Posted by: Rael Kalley | February 18, 2017

393. I have no idea why you do what you do.

Fifteen to twenty times each year I am asked to mediate in deteriorating and antagonistic relationships. Most often these are workplace related where the destructive impact of a hostile relationship spreads far beyond the people, or groups, involved.

Of course, conflict among people is not new and the factors contributing to conflict are limited only to one’s imagination.

There is however one thread that seems to weave its way through all conflict and perpetuate its continuation.

That thread is a belief held by many that we have the extraordinary ability to read the minds of others and accurately determine their motives for their actions.

We believe we know precisely why people do what they do. We often insert malice into their motives, we form judgements which then becomes the only lens through which we view all their actions.

That lens is most often a harshly critical one which causes us to only expect certain types of behaviours from them.

Here is the kicker: the labels we have attached seldom disappoint us. The exhortation to “seek and ye shall find” becomes our unconscious guiding principle and, as we are earnestly seeking validation of those labels, we easily find them.

My practice, in mediating these types of situations, is to meet individually with each person involved to gain an understanding of the perspective they bring to the situation.

It is common for me to hear statements like, “She gets pleasure out of pushing people around,” “He is power-hungry,” “She does this because she is mean-spirited,” and “I have spoken to my manager and he won’t do anything about it because he doesn’t care about me.”

Whenever we attribute reason, motive and meaning to the actions of others we do so with the certainty that we are right. And yet, let’s be honest, we have absolutely no way of knowing that.

And because we are so certain that we are correct, we narrow our perspective and run the risk of ignoring common ground on which understanding and agreement could be reached.

Whenever I hear that type of motive being offered as explanation for the behaviour of another, I have learned to ask a simple question; “How do you know that?”

I’ve learned not to accept answers like, “It’s obvious” or “Everyone knows that.” In fact, by asking those questions I have often seen people begin to self-examine their reasons for arriving at conclusions and coming to accept that all they may be offering is their opinion and not anything else.

The truth is we have absolutely no knowledge of why anyone does anything. We can never guess the motive – the driving force – behind their actions and by convincing ourselves that we can, we also lessen the possibility of transforming difficult situations.

The guiding principle behind our beliefs is my go-to mantra: “Everything we believe to be true, is true (for us), until it isn’t. In other words, we form our own beliefs and most often they are based on a foundation of opinion and not on fact.

A wise teacher once told me that we can never experience true freedom in our own beings until we are willing to relinquish our ability to judge others.

I would love to report that I have been successful in this endeavour, but I not. Although, I am far less judgemental, the reality is I still have to work on this every day.

Many experiences have taught me I only make my life more difficult when I judge others.

One the best ways to work toward being less judgemental is to abide by the sage words of Dr. Steven Covey, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  While I am not a mind reader, it would seem he had a monumental life living by this practice.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | February 11, 2017

392. Speak up.

I was both saddened and angered by a story that made the news this week.

The mother of two young, biracial boys took to social media to tell the world of hurtful, racist comments directed at her sons because of the colour of their skin.

In one instance, her son was prevented from entering a washroom by another student who told him that he could not use the facilities because he was black and the washrooms were for the use of white kids only.

What is so troubling about stories like these, which sadly are all too common, is that young children making these comments did not reach these conclusions on their own.

These are learned thought processes and all learning begins somewhere.

I would think a lot of learning takes place around family dinner tables, whether intentional or not. Obviously I have no knowledge of whether this might be true in this case, parents who plant prejudicial and racial thoughts into the heads of their children are teaching them to become as limited in their thinking as they are.

They are also depriving their children of ever experiencing the richness of life offered to those who do not view the world through the myopia of prejudice.

In other words, in my opinion, they, as parents, are abject failures.

It has been said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. If this is indeed true, it is time to shine a very bright light on those who believe it to be appropriate, or even amusing, to teach children to judge others based on pigmentation.

A lie believed is not a lie. Racism is not only based on a lie, but is also based on the total absence of logic. It is perpetuated by those whose capacity for clear, intelligent thought is extremely diminished.

