Category Archives: Self Improvement
The phrase in the image can be reversed too:
First BELIEVE you CAN, then DECIDE you WILL.
Either way your Beliefs and your Decisions will determine what kind of future you’ll have.
A long time ago my 1st wife left me, I remember being in that place of confusion and anger, I remember wanting to blame my ex for everything, I remember feeling betrayed… but then I realised what I wanted more than anything – and everything changed.
I can’t tell you it was an epiphany, or a bolt of lightning in my mind – but at some point I decided my daughter was the most important thing to me and I needed to find a way to build the strongest relationship I could with her – despite the situation.
The solution was as simple as A, B, C – but that didn’t mean it was going to be easy. Some people will tell you what you want most in life is hard because you have to prove to yourself how much you really want it. I’m not sure I believe that.
Once I started down the A, B, C path everything actually got easier in some respects – it still took a lot of self reflection and soul searching for me to come to terms with it all, BUT, dealing with my ex and getting access to my daughter definitely became easier.
There is a way through. You can have a brighter future. I’m living proof of it.
If you are in this situation or know of a Dad who is – take a look at my dedicated Facebook Group: Divorced Dads Rise Up and Be Proud here
(For any guys going through divorce or know someone going through it.)
So, your other half is leaving you or has left you.
You feel like shit.
Yep, you’re going to feel that way for a while, no magic pill, no shortcuts, just pain, misery, anger, resentment, heartache, confusion, oh – and some more pain etc. etc.
At some point, 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years – you’re going to say something like: “I’ve had enough of this.” And that is the first step.
You’re on your way. You’ve made a shift. Things are going to change.
At that point, to overuse an old cliché – it’s the first day of the rest of your life.
Phew! Glad that’s over, plain sailing from here on – er…nope.
Now the actual hard work begins.
The hard work of acceptance – accepting the situation for what it is.
The hard work of believing – believing you do still have a compelling future ahead of you if you can do what’s necessary to enable it.
The hard work of choosing – choosing to BE the Man, BE the Dad and BE the Role Model your kids need You to BE.
And the hard work of deciding – deciding to do what’s necessary to make that happen including compromising, forgiving, understanding, committing, listening, bending over backwards etc. etc.
If that sounds like a tall order right now head over to the Facebook page I’m putting together specifically to help you with that… https://bit.ly/2X3o3BI
(If the link doesn’t work go to FB and search ‘Divorced Dads Rise Up and Be Proud’)
It’s not a place to bitch and moan – there’s plenty of other groups for that, but that kind of talk will just keep you where you are. This group is all about positive empowerment – helping Dads find ways to stay connected to their kids by taking back their true personal power.
This process, as painful as it is, doesn’t have to make you hardened to life or to women – you can use it to make you stronger. Remember steel is forged in a furnace, but it can bend and withstand immense pressure without breaking.
Join us and discover who you really are, how powerful this experience is going to make you AND find a way to BEhave in a way that will make your kids Proud to call you their Dad.
Come and join us now… Click https://bit.ly/2X3o3BI (‘Divorced Dads Rise Up and Be Proud’)
(And if you’re wondering why this is aimed at Dads and not Mums it’s simply because I’m speaking from experience as a Dad that was divorced.)
SUMMARY OF Dr Steven Peters ‘The Chimp Paradox’ To be honest this is more like a reference book as it is jam packed with great and useful content. I could have written something about every page, but to keep this summary to a reasonable length I’ll cover the main points as they spoke to me – the rest you’ll have to read yourself by getting a copy (I urge you).
Dr Steven Peters states we operate using three main aspects of our brain; the ancient chimp brain, the modern human brain and the computer brain.The Chimp utilises emotional thinking designed for survival whereas the Human utilises rational thinking designed for society and communal living.
The Computer brain is set to do automatic functions. The Chimp can be your best friend or your worst enemy – that is the Chimp Paradox. If you consider your Chimp as a child that has little staying power, easily distracted, undisciplined,disorganised, and constantly craving instant rewards, then you won’t go far wrong.
The Chimp… acts on instincts which just require the right stimulus or trigger (fight, flight or freeze), unfortunately in modern society we need more subtle and sophisticated responses. Imagine walking into a room full of strangers – which of the above responses feels most like you? The Chimp wants you to decide quickly because the ancient brain needs to evaluate if there is danger (physically or to status) and if you don’t – it releases adrenalin to force the issue. If you still don’t decide the adrenalin rush causes feelings of anxiety.
The Human… must make a decision or rationale to reassure the Chimp and calm it down. Our Chimp also has powerful natural drives and are very difficult to resist and don’t require triggers. Sex, dominance, food, security, parental, territorial and belonging are the most prevalent. Ther Human operational features include honesty, compassion, conscience, law abiding, self control, purpose and achievement etc.
