Today’s episode of 101 Things I wish my Dad taught me “What are you doing here?” is brought to you by the universal law of nature number 5 Everything has a purpose, hierarchy, the one and the many.
the answer this question has never changed and never will change, the reason we are all here is to have fun. The only thing that changes person-to-person life to life is the definition of fun.
in some countries in the world are they still stoning people to death for breaking religious laws that were invented by a monkey. Those people doing the stoning are having fun in their definition of fun. It’s horrific. There are also other people who have back to back meetings, negotiating with difficult people, trying to make businesses functional and staying up very late night with stress, and they cool that fun too.
everybody on earth is trying to have fun. They just define it in the most weird and strange way. There is no shadow of doubt that happiness is the source of all ultimate motivation. For my dad happiness was the satisfaction of being exhausted every day and thinking that he had done everything to fill that date with productivity. That was really happy when he was working very very hard. I didn’t see that as a source of happiness. But I did still work very very hard and the reason for me to do that was so that I could escape the house and become a free spirit.
designing your life around happiness is very important. Unfortunately not everybody sees happiness the same as you. I have been married to people who are the most happy when everybody else around them is unhappy. These unhappiness seeking rescuers, even cause people to be unhappy in order to feel there is a good reason to be here, making people happy that they made unhappy. It’s like making bread and then eating it and complaining about putting on weight.
but it definitely is more complicated than I have explained because there is short-term and long-term happiness. Long-term happiness requires some level of sacrifice in the short-term. Learning how to make short-term sacrifices fun, enjoyable, satisfying, is a very important part of success. You will see especially younger people vacillating between the appetite for short-term gratification, happiness, and long-term satisfaction, happiness. Sometimes the decisions we make to enjoy the short-term are fantastic in the short-term but ridiculous in the long term.
with all this sitting as ground zero in this conversation the next most important discovery is the role that feelings and emotions play in this context of search for happiness. When something goes against our expectation, a negative surprise, we become unhappy. That unhappiness, if we react to it will lead to more unhappiness, which intern leads to more unhappiness, which intern leads to more and happiness. Trying to prevent this escalation of unhappiness rolling into a snowball down the mountain is a very important part of self leadership.
let me share an example of what I’m talking about. When we are in Nepal there are several days of tracking where we go up, ascend, for eight hours. The trails are rough, the weather is often challenging, and people struggle. This is a great metaphor for a day at work, or a whole life. Life is an uphill struggle from beginning to end. The day before we begin this eight hour uphill I sent, I brief the group on the process of being happy going uphill for a very very very very long time. I will share that with you. However, about 30% of the way up, only a few people that I briefed the night before remember the technique. Under pressure, becoming tired and altitude effected, they revert to their process that they live their life by. Which usually brings them to a grinding halt at the halfway mark, exhausted. Everybody thinks their watch tells the right time and so under pressure we begin to operate in what I call our default mode. A meme of belief around how to deal with the challenges of life and how to survive. Most people, at the 50% mark of the day, would extricate themselves from the walk, if there was a way out, away not to complete the rest of the walk, they would take it happily. In other words they would make short-term decisions to avoid discomfort, stay in their default mode of dealing with discomfort, and exit their plan for a long-term vision. It’s quite extraordinary to see the difference between different default propositions people have for dealing with the challenges of life.
there is the most common default process for dealing with this walk up the mountain is to continue really look up at the top if it can be seen, and push on with some idea that struggling will end when they reach the top. These are the business people you meet who are miserable as all shit but they are totally prepared to be miserable because they are obsessed with the outcome. These are the parents of meat who will make their children miserable in the interest of producing incredibly good adult offspring. These other people you meet who will be mean and cruel to themselves and others in order to win a medal. This default process is the most common. Forget happiness along the way and focus on the result, no matter what the process results are the only thing that matter. And for a great part of life you can see that these people, I call them Neanderthals, get their reward, results, at any cost.
Second most common default process for dealing with this walk up the hill is the appetite to stay comfortable and forget the outcome. In other words if there was a donkey station along the way they would rent a donkey to take them to the top. If they were away out of the confrontation of the hill they would take it. These people get really angry with me for bringing them on the track in the first place. They start to question why they are even here on the trip. These are the people who, when things get tough, turn to substitutes to avoid discomfort. The alcoholics, the drug addicts, the Netflix watches, the overweight eaters, and those that would seek a lifestyle of luxury, in order to stay in a place of great comfort. Their happiness comes from the short-term process of life rather than the long-term outcome of it. These are the people who will, if they do take the option of surrendering going up the mountain, will go home regretting and punishing themselves for not sticking with it but find something, and ailment, me, the weather, the staff, the company to blame for their lack of persistence. This is the second most common default process for dealing with life’s challenges that is revealed halfway up the hill.