In other words, racists are not very bright because it requires an above average level of stupidity to believe it is accurate to assess others, and determine their worth, solely by the colour of their skin.

The damage to these kids can be deep and irreparable. We cannot refute experiences we have had and, I fear, these young boys, by virtue of these encounters, have now had the innocence of their youth yanked away while awakening them to the sad realities of life.

Their father said he had hoped his children would never be subjected to any of the racist comments and actions he has experienced over the course of his life. His sons’ recent experiences at school have unfortunately taught him that, just like other family traditions, racism can be passed from generation to generation.

Renowned statesman, political theorist and philosopher Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

And for much too long, many good people have done just that. Nothing.Far too many of us have stood silently by as others have made racist comments, told bigoted jokes and hurled hurtful xenophobic epithets at others.

I shamefully include myself among those who have remained silent. I did not want to get involved, did not feel it my place to interfere, or perhaps, I was fearful of repercussions my intervention might bring.

And I was wrong.

In my day job as a coach, consultant and trainer I spend a great deal of time talking with clients about the remarkable power behind one word: consequences.

There is no such thing as an action or a behaviour that does not produce a consequence. Consequences increase or decrease the likelihood of a behaviour, or an action being repeated and when something is rewarded it is generally repeated.

When a puppy receives a treat for obeying a command is very likely it will obey the next command in anticipation of another treat.

Rewards do not have to be a material. In the absence of feedback to the contrary, everything is positive reinforcement which means, when we stand silently by while others hurl racist comments, we are now rewarding their behaviour, thus increasing the likelihood it will continue.

By our silence, we are now part of the problem and are training them to keep doing what they are doing.

It is not easy to stand up for what is right., nor is it risk-free. But if we ever hope to live in a world where hatred and bias have been relegated to the annals of history, we must be willing to be a voice for good.

And if we choose to remain silent in the moment, we forfeit our right to voice our opinion later when in the safety of others who share our viewpoints.

The continued spread of racism today is proof positive of what happens when good men do nothing.

We know “you can’t fix stupid,” be perhaps by standing up to it, we can help in silencing it.

I invite you to stand up and do something, however big or small that something might be.

Till we read again.

 

Posted by: Rael Kalley | February 4, 2017

391. It’s the thought that kills.

The rain of bullets that poured down inside a Mosque in Quebec City did their deadly job with ruthless precision.

They ended six vibrant lives, wounded nineteen others and removed forever the sacred feelings of calm, peace and sanctuary that Canadian houses of worship have always offered their congregants.

Bullets caused the carnage, beliefs pulled the trigger.

We have witnessed a huge outpouring of support and sympathy for Muslim communities across the country, memorial services for the slain were filed to capacity and political leaders were front and center saying all the right things.

Mosques around the country brilliantly opened their doors to all and invited us to visit and get to know them better.

And sadly, nothing will change. It is not if, but when, this happens again.

The next target may be another mosque, or a synagogue or a church or shopping mall and, just like this past Sunday, it will be a thought, not a finger that will pull the trigger.

Whether or not we label these events as acts of terror, they are indisputably driven by hate and until we understand how hate is born and how it grows, we will continue to combat it with the same futile means we are presently employing.

Hate is not formed by facts, it is the result of lies believed; hate is what we believe to be true and is not even slightly influenced by facts.

And a lie believed is no longer a lie, it becomes a fact to those who choose to believe it so.

Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s Reich Minister of Propaganda, repeatedly said “if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” History has born sad witness t the tragic truth of this statement.

Our leaders will continue to repeat that such acts will not be tolerated, that the full force of the law will be deployed against those who wish us harm and that the guilty will be brought to justice.

They will repeat what we already know: we function on rule of law; religious freedom is enshrined in our constitution; we are a tolerant and caring society.

And their rhetoric will cause absolutely nothing to change.

Their intention is pure but their method is all talk.

The facts they present will do nothing to melt the hate that lives in the heart of the haters.

They will continue to believe what they believe.

Belief is based on emotion and emotion eats logic for lunch every day.

Acts, not facts, will change beliefs and if you wish to end these ever-increasing incidents of senseless, hate-born slaughter then you – yes, you – must get involved.

