Model of the world

Master These 2 Things- Master Your Life

After spending years scouring self help books for the best and brightest techniques and insights, I have come to see that it is pretty simple. There are two things that determine the quality of our lives- the quality of our experience on this earth- as long or as short as it might be. People are generally not happy with their life and they look to their external circumstances to justify it. They blame their job, their financial situation, the government, their boss, their partner, society, etc. The issue becomes that if these external forces are really to blame for your difficult life, then why even try? Why not give up? These are 100% outside of our control. Well most people do give up and resort to life of bitching and moaning (and most certainly a life of quiet desperation). 

While the external circumstances might not be ideal or fertile. We do have control over two things that will ensure you reach your goals, dreams and ultimate destiny. Rather than spending all your time on things that are outside of your control (other people, institutions, society, etc), if you just focused each day on these two simple things- the quality of your life would be completely different. After a day or two, you might not see a tangible difference. Though after a year or two, you be in a completely different place and more importantly the trajectory of your life would be different. 

So what are these two things that will change your life, change your business, change your relationships and transform your existence on this planet?

 #1: STATE

Our moment to moment emotional state is the driving force in our life. It is the engine that propels the ship. Our emotional state dictates our perception about what is happening (the meaning we ascribe the external stimuli) and what we should/ how we should respond. Have you ever had a time where said something or did something so stupid and foolish that you thought to yourself “How could do that?” It wasn’t your intellect, it was your state. Out of a shitty emotional state- we do stupid things as humans. We hurt people, act irrationally, become enraged and lose control. 

The quality of our overall life is determined by the quality of our emotions that we consistently live in. The moment I understood this, and I mean REALLY understood it at the gut level- my life changed. I no longer stayed chained down to negative emotions. While the negative emotions still would show up, I refused to stay with them for an extended period of time. I intuitively knew that if I could spend the majority (90-95%) of my waking existence in states of love, peace, joy, curiosity, passion and playfulness, I would have a hell of a life and attract everything I needed in the world. Funny enough a year and half later- the shit I set out to get- came to me. I had an entirely new career. Met the love of my life. And have been more financially and emotionally prosperous than I ever had been in the past. And this didn’t come about because I micromanaged every action step along the way. It came to be as a result of who I had become and am still becoming. I raised my emotional vibration. I literally tuned into a different emotional “radio station”. This higher frequency is about having a different posture in your life- emotionally. 

People want to focus on what behaviors they need to change in order to reach their goals. Behaviors alone will not get you there. It is the quality of those behaviors that will determine your success and fulfillment. And the emotion is what drives and dictates the quality of your actions, behavior and experience. Without the right emotion, you’ve got nothing. Now with the right emotion, you can anything. Whether it is being creative, playful, determined or certain- you will find the way. And if there is not a way, you will make the way. Resourcefulness is the ultimate resource.

 When it comes to managing your state it comes down to 2 basic things.

1. Physiology. 80% of the way we feel can be attributed to the way in which we move our body. If we are stiff, rigid, breathing shallowly and frowning- you will be depressed. However if you master your physiology and condition yourself to smile, breath, relax and be energetic in your posture and gestures- you’ll be amazed at how good you feel. The quality of your life will be different. We tend to think that somethings that happen to us make us mad, sad or feel bad, when 80% of the time, our negative feelings are just a result of shifting into a shitty physiology. We just make the colossal error of attributing it to an external stimuli/event.

2. Focus. Our focus and attention determine our reality. And our focus is determined by our questions. We are unconsciously asking ourselves questions at every second of the day. We ask ourselves, “What does this mean?” and “What am I going to do?” This is how we make meaning of our external circumstances. The problem with our unconscious questions is that they tend to be looking at the problem and what’s wrong (in order to protect us and keep us alive). Therefore it is time to consciously take control of our focus and begin to master the questions we consciously ask ourselves. If we just ask our self a good question one time- we will get a temporary shift in focus. However if we repeatedly ask ourselves these empowering questions over and over- we will sustain a more lasting change in our focus. Focus is power. We get what we focus on. When driving your car, if you’re focused on hitting the wall- you will hit the wall. in order to direct our attention, we must master our questions. And here is a list of a few empowering questions that if asked (consistently) will shift your focus and ultimately your emotional state

-What is great about this?

