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You can’t do it wrong… Sometimes, it just takes time to get it right!

You can't do it wrong

One of Resistance‘s biggest allies is our fear of “doing it wrong”; In western culture (and a couple of others also, most notably Japan), we are taught from the get go that everything has to be perfect at first creation, and that failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

Thinking mindfully however, where we learn that All life experiences teach you, these days I’m not afraid to fail. Some of the best things I’ve learned in life have been through monumental cock-ups.

For instance, in my day-job, in my early days of working with Group Policy Admin, I learned how the system worked through a huge error – I didn’t realise that unless you saved the policy work done a certain way, the system didn’t retain the security filters placed on it –  and so I hid everyone’s C:\ drive, rather than just the C:\ of the intended group of computers.

This mistake was easily undone, and the cock-up I made here, along with the lesson I learned from making it, saved me from doing something with the system at some point down the line that would have been an million times worse!

I have a very healthy attitude to failure now – I approach all things in a state of playfulness – which is the state that the limbic brain likes the best. Yes, making mistakes is disruptive, so learning, testing and planning  before hitting the go button is the way I do things now, knowing that I have the skills to ensure success, so it will probably be OK, but also knowing that if I do break it, I also very much have the capability to fix it again.

It’s that pushing through to ensure that things do work out OK if they do go wrong that is the key. For instance, as an inventor, Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked him, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

Edison learned vital things from his first 999 tries that lead to his eventual success. If he had have given up at the first failure (or even felt resistance so much that he didn’t even try!), we would probably all still be using candles!

There is also another dimension to ‘You can’t do it wrong’ however, which is all about second guessing oneself. This is more the “will I make the wrong choice” type of doing it wrong than anything else – and it’s again firmly rooted in resistance as your amygdala feeds past experience feeling/memory into your current choice giving fear for the future outcome.

Combating that one is a mixture of being present in the now and trusting your gut feeling to instinctively make the right choice. A choice made in the now will always be the right one, as you will have collected enough information about the issue for your subconcious to know what is right, even if your concious mind hasn’t caught up yet. You just need to be still and listen to yourself.

However, listening to the fear feedback loop caused by your amygdala’s need for stasis will lead to procrastination and inaction. Unfortunately, your Amygdala has a loud voice, and so learning how to reach past that and get out of your own way whilst making a choice is an art in itself.

If you think it all sounds like a great deal of effort, you are not wrong. And Resistance will try and make you not learn the skill at every turn. It is well worth being persistent however, and even though it took me a couple of years to even begin to get the trick of getting out of my own way, learn to find the quiet in the now and make that choice, the only time I ever receive a bad outcome is when I’ve second guessed myself. I’m still on the journey with this one, but every time I practise the skill, the easier it is to exercise it. And life is just so much easier as a result!

Are you ready to join me? Make a commitment now to be present. Leave me a comment below about your experiences in this area, and we can start working on connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!

Image used “Deciding Which Door to Choose 2” by Vic
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

“Resistance” – Your cue to keep going!

resistance is beautiful

The brain is a funny thing – I know that you are here, reading this, because in some way, you want to improve yourself. I’m here writing it because I want to do the same, improve myself and our world by shining a light to help others improve themselves and the world around them.

But we all suffer from “Resistance” – the negative force inside all of us that wants to maintain the status quo, wants to not “feel the fear” but to “stay safe” and to hide away from change and growth. Because change could harm us right? Best not do that then, just stay here in our nice little world and be secure, even if we rationally hate it and want, even need to change it…

The need to “stay safe” comes direct from the Amygdala, AKA the “reptile” brain, which operates as a part of the Limbic brain, but at an even lower level – Evolutionary studies show that this is the part of the brain system that we have now that evolved first. One of its jobs is to be in charge of the part of “fight or fight” (our instinctual decision making and emotional response) that is based on previous emotional memory patterns.

So, why is our learning to discern when this little nugget of our brain is activated important to our progress? When the Amygdala is activated, it makes our gut feelings on something not quite so trustworthy as usual, as it is basing its reaction on past emotional memory patterns, usually formed when we are very young.

