It’s Not About The Destination It’s About The Journey – What Does That Mean?

Enjoying the journey is where true growth is.

You hear people say the above quote all the time, don’t you?

“It’s not about the destination it’s about the journey?”

What the heck does that mean?

“If it’s not about the destination why should I even start,” is something that cynics may say.

One of Lewis’ passions is fitness

This week’s article was inspired my friend Lewis who I met at kickboxing and is preparing for his second fight (at the time of writing) this weekend. Using Lewis as an example, I will give my version of what it means to truly enjoy the journey and not just wait for the destination This article is a carry on from last week’s article about the change cycle. Read full article on the change cycle here:

https://peterwaltercoaching.com/2019/10/24/enjoying-the-process-of-change/

The Importance of Goal Setting

I don’t want this article to convey the message that we should not set ourselves goals. Goals give us direction, strength and purpose. Without them we would most likely be putting our energies into things that do not serve us in the present or in the future moment.

Please have a dream and put the dream into action; Goal Setting. However as mentioned earlier this post was inspired by a guy I met at my local kickboxing club a couple of years ago named Lewis. Lewis is your typical dude. He’s covered in cool looking tattoos, is a dog lover and spends his time doing things that make him happy; from playing computer games, walking his dog and spending time with his partner.

Enjoying and loving the journey.

One of Lewis’ biggest passions is fitness (he is a personal trainer himself) and in particular kickboxing. Long story short Lewis has already trained and had his first fight, which made him thirsty for more, and at the time of writing is training for his second fight set for this weekend.

Upon talking to him and asking him how he was feeling about everything he gave me an answer that really made me stop and number one, admire him, but secondly realise that this way of thinking is a great teaching tool for all of us. He told me,

“Whatever happens I feel that I’ve already won because I am so much better at this sport than I was before I started my training.”

WOW!

How good is that? And what a way to look at the goal he has set himself. To be successful from your journey before you hit your destination is a lesson we can all take on board.

The Importance Of Making Your Own Rules

Lewis is a perfect example of someone who is making his own rules for success. He has not let the outcome of this weekend be dictated by the outcome of winning or losing his fight. See full article on rules here:

https://peterwaltercoaching.com/2019/07/19/our-rules-living-life-on-our-terms/

Make your own rules. Create your own successes

Now don’t get me wrong, I am pretty sure that Lewis is not travelling to the fight with the idea that he is going to lose. Far from it. The point here is that if he does win the fight and walk home with a shiny trophy that will just be a bonus for him.

As he said he has already won in terms of the growth he has physically done to prepare for the fight and the metal growth he had to put in as well. He had to grow as a person and believe that his journey was a fun and worthwhile one. Lewis’s rule for the success of this fight may look like the following:

“Every time I am working towards improving my fitness and kickboxing, I am successful.”

So, as you can see, he will always be loving his journey because he is always successful.

Growth From Practice – Growth From Doing

Like our friend Lewis we all need to take a step into the challenge of a goal. In my opinion practising and failing (lessons in disguised) and practising and succeeding all lead to what goal setting should be about; growth. What is so important about growth you may be asking yourself. Growth is the reason why we should set goals in the first place.

Practice what you want to achieve.

When we set out to achieve something it is something that we cannot do or have yet. If it was something we could or have already do then it would just be a habit. So, like Lewis we may want to win a kickboxing fight or achieve another physical goal. You may want to overcome anxiety or self-image issues or learn how to attend real estate classes part-time and start investing in property.

Whatever it is there will be a process involved and steps set out to get there. Now I am all for having a dream and future pacing (visualising in the future) yourself having already achieved that. But here’s the clincher for me. When we future pace ourselves having already achieved something your future self will give you massive clues of what actions you need to do in the present to get the goal accomplished.

“Not only specific actions to do but the person you will need to grow into to achieve those actions!”

Goals Are Just A By-Product From The Journey

Once we have achieved the goal, we have set out to do, what next? Start another one? That’s fine. But the reason for this article was to highlight how important the journey was and is along the way.

Let us take Lewis or someone who has a physical goal that they want to complete. It may be to win a kickboxing fight or lose some weight or run their first marathon. Achieving those goals will be awesome. The feeling of accomplishment is one of the best we can feel. However, problems may arise if for certain reasons we do not hit those goals at the times that we choose to.

Injury and circumstances out of our control may impact those going after goals. Here is the way I believe we should look at the process. Winning a kickboxing fight is great, however once it is done it is done. What we need to be celebrating, just like Lewis is doing now, is the life-long and transferrable skills that we have learnt along the way.

What skills will achieving your goals give
you?

For example, in Lewis’ case he has built up a great training habit which he can how transfer to any other sport or passion that he wishes to. In addition, the life-long skills such as discipline, resiliency and patience are life-long skills that he can now apply to other goals he may have in his life such as building his own personal training brand or learning how to invest in shares.

The possibilities are endless all because his journey involved building up life-long, transferrable and empowering skills. The question is what skills are we building up on our journey towards our goals? Are we constantly moping that things have not turned out the way that we originally planned? Or are we grateful that these lessons of change and flexibility have been presented to us?

Most importantly are we enjoying the journey towards our success.