We collectively, all of us, must stop shaking our heads and continue to say that somebody needs to do something about this.

You and I are that somebody and we each have a role to play.

We need to start by examining our own hearts and look for signs of bias. Would we welcome, with open arms, anyone of any race, religion, colour, creed or culture into our homes and treat, respect and honour them as we do our closest friends and relatives?

If the answer is a resounding NO, and we honestly acknowledge the “facts” as to why we feel that way, we will quickly realize that our facts have, in fact, no basis in fact.

They are beliefs based on emotion.

And it takes acts (action), not facts to change emotion (beliefs).

What is our role? It is to accept, as equals, everyone we encounter. It is to engage with authentic interest all with whom we meet.

It is to seek similarities and respect differences. It is to invite “them” into our homes and to visit them in theirs.

It is not to “treat others as we would want to be treated,” but rather, to treat others as they want to be treated.

It is to suspend our willingness to judge others based on assumption, not knowledge.

And, perhaps, above all, it is to heed the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln who boldly stated, “I do not like that man, I must get to know him better.”

And what better time to start than right now, today.

Remember, everything we believe to be true, is true (for us), until it isn’t.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | January 28, 2017

390. If you start, finish. Simple.

I finally figured it out.

After years of trying to understand why some do and most don’t, it finally dawned on me. The age-old secret was finally revealed and, the simplicity of its truth makes perfect sense.

I have often wondered why, for so many of us, realizing our goals and sustaining the results often seems like an elusive dream.

Whenever we set out to achieve a new goal we do so brimming with enthusiasm and the feelings of certainty that we will soon be reaping the benefits and enjoying the rewards are goal accomplished.

And yet we don’t.

Time passes, a year goes by and then another and we are still walking around with that extra 20 pounds clinging to us, our finances still in disarray, our education still incomplete, the bad habits long intended to discard still clinging to us and the belief that this time, when we try again, it will be different.

It won’t. And the reason why we want is so glaringly obvious that it took me decades to figure it out.

The catalyst to this revelation was a conversation with a client who was telling me of a workmate who is constantly exploring new ways to get his ever-expanding girth under control.

His most recent foray into weight loss was to sign-up up with a new “revolutionary” clinic that recently opened a few blocks from their office.

His colleague enrolled in the program, paid his initiation fee of several hundred dollars, returned to the office confidently telling all that this time he was absolutely on the right track, only to discover a few short weeks later that this was “not for me.”

By my clients best guess this was his friend’s fifth such attempt over the past two years.

As I listened to his story, the light went on in my head and the secret was finally revealed.

Several times over these past few years we have discussed The Four Rules of Greatness.I first discovered these rules many years ago in a book whose title and author’s name I have long forgotten.

The author wrote of four unbending principles which, if followed relentlessly, would allow abundance to flow into all our lives.

The power behind these rules lies in their simplicity and my clients story caused the fourth rule to burst into my brain into my mind in giant letters.

So here it is, the great secret to why we seldom achieve the goals we set for ourselves and why, many of us, spend a large portion of our lives frustrated and with a growing sense of helplessness.

Are you ready?

FINISH WHAT YOU START.

Starting is, for many of us, something in which we have developed great expertise. But starting is the easy part. It doesn’t require much effort, discipline or sacrifice.

Nor does it do much by way of producing results.

We start a business, things get tough, we head for the hills. We set out to lose weight, someone brings a pizza to the office, we gag it back and resolve to start again next week. We commit to getting up early and working out before we head off to work, the alarm goes off, we are tired and so we turn over and go back to sleep

There you have it, the secret is out.

If you really want it, you will stick with it. If you don’t, you don’t want it badly enough

Finish what you start. That has to be easier than starting over, and over and over again.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | January 21, 2017

389. It’s blindingly obvious.

Perhaps you have seen the video clip.

There are two groups of three students. One group is wearing black T-shirts, the other, white ones.

Each group has a basketball and they are passing it back and forth. A narrator’s voice instructs you to count how many times the ball is passed back and forth among the group wearing white T-shirts.

You focus intently and count the number of passes.