Being able to manage your Chimp impulses is a determining factor in whether you will be successful. The main drive for the Human is purpose, without it we lack direction. You can understand which mode you’re in by asking: “Do I want these feelings / these thoughts?” etc. If the answer is “No” then the Chimp is hijacking you, if the answer is “Yes” you are in Human mode.
A clear sign the Chimp is in charge is if your questions start “But what if…” Unless the sentence ends with something rational so that you can make appropriate plans. Chimps operate on “How do I feel right now?” and Humans operate on “How will I feel later?”
Nurture the Chimp by meeting its needs for security, territory etc. then it will be easier to manage. To manage the Chimp effectively either exercise it, let it rant or box it by using logic and truth to reason with it, or feed it as distraction/reward. Being influenced by the Chimp is acceptable per se, but we must allow the Human to take over when appropriate. Remember the Human isn’t always right and the Chimp isn’t always wrong.
The computer aspect is where all data is stored, our perspective on the meaning of a situation depends on whether the Chimp or the Human uploaded it. This creates respective associations. We can use our values base to placate the Chimp – EG: when I crave milk chocolate I can revert to the fact that I have chosen to be vegan – I don’t eat milk, therefore eating milk chocolate would not fit with my values. We can use the Chimp’s urges to belong for example by saying: WE don’t do that – when we want to overcome a behaviour.
So how do we know who the real ‘me’ is?
One way to find out who you really are is to write a list of all the things you’d like to be, EG: calm, confident, kind, considerate etc. This list describes who you actually are. Before engaging in an important discussion ensure the four corners of communication are in place.
They are: 1. the right time, 2. right place, 3. right agenda and 4. right way – these corners are arranged around talking to the right person. Remember the very words we use can cause chemical reactions in our brains AND the brains of those that are listening. Be careful with your words. For example using the word ‘should’ can create levels of expectation which can cause anxiety in ourselves and others. Switching it to ‘could’ alters the meaning of the communication making it more like an opportunity.
Of course there are bone fide situations to use both should and could. The Human needs purpose in life so start each day by having goals – small ones to achieve by the end of the day, medium goals that are steps along the path to bigger achievements and big goals that lift you up, bring you joy and make you get out of bed each morning.
Instant Stress Strategy – You can recognise this by noticing you are having feelings you don’t like. Create autopilots that the Chimp can rely on as the Chimp will be reacting to stress first EG: use a cue word like ‘Change’ to acknowledge you are feeling stress and that you want your Human to step in – say the cue word out loud as soon as you notice you’re stressed.
Have a mental ‘pause’ button and press it to slow your thinking down so you can allow the Human brain to work. Notice that you are stressed and whether your default is Fight, Flight or Freeze – then you know how to adapt your behaviour accordingly.
There are three sources of stress: #1 You, #2 Others, #3 Circumstances – identify which is causing your present stress (it could be one or more of the above contributing), and then create strategies to deal with them.
Dreams v. Goals – A dream is something that ‘might’ happen (face the fact that it also might not). A goal is something that you can ‘make’ happen. So set goals that move you towards your dream incrementally. Divide the goals into ‘target’ goals – those which you will strive to achieve, and ‘maintenance’ goals – those which once achieved you must maintain.
A good visual metaphor is to imagine each goal is like climbing a mountain – the goal is the top. Then start by figuring out how you get to base camp. What resources, tools, help, skills etc. Then do the same for each of the major steps up the mountain until the goal is reached. Keep a visual representation of your progress to help motivate yourself and your Chimp.
Of course you first have to identify your dream first – and make it BIG.
Learning from mistakes – When reviewing a mistake the Human always starts with themselves, what did ‘I’ do wrong? What could ‘I’ do better next time? The Chimp always starts with blaming others or circumstances or both.
Confidence – The best way to be supremely confident is to base your confidence not on what you think you can achieve but rather on your ability to do your best. This way you can deal with failure and move on because you can’t do better than your best.
In a nutshell to have a successful, happy life we must learn to control the Chimp within us most of the time, allowing them to be in control only in those rare circustances where they are best suited. Our Human and our Computer must be taught to do the heavy lifting.
And remember your Chimp brings every emotion to your world, it can be your best friend and your worst enemy and that is the Chimp Paradox.
I can’t remember the last time I heard this explained so clearly. Dr Joe Dispenza teaches us how our mind works on remote control most of the time, what that means to us on an experiential level, and how we can change that so that we can have happier, more fulfilled lives.
Have you ever failed at anything?
I have, many, many times with all sorts of things. From marriage to business to striving for certain goals.
Have you ever succeeded at anything?