“Are we appreciating that we are already successful now because of the growth the journey is giving us?”

The fact that you are willing to put yourself through change, in my opinion, makes you successful.

So, whenever you feel that the journey you are on is quite difficult, take a leaf out of Lewis’ book and love your journey. Focus on the person you are becoming and that you already have the resources inside you to make change and grow.

Article In A Nutshell

Going after goals is a sure way to foster change in your life. Though we must remember that goals are the by-product of the journey. Growth and building transferable and empowering skills will be the true success when it comes to the journey. Just like our friend Lewis we need to enjoy every moment of it. Big shout out to my mate Lewis who inspired this post. Thank you. Win or lose the fight this weekend, you’ll always be a winner to me mate. Go get ‘em!

Enjoying The Process of Change

We must really appreciate that change has to be a process, not a circumstance that happens to us.

Many people have a fear of change as they most likely do not know what change involves. Many people think that change happens to them through circumstances. Whereas successful people – people who have achieved what they set out to do – see circumstances as something that is out of their control though they see change as a process which takes time but they have full control over. The following article will outline the change process and why it is so important that we accept it as a process as opposed to ‘things that always happen to me’. We will begin with looking at the model of change.

1. Unhappy With Current Situation: Firstly, change starts off with the simple reason that we are not happy with the current situation.

2. Think and Decide: Now we start to think and decide that I am going to do something about it.

3. Action: This is where the magic starts to happen. We as individuals realise that relevant action must be taken. It could be to start exercising, to take on a coach or mentor, stop eating certain foods, etc.

4. Maintaining Action: At this time is where you hear those louder-than-life heroes tell us that here, is where you will show your true character. Do you have the guts, the determination, persistence and resilience to follow things through? Starting is one thing, but seeing it through is where the real change occurs. This is where you can use a lot of the pain and pleasure activities outlined in the journal activities above to help you.

Now as a coach I believe the next stage of the change process is imperative. I will give you the secret to why people are successful and why people are not. Two alternative scenarios will happen when you have maintained a certain action over a certain period of time:

5. Regression: The action that you were taking may not work and you ‘slip’ back (subconsciously) into your old habits, routines and behaviours and more importantly your old mindset of, “Oh, I failed again. I knew I shouldn’t have gone for this. What a waste of time!” 

STOP!

Consciously make an effort to stop yourself right there! That moment of regression, or what we perceive to be regression, is the reason why the successful are successful. A successful person – one who is happy about the path they are on – would never talk to themselves like that.

“Not achieving their desired outcome yet¸ to them literally means they have not achieved their desired outcome yet.”

That’s it. They have the mindset where what happened, something not working out, is just a solution that they tried and now that it hasn’t worked, they are more than happy to reflect on what they have done, and get back on that change cycle and start again. 

In fact, these people who have what you want, see the ‘perceived failure’ as a blessing because they know it is one option which they do not have to explore any more as it did not work. Now they can move on and try something else. Isn’t that an amazing realisation? 

“Imagine how free you can feel by just adopting the mindset: there is no failure, only lessons.

6. Change has occurred: After maintaining action for a certain period of time the change that you are pursuing has occurred. A method we endorse in coaching is to celebrate your wins, no matter how small. Remember, we as coaches work with the two most powerful force we have; pain and pleasure. You’ve worked hard; now treat yourself to a little pleasure. Depending on how you feel about your achievement it can be anything. A walk in the park, buying the new shirt you’ve always wanted, a movie night, back massage, literally anything that makes you happy.

Why We Don’t Change

From the above we can see that change is a process. Things that happen to us outside of our control are circumstances. We do not want to be working from circumstances. We want to see change as a process. Just like the everyday processes that we know to be true such as working for a month and receiving a month’s salary or working out for 6 months to see body transformation, change is a process that we control, not a circumstance that happens to us. Can we see the difference?

Undesirable circumstances happen to everyone

I am not saying that undesirable circumstances will not happen. Others opinions, bad days, our own self-limiting beliefs is something that we all go through when we go through change. But to reiterate constantly, because I need to keep on hearing it, is that EVERYONE goes through undesirable outcomes, though it is how we respond that will make the difference. To be someone who can re-start a model of change, and implement a new plan of actions when their first attempt didn’t work will reap the rewards.

“Circumstances happen to us. That is not change. If we want our desired change, we have to be prepared to go through the process of it.”

Changing Our Mental State Is a Process Too

If we can see that physical changes, such as toning up your body, involve a process – most likely a long process, then surely we must see that changing ourselves internally will be a process as well. Also, a great way I like to look at it is that if we had a plan to change and that plan to change magically worked then it was not a real change!

Our brain doesn’t like change. We must go through the process of changing our beliefs.

Think about this. Our brain does not like change. It loves to be efficient and to use as little energy as possible, that is why we have our habits. Working from the subconscious right? Also, the brain does not like to be wrong. Part of being efficient means that is always has to be right all the time which is why it will give you your habits and beliefs all day long. Makes sense right?

So, if you’re going to go a make this great plan to change and you tell your brain, “Right, I am no longer the scared and worthless person you tell me I am. I am a strong and confident person.”

How do you think your I-need-to-be-right-all-the-time brain is going to respond to that?