The narrator then asks, “How many passes did you count?” He answers the question and then asks “But, did you see the gorilla?”

Gorilla?

At some point a person dressed in a gorilla suit walked through the two groups, turned, paused,  faced the camera, beat his chest, turned again and then disappeared off-screen.

This video clip has been shown thousands of time to groups ranging from just a few people to hundreds in a room. Invariably, the results seldom differ; around 50% of viewers, so busy counting the passes, fail to see the gorilla. Most of those were able to correctly count how many times the ball was passed from one white shirt to another.

Their attention is riveted on the ball being passed back and forth.

Of those who did notice the gorilla, few were able to accurately say how many times the ball was passed.

This occurrence – known as in Inattentional Blindness – provides us with a clear illustration of how large a role our attention (focus) plays in our visual perception.

Inattentional Blindness is also a further example of our inability to focus on more than one thing at a time.

This powerful video demonstrates, in an amusingly entertaining way, the role our visual perception plays in filtering out much of what is not occupying our focus even when it is right in front of us.

All our focus is centred on counting the number of times the ball is passed between the players wearing white shirts. We not only fail to see the gorilla, we also unable to simultaneously count the number of times the ball is passed among the black shirts.

And this is how we live our lives, shifting from one object of attention to the next and then the next.

And our take away from this is the strong reminder that energy flows to where our attention goes.

Whatever we are focusing on is drawing almost all of our energy and conscious awareness, offering us a unique opportunity to bring powerful and sustainable change into our very being.

We’ve all had the experience of being so focused on, and engrossed in, something – perhaps a fascinating conversation, or the high drama unfolding in a movie – that we have lost awareness of everything else going on around us.

This happens daily. We arrive at our destination with no memory of the drive itself because we lost ourselves in the memories brought back by that song on the radio.

So, at the end of the day, when you come home from work tired, drained, stressed and with a headache that feels like someone is drilling directly into your brain and all you want to do is collapse on the couch, turn on the TV, open that bag of chips, pour yourself a drink and veg out, it is safe bet that 100% of your focus is on how you feel.

You had begun the day by promising herself you would come home, change and go to the gym.

As long as you allow your focus to remain where it is, you also blinding yourself to how you would feel if you sprang off the couch, gleefully assembled your workout gear, went to the gym and pushed yourself harder than you ever have before.

And yet, if you allow yourself to focus – really focus – on both the immediate and future benefit to you in going to the gym, those feelings of fatigue and stress will rapidly recede and be replaced with excited energy.

Inattentional blindness can also be called attentional focus. What we are focusing on right now is our sole reality in this moment which means we are also blind to everything else.

If you focus for just a few moments you will see (and feel) all the good that can come your way by going to the gym.

And remember to keep your eyes open for the gorilla.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | January 14, 2017

388. It’s a matter of discipline.

 

I am a reader and have been a reader for as long as I can remember.  In fact, I can’t remember a single day in my life that has not included an hour or more spent reading.

It is my hobby, my passion, my principal source of entertainment and, arguably, my addiction.

And so, it came as somewhat of a surprise to me recently when a client commented to me she wished she had my discipline for reading.

She had been in my office two weeks earlier and had mentioned the title of a book a friend had suggested she would benefit from reading.

Her comment to me about my discipline for reading came about when I mentioned I had purchased the book, read it and found it to be chock full of interesting ideas.

Discipline is a word that comes up quite frequently in conversations with clients and I would like to share with you my interpretation of what this word means.

Among the many lines used to define the word discipline, Dictionary.com includes the following: activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.

When people tell me they lack discipline, I assume they mean they are unwilling to stick with a regimen as described above.

The word discipline is an enormously important one as it directly impacts the results we incur in our lives. I would like to introduce to you my definition of that extremely important word.

Discipline means: doing what we know we need to – or must – do at those times when we really don’t want to do it.

It also means not doing what we know we shouldn’t be doing when we really want to do it.

These practices determine with great precision what our odds of success are each time we set out to achieve an objective.

In other words, discipline is the degree to which we do – or don’t – allow our emotions to influence the decisions we make and consequently, the actions we take.