I have, many, many times with all sorts of things. From marriage to business to striving for certain goals. Hmm, sounds like the first answer. That’s because it is. No I’m not spinning failure into success. I’m being literal, I have failed and I have succeeded – at the same things.
Let me explain…
My first marriage ended after a year – on anyone’s terms that’s a pretty miserable fail, right? Yeah, at the time it was painful and I felt like a miserable failure. But, after a short time me and my ex-wife actually became friends again, initially for the sake of our daughter, but eventually because it made sense to put the past behind us, learn from it, move on – but most importantly for me – to keep what was good about it. Me and my ex were friends first, so it made sense for me to retain that part.
25 years later we’re still friends and I like to think that our daughter benefitted from the ‘good’ relationship we made. And she has grown into a beautiful, kind, loving mother herself now. HUGE Success
Now I’m married again and it’s great. So now I like to think I’m a success at marriage (ask my wife for a true opinion). 🙂
So other failures…
I started my own business and for a few years it was great and I earned some good money. But slowly, slowly the competition got cheaper and my revenue diminished to a point where it now just ticks over. I tried getting in new business but selling wasn’t my strong point so now I concentrate on property investing. It’s been 12 years or more since I started the core business so I’m already in the top 4% of business owners just by continuing to trade for 10 years+, so in some ways I’m a success, but considering how it’s fortunes have gone steadily down you could say it’s more like a failure.
But I keep going, keep trying new things, keep striving and do my best to keep positive.
At the time I started my business I also started doing abstract paintings and have since sold in excess of 650 originals, albeit at very affordable prices. Success
A few years ago I tried setting up an online business, I got nowhere. Fail
Then I decided to write a self help book, I gave myself one year to write it. I did just that. Success
I self published it and learned a lot about marketing so I could sell it, I even created a 90 day home study course to go along with it. Success
I didn’t get anywhere with it. Fail
After dabbling a bit in business networking I set up my own network group and met lots of interesting people. Success
It didn’t bring me any new business or income streams. Fail
I overcame technical hurdles (and if you know me you know that’s a big deal) to set up blogs like this one and YouTube videos. Success
I reached 2nd Dan Black belt in my chosen martial art and when the club owner retired earlier this year he handed the running of the club over to me. Success
I taught myself how to play the piano and now write my own instrumental pieces. Success
I have written a 12 part children’s book series. Success
I could go on with a long list of successes and failures but my point is, to me, success is an attitude. We don’t know which failures we’ve had in the past might turn into successes, or what lessons they have taught us that might help us with success in the future. So in order to give myself the best chance of success I have to follow the following equation: R+R+HW +D,P&C. Resourcefulness + Resilience + Hard Work + Determination, Persistence & Consistency.
Make sure this resonates with you before adopting it though as there are many sayings and formulas out there that can misleading. One is attributed to Einstein: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.” However, if you were a door to door salesman and you quit after the first ‘No thanks’ because of Einstein’s quote you’d never get to door 7 where the first buyer of your product is. Or door 18 where your second buyer is, or door 32 where your biggest buyer is.
The lesson is only learned after sufficient energy has been put into something and you’ve learned all you can from the process and only you’ll know when that is. We also have to learn from the ‘No thanks’ in order to maximise a different result further up the metaphorical street.
Will I continue to have failures? Of course. But hopefully my ratio of successes will get larger.
So to answer the headline of this blog: The only way to properly fail is either not to try in the first place or quit trying because of failure. That’s not me and I hope it’s not you either.
So let me ask you this…
What would you regret most at the end of your life:
A) Failing to reach your dream goal
B) Never having tried to reach your dream goal
My wife was the catalyst for this psychological tactic.
She’s been a bit grumpy lately, a bit overwhelmed. When I gave her a hug she said: “I wish I could just update myself.” What a brilliant idea!
We live in a world of Apps these days – they’re everywhere and will probably outnumber websites soon. We have all seen the little red dot on our settings icon or App Store icon and we know that it could mean our software will improve as will the performance of our technology.
But what if we could borrow this idea to help ourselves on a personal level. Try it and see…
Step One – think of some personality traits you’d like to improve; confidence, gratitude, positivity for example
Step Two – look in a mirror and imagine the little red dot beside your face with the number of how many traits you’d like to update
Step Three – press the imaginary dot and imagine you see a drop down menu with those traits listed. Beside each word is a box with the word ‘Update‘ in it. Press each box one after the other and wait for a moment. While you’re waiting imagine you can see each circular progress bar turning until you see the words ‘Update Successful‘ in each.
I’d love to know how you get on with this so please come back and leave a message.
Full Speech: Jim Carrey’s Commencement Address at the 2014 MUM Graduation
When you have half hour to spare, while you’re washing the dishes or doing the ironing, give this a listen. Jim talks a lot of sense to this graduation year and wraps it up in his own inimitable humour.