I cannot read your thinking but I would guess not to graciously. It will put up a fight and cause you a lot of dissonance – the discomfort from holding two contrasting beliefs at the same time – and try and talk you out of changing. Don’t be alarmed, this is natural. This is where our mental work comes in. Journaling, meditating, self-hypnosis, whatever it is, continuously. Repetition will be the key here. Also, acceptance of the pain that change will cause. The question is are you willing to put yourself through that for the change you are after?

No Hypocrisy

Yes, still always going through the process. I’ve learnt to enjoy the process.

I am not perfect. I am not a guru. I still slip back into old ways of thinking. It happens. Not as much as it used to, though it still happens. Though since I started my journey of change, I don’t have the negative thoughts as often and when it does happen, I don’t beat myself up about it. I have learnt to enjoy the process that is required in change. I believe if it was easy there would be no satisfaction at the end. If at the end of over-coming negative self-beliefs new ones ‘pop up’. Then I am happy to start the process again. Life must be about growth, surely!

Article In A Nutshell

Change does not happen to us. Circumstances happen to us. We choose the changes we want in life and we must accept that it is a process that we must go through. When things out of our control happen to us, circumstances, then we have the choice of how we respond. Accept the circumstance and the change it may bring to our physical lives, or start our own process of change and enjoy the journey that we have chosen to start.

Time – The Best Motivator We Have

Time never stops. A great reminder to put intentional actions into the present moment

Someone I knew recently commented to me, “Is that a few grey hairs I see growing in your beard?”, in which I had to reply, “Yeah, there’s definitely a few greys in there now!” Also having recently celebrated a birthday it was a perfect time to reflect on what I had done for the last year and what I want to achieve for the following year. I think birthdays are a natural time to do this.

Yes, it’s true. Grey hairs have been found!

However, what struck me the most about my ‘grey hair epiphany’ was that time was a great reminder that we are not going to change this time next year if we keep doing the same things now. More importantly, unless we consciously choose to, we will have the same mindset in the future as we do now.

Why Is Time A Great Motivator?

Time doesn’t stop or slow down for anyone. What we have now in our present is what we have created from the past. Meaning the thoughts, emotions, actions and therefore habits that we have had in the past have given us our present-day life. Our relationships, our work, our money, our interactions, everything in our life, have all come from what we have created.

If you look at your present-day life and think to yourself, “You know, this is not the life that I wanted for myself,” then the truth is that you have created it. Remember with all my content I am not tossing any stones here; I have been there and done that. To be candid I am still there. But I am learning and I love sharing my learning with others.

Will you be happy with how you used your time upon reflection in the future?

This article is not for people to use as a catalyst to look back at their life and say, ”I should’ve done this or I should’ve done that,” it is a time to look at your current life and think, “I am the creator here, therefore I have the power to create something different for my future self.”

What I personally like to do is to look at my current life-path and ask myself, “Would I be proud of what I have done if I am still doing this in 5 years.” Obviously if the answer is yes then that’s great. If the answer is no than that’s great too; you’ve recognised that you want to change and you can now do something about it.

Going After What You Truly Want

I think it is absolutely awesome, truly inspiring, to see people who have made massive changes in their lives. To constantly reiterate, your brain does not like change so it will fight you when you try to. We have all heard those rags to riches stories of people who have come from nothing and have built themselves up to live in great neighbourhoods, enjoying life’s modern conveniences and also have the financial security to support their family and beyond. I truly admire that.

However, what we need to always focus on, especially in today’s society where mental health is playing a vital role, is that changing your internal world will take just as much effort as saving up for your first car or buying that great new suit you’ve always wanted.

Make a plan to start your mind management journey today.

In my humble opinion true riches starts on the inside and works its way out. It’s great to go after a life you’ve always wanted because at the end of the day it’s your life and your right to do so. Though make sure you start from the right place. If you are someone who is suffering from low self-image, poor self-esteem and anxiety then you will keep on suffering with those thought processes unless you choose to do something about it now.

Just like saving up for your first car took time and effort (unless you were fortunate enough to have very generous parents!), deciding that you want to do something about your mental health, your internal world, will take the same intent, dedication and practice.

Start From The Correct Starting Point

To have those changes in your life that you want for the future start with the inner work now. How you are feeling now is because of the mind work you did in the past. Does that make sense? For instance, if you are someone who has a high self-esteem now is because when you were younger you had positive thoughts about yourself (which came from the environment around you) which were constantly reinforced through evidence from your outside world

“Remember your beliefs are just thoughts which have been validated over and over again.”

Whether you use this article or the hundreds of other pieces of great content out there, you need to make the time to do the mind work now if you want to change how you feel in the future. It won’t change by itself. And yes, just like saving for your first house you will have bumps and hurdles along the way, though always keep in mind, that the thought processes you have now are habits which have been set in the past. So, what are you going to be thinking in the future? It’s up to you.

Reflect Then Project

A great exercise to do when starting out on your mind management journey is to reflect to major transitional points in your life. When you first left home, the first job you took, having children, buying a house, moving house, starting relationships are all decisions that you made that took you along a certain life path. For example, you would not have met the people that you met if you did not decide to leave home when you were younger. You would have had different experiences to the ones you have now if you had decided not to go out on the first date with your significant other. The point here is not have regrets but just to see how certain decisions have led you to where you are today.