Discipline is about ownership of our emotions.

And it is about how we choose the extent to which the emotions we feel in the present will affect the results we experience in the future.

To the person who loves going to the gym and working out, who can’t wait to get there as often as possible, and who has to force themselves to leave, the word discipline is not applicable anymore than it is to someone like me – a lifelong, committed and passionate reader.

Discipline is about importance –we only do what is important to us in the moment – and we determine what is important simply by how we feel in that moment.

If we truly believe we lack discipline and the lack of discipline that is preventing us from achieving much of what we wish to achieve, then it is time to take a long, hard, cold, clinical look at the extent to which we have conditioned ourselves to allow our future happiness to be determined by our present feelings.

And to remind ourselves that while our emotions may influence our actions, they absolutely do not control them.

When we find ourselves wanting to veg out on the couch rather than going to the gym and working out, we are fully capable of dragging ourselves off the couch and into the gym.

If it’s important enough, you will always find a way, and if not, well, you will always find an excuse.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | January 7, 2017

387. Either we will or we won’t.

I spent some time this week with person who shared her annual challenge of gaining weight during the Christmas and New Year holiday season

It was not just the weight gain that was causing aggravation, it was the fact that the weight stayed throughout the year until the following holiday season at which time she would add even more.

Listening to her bemoaning her weight fate, I could not help but think of those timelesss words spoken by Friedrich Nietzsche more than 100 years ago, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.

Victor Frankel, in his remarkable book, Man’s Search for Meaning, uses this quote several times as he defines our need for meaning as being the sole driver of our will to live. He talks of meaning as being the energy that keeps us going when things are unbearably challenging and how meaning, more than anything else, is what picks us up off the ground each and every time we are knocked down.

The topic of meaning is not new to us. We have visited it before when we have debated the notion that we only ever do one thing; we do what is most important to us in the moment.

Nietzsche said much the same thing and his quote provided a commanding insight why this lady cannot seem to rid herself of her annual escalation in weight.

Her desire to eat moderately over the season was overwhelmed by an even stronger desire to share in the festivities by “joining in with everyone else and eating everything put in front of me.”

Participating in these holiday activities is extremely important to her, which means, by her own acknowledgement, this is more important than displaying discipline and control around her eating and drinking activities.

She agreed it was more important to her (at the time) to be seen to be joining in (why) than it was to eat sensibly even though she knew doing so would mean her own self admonishment, criticism and general feelings of disappointment and low self-worth (how).

Not for a moment am I comparing the tortured existence of concentration camp prisoners with the over-indulging first-world challenges of weight management. I am saying that those, according to Frankel, who survived, did so because their reason to live was greater than their reason not to, and those of us who truly understand that our lives only exist moment to moment –  and it is what we view as important in those moments, and consequently do in those moments –  that will determine the quality of our future.

After some discussion, my friend agreed that it was nothing more than her choices – based upon her meaning – that has led to her present discomfort. She has vowed to lose the weight she has gained over the past two years by the end of June and she has further committed to “behaving like an adult next Christmas.”

Talk is cheap and she has a long road ahead of her. Time will soon tell whether her why is big enough to bear her how.

Regardless of whether she does or doesn’t, she will soon learn what is most important to her.

As will the rest of us as we pursue year those goals we have set for ourselves for 2017.

Regardless of whether we achieve them or not, we will always achieve what is most important to us in each moment.

Food for thought!

Till we read again.

 

 

Posted by: Rael Kalley | December 31, 2016

386. My New Year’s resolution: No more resolutions.

We are at that that time of year when many of us spontaneously, impulsively and often, on a dare, boldly declare by way of a New Year’s resolution that effective January 1, 12:00:01, we will instantly become a different person.

Old habits will immediately vaporise to be replaced by new and enduring ones.

At that magic moment, we will instantaneously transform from smoker to non-smoker, drinker to non-drinker, 225 pounds to 180 (okay that transformation won’t be instant however, it will begin at that moment and the journey will continue until the mission is accomplished).