-What am I proud about?

-What is the opportunity here?

-What else could this mean?

-How could I make this experience more enjoyable?

These are just a few questions. Mastering these questions in and of themselves will entirely change the complexion of your life. Now to the second thing that will change your life.

2. OUR MODEL OF THE WORLD

 This is the set of glasses you see the world through- your personal paradigm. This also includes your beliefs about who you are and what you believe you’re capable of (your identity).  Additionally it is also the beliefs you hold about the world as a whole- how the world works, your beliefs about other people and the meaning of life. If our moment to moment state is the engine of our ship. Our model of the world is the steering wheel. It directs and guides us and really determines our ultimate trajectory and destiny. Because if you have a belief that people are rotten. It is unlikely you will have fulfilling relationships, a successful business and a happy life. Yet if you believe everybody has something to offer you, you will be amazed at the opportunities that will be available in your life. Our model of the world effects us the most long term. If we have a limited model of the world- we might have a good year or 2, but our ceiling will ultimately be low and we will be entrapped by our limiting beliefs- just as an elephant is to the flimsy stake in the ground. 

This is what Tom Bilyeu calls “breaking out of the matrix”. I love his terminology because life is played on the 6 inch battlefield between our ears. As humans we like to imprison ourselves with our limiting beliefs. Therefore by understanding your current model of the world and its limits- you can break out of the prison of your mind and expand yourself and your life. 

A great book that will drastically shift and challenge your current model of the world is A Course in Miracles. The daily workbook exercises are also hugely beneficial for keeping your on track and helping your break out of the matrix. 

When it comes down to your own personal journey and transformation. We don’t need more knowledge. We need more insight. Most of self help and personal development focuses on knowledge and information. While insight is the process of challenging and expanding one’s model of the world and exposes their beliefs that keep them chained in the prison of their mind. 

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Let Me Know This Brother As I Know Myself

Think about your everyday life and all the people you come into contact with. You probably interact with family, loved ones, relatives, friends, co-workers and a lot of strangers- clerks, waiters, mailmen, etc. We have perceptual filters that discriminate these various relationships in our lives. When we see our best friend or a close family member, we have a certain emotional-gut level reaction that tells us unconsciously, “this person is important to me”. This is natural. Then when we are walking down a street and see a stranger- we might glance at them and walk right- forgetting about them almost immediately. We don’t get that unconscious signal “this person is important to me”. These are normal. Our brain functions through an endless quantity of shortcuts to ensure our survival. Ironically, these very shortcuts and inevitably discriminating perceptual filters that our minds automatically utilizes are also responsible for our suffering. Yes, while the brain is extremely effective at keeping us alive, it is equally as ineffective at making us happy. 

Just imagine you’re a single guy or a single girl. Hell, maybe you are and you don’t have to pretend. You have a general idea of which members of the opposite sex you attracted to- physically speaking. So if you walk into a store or a restaurant, you generally will look around and see if anyone in there is attractive. I’ve done this thousands, if not millions of times. It is like our brain has some sort of radar for what we want. This same effect even occurs in social and financial ways too. You see someone who is dressed a little ragged and your filter will ignore them. However if someone walks into the room dressed nicely and seems to be somewhat important or prestigious- you might ask yourself the question- “Who is he/she? What can they give me? What can they do for me?”  In every area of our life, we tend to filter our experience based on who can meet our needs. Our needs for love/connection, our needs for significance, our need for survival (money). Therefore automatically, our brain is filtering out at least 90% of the people we come across in an average day- they just are pertinent to meeting these needs. You walk by someone you find to be ugly and not particularly well dressed and you pay no attention to them whatsoever. Your brain is unconsciously filtering the experience and directing you to not pay attention to them by saying “This person can do nothing for me and give me nothing”.  Though this is logical for the sake of our survival- it is hugely detrimental to our emotional well being and the way we operate in the world. The selective attention we pay to certain people is holding us back and might just be the root of our unhappiness and angst as a human specie. Here is why.

