“The way to develop decisiveness is to start right where you are, with the very next question you face.”
In our last posts, titled How This One Thing Can Change Your Life for the Better…
- You learned of your real-life superpower (to think).
- You saw that thought is the parent of every action—and of inaction.
- You saw that the ability to consciously, deliberately choose your thought is the difference between success and failure, between happiness and misery and between greatness and mediocrity.
- And you saw that by harnessing and directing this superpower, you have the ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and create the circumstances you choose.
Great. Are we enlightened yet?
Patience young grasshopper.
Here’s the pebble you must grasp:
There is a question to be answered; and the answer determines the direction of your entire life. It’s a question that is staring you in the face in every moment of your existence. And to ignore it, is to renounce your supreme power and dominion.
The question is this:
Which thought, should you choose!?
Have you been choosing your thoughts consciously? Or have you been allowing them to choose you? Are you living your life on purpose? Or are you just reacting like Pavlov’s dog?
The lesson of episode 1 can be boiled down to 2 words:
Deep down somewhere you already knew this. You already knew that it’s all up to you to create what you want in life. But does that responsibility feel like a blessing, or a burden?
You’ve been told time and again to “think positively”. But while you’re busy thinking so called “positive thoughts” such as “I’m in charge”, “I’m determined”, “I can beat this”, “I’ll do whatever it takes”, the message that’s coming through loud and clear is:
It takes a lot of disciplined effort to change things; to climb ladders. Why else would you need to be determined?
The quality of the thought you’ve been choosing is not “I’m a winner”. The quality of the thought you’ve been choosing is “It’s hard”. That’s why it feels hard. That is, unless you already feel like a winner. In which case, you snatched the pebble.
I gave the examples of Helen Keller and Mohandas Gandhi and how they overcame seemingly insurmountable circumstances. And while for a moment you were probably inspired by these incredible stories of the power of the human spirit; your next thought was probably more along the lines of:
“But they are exceptional. How am I ever going to be as great as Gandhi? Sometimes I struggle to even drag my sorry Ass out of bed in the morning.”
Besides which, I really don’t want to become an ascetic monk. I’m not particualy taken with the idea of leading any revolutions. I just want the stuff that I want.
Well good for you. I admire that honesty.
So I’m going to be be equally honest:
I’m not going to tell you to get motivated (too much effort).
I’m not going to tell you to recite affirmations (they’re rubbish).
I’m just going to tell you to make a simple choice. It’s an easy choice to make. But you have to make it deliberately; you have to make it consciously; and you have to make it continually.
The Key to Your Superpower
“No man can succeed in a line of endeavor which he does not like.”
You’re thinking thoughts all day long, whether you’re paying attention to them or not. And each thought either adds energy or resistance to a particular course of action.
Thoughts of “It’s fun”, “it’s easy”, “it’s good” add energy. Thoughts of “it’s hard”, “it won’t work”, “what if I fail?” add resistance. Pretty simple, ain’t it? Thought is the ancestor of every action, and there can be no action without it.
Unfortunately, the emphasis on the power of acting versus thinking tends to be misplaced. People notice that the way many things get done is through physical motion or interaction of some kind so there’s a popular meme that the way to be more effective and successful is to work harder and do as much as possible. “Don’t just think about it, take action!”, you’re told time and again. But acting is only half the story.
If, in the moment of your action you feel unsure, or doubtful, or resistant, or ineffective it’s because a good portion of your thoughts are still in conflict with that course of action. You are divided.
Acting from that standpoint is not enjoyable. It feels like hard work. It feels like an uphill battle. And your action lacks conviction. Pretty soon, you burn out, or meet with some kind of obstacle, and give up. You feel like a failure and you wonder why with all your hard work and good intentions you can’t seem to make any headway.
It’s not your fault.
The same would happen to anybody if they went around thinking your thoughts all day. Who could blame you?
Hey—I kid, I kid!
…but not really. Your thoughts did it.
So, what should you do instead?
The solution is actually to ease up. Don’t charge into action right away, but to take some more time to better align your thoughts with your desired outcome. When you remove the resistant thoughts then the action not only becomes natural, but enjoyable. You no longer need to psych yourself up to get “motivated” or “disciplined” because there’s no resistance that need be overcome. You act as you feel like it, but since your feelings are now aligned towards the attainment of your goal progress seems free and easy.
In other words: you make it fun.
That’s the secret of people who just seem to just breeze through life effortlessly. It’s fun for them. Their beliefs are aligned with their desires, so everything becomes easier. And everyone who finds true success has experienced this to some degree. If you don’t love the process then you’re not going to like the results; because nobody can make a success of something when their heart just isn’t in it.
Many people will say you can’t just do what you feel like if you want to be successful. Success requires discipline and hard work. That statement comes from an expectation that one’s feelings run contrary to one’s goals, but that only happens when your thoughts are resistant.
How To Choose Freedom
In every moment you’re presented with a choice of which thought to think next.
Your options are not infinite. At any given time, most thoughts are not available to you. The ones that are available are the ones that are pretty similar to the thoughts you were just thinking. So your choices are fairly limited.
And that’s good. That makes this easier.
Because the good choice is always obvious. Once you take a moment to tune in a feel for it. All you have to do, is weigh up the choices, and choose whatever thought makes you feel better in the moment.
Keep this up for a short while, and it’s like super-compound interest. Pretty soon your choices start to look a whole lot better.
Try it now and see. Think of someone or something that’s been bugging the hell out of you all week and notice that hot, strangling sensation that springs up (that’s the emotion called frustration, or resentment)—the feeling mirrors what you’d like to do to that person.
Now make an ernest effort to find just one thing that you honestly appreciate about that person or circumstance (if it’s a rocky relationship, you might have to project back in time to find something to appreciate; but you can always find something). It’s not about the words. Don’t just come-up with some bullshit platitude that sounds “positive”—you actually have to invest some energy to change the course of your thinking (an object in motion tends to stay in motion…).
Now, assuming you made the effort, focus on the new thought and watch what happens to how you feel.
Did it change? If you made an earnest effort, then, yes it did. And now you know that you—and you alone—are in total control of how you feel. And since how you feel is basically the only thing that matters in life, you’re king of the castle.
If you exercise that focusing muscle until it becomes second nature, then you’ll find your thoughts just naturally gravitate towards positivity, optimism, appreciation and fun. And when you hang around in that space, you’ll be presented with all kinds of genius ideas and solutions that just aren’t available when you’re hanging around with pessimism and doubt. Plus, you’ll actually be inspired to do the things that will create meaningful, positive change in your life.
And even more importantly: you’ll be free. You’ll be free of the thoughts that keep you from enjoying life. And pretty soon you’ll have no excuse not to go live it however you want to.
Notice that the “positive thought” is not the one that is all gung-ho and determined. At least—it’s not necessarily that thought. It’s simply the thought that is less resistant. Or said slightly differently—it’s the one that feels better.
So, the answer to the million dollar question—which thought should you choose?
“The one that feels better.”
The one that feels better is invariably the one that seeks to appreciate rather than complain. It’s the one that looks for the best in things, not the worst in things. It’s the one that feels like acceptance rather than judgement. It’s the one that feels like letting go rather than holding on.
You can’t always get to a super-happy-happy-joy-joy thought. Sometimes you’re too tired, or angry or discouraged. That’s okay. That’s all par for the course. Just do the best you can in each moment. But do it deliberately.
Don’t choose guilt.
Don’t choose judgement.
Don’t choose obligation.
Just choose freedom. And you’ll be free.