Once you have got into a state of reflection you can now project yourself into the future (we can also call it future pacing or visualisation) and visualise the path that our current lifestyle and habits will take us. It’s OK to do this that is why we were given our imaginations. If this makes us unhappy, CHANGE IT. Project yourself into a future path that you want to be on. How will you feel 1, 2 perhaps 5 years from now? Does it make you happy?

If the answer is yes, then trust your intuition and ask your brain what you need to do now to project yourself onto the life path that you want.

Living In The Present Moment

I used to be under the impression that visualising your future, day dreaming about what I wanted, was taking away the present moment. I’m sure we’ve all heard the ‘experts’ say that the only time we have is the present so we have to live fully in the moment.

I totally agree though now I am under the impression that visualising the future is an activity that can only happen in the present moment. A bit out there? Meaning if we put time aside each day to live fully in the moment of visualising what we want for the future we can then use that moment to track back to what action steps we need to do in the present moment.

Use the present moment to visualise the pathway you want .

So, in effect using the time in the present, to visualise the future, to help us work out what actions we need to do in the present, I believe, is a great use of the present moment.

“Self-analysis of how you want your future to be can only happen in the present moment”

The key here is not to use the present moment wisely, as in the above example, as opposed to using visualisation as an excuse to procrastination.

Article In A Nutshell

We are definitely not getting any younger; the grey hair in my once-shiny-black beard can confirm that. Though time is a great tool to analyse the life-path we are on. If we are content with how much we have evolved and grown from the last five years, then we can be sure that the next 5 years will make us grow and evolve as well.

However, if we are not happy with the last five years, time will just perpetuate the next five years, not solve it. It is up to us as individuals to start making the changes now, to enjoy the journey now, and then enjoy the change that we will receive in the future. Which ironically, will also be in the now!              

Analysis Leads To Paralysis

Over-thinking our thoughts can leave us feeling stuck
Over-analysis of our thoughts spiral out of control

I was very lucky to have an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) coaching session with a colleague and mentor of mine. Though NLP is based around changing your identity so you can change your beliefs, I did get a bit of coaching at the end of the sessions as well. The best bit of advice that I got was that “Analysis will always lead to paralysis.”

What Exactly Does That Mean?

In my case over-analysing was one of the key influencers in my anxiety. The story goes something like this:

*You have a great thought in your head.

*Your over-active fight or flight response kicks in and you start a long list of things that could go wrong.

*You are left in an unhealthy state to go out and achieve what you really want in life.

We must remember that our thoughts lead to our emotions which lead to our actions which give us our results. If, like me, you are someone who has these over-analysing thoughts, then the emotions that you will feel when going through the motions of your day leaves a lot to be desired.

“Think of an avalanche, where once a bad thought starts it just gets momentum.”

Also, over-analysis of most things allows your ego to kick in (and again your fight or flight response to perceived fear) and tells us what a bad idea something is.

Making It Habitual

Over-analysing is a bad habit we have been programmed with
Over-analysing is a bad habit we have been programmed with.

What I talk about a lot in my content is that all that we do becomes habitual. I, along with many others, have learnt this negative spiralling way of thinking which has paralysed our goals, dreams and desires. People who have what they really want, are they wired differently?

In my opinion, yes, they are. If not subconsciously then they have learnt that the over-analysis of negative thinking does not serve them and they set about changing that habit. For some, this negative spiralling may last longer than others and we must learn tools and techniques that will break this habit, and replace it with a better habit.

Taking Necessary Action

Remember our order for actions. We need to think positive thoughts, which lead to positive emotions, which lead to positive actions. So, before I take on physical action, I put a positive thought into my head. Something like the following:

  1. What I am about to do will lead me to positive habits
  2. It’s OK to feel defeated everyone now and again, though I must stick with it.
  3. Remember that time when I ________. (insert at time when you had the desired outcome you are after) I did it then and I can do it now.
  4. Wow! Imagine if I didn’t try and change, I would be the same for the rest of my life.

Thoughts like these put us into a better state so we can perform our actions in a better state.

Record Your Great Ideas

When you think of an idea it is coming straight from your source; your higher self. Record it straight away. I use the voice notes on my phone or the old-fashioned pen and paper. Write it down straight away before your ego has the chance to jump in and tell you what a rubbish idea it is.

Get into the habit of recording your great ideas down
Get into the habit of recording your great ideas down

It could be anything that you know will serve you. What job you want in the future, what relationship you want, the blog post you want to write this week. I t can be whatever you want, just get it down.

This is similar to a common coaching technique where we ask a leading question such as:

“if you were a millionaire for a day, what would you do?” Or “If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do.”

We then give the client a time limit – no longer than 5 minutes – just to write what comes to their head. If they get stuck, they are not allowed to stop and think about it. They have to keep on writing the words, “I cannot think of what to write,” until their inner voice gives them another thought to write down. The trick is to keep the over-thinking conscious mind busy with writing the mundane sentence so your true inner voice comes through. Give it a go it’s a winner.