When we selectively attend to only people we think can give us something or advance us in some way- we are inherently going to be fearful. You might ask, “why is that? Doesn’t it only make sense to interact people who can help to better our own lives?” While the answer might be yes, when we operate solely from the paradigm of ‘what can you do for me?’ you are going to live in a high degree of fear. The ‘looking to get’ attitude is a fear based paradigm to  operate with in the world. And when you only pay attention to attractive or high status people and ignore less desirable people- you are training your brain to be in “getting mode”. Living in ‘getting mode’ ultimately equates to fear. Because what happens if you don’t get what you are going after? Feelings of loss come over you. And fear always precedes such feelings of loss.  Coming to any situation with the posture of wanting or getting is likely to be rooted in some underlying fear. That is why when we are unconsciously “screening” people in our external world, we are actually conditioning ourselves to live more fearfully. When we hone in on people who can give us what we want or we perceive to be of higher value, we are really just setting expectations for the outcomes we want. Such expectations or rules are due to lead to disappointment at some point. The external world is not going to meet our expectations 100% of the time. Expectations tends to lead to fear and resistance. If you are only wanting a blue box and you don’t want a green box. You are going to be resistant of the green box and inherently fearful that you might not get the blue box that you are so desperately seeking. The actual better strategy for getting your outcomes that you desire is to understand that whether you achieve your goal or not, you are going to be perfectly okay. This is all about ‘blending’ with ‘what is’.  Instead of being attached to your precise and rigid goal, being flexible and knowing how to utilize the less than perfect results that ensue is a more effective strategy. Tony Robbins has said, 

“Trade your expectations for your appreciations and your world changes instantly”

Gratitude is one antidote to this dilemma of coming from a place of ‘wanting’ or ‘getting’.  When you segregate your social attention to only those who can advance your own agenda, you are not being grateful for everyone else in the world- which is probably at least 95% of the population. Whether it be the clerk at the department store, the check out lady at the grocery store or the security guard in your building- when you are not grateful for each and every human life you come into contact with- you are slapping God in the face. Not only that, you are conditioning yourself to be more fearful and less happy. 

Taking the time to interact with each and every person you come into contact with in the same way- at the level of their humanity- is possibly the most overlooked theme of our culture. We see the rest of the world as strangers and ignore them. We see someone not dressed like us and we want to have nothing to do with them. We are so concerned with getting our own narcissistic needs met that we turn our head to 95% of the human beings that are walking this globe with us.  

The irony of this conversation is that if you lived your life in an inclusive manner and treated each and every person you interacted with as if they were the most important person in the world, you would have everything you needed in the world. Those relationships with the “important people” who you think you are going to get something from- would be even more abundant. You would be getting everything you need and a million times more. Wealthy, prestigious and attractive people would be drawn to you at even a higher rate because you would be living without fear. Seeing the humanity in each and every person would eliminate one’s scarce mindset. If you believe everyone in this world is valuable, then there is no fear of missing out or getting rejected or not getting your specific outcome. 

By treating every person you come into contact with as the “most important person in the world”, you are shifting your paradigm from one of ‘wanting’ or ‘getting’ to one of ‘giving’. This giving posture eliminates all fear and scarcity. When you are treating each and every person as important- your focus is on giving and showing them love and respect. You are not focused on what you can get from them or what they can give you. Zig Ziglar perfectly captures this idea when he said:

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want”.

By changing your perceptual filter from one of selective attention to one of all encompassing love towards all of humanity is a life changing paradigm shift. It goes against our evolution as a specie. We were meant to see others and outsiders as threats. However in this day and age, that threat is exponentially diminished. We don’t have to live in fear. We don’t have to live in scarcity.  There is so much abundance in this world, however we cut of our access to it right at the moment we create these made-up rules in our life that “only these people can give me what I want” or “only this will make me happy”.  People view opportunities as scarce and limited. However, by adopting this paradigm, every person, interaction, event is an opportunity. 

