Dancing with a 700 lb. Gorilla
AMERICA LOVES FINISHERS! When you set a direction, there will be competing constraints, allurements, and commitments that will test your susceptibility to distractions. These are called invites to dance with the 700 lb. Gorilla! Human beings are highly susceptible to temptation, hence, the reason our drug problems are so hazardous to human endeavor.
External distractions like anger and frustration, boredom, and feeling rushed, as well as other outside forces, outlaw our follow through and resolve. This is why coaching is so vital to keeping on track. Impulses get the best of us when we’re under pressure, and fall off our plans.
Internal fear of what’s coming around the corner causes inaction, leading to a growing sense of powerlessness and paralysis. When creative fire and ideas inspire us, and we don’t express them, it leads to depression and hopelessness. We shut down.
Then we turn to positive thinking. After attempting to think positive, we find ourselves lying to ourselves about what is going on, as if we’re unable to stay in contact with what is happening. We use willpower manipulation through affirmations, lying to ourselves and pretending by telling ourselves lies without remembering who, but a person who chants they’re pretty or rich, wouldn’t be? Then we experience failures, setbacks, and frustrations, so we compromise our dreams, being “given-ups” instead of “grown-ups” who go after them and stay the course. We lack the intestinal fortitude and tolerance to hold steady. We cave when the pressure gets really hot.
So how do we battle these dragons and win? It’s more simple than you think.
1st — control your attention
2nd — change the underlying structure
3rd — tell yourself the truth
4th — trust all of your decisions
Controlling your attention is about taking a breath before acting. Slow down and center yourself by breathing deeply, remembering where you’re going, and what matters to you. When you put your attention on where you’re going, you’re occupying a creative orientation, not a reactive one. Your choices drive action and decisions, not circumstances. This is a fundamental change of orientation to the creative, not the reactive.
Changing the underlying structure involves establishing structural tension as the dominant creative principle from which you plan, do, and learn from your actions. When you have a place to go (a goal), back it into a current reality. Where are you now compared to your goal? Be accurate about the good, bad, and ugly.
Telling yourself the truth is a fundamental choice to see what is going on without editing it. It requires you to stay in the present and describe the current conditions just as they are, in actuality. Faking yourself out through deceptive positive thinking is positive lying, and doesn’t make you resourceful or learn like the truth-telling does.
Trusting your decisions, good or bad, requires that you treat the consequences of every decision with equal value. Half the time things work, while the other half they will not. This is where it’s important to use failures as assets to make adjustments and strategic reworks to increase your capacity and move closer to your outcome. It’s important to keep your identity in check to do this.
Whether your decisions lead to success or failure, neither consequence defines you as a good or bad person. You’re the only one keeping score. Rid yourself of your ideals and standards to move instantly to your goals. Choose your aspirational values instead. Yes, you have desires that you decide to create, and to create them requires action, but also, you will perceive risks, and seek safety via inaction. These two cannot exist with equality; one can dominate the other by choice, not habit. This involves consciously choosing what you want, not choosing to stay safe. Then other arbitrary decisions follow this senior one to strengthen your way forward.
Choice and commitment are very different indeed. Choice is optional and commitment doesn’t offer you an option, you must stick to it. You will change your mind at times because what mattered before may not matter as much now, or the opposite could be true. You will change your mind. That’s ok.
So when you see the 700 lb. gorilla inviting you to dance, remember how to control your attention, take a breath before jumping in. Second, have a place to go that you love enough to bring it into existence. Set up an underlying structure where tension seeks resolution when the actual state is compared to the desired goal. Third, tell yourself the truth, including what you fear, what you feel, what you’re susceptible to, your patterns, all of it, just be fluent in truth telling, you’ll respect yourself a lot more than positivity thinking which is lying and pretending. And lastly, remember to trust your decisions, without them you can’t learn. Ready, fire aim!