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This months letter is on the subject that really is closest to my heart ever since starting my coaching with Michael Neill. I feel I have made some great insights that have allowed both me and my clients to enjoy even higher levels of wellbeing. So, to celebrate the start of this new ”cyber era” I share my latest insights into what really is behind feeling successful in the true sense of the word…
Make Your Life a Masterpiece,
Quote of the month
" Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be experienced. "
- Søren Kierkegaard
Understanding the Ocean
As some you have probably already noticed my way of looking at personal development has changed dramatically in the last two years. This coincides with finding out about the three principles through my personal coach, Michael Neill. All of a sudden everything I thought I knew to be true was turned up side down in a literal sense. It was not a change – it was a 180-degree shift in viewing how we work as people.
In the beginning it was a tough pill to swallow. I was pretty successful as a NLP Coach and humbly saw myself as top 10 in the world at that. People with all kinds of phobias walked away fear-free from my office. Dyslectics and learning disabled kids did great in school. Professional athletes took their performance to all new levels.
Honestly though, as I started examining the results a little deeper I had managed to help facilitate a lot of change, but what really mattered was no different. Because when it really comes right down to it we don’t want more money, nice houses with grand views or even the freedom to ride an elevator without fear. What we really want is the feeling we think we’ll get if that happens.
And here is where the rubber meets the road. Many of my clients achieved what they told me they wanted, and they felt better too – for a day or two and sometimes three;-) But that was it! The same thing was true for myself. I remember winning the European Golf Championships, at the time as big as it got for me, and it felt great for a full 2 days. Then it was time to put on the pressure to become world champion, because obviously as it would be a bigger achievement it would make me happy for a much longer time.
As long as we think that our feelings come from the outside we’re going to continue chasing success like asses chasing the carrot on the stick. That’s where understanding the three principles is truly game transforming and will be for you too the same instant you “see” them. First difference: If you’re feeling it – it’s coming from you. Not the outside. Not from other people. Not from circumstance. Not money. YOU!
Understanding that beyond an intellectual level is huge. Therefore, trying to grasp the idea by wrestling intellectually with it just makes it more complex than it needs to be. I know this from personal experience. So just sit with the idea, let it rest on your mind for awhile and see what comes up for you.
The second insight is that whatever you’re feeling is created by thought. Meaning that , every feeling you have is preceded by a thought whether your conscious of it or not. And you can’t really control your thoughts for more than short bursts at a time.
Now, if that really drops a penny for you somewhere you will probably wonder how this can be helpful. I mean, if what we really want is to feel good, and our feelings come from our thoughts but we can’t control our thoughts… hmm…. It sounds like we’re pretty much screwed right? That’s where the beauty of our human nature comes in: The default setting of our souls is to have a wonderful sense of well-being. Actually, the very thing we think we have to chase to get.
I don’t know if this reads like greek to you or if you see the wonderful simplicity of it. It means that we don’t have to do anything to feel the way we want to. We just have to understand our own nature. The metaphor for this that I like right now is surfing. Life with anything else, to be good at it you have to practice a lot. But to be fearlessly safe and have fun while doing it you just have to understand the ocean. Great surfers understand the following:
1. Human beings float. That means that to drown, especially in higher density salt water (not many big waves for surfing in lakes;-), we have to actively struggle. If we relax and turn our noses to the sky we’ll be fine.
2. Only some waves are worth catching. Some waves never fully develop and are no good for surfing. Others build into fantastic rides. Knowing which ones for you to expend your energy on catching is key.
3. No matter how good you are, you will fall of your board! We all get bashed by the waves sometimes and when you do the crashing water will push and suck you down. If you don’t understand the ocean you will struggle against it, trying to get back to where you last got air. That’s how people at best exhaust themselves and at worst – drown. If instead, you understand the circular nature of a wave you just relax and the surging water will spit you out behind the wave in calm water.
To me that’s a great metaphor for how our experience of the world is set up. The ocean is the natural well-being we are born into. As long as we calmly understand it we safely float in it, gently rocked by the waves of our thoughts. Sometimes we catch a bad wave, sometimes a great one comes along. Depending on which one we decide to surf on by taking it seriously our moods will go up and down with the waves.
Every now and then we’ll crash and get sucked down by our ”virtual waves” of thought. Our tendency without understanding the “ocean” will be to frantically try to fight our way to the surface. But if you see it for what it is, you’ll just relax and might even enjoy the “under water washing machine ride”, and only seconds later come out into the well-being of the ocean behind the wave. Just like a kid you’ll find that falling off can be just as much fun as riding perfectly – because you understand that either way you’re in the ocean of wellbeing.
Having now spent a couple of years trying as well as I can to understand the 3 principles, I still think that this book is probably the best at explaining the basics of them. Filled with down to earth, common sense and practical examples of how they play out in our lives. Nothing will really change because your understanding of these go up, but everything will still be different. Highest praise I can give it…
You can find more books under Suggested Reading
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As an integral part of living my vision "to inspire, educate and make a difference in enough peoples private and professional lives to make a positive difference in the world", I write and distribute a free monthly coaching letter. In these I share various ideas, thoughts and insights that I think can be of value for all of you who are interested in getting the absolute best out of life.Read more