Monday, 20 December 2010

Banish The Doubt - Final Part

For many situations, acceptance alone will eliminate negative thinking, but not all. You need another strategy for when your emotions are RAGING. And this is the discipline of SURRENDER.

Before you can understand this second discipline, you need a basic understanding of your emotions.

Emotions are information in the form of feelings. When you experience an emotion, your body will respond with the release of hormones. This process is completely beyond conscious control at the point of feeling. Thoughts, hormones and behaviours already programmed in to your subconscious will automatically arise as soon as the emotion is felt.

If you have undertaken no training, this response will be a default. This default will be based on past experiences, quite often from childhood. The response may therefore be completely inappropriate! The level of response is also dependent on your sensitivity.

Remember that external reaction may have nothing to do with internal reaction. Some people are capable of a poker-face calm exterior when inside they are seething. It’s your internal reactions, rather than your behaviour, that will determine both your wellbeing and your performance.

Once we feel severely vexed about our situation, we enter into a kind of trance, known as the “Red Mist”, and acceptance can no longer help us. The appropriate response will surprise you.

Raging emotion is actually empowered by resistance. It feeds off the part of our awareness that says “this is wrong”. Why? Because you feel in an impossible position. On one hand you want to do the right thing, yet the “right thing” is utterly unhelpful in resolving the issue. Utterly cornered by this conflict of overpowering negativity and the inability to square it with your conscience, you will only act like any cornered animal does.

So what’s the answer? Give up. Give in. Surrender. Imagine that for some great cause or loved one, in order to save something more precious than your own life, you decide to sacrifice yourself, drop all resistance, and prepare to die. Another picture is to imagine that an alien has been trying to take over your mind. Knowing it will only possess a loved one if you resist, you drop your guard, and allow the creature full access to your mind. Another picture is consenting to receive a general anaesthetic, and to allow yourself to slip into unconsciousness and lose all control, or to submit your will to that of a hypnotist, and his soothing voice, in the absence of all resistance, seems to fill your being.

Of course this is the last thing you would want or think of doing, but letting go in this way has a very surprising effect. Rather than be overwhelmed, you will find yourself calming right down. Depriving the emotion of resistance also deprives it of its power over you. Being you, vulnerable and weak, as in reality everyone is at some point, surrendering to this fact means you are no longer fear it, and fear is the fuel of all negative emotion.

Apply all disciplines I have described and you will completely banish doubt from your mind. Keep your attention firmly on your intention in every waking moment, seize the opportunities in every moment, even if they are not what you’d prefer, and when your awareness is raided by the “Monsters From The ID”, instead of fighting them, completely surrender to them, and they will evaporate like fading memories.

You have everything necessary within your life to succeed, and you always did. What’s been holding you back is simply erroneous ideas handed down to you by others that you have unwittingly taken on and believed. You can override this conditioning rapidly and easily if you have a single burning passion. Harness your attention to this passion, practice emotional intelligence to ride straight through your own mental/emotional obstacles and nothing and no one can stop you. Every time you encounter a disappointment, a rejection, a wrong turn, it only makes you stronger.

…So, are you going to continue letting your attention and emotions wander undisciplined through your mind, sowing doubt and sabotaging all your efforts, or are you going to start doing what you love and loving what you do? An obvious choice perhaps, but to truly change, that choice must be recognised and consciously made.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Banish The Doubt - Part 7

For the sake of this example, you are stuck in morning rush hour traffic:

How do you feel about it? Angry and frustrated probably. You are going to be late and you’re aware of all the things that now won’t go smoothly. Your head is now full of a maelstrom of negative thought.

Can anyone here control the thoughts that pop into their heads? No you can’t. The standard response is a counter-thought (such as “no that is not helpful for me to feel that”) but this doesn’t work because your blood is already up!

You cannot argue with a thought that has a tidal wave of emotion powering it!
So don’t argue with the thought you’re going to be late. Agree with it! Yes I’m going to be late. I’ve every right to feel annoyed!
Now ask this question that works anywhere: What is this an opportunity for?

You now bring in to play a simple skill you’re already using every day, but you tend to keep reserved for tasks and lectures, it is your attention. Your attention is absolutely crucial to emotional intelligence. What has your attention has your emotions, your thoughts and your behaviour. Your attention is not just for tasks and lectures, it should be under your conscious direction every waking minute. If you don’t, it will go looking for trouble because that’s what it’s evolved to do – (that’s how you survived on the African Savannah!)

So here you are in your car. What is it an opportunity for?

In any situation, action, thought and emotion need to sing from the same songsheet. And the conductor of the choir is your attention. Your attention however needs a positive incentive – what’s the payoff of giving this my attention, because if there’s a payoff, your emotions will fall in line. This works for any task, no matter how dull.