The final thing that adopting the paradigm of “Let Me Know This Brother As I Know Myself” is that it also strengthens your relationship with yourself. Your internal communication and level of self acceptance improves a million times when you adopt this way of being. When you go out into the world and see each and every person as your brother or sister, you are reaching a level of total acceptance. Don’t confuse this with approval. I am not saying you should condone of a murderer’s behavior, however you can accept each and every person at the level of their humanity and accept their weaknesses and shortcomings. When you can get to this level of accepting other people’s shortcomings and blind spots- you are simultaneously accepting your own weaknesses. When we reject other human beings, we are really just rejecting a part of ourselves. We are all composed on millions of different parts. Some strong, some weak. Some good, some bad. In order to master our internal communication and relationship with ourselves- we must accept all of our different parts. By loving and accepting each and every person we come into contact with, we are transforming our relationship with our self. See yourself in others and the world will start to conspire in your favor. It is really weird how life works out when you start to see the best in everyone and begin to accept their flaws. 

This is the portrait of full congruence. Accepting all parts of oneself- both good and bad. Ironically, this is also the first step to changing anything about yourself. If your external world does not fit your blueprint, it is not the external world that needs to change. It is you and your blueprint that needs to change. Our paradigm in which we operate in this world runs our life. This is why happy people tend to be happy despite what kind of shit happens in their life. It is also why angry people tend to get angry irrespective of all the good that might happen to them. 

The first step to shifting your paradigm and changing your model of the world is to admit that you are wrong. Yes you are wrong. This is the step that most people never get past. They would rather be right and miserable, then wrong and liberated. If you really want a new life you must admit that all your prior perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and thoughts are erroneous. It is about wiping the slate clean and living in the perplexing reality that the world you have been experiencing for the past however many years of your life is nothing more than your own distorted view of the world. 

Letting go old beliefs about yourself and the world is one of the most challenging things a person can do in their lifetime. It is the only way to a different life. It is the only way to more peace, love, freedom, enthusiasm, contribution and growth. 

 

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life

Once you’ve read a number of self help books you’ve probably adopted the understanding that the world is quite subjective.  The media, politicians, advertisers and pretty much any ruling entity convey to the world that there is an objective reality. A lot of people buy into this objective reality that is being fed to them, and consequently, their lives tend to be filled with fear, suffering and hardship.  With an understanding of our subjective experience as humans being, the world in which we interact with typically takes the form of the beliefs we hold about it. Generally speaking, our experience in the world is a result of our beliefs about the external world, beliefs about ourselves and beliefs about other people.  The vast majority of these beliefs we are not aware of. They are unconscious beliefs.  A very wealthy person has certain beliefs about himself, the world and others that allows him to become very wealthy. The same goes for a happy person, a depressed person, a peaceful person, a spiritual person- you get my point. The world in which we live in is a direct result of the beliefs we have about that world, ourselves and others. Think of our beliefs as the glasses in which we view the world through. The lens of our glasses determine the world in which we perceive and therefore experience. If we see a bright, colorful, exciting world- that’s exactly what we’ll get. If we see a gloomy, dark and depressing world- that’s what we’ll get.

Our beliefs about the world and other people can be referred to as our ‘model of the world’ or ‘world view’. A person who thinks that humans are generally evil and always looking to take advantage of other humans will live in a world he believes to be challenging, and he will ultimately engage in fear driven behavior in order to protect himself.  On the other hand, an individual who believes that money is easily accessible and that money-making opportunities are like buses will inevitably become very wealthy and find such opportunities to grow his wealth. 

Our beliefs about ourselves is often times referred to as our ‘self image’ or our ‘identity’. Our identity is the bag which holds our individual beliefs about ourselves. If you believe yourself to be one of the fittest human beings on earth, you will likely have very specific rituals in which you are dedicated to that will enhance your physical condition. If you believe yourself to be a worthless slob, you will probably not be very sociable and could possible not take care of your hygiene. 

In order to change one’s life they must change either their model of the world and their identity. However, changing these things seem to be quite difficult- because how many people do you know who have been effective at changing their life?  The number is likely very small and possible zero. The reason for this is because those who have failed to make tangible changes in their life don’t understand the power of identity, beliefs and their model of the world. Understanding the implications of these factors is the first step towards creating change. Once these are understood, then the questions of “how do you change your identity? How do you change your model of the world? How do you change your beliefs?” can be asked.