Ask Better Questions

Our brains are the most beautiful things on earth. Look around you. Everything that does not come from nature has been man-made. And ironically, things that have been man-made, the resources to build those things, have come from nature. So, if you ask your brain a question it will give you an answer.

Your brain will give you the answer to anything you ask it
Your brain will give you the answer to anything you ask it!

Q: Why can’t I find the partner of my dreams?

A: Because you’re worthless, that’s why you didn’t have any friends when you were younger. There’s a reason why they wouldn’t let you into trade school because you weren’t smart enough. Who wants to be with someone like that?

See how this one question can lead to spiralling out of control. A better question could be,

Q: Who do I have to be to find the partner of my dreams?

A: I need to be myself and stop worrying about impressing people. The partner of my dreams loves me for me. They are out there somewhere though at the moment the universe has not timed it for me yet. I am going to enjoy the great relationships that I do have with my friends and family.

Q: What do I need to do to find the partner of my dreams?

A: Ask others where they met their partners. I should probably put myself out there and start dating. I could ask my friends if they know anybody. I could join a dating site.

Trust your brain with the answers it gives you.

“You can start to build up a trust relationship with your brain by asking the right questions.”

You’ll be surprised with the answers it gives when you do. In both of the examples, the circumstance had not changed, just the questions we ask ourselves.

Expect The Expected

This may sound contradictory here but when you are first starting to reprogram your thoughts and beliefs, it will be a struggle. Your subconscious brain does not want to change because it is comfortable feeding you the thoughts you’ve always thought; remember the reptilian (subconscious) brain loves routine and efficiency and does not like change and hard work – nothing personal, that’s just the way we’re wired.

Pre-plan what you will say, what you will do, and how you're going to feel
Pre-plan what you will say, what you will do, and how you’re going to feel

When I am changing my identity and hence changing my thoughts and beliefs, I know that I will get that sickening feeling in my gut and my heart. This is where it is imperative that you are prepared and have your ‘ammunition ready to fight back’. Have affirmations of why you need to go through this feeling to get to where you want to go. As above, have some great questions ready so that you can pull them out when you need to. For some of us that feeling may never go away, though we can get into a routine of fighting it when we need to.

I do not personally believe there is a specified time or how long certain thoughts will take to change. It will take as long as it takes. The key is repetition and resilience.

“Can you keep on getting back up and trying again when your programmed subconscious has kicked you down?”

For some beliefs the help of a friend, coach or mentor can really help, especially if they’ve been through what you’ve been through before. If you do suffer from over-analysis, give these techniques and see what happens. What have you got to lose?

Article In A Nutshell

Over analysing your thoughts is a bad habit. If we know that the majority of the ideas that we produce are rigged in our favour then we would most likely be living the lives that we want. After that initial burst of the great idea, and our habitual fight or flight response kicks in that we start to think of every single reason why we shouldn’t do it. Being prepared for this over-active analysing can really help yourself to recognise so you can be prepared to reprogram your thoughts into ones which serve you better.

Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway

What does it actually mean when people say, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Does it mean that we are reckless? That we don’t think our decisions through? Perhaps we should take more risks in our lives? In the following article I will give my opinion on what it means to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Hardwired

Bless our brains they really think that they are serving us well. For a quick recap here are the different parts of the brain, well the 3 main ones I focus on:

  1. The Pre-frontal Cortex (conscious): The thinking part of the brain. The conscious part of the brain. What you are thinking now is the pre-frontal part of the brain.
  2. The Mammalian: The feelings and emotions part of the brain.
  3. The Reptilian (unconscious): The oldest part of the brain responsible for survival. It gives us survival mechanisms such as the fight or flight response and our habits. The reptilian thinks all habits are what we need to survive. It doesn’t know good or bad it just knows habits.

Long story short our Reptilian part of the brain is the oldest and strongest part of the brain that feeds us our habits, and gives us our urges just before our habit kicks in. It is our habit voice. It is a stronger voice than our pre-frontal cortex, hence that is why our habits and our habitual way of thinking will always override our conscious thoughts. That would explain why some people know that what they are doing does not benefit them though they keep on doing it, like smoking or overeating.

Also, our brain likes to use as little energy as possible and likes everything to be efficient, and it doesn’t like change. Hence when you step out of your comfort zone or go against what you would normally do in a situation – your habit – your reptilian brain will let you know about it. For a lot of us our fight or flight response kicks in and we get that feeling of uneasiness in our heart and our stomach. Read full the effect of our fight or flight response here:

https://peterwaltercoaching.com/2019/07/04/fight-or-flight-mode-why-we-need-to-know-about-it/

Is What We’re Experiencing Actual Fear?

Your fear is your fear. Meaning how we perceive things in this lifetime is our reality, not anyone else’s. You may have similar realities to others, for example, “That rock concert I saw last night was awesome,” but you will have your own perception of the world. Someone could go to the same rock concert and absolutely despise it. Did the band play 2 different shows? Of course not!

Our reptilian or unconscious brain is very good at pointing out physical dangers for us, such as a car driving too close to the curb, though it sees things outside your comfort-zone (your habitual way of life) as a danger as well.

