In the Beginning
For every journey, there’s a starting point – and this looks like as good of a place as any to begin. To get us going, here are four “Truths” that I believe can help transport any of us from where we are today to a more productive, enjoyable lifestyle.
1. The stuff we’ve learned so far in our little lives has led us right to where we are today – as good, bad or indifferent as it may be.
2. The more we know about why we are the way we are, the better our chances for making some super improvements in our lives.
3. The more we can back off from our day-to-day survival mode of living to see if we can at least catch a glimpse of the “big picture”, the better our chances are of understanding ourselves, of appreciating this great creation we’re a part of – and of really beginning to enjoy life.
4. The more we can open our mind to the infinite possibilities life has to offer, the better our chances are of…well, see previous #3.
OK, enough of the numbering/list silliness. I’m sure you have the idea. Let me make one major point before we go any further. The intent of this material is not to persuade anyone to do anything differently than they have been doing all along. Really! (Trust me..?) The whole purpose for doing this is to encourage folks to just take the time to THINK – about stuff they don’t normally think about – and in the process maybe LEARN some really cool stuff that actually can make their lives easier and more fun. I know that what I’m writing has – and is – working for me. Will it work for you too? Probably, but who knows…
Yeah, I know. This is a really sucky motivational technique, but frankly, I’d rather be up front (honest) than try to blow smoke up your collective rears and attempt to convince you that this is the greatest concept since sex. I think you’re probably all too smart for that (OK, with maybe a few exceptions, but I’d still rather be honest).
I’ve been reading, studying and thinking about the “Truths” listed above for a long time. Here’s the way it worked out. About 20 years ago (after diligent study), I started to feel that I had a pretty good handle on why I was the way I was – and what life was all about. Around 15 years ago, I knew I was getting pretty darned smart. Ten years ago, I was sure I was an expert. Five years ago, I knew it all and was ready to take my esteemed knowledge to the world (for a nominal fee, of course). Now…right now…I am thoroughly convinced that I don’t know Diddley Squat. (There’s that sucky motivational technique again. Dang…)
That’s also just happens to be one of life’s premier lessons. As we mature and learn, we realize that all of the “facts” of life that we have stored in our little brain are frequently not so much facts as just possibilities. And thankfully, learning that then enables us to open our minds to a wonderful, fascinating world filled with other possibilities that we had never before considered. As a result, I’m passing along some of these “possibilities’ in the off chance that it might help someone out and maybe help make his/her life a little more enjoyable.
Hopefully as we go down the road, you’ll find a few things that can help you do whatever you want to do. Oh yeah, one more thing. Don’t take yourself and any of this stuff too seriously. Life’s too short for that. And besides, too much thinkin’ can turn your brain to mush – and none of us have all that much extra gray matter that we can afford to squander it away…
To get us started, here’s a quick review (or maybe for some of you, some brandy new info/concepts) of just why the heck we are the way we are. Why we think and act the way we do. Why is this important? Because if we don’t know how we got to be the way we are, there ain’t any way in hell we’re going to be able to open up our pea brains to get the information we could use to help make any changes in the way we do things so our lives will be better and maybe a little more enjoyable.
First of all, we all know that it is our parents/caregivers fault that we are the way we are. I know of folks who have become really good at carrying this concept to the extreme. They have managed to slog their way through life in a victim mode (the old “woe-is-me” syndrome) without taking a lick of responsibility for any of their thoughts or actions. Too bad ‘cause things aren’t apt to get any better for them unless they do some quick learnin’.
Not that these good people are 100% wrong. Our genetic composition that has been so carefully constructed (or not) complements of our egg supplier and sperm donor in hopefully a heat of semi-frenzied passion (how’s that for a new picture of Mom & Dad?) has provided the foundation for our physical and physiological characteristics including our brain assembly and functioning. Their actions and words toward (or just around) us provided the initial programming for our thought patterns and the resulting responses/reactions to the subsequent events in our lives.
The rest of our mental programming is mostly the result of environmental influences (everything that we’ve seen, heard, touched, smelled or tasted) from that time on. We’ve managed to use most of this input to reinforce the concepts and thinking patterns that were established in our younger years. I’ve heard that our values, etc. are pretty well set before we hit the teenage years. Good chance that for most of us this is about right.
Does this mean that all the information we’ve received has been complete, accurate, unbiased or even useful? Heck no! Some of it has even been downright detrimental and self-limiting. And that applies to just about every single one of us no matter how great our childhood and formative years appear to have been.
The end result of our genetics, experiences and life-long programming (or establishment of mental filters if that thought is more comfortable to you) is that we all are the proud possessors of our own personal values, beliefs, thought patterns and techniques for dealing with the events in our lives. Some of this stuff works fine and as a result our lives are pretty cool and in general, quite enjoyable. Some of it doesn’t work as well and our lives are generally pretty sucky. Cool or sucky, one thing that you can about put money on is the rigidity of our programming. It’s one of those “By dang, I am the way I am and I’m darned well gonna stay that way!”
The only way for us to get out of our rut so that we can move on toward the life we’d really like to enjoy is to change our thinking habits. It’s time to step away, even for just a few minutes, from the pressures of our daily lives to think about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it – and to think about if this is the way we really want the remainder our lives to be. Worth doing, don’tcha think?
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