The Pit

Nobody likes the pit. It isn’t a pleasant place to be in, but when you look back more often than not you’ll have a different perspective of the pit. The pit isn’t always an intended destination, but it can turn out to be for your good. The pit is the place where despair and desperation marry, their union seeks to take control of your life and smother you with their baby, depression… if you overcome this trio however, the pit will be where your character is built and you develop the traits required for you to flourish when you achieve what was once thought impossible. If you let it, the pit will weed out all of your shortcomings and jumpstart your transformation to being that man or woman you aspire to be.

One of my favourite true stories involves a bragging annoying teenager who was loved by his father above all his many brothers. He was egotistical and vain and would often share what he envisioned himself becoming, demeaning his siblings in the process. What did they do when the favourite child’s pride became too much for them? They threw him into a pit and told their father that he’d gone missing. In the pit the arrogant teen’s pride was instantly stripped away, replaced by a deep appreciation of life and everything that he had and a realisation of the value of others. In the pit he stopped envisioning things falling into his laps and developed a mentality of discipline and hard work steeped in iron-wrought principles that would not bend under intense pressure. It was in the pit that the metamorphosis he needed for his visions to come true occurred and years later when he was promoted to be the most important man on earth, the pride he had prior did not destroy him. On top of that he went on to forge an unbreakable, genuinely positive bond with his siblings. The pit gave him humility and the ability to forgive. That guy was called Joseph.

So the next time you find yourself in the pit, a pit you could have fallen into because of your own ignorance or poor decisions; or one where you might just be a victim of circumstances, look up and grasp the image of the sky above knowing that…

the time in the pit could be what propels you way above the clouds, far beyond the stratosphere to leave you dancing among the stars.

This marks the conclusion to the Individuality series. I will definitely return here once I’ve completed reading ‘Slight Edge’ and implementing more of these techniques in my own life. See you tomorrow for the start of the Creativity series.

Lying Is Good For You: Building Habits

Starting a habit isn’t always easy. The proof is in the number of people who say they want to start a new habit who don’t actually end up doing so. Or maybe they’ll start but stop before it’s really become a habit.

Habit – a regular tendency that is hard to give up.

Lally’s study claims that it takes anywhere between 18 days to 254 days to form a new habit.

How can one actually achieve such a feat that requires an incredible amount of discipline? First of all we have to acknowledge that it is difficult to maintain something just because we see the benefit of it in the future. If you are one of those people that can do it by just intentionally making the decision, kudos to you! If you are like me then you have to use a different way. The good news is it works just as well. Here it is… it’s time to lie again!

There’s this story about a mouse that’s put in a cage. Scientists would ring a bell at a certain time and then put cheese in the cage. Over time the mouse associated the sound of the shrill bell with cheese and would come out of its little house when the bell was rung and wait, even if the cheese wasn’t forthcoming. The bell didn’t sound attractive but the cheese was attractive. Over time the mouse would come out for the bell because to it the bell = cheese. We’re not mice though so what can we do? We use the horse and carrot stick method.

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Looks ridiculous right? The carrot is the reward after you’ve done the hard work of doing whatever the new habit requires you to do. This way we associate the reward with the work. For example, I love movies! When we got back from a service on Sunday that’s the first thing that I wanted to do. Unfortunately for me, I lived with very wise, orderly parents who would have me do the dishes first (after we’d made and eaten breakfast) before watching any film. Doing the dishes was work. Watching the movie was the carrot. My love for movies was so strong that I would speed through the dishes to have my carrot – ahem – I mean watch my movie. You couldn’t motivate me to do the dishes because it wasn’t something I looked forward to, but because I looked forward to watching movies, the labour of doing the dishes was no longer as hard as it seemed initially. Over time I stopped doing it as an inconvenience and started viewing it as a sort of key, a key to me watching the movies that I wanted to watch on a Sunday afternoon. I’ve used this same trick to exercise daily, write more consistently and to drink enough water each day – all things I never used to do.

So what are the practical bits you can use for you. The only thing you need to do is to make a list of the things you love. Lie to yourself until you believe that you can’t do one of those things until you’ve actioned out the habit you’re trying to build, then reward yourself with the thing you love at the end – and repeat. Make sense?

A short real-life illustration of the effectiveness of this technique:

Mom: Where are you?

Me: I’m in the kitchen. I’ve just started doing the dishes.

Mom: We’ve started watching a movie, come watch with us – you can do the dishes after.

Me: I don’t like doing dishes well after we’ve eaten. I’ll finish up fast then come watch when I’m done.

True story.

I’m a dish dog now!

See you tomorrow for Lying Is Good For You: Trumping Fear.

 

 

Man In The Mirror

“I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life.”

– Michael Jackson

If you’re going to have a positive impact on anyone else’s life, why not start with yours? You know by now what’s holding you back. Make that change!

“It’s gonna feel real good. Gonna make a difference. Gonna make it right.”

So do it!

Just…

Start with the man in the mirror.

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Thank you for your time:)

How To Show Off Right

Don’t you just get so annoyed when people show off? I do. A lot actually. I grow very annoyed at the beginning – it’s both intense and internal – then I’m at peace again afterwards. I let it go after telling myself that they don’t know what they’re doing.

I do wish I was always calm and nothing ever annoyed me but show-offs do… then when I found out I was one of them (albeit unconsciously) I was shaken to the core!

“I show off?” I asked increduoulsy.

Couldn’t believe it! So I started paying closer attention to myself… eventually I started noticing when I did.

What helped pick it up was that I was blessed with people that would let me know when I was doing something wrong (only after I’d given them permission to share such opinions… that makes me sound intimidating doesn’t it? But I’m a nice guy. Believe me.)

I got the hang of knowing when this awful behaviour would happen. Turns out there was a common theme.

I would show off with things that were given to me in some shape or form.

That’s stupid isn’t it? Well I came to realise that I came with nothing into this world… so everything that I have/had was given to me by someone else. Everything I’ve achieved is through someone else’s help whether I acknowledge it or not. So I have no right! I never did. Neither does anybody else… no right at all to show off.

“But it was all me. I worked for this so I can show it off.” I hear you say it. Don’t act like you don’t. Well at the very root of it all you’re a grown zygote that originated from a male and female, then there’s even more to that equation. Time to be grateful as well as humble.

But you still want to show off your ability. We’re ambitious us humans, we have an ego. I know that… I feel you. Lucky for you there’s a right way to show off. How? Well – not showing off. I know it sounds ludicrous but stop for a second and listen to this simple instruction.

Don’t toot your own horn. (Except perhaps as a confidence booster within yourself when you really need it.)

Work as best you can to perfect your talent in whatever role you play… once you do that – someone will inevitably do the tooting for you. And trust me, they’ll do so much – MUCH better than you ever could.