Finally, we are seeing signs of spring coming through even here in Sweden. Me and my wife Karin chose to get some sun and warmer weather by going to Rome. For the first time, we had four days without our little boy Vince. No matter how much you love your kids we really need some uninterrupted ”grown up time” together. To be able to fill that need holding hands in the Italian sunshine in a historic place made it even more magical.
Anyway, now I’m back behind the computer screen filled with inspiration. The last few weeks have been filled with new insights. It still amazes me that there is always another level of understanding waiting around corner. And, as we see how we create our experience of life in a new light it builds a lot of compassion. Both for others and for ourselves. Because, we see that we all are facing the same problems. They just manifest in different ways depending on our personal level of understanding.
Hence, this month I will delve into what I call 180-degree thinking. That is, when we have the same challenges over and over again it’s not the world being agains us – it’s us going about solving it in a backwards kind of way. When we turn our thinking around we often can’t understand how we could miss something so blatantly obvious. Or, can’t understand how we could build such a ridiculous mountain out of a mole hill. That kind of insight is what I hope could be stirred in you by this month’s coaching letter…
Make Your Life a Masterpiece,
Quote of the month
" Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of one. "
- Thomas Carlyle
The Bucket is Full!
Have you ever noticed that you have a tendency to run up agains the same “old” problems again and again? That even the ones you thought were solved once and for all can pop up like a jack-in-the-box when you least expect it? Somewhat of a rhetorical question since we all have our crosses to bear. It doesn’t matter if it’s about constantly struggling to lose weight, stop procrastinating, become more organized, unconditionally loving, care less about what others think or having money issues.
Because, we all run into those situations, behaviours or people that seem to have our number. So, despite our good intentions we get caught out by them time and time again. According to me this very human phenomenon is all due to some innocent misconceptions. And if our general premise is wrong it doesn’t matter how much we want to change, how much we desire a certain goal, or how hard we work at “it”.
Do you see my point? If not, hopefully the following metaphor can be of assistance: Let’s say that you have a leaky roof at home and every time it rains water comes flooding in through the ceiling. Now, if we don’t understand the connection between the rain, the leak and the water damage we will be rather frustrated. Why is it happening now? Why not at other times? What shall we do to stop it? Well, one thing might be to go get a bucket and put it under the leak. Nothing wrong with that. It catches the water and avoids further damage.
The problem is that it doesn’t matter how big of a bucket we use, it will soon need changing. And endlessly changing buckets every time it rains can get pretty exhausting. Not to mention that if we don’t it will soon overflow. Same thing when we encounter problems in our mental world according to me. We keep changing buckets. Sometimes great looking buckets with golden ornaments or one that promises it can hold any amount of water. But it doesn’t hold up to its promise and soon enough the bucket is full and needs changing.
I don’t know if that makes any sense to you or if what I’m getting at still seems a bit cryptical. In any case, bare with me because I think that the insight that I’m struggling to convey has great potential. So, let me give you another example. Most of us get raised with the same core values: To be successful you need to be disciplined, work hard, see yourself as a winner, be a risk taker, have the patience to keep at it. Naturally, I am well aware that this list can be made to be a lot longer, but I hope that you recognize these as some of the common ones that we all get “breast fed” with. Now, I’d like to propose that these are all “buckets” that will do nothing to get you what we all truly want. I hope the following points might give you a new and helpful understanding…
1. Discipline. Few traits are as highly valued in our society as having discipline. At first glance it seems reasonable. Who doesn’t want to hire someone who will do what needs to be done no matter if they feel like it or not? But that’s exactly what makes it bucket. You only need discipline when you are going to do stuff you don’t really want to do. If you really feel like doing it you go Nike on the task and just do it. Working on your discipline is therefore one step too late. It doesn’t matter how much you force yourself to put that bucket out to catch the water, your roof still has a leak and you will need more and more discipline to keep doing it. The price is diminished joy and sense of meaning. When you instead start listening to your inner wisdom, true desires and following your inspiration you will find that both roof and the leak were nothing but imaginary. Then no bucket is needed.
2. Courage. All our fairy tales are filled with acts of courage. Brave examples of feeling the fear and doing it anyway. No wonder we value it and encourage people to dare to “go for it”. Say hello to the person you’re interested in. Start that company. Cut loose and be foolish. Ignore your pulsing heart and live full out. All good advice, but the problem is that it doesn’t matter how much courage you manage to build up it still doesn’t solve the real problem. Because we only need courage when we are afraid. So living courageously is living a life full of fear. That bucket gets filled up pretty fast. When we instead see that all our fears come from believing our insecure thoughts, and not from a scary world, we can simply fearlessly do what we want to do to the best of our ability. Since we can see that our thoughts aren’t real there is no need for courage. No bucket needed when we see that all we had was an imaginary leaky thought.
3. Patience. have lost count of how many times people at seminars come up to me and ask how they can be more patient. With kids that grinds to a stubborn halt at the least opportune moments. With co-workers who irritate them. With themselves because they might not have accomplished as much as they had hoped by now. Once again, it might seem sensible to work on patience until we truly see that we only need it when we are stressed or irritated. It doesn’t matter how big of a patience bucket you manage to find. When the torrents of the world pours it on it will overflow pretty quickly. And seeing your best bucket not holding might just raise your level of stress on a regular basis.
Because patience says that I’m still irritated but I’m such a good parent I won’t even show it when the kid is so obviously annoying. Or, I’m willing to keep calm until “x” amount of time, but if they haven’t gotten to it then – enough is enough. Once you see that irritation is coming from your thoughts about things needing to be different than they are so that you can feel better, you don’t need any “patience bucket”. All of a sudden you see with clarity that people do the best they can from the level of understanding that they are at. From that state of mind you simply wait until they are done, or lovingly help them if needed.
Are you seeing the 180-degree shift in our understanding of our life experience? I’m asking because even though it’s obvious once you see it, I know from my own personal experience that until then, it seems equally obvious that the bucket method is working fine. I was just not being observant enough, quick enough or didn’t have a good enought bucket to make it work. Which is exactly what keeps us making the same mistakes over and over.
So, I’m hoping that these ramblings might have gotten some sort of penny to drop for you. A penny that takes you to a level of understanding where wisdom and fearless inspiration are guiding you. Because using courage and “feeling the fear and doing it anyway”, or irritadedly working on patience, is not the greatest way of living your life. No matter how many others who are trying to prove that it’s a good idea. Natural joy, love and wisdom is just so much better. And that’s what’s awaiting you when you see that there really is no leak, except an imaginary thought leak, and calmly let go of the bucket…
The Leader Who Had no Title
by Robin Sharma
We are getting nearer to our leadership event with Robin and we are already more than 300 registered participants. So, considering his enormous popularity this book seems like an appropriate choice. As for me, the story surrounding the information is a little contrived. However, don’t let that put you off because it’s pages are still filled with great ideas on how to create a life beyond the ordinary. Both for yourself and others that you have the privilege to influence…
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