I am not talking about adrenaline junkies who live for the fear and they do ‘dangerous’ sports to feel that fear but everyday things that we all face that can bring on fear such as having an uncomfortable conversation with someone, sticking up for yourself, taking on new responsibilities at work, becoming a parent for the first time, so on and so forth.

Our reptilian brain doesn’t recognise if the result on the other side of the action. It just knows that the action you are about to take now is not safe for you because it is not in your comfort zone. So, it will see it as a threat to you and alert you that this is not a good idea. I’m sure we have all heard the saying that to get different results we need to do different actions. Well, how can we do the different actions if we don’t change our habits?

“How can we change our habits if we don’t experience that sickening feeling of fear?”

What We Can Do When Experiencing Perceived Fear

If you are like me and fear and anxiety has crippled you in the past why not try some of these thoughts:

Firstly, you could take a logical approach and write out the 4 Cartesian logic questions: See full article for questions:

https://peterwaltercoaching.com/2019/09/27/change-your-minds-reality-map-a-great-self-coaching-tool/

Secondly you could make some reminder cards to put in your pocket or set your phone homescreen to have some affirmations you can say when you get that sickening feeling in your gut. For instance:

  • This is part of the change process.
  • Everyone goes through this feeling.
  • It is those that accept it and find a way through it that find their success.
  • This feeling means growth.
  • It’s going be so awesome when I came out the other side of this.

Thirdly, what I am trying to do now, is to future pace myself and visualise the emotions of what I will be feeling when I have come through the fear feeling on the other side.

What’s The Point?

Google anyone that you admire and research their back story and you’ll find stories of them overcoming their fears to live the life that they want. Is this why we should feel fear? For some of us to feel physically sick? Isi t for the riches we want, the 5 cars, nice house, awesome holidays, promotion at work, etc.?

It could be and that is totally up to you, I believe there should be no judgement for what people want in life.

“For me I believe that feeling the fear gives us growth.”

If we want to be a different person we have to grow into a different person. We have to change our habits to get different results. We have to change our identity to change our habits. I am not suggesting that fear can be conquered, as I believe that we are wired that way for a reason. I believe that actually experiencing the sickening and painful feeling of fear is the currency for growth.

Also, think back to a time when you were scared to do something and you did it anyway. For some it could be learning how to drive or perhaps it could be public speaking. The more you do it the better you get at it. If I could steal a line from NLP master Jim Fortin here,

“Competence gives you confidence”

You can probably work out for yourself that competence at something will come from practice. Doing fearful things over and over again will make them less fearful. It may not completely vanish but it will be reduced and with training of this ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ mentality you are training the brain, like you would a muscle, to go through the fear as opposed to avoiding it.

Again, I will always repeat myself and say that I am still learning my lessons. They are some things that I am comfortable with going through the pain of fear for and some things I am still practicing. I guess it comes down to two choices:

“Experiencing the fear of growth or experience the fear of staying the same.”

Article In a Nutshell

For those of us who want change in our lives we are going to have to step outside of our comfort zone. Meaning, we are going to have to go against the usual habits that we do which give us the actions that we have which give us the results that we have. When we do this our unconscious part of the brain will go a bit ballistic and try and stop you from this perceived threat of change. Those who seek the success they desire have learnt to practice this feeling, sometimes sickening, of fear and go through the motions anyway. Are you willing to give it a try?

Change Your Mind’s Reality Map – A Great Self-Coaching Tool

Today I want to introduce you to a way of thinking that can add a ton of common sense to how you make decisions, especially ones that will affect your future self. Remember, your current life is from the actions you have done in the past. So, to create a better future for yourself you have to take different actions in the present. I understand that fear plays a huge part in most people’s decision making, which I know from experience is not beneficial for anyone. This method sets the decision-making process out in a more logical manner, so when fear kicks in you can fight back with common sense on why that fear is not necessary.

The set of questioning I am showing you today is based upon on a French philosopher Rene Descartes’ notion called Cartesian Logic.

What Is Cartesian Logic?

Cartesian logic is a set of 4 questions you write down – please write them down as opposed to doing them in your head – and answer them if you are indecisive or if your old friends ‘Mr. Ego, and ‘Mrs Fight or Flight’ are trying to warn you otherwise. Here are the 4 questions:

  1. What would happen if I did (X)……..? (X being an action you want to take)
  2. What would happen if I didn’t do (X)……..?
  3. What wouldn’t happen if I did (X)……..?
  4. What wouldn’t happen if you didn’t do (X)……..?

As you can see the 4 questions addresses all the options of what may come up in your mind when making a decision to take a new or completely different action.

“Please note that at this stage we are not worried about how action should be taken. We are more concerned with why action should be taken.”

Cartesian Logic Example

For instance, you may want to take on extra study outside of your full-time job because you want to change your profession. You can ask yourself the following questions:

Q. What would happen if I did go to university part-time?

A. *I would get a degree.

*The degree would allow me to have a higher paying job.

*I would work less hours for more money after I graduate.

*I would meet like-minded people.

*I would be an inspiration to my kids to go after their dreams.

*I would feel proud of my accomplishment.

Q. What would happen if I didn’t go to university part-time?

A. *I would have more time to spend with my family.

*I would have more sleep.

*I would have more time to socialise with friends.