Like the limbic brain, it has no language or sense of time, it acts in the now to keep us alive and safe, and will always point towards short term satisfaction and pleasure over long term gain. (As an aside, it’s also the part of your brain responsible for weird and irrational snap decisions around instant gratification – that sweet sticky doughnut you ate cos it tastes nice, or those lovely new shoes that you have no idea why you bought for instance! Marketers play heavily to this instinctual behaviours as they lay out shops, they know how to make your Amygdala give you a short term gain “happy”!)

This “short term view” can make us freeze in our tracks or even run away when a “big unknown” comes up; something that we’ve never encountered before may well be harmful! This can very much rob us of the want to act for our own greater good. Where the Neocortex knows that progress towards “a long term change towards greater good” will improve us and our world, the Amygdala puts up “stay safe, be happy in your now, don’t change” signals.

Nite that when the Amygdala signals, these are taken by the brain as a whole to be the appropriate reaction response to the situation – Limbic reacts faster than rational Neocortex. And so the Neocortex gets overruled and we feel Resistance.

Resistance takes many shapes: fear, self-doubt, procrastination, distraction, addiction, timidity, ego and narcissism, self-loathing and perfectionism, to name a few. I’m sure that you’ve feel these come up in your lives, I know I have in mine! (Procrastination is the main way my resistance shows itself. I’ve learned ways to turn it to my advantage, but that’s a whole ‘nother post!)

Knowledge is power however, now you know why you are feeling resistance, and because we can actively gauge and use the strength of the Resistance we feel against “the good thing that we want to do” we can use that as a compass.

After all, as Steve Pressman says in “Do the work”: Resistance wants us to not move away from our current state of mind; it’s a negative, repelling force. It will outright lie to us, fabricate reason after reason for us not to act, and cajole, seduce or bully us into not moving forward.

However, Resistance, being negative, is always lying, and it is totally full of bullshit.

The fact that resistance is always a liar means that when we are feeling the most resistance to an new idea or change, that is when we most need to act, using the feelings of resistance to guide us towards the calling or purpose that we know that we must follow. The more important that work is to us, however much we want to achieve our goals towards “greater good”, as the “greater good” grows so does the resistance we will feel towards our perusing them.

The work (your ideas, dreams and goals) can be anything: Writing a book, dropping your excess body fat, lifting weights to gain muscle, learning how something works so that you are more able to support yourself in using it, designing and launching a website to share your ideas, painting, creating or drawing something and then showing it to people or embarking on a 6-month around the world adventure – all these things have long-term gain for the good in common. They all pretty much require short-term pain of some form: planning, organising, potential financial shortfalls or simple courage of convictions to press on.

There are a few ways to combat the Amygdala, and so, armed with this new knowledge, what are you feeling resistance against doing in your life? What goal in your life are you procrastinating around doing, or fussing over “because it has to be perfect”? Leave me a comment below about what your resisting, and we can start working on connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!

Image used “Resistance is Beautiful” by teofilo
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Ego – It’s an active blocker to progress

Gravity Glue - Rocks

“But I know this already!” – Potentially the most harmful statement one can make when learning. And, as we are learning all the time, with every experience we live, you may well find that it’s your ego that is stopping your progress.

Thoughts in the vein of “that’s impossible”, “I could never do that”, “I can’t see the benefit”, “that’s no good to me”, or other similar negative statements are blockers to progress. After all, pretty much everything is possible, as long as you are willing to believe in your own power to achieve it. Take for instance Michael Grab – He’s learned that he can balance stones. Finding the correct points on the rocks to make stacks of seemingly impossible towers

If one person can do it, anyone can. You don’t need to be special, or lucky, you just need to check your ego at the door and enter into the project with an open mind.

Conversely, “But what if goes wrong?” is also a massive blocker to progress. Nothing is ever perfect, it never can be. Organic growth is wonderfully flawed, and embracing that is a good thing. Also know, that if it does break, you can fix it, always. Never be afraid to fail.

I’m sure that along the way, Michael failed many many times with the balancing, before he learned how to feel for the balance points and centre the rocks perfectly.

So, I want you to think about a situation where you have felt your ego was in the way of your progress and then leave me a comment below about how you worked to resolve that. Then we can start working toward connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!

Image used under licence and by kind permission of Michael Grab at http://www.gravityglue.com and  https://www.facebook.com/gravityglue