You’re now practising the discipline of acceptance, the ability to maximise the opportunities in every single situation. It will give you an edge over Fred Bloggs, because Fred Bloggs is wasting his energy resenting what isn’t there. In any unfavourable environment, practise the discipline of acceptance.

So going back to our example of being gridlocked:
This is not great and I have the right to be annoyed about it!
So what is this an opportunity for? Meditation? Phoning a friend? Notation?
What’s the payoff? Can I suggest getting to work in a much healthier state?
Give this opportunity your full attention, be aware of the payoff in doing it, and thought, feelings and behaviour will be transformed into powerful allies.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Banish The Doubt - Part 6

If you are wracked by doubt, by insecurity, by worry, it’s coming from the fact that stored away in your subconscious is a memory of bad experience that’s ringing a big bell that says I AM NOT COMFORTABLE! Now of course we all have to endure some discomfort, but there’s no escaping the fact that discomfort impairs judgement, and the greater the discomfort, the lower your judgement. Who in their right mind would make a major business decision when they are desperate for the toilet?

So, to summarise up to this point, the origin of all negative thinking is MONSTERS FROM THE ID, bad feelings that have come from bad experiences. If you want to banish the doubt, if you want to be rid of negative thinking, you must have some way of changing your feelings.

You need to learn emotional intelligence, because emotional intelligence reaches the parts positive thinking cannot reach. No matter how stirring the team talk, no matter how wise the words, no leader or coach will ever get the best out of his players if he does not understand their individual emotions and how to manage them.

Emotional Intelligence is the key to revolutionising your life and changing you from an aerial, simply being affected by others to a transmitter, who profoundly affects others.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, manage and control the
emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups. So you see, once you have mastered this ability, not only will you change yourself, you will change others too. It is an extremely powerful skill once mastered.

I would really have liked to have learned this a lot earlier, because I would have coped a lot better, made better decisions and be a lot further on. But, at least I now get it. Most of the “aerials” out there never become “transmitters”, so I will count my blessings!

Now there are many different models and methods of emotional intelligence, but as a business person I suspect you don’t want to be bombarded with a load of conflicting psychological theory to choose from, so instead I would like to give you one that works, that’s easy to follow.

The first model I want to teach you is called acceptance, a technique for dealing with an unfavourable environment.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Banish The Doubt - Part 5

So, what happens when what you’re experiencing feels uncomfortable? You feel distressed! You will feel sadness or anger or suffering. And the more uncomfortable you feel, the more distress you feel and if that distress gets strong enough it will override any other consideration.

There is another way you can get distressed, and that’s to have a source of comfort taken from you, and if that loss is big enough, the distress will again explode out of you. For example, most people agree that the most stressful thing that can happen to you, the greatest mental anguish of all is bereavement, the death of a loved one. Anyone who has been bereaved will tell you that they will be never be the person they were before being bereaved. Why is this important? Because it will affect your performance as a business person.

In your life, you will have several big experiences, and what makes them big is the degree of comfort or discomfort you experienced. A really crucial time is between 4 and 8 years old. In this period a phenomenon known as imprinting takes place. What you experienced then is having a direct impact on your business right now. A large part of your emotional responses to situations now was first moulded back then. You see, at that age, you have mastered language, so now you can give things labels like good and bad.

You have a bad experience at that age, and everything to do with that experience will be labelled bad. And similarly everything associated with really good experience will be labelled good. This is why ordinary objects and situations can evoke really powerful emotions, because you associate that situation or object with a traumatic or exciting event. And the bad news is that once that association has been imprinted, it is not easily shifted.

With experience comes ideas, mental maps of how things are in relation to each other, and ideas get built into beliefs, mental maps of how the universe behaves. All these beliefs are built into our concept of reality. So you may be able to see straight away that reality is not objective - we don’t all experience the same reality, we all experience an individual reality which even at best has only some things in common with others.

Now, if you’re a fairly observant person, you may also see that there’s a recipe for conflict brewing up here, because quite often there is a mismatch between how we’re told it is and what we personally have experienced, between what we’re told is important and what you think is important, between how we’re told it feels and how it feels to you, and that conflict is going to undermine your performance in a team.

If you are familiar with computers, you will know that a picture file is not just stored as a picture. It comes with tags. These tags can tell you the format of the picture, the size, the number of individual pixels, who created it, when they created it and so on. In the same way, every word you hear now, every experience you have now, is evoking some kind of feeling. Exactly what is being evoked depends not only on how something is communicated, but on your beliefs, which depend entirely on your ideas, which depend entirely on your unique individual experiences, so no wonder that people misunderstand each other so often.