*I would have more money now because university and books are expensive.

*I would have more time for my hobbies.

*I would still be in the same job.

*I would have the same anxieties.

*I would still be asking ‘what if?’ questions

Q. What wouldn’t happen if I did go to university part-time?

A. *I wouldn’t be stuck in the same job for the rest of my life.

*I wouldn’t have regrets from not going to university.

*I wouldn’t spend as much time as I want with my family.

*I wouldn’t have time to socialise as much.

*I wouldn’t complain that I do not like my current job as much.

*I wouldn’t have as much in savings.

Q. What wouldn’t happen if I didn’t go to university part-time?

 A. *I wouldn’t get a higher paying job.

*I wouldn’t have a feeling of accomplishment.

*I wouldn’t feel any job satisfaction.

*I wouldn’t meet any like-minded people like me.

As you can see a lot of your answers will probably cross over. Keep in mind that we want to explore all options when making a decision and we are not too concerned with the how yet. We use this process to know if we should go ahead with something or not. To keep our egos and our fight or flight response system out of it we need to approach hard questions and decisions from a logical point of view; hence this exercise.

The next step would be highlighting the pros and cons of both. Then once this has been achieved, take a logical look at why you should or should not go for something. In the above there are cases for both sides though it basically boils down to the following; going to university would give me what I wanted in my career though it would come with a financial cost and a time cost (less time to socialise, less time with family, etc.)

Full Responsibility

A great characteristic about using cartesian logic is that it gives you a chance to be fully responsible for your decision, and whatever decision you made you know you made with all the options in mind the good and the bad. What I have learnt from experience and I’ll share with you is that,

“Whenever you are saying yes to something it means you are always saying no to something else.”

Let’s use the above example. If you said, “Yes, I want to go to university part-time,” you are saying yes to having a career that you have always wanted but you at the same time you are also saying no to not having as much spare time as you would normally have. Similarly, if you said no to part-time university you are saying yes to staying at the same job and no to a better-paying job. Try out this way of thinking it really helps

Additional Questions

Hopefully by now you can see that you will still need to make a decision after all your brainstorming. Choose the option which is the scariest as that will most likely be the one that you truly want.

“Also, if it seems scary it is because it is out of habit for you which is a good thing. You have to change your actions/habits to get different results.”

Again, don’t look at the how yet just stick to the why. You can ask yourself some additional questions which will attach additional pleasure to going after the scary option and attach pain to not going after the scary option.

  1. Would I rather have the discomfort of doing something unknown and scary or the discomfort of having regrets about not going after what I want?
  2. What would my future self tell me after they have achieved what I am setting out to do? (this is also a great option to ask if you chose not-so-scary-stay-in-my-comfort-zone option as well!)
  3. Where else in my life have I had to go through something scary and I came out better for it on the other side? (journal this activity, it really helps)
  4. What am I going to say to my subconscious part of my brain when it will inevitably try and resist change? Make a list of statement and affirmations that you can say to your brain when it tells you that what you are doing is not a good idea.

For example: *I’ve been through change before and I came out better for it on the other side.

*I know you’re just doing your job but you’re not really helping my cause at the moment. Thanks anyway!

*I can see that we’re having a brain battle here but through repetition I am going to keep on thinking these new thoughts. Get used to it!

Use whatever works for you. I will always try and reiterate that I am not tossing any stones here because some challenges I have overcome and others I am still working through. I hope sharing what I learn along the way helps you.

Article In A Nutshell

Using Cartesian logic to make decisions is a valuable tool. It takes more time than just being decisive, however, if you are someone who keeps getting the same results and you have not learnt how to follow your intuition yet then taking time to write out the Cartesian logic questions will work for you. Trusting your intuition takes time. I’m still learning!

Instant Gratification – The Achilles Heel to Our Success

I talk a lot about why we are not living the life that we want to live. I also make sure that I am clear in saying that I am not tossing any stones here. A lot, probably most, of my writing comes from the lessons I have or I am still learning myself. What I want to talk about today is something that I think I have learnt earlier on in my life and it has served me well.

What is Instant Gratification

As the name suggests instant gratification is when we can get a reward or pleasure for our actions now, in the present moment. Now, I lot of you may be asking what is wrong with that? If I am not breaking any laws or rules why is it a problem to make myself feel happy? Isn’t that why we are here on this earth, to experience all the emotions including happiness?

I totally agree, however what most people do not recognise is that instant gratification has long term consequences. Think of Newton’s law where every action has an opposite and equal reaction, well sort of. For example, if you are saying yes to watching Netflix now, then you are saying no to exercising the body or whatever else you could be doing with that time. Hence 6, maybe, 12 months down the track of saying yes to Netflix now and no to exercising you have essentially said yes to an unhealthy body and no to a healthy body and lifestyle.

“Remember every time we say yes to something, we are saying no to something else and vice versa. It is up to you to decide what you are saying yes to.”

The Millennial Generation

Now the modern generation (Millennials and beyond – I’m the first of the millennials) have been accused of having the microwave lifestyle – we want everything now. Look at technology and the things we can do instantly. I can post this article instantly when I choose to, order food and clothes and get it delivered to my door, download movies, start relationships on dating apps, you name it we can do most things within 24 hours or less.