One expedient means to shifting your beliefs (both your identity and your model of the world) is through questions. Our minds utilizes questions as the mechanism in which beliefs are transformed into action. In other words, questions are the active form of beliefs. The questions we ask ourselves- both consciously and unconsciously- demonstrates our beliefs (both our identity and our model of the world). You might be saying to yourself, “Well, I don’t ask myself questions”. Yea- you aren’t consciously asking questions, however at an unconscious level- questions are always being asked. That is how our mind processes the external stimuli and information it is receiving from the outside environment. Our brain is constantly asking these two questions:

1. “What does this mean?” 

2. “What should I do?”. 

However in addition to these two questions, our minds also likes to link another question to question 1 in the form of a presupposition. The question “what does this mean” is very vague- it is missing an important part of information. It is absent of a recipient. So our brain rather asks the question “what does this mean about ______? The blank space is for whatever is pertinent in the person’s life. The blank space is typically related to one of our 5 primary needs as a human being. For someone it might be related to their survival needs (food, shelter, protection against violence, etc). For others it might be about whether they will receive love or approval. For a third person, it may be about their level of competency or significance. But typically, our unconscious questions are centered on ensuring that at least one of our 5 basic needs are being met in that particular moment. For a quick review, here are the 5 basic needs that William Glasser outlined in what he called Choice Theory (formerly Control Theory):

1. Survival

2. Love/Connection

3. Competence/Significance/Power

4. Freedom

5. Fun

We tend to live in a variety of questions- depending on the context. If Dave goes on a date with a girl, he may be unconsciously asking the question, “How can I have fun tonight?” (FUN). or “How can I get laid (Fun or Significance or love or it could be all three needs- depending on his belief system). Or he may be asking the question “How can I make sure I don’t embarrass myself?” (which is coming from survival or competence. The question that Dave asks himself going into the date will have a drastic impact on what likely occurs during his date. Our questions determine our reality. This scenario is an example of contextual questions. You will probably ask different questions in different contexts and situations.  It is probably likely that you’ll ask different questions if you are going to a party or if you are going to church. The contextual questions you ask yourself (unconsciously) are important to become aware of and begin to ask them consciously. These contextual questions have the power (if asked with enough repetition and focus) to change your experience in any given context.

Contextual questions are powerful, however we as humans tend to live in 1 or 2 global questions that colors our entire experience in every context. One person’s global question might be, “What do I have to do to feel significant?”, while another person’s question might be “Who do I have to be for everyone to like me?”.  Identifying your global question comes down to identifying the unconscious story you are living in. We are all operating out of some story that is related to our past. The typical structure of a person’s story is this:

A. Something bad or limiting occurred in their past

B. They devise some plan to make up for that past transgression in their life.

C. They pursue this goal or set of circumstances with the belief that once they get the goal or life circumstances they will finally “have made it” and be okay.

D. They never actually feel okay with themselves (even if they do get the thing they’ve been chasing)- because that feeling of being okay is an internal state that can’t be met by anything or anyone outside of them self. 

E. They either select something else to chase or they give up and begin to feel hopeless or helpless about life (depending on whether they were able to reach their contrived goal/picture perfect life). 

If you can identify the unconscious story you have been living in, you’ve made a huge step. Most people never gain the self awareness to be able to see past their narrow and tilted view of reality. Once you know your story, it is time to find out what unconscious global question you’ve been living in. It should be pretty easy once you understand the story you have been telling yourself. Unless you are poverty stricken and struggle meeting your basic survival needs, our global questions (and subsequent stories) tend to revolve around our need for love/connection and/or our need for competence/significance/power. Once you uncover the global question that has been directing your life, you now have the power to change the question consciously and begin to rehearse over and over. Awareness and then rehearsal of this new question is one approach to changing your beliefs- which take the form as your model of the world and your identity.  Many people chase money, relationships, possessions, titles, prestige thinking that it is going to finally deliver on and make up for their greatest insecurity- when in reality all they are ever after is an internal feeling, an emotion or a perception- which can only be given to them from their own doing.