Time and time again we may invest in something because we like the sound of it. It promises so much, investing money, time or whatever else there is to invest. We get excited for a while and then a few days into it, we hit a block, we struggle to seek the right advice or do the research we need to do to overcome the obstacles in front of us and we fail to commit. Commitment being the key word here. We sit with the fear and uncertainty of being ridiculed. There is an old Japanese saying; “Kikuwa ittoki-no haji, Kikanuwa matudai-no haji” meaning, “To ask a question is a shame of a moment. Not to ask the question is a shame (regret) that lasts for your whole (eternal) life.”
Remaining in the comfort zone of ones routine, and essentially the life one might despise is what we know, choosing to ignore the fact that we have the choice to move beyond that zone and into a more exciting and fulfilling zone that will give us everything we ever dreamed of or wanted. The key is to commit and focus on the life you want rather than the life you have created with your limited thoughts and perceptions, that were shaped by parents and society that knew no better way of assisting you in creating the mind first that would get you to where you want. It’s a shame that we are not taught in school the necessary skills that will shape our mind and lead our life to be what it is today.
Think about the way you think and the things that you focus on. Are they positive or negative? Are you able to lead yourself away from an uncomfortable emotion and re-channel your energy into a positive one? For most people this is a daily struggle, and quite frankly, most don’t even realize they are being led by festering mind that has become rotten with useless information that is transferred to us by the media and the likes. If you’re one of those people that keep searching for a way to change but keep falling into the trap of going being to your old ways I will ask you one question which I heard in a lecture made once by John Assaraf. He was asked once by someone: “Are you interested in becoming a millionaire or are you committed to it?”.
So now I will ask you a similar question. Are you committed to change or are you simply interested? Change for you can mean anything, it can mean losing weight and getting fit, saving some money to go on that long awaited holiday, getting the dream job you have always wanted, or simply becoming a more organized person. The question is, how serious are you about this? Do you have mediocre feelings about this or are you ready to say, your life depends on it, or better yet, your children’s lives depend on it. Not your own, but your children. If you think about it, the way you live your life, if it is halfhearted or committed to all you do, the sad reality of this is that you are not only not living the life you want which may lead to regret, but you are also creating a prime example for your children on how they should think and live their lives. They don’t know any better and if you think they have their own minds to make up at some point you are sadly mistaken, because they will ultimately adopt the closest role model which they relate to and not necessarily the best one.
So how do you feel about this? What emotions are stirred inside of you? Stick with this for a minute and allow yourself to react. Does this realization lead you to feel shameful or upset in any way? If so, then this is a feeling you need to change. We are raised to feel inadequate or less than, not because we are, but because almost everyone is preoccupied with everything else rather than what is happening right now. As Pam Grout describes in her book E Squared about ‘A course in Miracles’; “Once you develop a thought system of any kind, you live by it, and teach it”. From a young age, while your mother breast fed you, the likelihood is that she was preoccupied with disciplining the other children. “Stop fighting with your brother Jenny!” Or “Ashley do your homework!” or perhaps she was simply thinking of all the things she had to do in the day. This unconsciously sent you a message that you were not enough. Because you were not being given the time you were entitled to be engaged with. Most mothers or caregivers have no idea that they are doing this and to be fair, you cannot blame them, because their mothers probably did the exact same thing. Or when picking you up from school or bathing you or the little time that was spent with you, was usually spent scolding you or correcting you, because there is always a better way. Of course there is. Children are always learning to better themselves, they can’t possibly know how to do everything perfectly from day one, otherwise everyone would be born the same age and die the same age. Don’t feel bad however, because most of the world was raised this way. It’s up to you now to take a REAL look at your life and create VALUE and appreciation where it is well deserved.
The first step you need to take and this is one not to be taken lightly is to simply commit. I say simply, because it really is that easy to make the decision to better your life. It’s much harder to watch your life going from wishy to washy and letting other people or factors control your life. It’s also far less rewarding. Once you have taken the first step and decide that you are all in, BET on yourself.