When you start to grow you realise that the things that you really want and that you saviour the most such as relationships, a healthy body, education, large investments such as houses, building a following on social media all take time. And not just time, but time and effort.

Now I am going to go out on a limb here to say that most of us Millennials and beyond, unless we are consciously aware of it, have been programmed through society to want and expect everything now. That is why everything is so easy for us because as suggested earlier most ‘things’ in life that give you pleasure (short-lived pleasure) can be accessed at the tap of a button; literally!

The Achilles Heel To Our Success

So, have we lost the skill to persevere towards our goals because we just don’t know how? If you look at the people who are successful – they have achieved what they set out to do – they have used the proven formula of planning action over long periods of time to achieve what they want. They know that doing the boring daily and weekly tasks will give them the long-lasting pleasure of achievement and more importantly the growth they get from becoming the person who has taken the actions steps to achieve what they want.

“I’ve been there and it’s a great feeling. I’m sure you can relate to it!”

Brain Recap

If you read previous articles then the following will look familiar to you. Which part of the brain do you think is responsible for instant gratification?

  1. The Pre-frontal Cortex: The thinking part of the brain. The conscious part of the brain. What you are thinking now is the pre-frontal part of the brain.
  2. The Mammalian: The feelings and emotions part of the brain.
  3. The Reptilian: The oldest part of the brain responsible for survival. It gives us survival mechanisms such as the fight or flight response and our habits. The reptilian thinks all habits are what we need to survive. It doesn’t know good or bad it just knows habits. It wants to be right, hence the habits, and it wants to be efficient. It doesn’t really like change it sees it as a threat.

If you said the mammalian part then you would be right. Most of our actions, if not all, come from habits.

“The habits that you had 6-12 months ago have given you your present results now.”

So, if you are not as fit or as healthy that you want to be it’s because you do not have the habits that make you fit or healthy. If you are not as wealthy as you want to be it’s because you do not have the habits to be wealthy. The next statement may cause some controversy but I am speaking from personal experience; if you are someone who is anxious it’s because you started anxious habits in the past and you still have them now. Habits take time to build but they can be changed to new, better and more empowering ones.

Again, I am not tossing any stones here because as I said I write about my experiences. I believe I have changed a lot of my negative habitual thoughts over time though I would not say that they are completely gone, and so I am continually working on them.

The point is that if we are not where we want to be in life and if we are being honest with ourselves, then we will probably see that a lot of our habits, what gives us our results, our ones which give us instant gratification and hence we have not built any long-term habits. We found them boring.

We Can We Do About It?

Literally take a pen and paper and take stock of your life, in particular the habits you have. Write out your timetable and look at the actions (habits) that you do consistently week in and week out. Whether you enjoy watching television, playing games on your phone, scrolling through social media or whatever it is and first of all acknowledge that these things that you are doing are just habits. You have learnt to do them automatically over time.

Again, over a period of 3-4 weeks slowly eliminate, one by one, these habits and replace them with something which is probably boring but you know will bring you pleasure in the long run. It could be exercising, spending more time with family, starting a new hobby, spending quality time with mates, whatever it is write it down. Writing it down in a journal consistently and the pleasure you will gain by forming this new habit will keep you on track as you replace new habits with old ones.

Remember you are not trying to add new habits here, you are replacing existing ones. Our reptilian part of the brain will not want the change. It will fight you and resist you all the way. This is where consistency with writing out the benefits in a journal will help and at the moment, I am also trialling affirmations.

Here is an affirmation I carry with me in my pocket when I have a negative response to a situation, because having negative beliefs and reactions is a habit as well:

  1. “This is just a habit, it’s not me.”
  2. “It’s just a habit voice – IT’S NOT ME.”
  3. “I dismiss habit voice and urge now.”
  4. “I move my attention.”

I normally move my attention to an image of my son or I start rehearsing how lucky I am to have so many great thigs in my life such as my family, electricity, clean drinking water, great friends, on and on I could go!

Also, think of doing the boring, mundane tasks as a gift for your future self. As stated earlier, everything that you have now is from the actions, the habits, that you had in your past. If you want a different future you have to have different habits now, and that includes negative habitual thinking habits.

Finally, I am not saying to abandon all your short-term pleasure activities. Pick a certain percentage of your activities that are perhaps mundane but will give you long-term pleasure, and a smaller percent of your activities to be instant-gratification activities that give you a feeling a pleasure now. I mean we all need to enjoy the moment don’t. Just make sure that you have a healthy ration of long-term to short term activities planned that you can form in to great habits. For example, 70% long-term pleasure activities and 30% instant gratification activities. Whatever works for you.

Oh, and one last thing and I promise I’ll wrap up. Keep practising with your journal writing to form new habits and ways of thinking. That will take time. Don’t compare how long it takes compared to how long someone else did it. Everyone’s different; run your own race.

Article In a Nutshell

Instant gratification is stealing what we want in life. We need to form actions, and eventually habits, that will be boring and mundane in the present moment but will give us long-term pleasure. Remember, setting up habits that give you long-term pleasure is like your present self giving a gift to your future self – and who knows, you may even begin to love boring, mundane habits!