We will also resolve to be on time, go back to school and complete that degree, go to the gym – and push ourselves hard – at least three times each week, wake up one hour earlier each morning and go for a run before hitting the shower and off to work and, a whole host of wishful thinking that we have resolved to commence on New Year’s Day many times before.

I have long been an advocate of New Year’s resolutions. My advocacy is somewhat different to most as I have encouraged those close to me to only resolve to do one thing: never again make a New Year’s resolution.

Study after study has shown the short life-span of New Year’s resolutions; few last beyond the first few days of the year and almost none survive January.

And there is a reason why the odds are so heavily stacked against success.

Imagine for a moment you own a laptop that is running on an ancient operating system – perhaps you are the one person on the planet still using Vista. You go online and excitedly download the newest, glitziest app you can find.

You can’t wait to begin using it.

And then, when you do, it is sluggish, slow and performs well below your expectations.

And you realize the problem. Your operating system is old and completely incompatible with your shiny new app.

Now think of that New Year’s resolution as your new app. You’re ready to use it and are excited about what it can do. However, it is going to run on the same operating system you have been using for many years – all those thoughts, feelings and emotions you believe to be true.

And by January 2 when the clash between your operating (belief) system and your resolution becomes apparent, invariably you set aside that resolution not realizing that it really had little chance of success because you have not upgraded your operating system.

So today, New Year’s Eve, is not the day to pledge great new beginnings tomorrow. Instead, if there are changes you would like to experience in your life then take some time today, identify what they are, ask yourself truthfully how important each item on that list is to you – how badly you want this – and then set it aside as a project to come back to in the near future.

If you truly are serious about achieving the results on your list, then I invite you to closely examine your current operating system and take some time to upgrade it so that it will be compatible with the changes you wish to bring into your life.

By first working on upgrading your operating system, you will certainly take longer to reach your goals. The question to ask is this: do I want fast, immediate and almost certainly short-term results, or do I want permanent and sustainable results?

If you picked Option 2, then let’s work together in 2017 to sustainably upgrade your operating system to V2.0 – the new you.

Happy New Year.

Till we read again.

 

 

 

Posted by: Rael Kalley | December 24, 2016

385. Judge not.

Last year, at this time, we talked about giving ourselves a gift that would ensure happiness throughout 2016.

The gift is the joy we feel when we provide Random Acts of Kindness and to make this practice a part of our daily lives.

Over the course of this past year I have spoken to a few people who undertook this as a serious commitment and actively sought daily opportunities to deliver random acts of kindness. Each  spoke of how they gained far more than did the recipients of their kind acts.

Today, Christmas Eve, as we gather with friends and family to enjoy the season, reflect on the present year and plan for the next one, may I suggest another gift we might consider for ourselves.

Many years ago I was blessed to have as a teacher, a man whose life was dedicated to making the world a better place one person at a time. He freely and generously shared his wisdom and gave time to all who embraced his views and wished to learn his viewpoints and practices.

During one of our sessions a name was mentioned and I remember I was scathing in my absolute condemnation of that person. I do not recall who we were talking about, but I do recall the intensity of my judgement.

My mentor allowed me to complete my rant and then said something so profound that to this day I remember every word.

He said, “You can never be truly free until you are willing to set aside your own willingness to judge others.”

A powerful statement.

Those words have bounced around my head for more than 30 years. I would like to be able to tell you that I took those words to heart and have succeeded in both complete acceptance and absence of judgement with everyone I encounter.

The truth is, I haven’t. I have worked hard over a very long time to set aside that willingness to judge and I know that I do so far less often, and with less intensity than in the past. I also know that I have not succeeded in completely removing either my willingness or ability to judge others.

Many of us are quick to criticize and to judge and it seems to me that when we do so, we do so comparatively in that by judging and criticizing others we are suggesting to ourselves that “I would never do that.”

Often, when waiting at a traffic light, I will see a panhandler walking amongst the waiting cars imploring drivers to donate some money. It is not uncommon to see a window roll down and to then hear an angry voice yelling profanities.

I would be lying if I said I have not had similar thoughts.  While I have never hurled insults, I have frequently gone into judgement mode, with highly critical thoughts floating around my head.

