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What to do when you don’t believe

Some people want to create change and they even have a few tools that would allow them to do so, but they can’t seem to get around their inability to muster up a sense of positive expectation.

At every turn, creative action is stifled by thoughts like “that probably won’t work” or “what’s the use?”

You have a business idea, but you have no evidence it will work.

Someone gives you advice you haven’t tried before, but you’re doubtful about its potential effectiveness.

Here’s my two cents on how to break past that kind of skepticism:

You don’t always need to believe that an idea will work in order for you to act on it.

When a wild animal is cornered, it doesn’t fight back because it has a logical reason to believe it will win.

It fights because of its pride and its instinct to survive.

Sometimes you just have to fight for your life regardless of the odds.

Big decisions and great achievements aren’t always made from a place of certainty. There are moments when you know you have to shake things up because the only alternative is a result you refuse to live with.

Rather than demand reasons for changing, demand reasons for staying the same.

If you don’t like where you are and you don’t have a better idea for how to change things, then WHY NOT try something different?

T.K. Coleman

Lost in translation 2

Our language shapes our reality by setting the context for how we feel about ourselves, how we judge others, how we determine what our possibilities are, and ultimately how we make decisions about the future.

The difference between a hopeful situation and a hopeless situation, a nice person and a mean person, a good day and a bad day, an effort worth making and a risk not worth taking, is often just a matter of the words we use to describe our experiences.

In yesterday’s post, I made a distinction between objective and subjective descriptions.

Here are just a couple of advantages/benefits that you can immediately gain simply by opting for subjective descriptions:

1) You reduce conflict between you and others.

When you describe your experiences objectively, you are taking a position. This implies that you are right and others are wrong even when you don’t intend for others to interpret you in that way.

If I say “you talk too much”, I’m virtually asking for an argument by putting the other person on the defense. Even worse, I may cause them to withdraw from me because of hurt feelings.

By saying something like “I do not have the energy, time, or interest-level to be attentive to what you’re saying right now”, I am putting the focus on me and my inability to listen.

Since I am only describing MY EXPERIENCE, there is nothing for me to be right or wrong about and, consequently, no need to debate anything.

My conversation partner and I would be free to focus on addressing my needs without anyone having to adopt and defend a position.

Our ability to solicit the cooperation of others increases greatly when people don’t have to worry about being seen as “wrong.”

Subjective descriptions can powerfully eliminate such worries.

2) You gain access to a broader range of solutions and you increase your sense of personal power

By keeping the attention focused on YOU AND YOUR NEEDS, rather than on what someone else is doing, you’re far more likely to feel in control and, in turn, attract solutions that are a vibrational match to that feeling.

When I say “You’re too fast”, my assessment is ALL ABOUT YOU. Clearly, there’s nothing for ME to do. Either you slow down or I’m stuck in an unwanted predicament. My verbal description has locked me into a position where you, and you  alone, have the power to solve my problem. In this situation, how could I NOT feel anxious, insecure, and frustrated?

But if I were to say “I am unable to keep up with you”, I would reclaim my power even though, paradoxically, I’m expressing what appears to be a limitation.

Thinking and speaking subjectively would open me to options (ie. I could stop racing, I could split up and go at a slower pace, I could train harder, etc.) that don’t require any changes from the person who’s going at a faster pace than I.

There’s a lot more to how we create our reality through language, but that’s my two cents for today.

What are some ways you can benefit from adopting a more subjective style of communication?

Lost in translation

“You’re too quiet.”

Translation: “I would like to know more about what you’re thinking and feeling.”

“You talk too much.”

Translation: I do not have the energy, time, or interest-level to be attentive to what you’re saying right now.”

“You don’t make any sense.”

Translation: I don’t understand what you’re saying.

“You’re too slow.”

Translation: “I need to move at a different pace.”

“You’re too fast.”

Translation: I am unable to keep up with you.”

“You stress out too much.”

Translation: “When you are emotionally disturbed, I begin to feel uncomfortable and I don’t know what to do about that. This happens more frequently than I would like.”

“You’re annoying.”

Translation: “I don’t particularly enjoy it when you do that. Will you please stop?” or “It bothers me when you do that. While you are free to continue, I need to remove myself from your presence if you persist.

“You’re an idiot.”

Translation: “I respectfully disagree” or “I have a different opinion.”

“People don’t listen to me”

Translation: I have not yet learned how to command people’s attention and influence those around me.

“People don’t respect me.”

Translation: I have not yet learned how to command respect or ensure that my needs are being met when I interact with others.

I could go on and on with more examples like the ones above, but I believe this list will suffice to illustrate an important observation about the way many of us have learned to communicate:

While experience, by its very nature, is subjective and personal, many of us describe those experiences using language that is objective and scientific. In other words, we frequently describe our lives as if the primary features of our experience are composed of properties and attributes that exist in other people or in the objects of our perception.

When someone says “Justin Beiber’s music is awesome or horrible”, they are speaking as if the property of “awesomeness” or “horrible-ness” exists inside of the music itself. In many cases, what they are really saying (without even being conscious of it) is that they simply enjoy or do not enjoy Justin Beiber’s music.

When we make statements about the world (ie. “that’s difficult”), we are being objective. We are describing things as if that is how they actually are.

When we make statements about the way we experience the world (ie. “I don’t know how to perform that particular task), we are being subjective. We are describing things in terms of how we perceive them while remaining neutral as to what’s REALLY going on.

One person says “that’s too expensive” (objective) and another says “I can’t afford it” (subjective).

Does it make a difference?

Do our descriptions affect our emotions, experiences, and actions?

I believe they do.

I believe that the way you describe your life, determines what kind of universe you live in.

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll share more of my thoughts.

Until then,

Create/describe a great day 🙂

T.K. Coleman

You become what you despise

When you despise the qualities you dislike in others, you assimilate those same characteristics into your own personality.

I remember a phase when I grew “sick and tired” of complainers.

I went on and on about how much I hated people who complained about their problems.

It hadn’t occurred to me that complaining about complainers is just another form of complaining.

By focusing my attention on the people I despised, I became just like them.

Are you focusing your energy on what moves you forward or are you too busy bemoaning those who behave badly?

T.K. Coleman

Don’t be a time traveler

Earlier today, a close friend, who does fitness training, spoke with me about what he refers to as “time travelers.”

“Time travelers” are people who are dissatisfied with some aspect of their lives, but they refuse to try the solutions and suggestions that are proposed to them because they know ahead of time that nothing will work.

Unlike the rest of us, these people have no need to test their skeptical disposition against the hard data of experience because they are able to “time travel” into the future, discover what will happen if they do the work, and save themselves from wasting their energy on useless advice.

Here’s my two cents:

The point of trying is to make your decision AFTER you’ve actually tried.

Trying isn’t trying if you decide to abandon your efforts on the supposition that “it probably won’t work.”

That’s not trying. That’s time traveling.

Don’t be a time traveler.

Stay in the present moment, do the work, and give yourself a real chance to create something new.

That’s my two cents,

T.K. Coleman

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