now I would love to share what I teach. The first part of what I teach is knowing why are you are here. The smaller that answer, the small will be the capability of resilience at the moment of question about the outcome. There has to be a good enough why. Halfway up the mountain people will be asking themselves what the name of goodness I am doing here. If the answer is to get fit on a track in Nepal it may not suffice as a motivation or what I would prefer to think of as inspiration to challenge themselves to continue. Many people claim they come to Nepal for a track for their family, but that never ever motivates them to go past the halfway mark and face the pain. With Innerwealth my recommendation is always to find a purpose greater than yourself. It is sort of like a destiny. Once that destiny, purpose, is known and said it is sort of like an unquestionable commitment and conviction to persist with whatever comes along the mountain walk or along life’s walk, because it becomes conspicuous there is really no other choice that is viable.
for me I label this stamp of knowing your purpose, having a vision, as set and forget. On the mountain Trail it is very important to know what the top looks like and why are you want to be there, to understand where you will be in the long term, but then absolutely forget it. You make a Trail, in the mountains it is made for you, and you know that by walking this Trail every day you will reach the summit. There is no need to question or debate whether you are on track or not because the track has been scripted in the form of daily disciplines and daily habits that will build the future. And that’s all very well for the first default group who don’t care at all about the process of life they just care about the result. These are the stressed out miserable people who work back to back hours and if they’re lucky smile a few times during the day. So this is not the end of my recommendation.
now we deal with the inspiration part of the walk up the hill. Many people understand that there is a dialogue that goes inside our brain that causes us to either perceive what is happening this moment in time as being a source of happiness or a source of misery. They know that we have the ability to interpret the world as being a wonderful place or a big shit fight. This happens in particular when people think they’re in the wrong job or working for the wrong company or in the wrong relationship but this is never the case. We are never in the wrong job we are never in the wrong relationship and we are never in the wrong company. Where we are is halfway up the hill with a inadequate process for dealing with the confrontations of being in a difficult circumstance. And under this stress or pressure we revert to our, usually antiquated, and definitely in adequate process, default process, for dealing with challenge. For example some people stop shouting to themselves in their brain come on you can do it. Some people start condemning themselves in their brain by saying you idiot you should’ve trained harder and this is all your fault for not being disciplined, fucker. Other people feel sorry for themselves and try to recruit others into believing that the circumstances are at fault. But feeling sorry for yourself gets us nowhere and leads to even more sadness. As a technique for dealing with getting up the mountain it is the worst.
so I teach self talk that an athlete who wins a gold medal at the Olympic Games will practice during one of the most difficult challenges of their life faced with competitive pressure and trying to manage the process of sustained performance and yet win the gold medal at the last step. This process is defined as self talk, it is self Hipnosis, it is the mastery of meditation, it is the greatest process of maintaining happiness in every moment of life no matter how hard the challenge.
in late persons language we call this process parent, adult, child. The initials are PAC. In technical jargon we call the process motivation, instruction, reward. I’ve written about this to the point of exhaustion and so I’m not going to continue going over and over the PAC process. But I will demonstrate how it works on the mountain. When a person comes to a grinding halt and their default process no longer escalates them into a state of mind that will allow them to continue happily along the Trail they go to their default process and try to do it more. It’s ironic that we would rather beat our head against concrete and believe that our watch tells the right time then to rejig the whole thing. So parent adult child is for most people are complete reject. Every step a person takes along the Trail requires an image of that step in the persons mind before they take it. Nothing can happen both physically, emotionally, mentally without an image in a mind of what is about to take place. This is called motivation and motivation is an encouraging thought that is defined as a parental though. A parental thought draws an image in our mind of good action, great action and this is a moment by moment image. So the motivational aspect of walking up a hill is to say you can place that foot perfectly just one small step ahead you’re brilliant at it. Then the instruction, we call this instruction the adult. Grown-up, the adult lacks emotion. But what it has gained is the wisdom. So it comes in the form of an invoice that is a very very clear instruction. On a mountain walk it might say place your foot softly. The next step in the enjoyment of the moment and the creation of a happiness process is the child. The child is the reward and the reward will say, well done.
All day every day these three voices are in our mind speaking. But sometimes we have become codependent on another human being to use one of the three voices for us. For example, in a relationship D well done child voice might be the partner. So in the process of walking up the hill where there is no partner saying well done this voice is missing. And it’s important in developing a happiness driven self talk to embrace the need for all three voices in our own head it is self accountability. But you will find one of the three voices missing in your self talk default. It is very rare to find a person who has all three of these operating continuously in balance. Some people reward themselves with a well done at Christmas time or at holiday times or at the weekend. Some don’t do it at all but the key to happiness in the process of life is to do it every single time there is a motivation and instruction and reward. Another words it’s a cycle of you can do it, do it like this, well done. This is how we overcome this idea of wanting to run away from discomfort or throw happiness to the wind and just go for results. And this is how you get to the top of a mountain set and forget and then get the PAC self talk mastered.
I think the answer to the question, “What are you doing here?” is Happiness. The how do you approach that is very much what you are achieving in self-leadership. It is never a question as to whether you can achieve those things that you would love to achieve in life is a question of your default process and whether that default process is going to cause you to throw happiness out the window to achieve a result for which you will regret for whether you shook away away away from discomfort and always default to the most comfortable objective and therefore missed the target altogether. There is no question that you have the capability to do whatever you decide to do it is just the process which is your default process, which always needs to be evolving and growing and there are many many signposts along the way to tell you when your default process is not working. Your body never lies.
That’s it for today.