I think we are, each of us, an amazing, spiritual heart and soul, who can add value to the world with meaning and purpose who also has a body, mind and an emotions that can get in the way or support us.
But on this journey, our mind can be our friend or enemy and I’m sure you have experienced this first hand. And this is what I would like to address in this article. How to make your mind your friend.
Our dominant thoughts control our expectations. Our expectations can block our heart and soul or help express it in the form of engagement in leadership, love and life. So, it is our expectations we must change if there is going to be an improvement in our performance, interactions, health and success. It is changing these expectations that I’d love to address here today. If we change our mind but do not change our expectations, we have changed nothing. We have committed a fiction in which we expect one thing and think another. We have created an internal conflict and an argument between what we want and what we think: insecurity.
The Birth, life and Death of Insecurity.
The wisdom of the aged is profound. They have been hurt a million times from the pain that comes from experiencing the argument between their expectations (what they thought would happen in life, and what did happen). Experience uses mistakes, errors and pain as a way to learn, and for the most part, we resist that learning which means we often repeat mistakes, errors and pain (false expectations) over and over, until we do make a shift.
An Alternative School to the Hard School of Tough Love.
There is another, more sustainable way to change our mind and really change our expectations and that is, rather than through experience and hard knocks, through the process of UNLEARNING.
UNLEARNING can best be explained by imagining that we are like a plant a pot that grows until it gets too big for the pot, at which time it needs transplanting. If that transplanting into another pot doesn't happen, we die, just like the plant will. Or, we can repot by UNLEARNING, anytime we choose, which is my chosen way, just as nature intended.
Consider that what we know, our learning, beliefs, emotions, judgements and our subsequent expectations are the pot. Then, repotting, or unlearning, means to change our beliefs, emotions and judgements: an identity crisis.
There are two reactions to an identity crisis: the first is the one most people who do not do any self leadership or who do some packaged personal development choose: to learn some new skill to overcome the identity crisis, joining with others, fight the oppression that causes it, and try harder to build a new identity - stronger and more robust, survive the challenge. We often call this emotional intelligence or resilience. It works, temporarily.
Building a new identity - a happier, more spiritual, more powerful identity is the root of most motivation and personal development and a strong trigger for change in jobs, relationships and self-leadership. When we try to reinforce our expectations (identity) we want to learn new things so we can do things better or different. The only problem is that we are focussed on the wrong solution. We end up going forward into new jobs, new relationships, new health programs carrying the old expectations made even stronger by our discomfort. Given that it is our expectations that cause insecurity, we often become even more insecure by learning and hence more defensive. This is akin to changing from a hand gun to driving a armoured tank but with a blindfold on. Learning more, in order to become more self confident is like stuffing a sock with cotton wool and calling it a foot.
Ok, the metaphor is meant to be fun.
To grow more confident we need to UNLEARN. To transition through identity crisis, where things just don’t feel right anymore, means to UNLEARN, and to UNLEARN, we must create new expectations. Those expectations, chipped in stone, etched in marble, carved in granite don’t change by themselves, they are unconscious, hereditary and educated into us. Tricks like NLP or Hypnosis or mass workshops and especially books, don’t change expectations. Expectations must be unlearnt, and to do so, requires that we disconnect our beliefs from our upbringing, detach ourselves from our experiences, and see the world just a little bit, from a different angle.
To UNLEARN is to evolve. To unlearn a judgement, to unlearn an emotional expectation, to unlearn cultural norms, to unlearn our beliefs means, we must become totally comfortable living in an identity crisis, and this is where self-confidence comes from.
Self confidence that is based on LEARNED beliefs, emotions and judgements positions us precariously on the fine edge of a razor blade. We stand tense, nervous, defensive, and hopeful that this “personality” this “knowledge” we have is right. And somewhere deep down inside, we know it isn’t. This is the root of insecurity. Wishing, continually hoping that we finally got it right when in fact, that very ambition is the cause of the insecurity.
UNLEARNING is growth. And this is the greatest habit of all. Learning to Unlearn. For this we use the DISCARD FORM. The process of growing to meet the demands of leadership, expanding the depth of love and living inspired by evolving over and through those things that can block our heart and soul from total engagement in whatever we do. Learning to UNLEARN. It’s truly a profound opportunity for you and everyone you touch.
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