‘win’.

Do you ever truly win though? You get a short lived intense buzz from it, but have parted with your money to even engage in the game, and it does not leave you feeling any more at peace with yourself, or to have really gained anything meaningful as a result.

Entertaining though it may be for a short spell, imagine playing whack-a-mole all day every day. It would become exhausting – it requires constant vigilance, there is no respite; the periods of ‘rest’ are tainted with a tension, knowing that something else is going to pop up that requires your attention to deal with or squash down.

The term whack-a-mole is now used in popular culture to describe ‘the practice of repeatedly getting rid of something, only to have more of that thing appear’

Is that what your life feels like to you – a constant round of getting rid of something, only to have more of that thing appear? This could be the same destructive relationship types keep appearing in your life, or moving jobs only gives you a short lived buzz. Or does it describe your firefighting relationship with money? Any situation where you are having to be constantly alert, only to have more of the same cropping up after you have temporarily ‘dealt’ with it is like playing whack-a-mole, and played over the long term it becomes pretty exhausting, and ultimately unfulfilling.

So does life have to be like playing whack-a-mole? Is it the only game available?

There is always a choice. It can take some time and effort to wean yourself off seeing the world as a giant whack-a-mole game, but there are alternatives. Seeing and choosing one or some of those alternatives can give you a different experience of life, one that serves you better and is more fulfilling and more enjoyable for you. When engaged in whack-a-mole, there is only space to be reactive – that is the nature of the game; deal with the crisis as it appears. But as mentioned, played for too long, this is ultimately a way of living that costs you dear in terms of your health, well being and personal expression – hitting down moles becomes no longer fun.

Perhaps it is time for you to look for an alternative game, or framework through which to live your life. If you are ready and willing to explore that for yourself, please do get in contact.

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Why making decisions is a waste of time

We’ve all faced making a tough decision at some time in our lives. And just at the point of making a decision, we can become indecisive.

It’s easy to build up a logical list of all the ‘pros’ towards one course of action, and it is equally easy to compile all the ‘cons’ too. We very cleverly build up equal weight on both sides to prevent ourselves seeing a clear winner. Net result, stuck – no decision made, no further action taken, indecision rules.

Why is it apparently so difficult to make a decision?

The whole decision making process is developed from your ego. As your egos job is to protect you by increasing stability, predictability and removing the unknown, it has cleverly developed a decision making system which is flawed from the start. It is a process designed to not come up with a clear winner, because declaring a winner and taking actions commensurate with that decision would expose you to risk – you could be held responsible (it’s your fault) if you ‘get it wrong’.

So if you find yourself stuck being indecisive at some point, what is an alternative?

Make a choice instead. You do not make choices for a reason (logic) after tabulating a list of pro’s and con’s. You make them based on your gut instinct and intuition.

Trust that you will be capable of dealing with the consequences, and very effectively too, because the world supports people who are rolling on, as well as those who are stuck. You have lived to whatever age you are now and have survived, so trust that you will at least do the same when you make a choice.

Your intuitive choice is not based on logic, so you make a choice for no reason, other than it ‘feels’ the right one at the time. And if it doesn’t work out to your satisfaction, make another choice, and another, and another. Being able to, and actually making choices is one definition of freedom.

Next time you are faced with a difficult decision, don’t make it. Make a choice instead.

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Thought for the month

Be still for a moment. Be here now. See what happens.

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UK talk radio interview broadcast later this week

Just to give you a heads up, I was interviewed last week by Geoff Carter of UK Talk Radio, an internet radio station based in the South of England.

They have been running a series of interviews about wellbeing, and he said that he was interested to hear about my coaching process, particularly in taking out things that get in the way of people being at their best, rather than adding in new tips and techniques.

I haven’t heard the final cut, but Geoff tells me it will be broadcast this coming Friday at about 5pm, during their drive time slot.

So if you want to listen, it will be about 10-15 minutes long, and you can tune in at http://www.uktalkradio.org, and click on to their live feed tab at the top of the page. And if you miss that one, the interview will be rebroadcast on the Sunday ‘best of the week’ show, sometime between 10am and 1pm.

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The new ‘Relationship Seminar’ is open!

Join this new evening seminar, starting 3 June 2015.

In this 8 week seminar, you will get to work on your relationship with anything in your life that is not working as you would like it to be.

This could be your love life, money, work, health – any area of your life where you notice an absence of freedom and joy.

You will see how your hidden mindset, beliefs and thought patterns keep you locked in a place of powerlessness in that relationship. You will find new ways of relating to these areas of weakness that create space for you to experience more power and ease, and build the relationships that you desire.

For more information, see the Clarity Seminars page of my website.

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