Behavior is the first step in this equation only because it is the easier to control than our emotions and thoughts. With this in mind, how we behave usually affects the way we think and feel. If we behave in a way that is consistent with our beliefs, then we are constantly standing up for ourselves or if you like cheering ourselves on in the game of life. When you allow other people to determine how you should behave, for example, you are asked by a colleague to help them with a project and you have your own deadline to meet in a few hours. You know you should say no but you feel guilty not to help. When you do help them even though you know you don’t have time, you are stomping on your own work ethic. A polite “give me a few hours and I will help you” would surely be appreciated. People appreciate honesty. You also allow them to do the right thing and avoid falling into the trap of feeling guilty when they find out you didn’t have time to help them to begin with. Another simple example is the clothing you wear, although this is not so much a behavior, it is an extension of who you believe you are. Rappers wear their pants with their underwear half showing, lawyers tend to suit up, perhaps these are stereotypes, but we have created them and it makes sense that our attire will say a lot about who we are. When you look presentable, you will also feel good about yourself. A little something we tend to underappreciate. Dressing how you would like to be and behaving positively also reinforces the thought. So whether you think you are amazing, great and lovable or whatever aspect pf yourself you wish to place value on will most of the time be determined by what you wear and how you behave. When you behave in a way that is consistent to your beliefs you reinforce the emotions and thoughts that are associated with those actions. For the next few days take note of how you behave, when you are on your own or with others. Does it feel right? Is there something you wish you could change? You will notice that when you allow your attention to be placed on your behavior, you will automatically want to behave in a way that is consistent with your values. Behaving as though you are on auto-pilot will no longer be an option.
Emotions are the second part of this equation. Now it may seem more logical that thoughts should come before emotions but this is not the case. Our emotions usually determine our thoughts. When we feel down, we usually reinforce this with a thought such as, “I’m not good enough” or “I’m such a loser”, or ‘I can’t even cook a meal”. When we feel a certain way, our thoughts are influenced, which in turn affects the mood of our day. How many times have you woken up late for work only to find yourself stumping your toes everywhere and forgetting where you left your keys (https://www.facebook.com/fylaktiskeyholders/). If you take a moment in bed before rising whether you’re late or not, just to feel gratitude, stretch for a minute or so and smile to yourself (behavior) even if you feel groggy and don’t want to, you will find your mood will shift to one of positivity and your thoughts will also go something like, ‘okay, what have we got on the agenda for today?’, instead of ‘oh crap, I’m going to be late again” and a wave pool effect is created.
As discussed before your thoughts are determined by your emotions and your behaviors, and in truth these are all interlinked, like the chicken and the egg question. Which came before which? It’s not absolute that our behaviors affect our emotions and these our thoughts, in fact most would say your thoughts affect your emotions and in turn these your behavior. I like to look at things differently. It’s certain that most millionaires or famous sports players are not in the frame of mind they need to be 100% of the time. This is absolutely impossible. It is possible however to train yourself to be committed to altering your energy so that it does not affect your life or better yet, so that it affects your life positively. You’ve all heard the saying you are what you eat, or what you think you become, and whether you think you can or not, you’re right. Now I don’t know if these quotes go exactly like this, but you get the gist of what I am saying.
If you look at all therapies and all self-help books etc., every motivational speaker from NLP to hypnotism all talk about these three things with thoughts being at the core, because how we talk to ourselves is of the utmost importance. Learn to love yourself and speak to yourself consciously as though you were talking to your child or to a valued friend. You wouldn’t dream of talking down to them or insulting them now would you? Next time you find yourself talking to yourself in a derogatory manner, stop and just listen to yourself. Your ego will feel ashamed simply because it now has an audience; an audience who disapproves of scolding. Using positive self-talk will improve your mood. Who ever felt motivated by negativity or scolding? If your parents talk to you badly or your teachers punished you when you were young for not doing things, or doing things wrong, the only reason you would do whatever it was or try again, was because you probably felt ashamed or afraid. If you were steered on positively and coached in a manner that fostered kind loving emotions, you would probably try harder and be keener to attempt whatever it is you were trying to achieve. Keep this in mind next time you talk to yourself. If you find difficulty being positive when it comes to your inner child, try listening to some of Louis L Hay’s Inner Child meditation exercises. They can help improve the way you look at yourself to begin with.