My reason for suggesting the gift we give ourselves this Christmas season is the Gift of Nonjudgment, is because – unlike the gift of Random Acts of Kindness which fills us with good feelings each time we reach out with kindness to others – all the time we spend in harsh and critical judgement of others is time spent draining our souls of positive and uplifting energy.

Most often when we judge people, we know nothing of them. We don’t know their stories, yet feel justified in leveling criticism at them.

Relinquishing our willingness to judge others frees up a tremendous amount of energy to do some important things that can enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.

A much used and widely circulated quote attributed to many different authors informs us that resentment/hatred/anger/judgement/bearing a grudge, etc “It is like drinking poison and hoping they will die.”

Judgement does nothing to or for the person being judged and yet it robs us of our humanity and clouds our thoughts and perspectives.

Yet again I will be gift-wrapping the Gift of Nonjudgment and placing it under the tree for myself.

How about you?

Merry Christmas.

Till we read again.

 

 

 

Posted by: Rael Kalley | December 17, 2016

384. What’s important to you?

If it is important, you will find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse.   Anon

It has long been said that we humans are rational beings. I don’t know if this is universally true but what I do know is that we humans are unquestionably rationalizing beings.

We are brilliantly creative when it comes to rationalizing, justifying or simply explaining why we did, or didn’t, do something.

Last week we revisited the idea that we only ever do one thing – we do what is most important to us in the moment.

And experience has taught many of us that decisions made based on importance in the moment are often not the best decisions.

We have all said yes when we should’ve said no, we have all chosen the TV and the couch over the gym and the treadmill and decided that coffee with a friend was time better spent than managing the potential rejection that sometimes accompanies sales calls.

So, if we do what we do based on what we feel to be most important in the moment, how do we decide on importance?

The answer is both simple and complex: we do what we do to either gain pleasure or avoid pain.

On the surface this is seemingly simple, but our decisions around importance are heavily influenced by another factor – time.

Let’s use an example familiar to many – losing weight. Let’s say we have established a goal of losing 40 pounds and chosen the method of getting there. That goal is distant, somewhere out in the future.

We are in a restaurant at lunch time today. As we peruse the menu our eyes are drawn to the broad selection of pizza. We notice the server delivering pizza to the next table and it looks delicious.

Really delicious.

We have done well. We have dutifully followed the program and when we stepped on the scale this morning we were down 7 pounds. We’re off to a great start, aren’t we?

Pizza is not on the program but surely, having pizza today and then really redoubling our efforts tomorrow is not such a bad thing, is it?

Standing on a scale when we have lost the 40 pounds is going to bring us a great deal of pleasure. The feelings of victory and confidence and just general pride are going to be amazing. But that’s in the future and the pizza is in the now.

Saying no to the pizza and ordering the salad is somewhat painful and not really what we want to do in this moment.

Ordering, and then devouring the pizza will bring us a great deal of pleasure right now.

And so we order the pizza. And enjoy every mouthful.

And by so doing we have traded – or delayed – what we want (40-pound weight loss) for what we want NOW, which is pizza.

We chose immediate gratification at the possible expense of future pleasure.

How many of us have been (repeatedly) guilty of this practice?

So, if we truly are serious about that 40-pound weight loss in the prescribed time we must make its attainment more important than pizza, ice cream and beer.

There are three questions that, if we habitually ask ourselves, and then pay attention to the answers, we will hugely increase the likelihood of achieving our goals.

The first question is, “What am I focusing on right now?”  Pizza? Salad?

The second question, “Is what I am focusing on moving me towards or away from where I want to be?”

Our answer to the second question will determine whether we even need to ask the third.

If the answer to question 2 is, “Yes, my focus is moving me toward where I want to be”, there is no need for the final question; order the salad and enjoy.

However, if what you are focusing on (pizza) is moving you away from where you want to be, you need to immediately change your focus. And whether you do this or not will depend on how badly you want that 40-pound weight loss.

When you finally tell the server your choice, you will know whether losing that weight is something that would be nice to have or something that you absolutely must have.

Some would call this a conundrum, others call it choice.

Till we read again.

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