“Most of us have two lives: the life we live and the un-lived life within us. Between the two stands resistance.” ~Steven Pressfield
It’s time to upgrade your life. You know it, and I know it.
How do you upgrade your life when every past effort seems to have failed, and sometimes spectacularly so?
First, the Problem
The sum total of your life’s experiences have powerfully conditioned you to believe that you can only expect so much out of your life and relationships. It’s like an internal thermostat. As soon as the heat rises to a level of relative discomfort, your internal programming is set to automatically cool things off. In other words, unless you re-set the thermostat to allow for higher temperatures, you’ll continue to subconsciously sabotage the results. That’s worth repeating:
Unless you re-set the thermostat to allow for higher temperatures, you’ll continue to subconsciously sabotage the results.
Re-setting the Thermostat
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” ~Albert Einstein
Identity is destiny.
If you want to change your life, you must change how you see, think and feel about yourself. In other words, you must upgrade your self-image—your identity. In the words of Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
By being the person you want to be instead of the person you used to be (i.e., by living out of your imagination instead of your memory), you effectively re-set your thermostat to stand higher levels of heat.
If you feel fear, good. It means you’re outside your comfort zone.
If you feel anxious, good. It means you’re taking risks.
The question now is, “Can you stand the fire long enough to bring about your desired result?”
To upgrade your self-image you must work both from the inside-out as well as the outside-in.
Let me explain. . .
Working From the Inside-Out
In addition to coaching individuals and couples, I am a jury consultant. Which means I understand and leverage the power of storytelling in accessing the part of the brain that is the principal driving force for all human decision-making and behavior. That is to say, to inspire your behavior, you must proactively write an emotionally and intellectually stimulating story/script of your life. Otherwise, you will live by default. You will live according to your conditioning. The consequences of which are devastating.
For this reason, every morning between 4:30 A.M. and 5:30 A.M. I spend between 5 – 30 minutes writing down the person I want to be as if I am already that person.
The experience is life changing.
In fact, without that daily experience you probably wouldn’t be reading this article now. Most likely, had I not put pen to paper in writing out my life’s story, I would not have found the motivation or energy, much less the courage, to live out of my imagination. It is too easy to be who we have always been. As Albert Einstein taught, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world.”
Working From the Outside-In
A Psychological Phenomenon
After I write my story in the morning, I identify the behaviors that such a person would do. And I do them. Additionally, I identify the actions such a person would take. And I take them.
According to researchers, people see their actions as signals of who they are and what they care about. In other words, what we do informs what we think about ourselves.
If I return a five dollar bill I just found on the ground to its rightful owner, I signal to myself that I am an honest person. I am then more likely to behave in honest ways.
If I write, I signal to myself that I am a writer.
If I exercise, I signal to myself that I am a person that exercises.
If I save 10 percent of everything I earn, my behavior reinforces the idea that I am a saver. I am more likely, then, to save in the future.
The point, therefore, is that not only do we visualize and use our imagination to upgrade and inspire our self-image, but we also behave in ways that reinforce that self-image.
This is how we work both from the inside-out as well as the outside-in.
Working From the Outside-In Continued. . .
Because your subconscious mind is constantly absorbing information, anything in your environment that does not support your newly developed identity will inevitably serve to distract from it. Therefore, anything in your environment (including people) that distracts from your self-image must be, to the extent possible, eliminated or safely distanced.
Do not underestimate the effect of toxic people in contaminating your life. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Much of this process revolves around deciding to be who you want to be. But few people understand what the word decide actually means. Of particular interest is its suffix: cide. The definition of cide is a killer or a killing. Not surprisingly, it is the same suffix used in homicide, suicide, pesticide, fungicide, etc. In other words, when we decide to do something we effectively cut off the possibility of doing anything else. There are no alternatives. It is absolute. Final.
In other words, if it is right, as far as we’re concerned, there is no possibility of being, doing or getting anything else.
This tells us that although the vast majority of people want to change their lives, they never actually decide to change their lives. Instead, they decide to do what they have always done which is why they get what they have always gotten.
They may want to play the piano, but they don’t decide to play the piano.
They may want to lose weight, but they don’t decide to lose weight.
They may want to start a business, but they don’t decide to start a business.
They may want to be loved, but they don’t decide to love.
Most people are under the mistaken impression that we get what we want and that who we are is determined by our nature and/or nurture. The truth, however, is that we don’t get what we want any more than we are determined by our nature or nurture. We get what we are, and we are what we decide to be. That’s also worth repeating:
We get what we are, and we are what we decide to be.
Upgrade your self-image—how you see and feel about yourself—and you upgrade your life.