The small gap between integrity and your ego we call growth. Today we speak about Integrity – Becoming Open to Truth – negotiating with your ego.
To find our integrity (call this also truth), the first thing that must be learned is to unlock what has already been learned and then to unlearn it. We spend half our lives learning how to judge the world and others, that is essential and we do it using our ego, and then we must spend the other half learning how to un judge. It’s a turning point in our lives.It means loosing our identity somewhat.
And what is identity but a series of ideas, beliefs and perceptions that belong to the ego. Some of those ideas have become unconscious, others learned, but most important none of them are permanent.
Our ego, built from ideas and opinions are just a collection of erroneous facts that, through conditioning, or experience have been adopted as truth. They are in fact simply collections of data and knowledge that was necessary for growing up, sometimes borrowed from parents and school teachers, often reactive to pain, but in maturity, and especially as a leader, they need to be unlearned.
It is not easy for most people to let go of these learned responses. Even those who pose as students may, through fear, present the idea that they are interested to learn – or unlearn, but it is simply seeking reinforcement of existing ideas.
The author has run many workshops where a person attends, pays to attend to change their quality of life. Then they say, “I want to know first of all what you think about life and death, or about the beginning and the end of existence”. What they are seeking is an agreement with what they already think about this, and because they ask the question, you know it’s a deal breaker if what I say conflicts with their existing opinion.They seem to want to learn, yet they do not know how to be empty. That means, going to the stream to get water with one’s cup already full.
You see the main difficulty in life is always what comes from ourselves. With a full cup, a mind full of beliefs, identities and ideals, it is impossible to learn or even change a thing. Many do not like to be a student, they like to be a teacher. If only we knew that the perfection of the great ones, who have come from time to time on this world, is in their willingness to learn, not in their teaching! The greater the teacher, the better the student they were.
The great books show the teachers, Buddha, Jesus and Moses were always confused on one hand and teaching on the other. They learnt from everyone, the great and the lowly, the wise and the foolish, the old and the young. They learn from their lives, and study human struggle in all its aspects.
We teach those below us in consciousness and we learn from those above us in consciousness. So the question becomes “How can one unlearn all that is collected in a life time?” The answer is simple.
But it may not seem simple at first. You see, unlearning is knowledge.
As an example of ego versus knowledge your ego will see a person and say, “that person is bad”, that judgement of them comes from learning. To see past that ego, unlearn, and see as a leader, deeper and further, you will need to see something good in that person. When you see only good things or something bad in a person, that is from your learning either conscious or subconscious. To see that person as having every human quality good and bad and see benefit in those things that trigger your radio active reactions – that is unlearning. Unlearning means growing as a human being, expanding to lead, more freedom to live, less wasted energy reacting, challenging your limitations. Unlearning and then relearning is therefore the role of the student of life and the one who aspires to wealth and leadership with long life.
Judgement and learning from our early years causes us stress, anxiety, uncertainty, confusion and more conspicuously, reaction to others.
But when you see goodness in someone you have already called bad, you have unlearned. You have unraveled that knot that tied you to a memory that was festering in your heart and mind and ultimately gut. If you have said “I dislike that person” — that is from your ego existing from your past learning and then you unlearn and you say; “I know, I can grow and learn about myself and from this interaction with them, and I can have empathy – which means recognise myself in them”. When you say that, you have seen with two eyes, it is called authenticity, truth. First you learn by seeing with one eye learning to judge situations which makes you strong in identity, overcomes your fears, but then you grow up, become a leader of people, get bigger than your judgements and fears, you unlearn and you see with two eyes, this makes the leader complete.
Beyond the fight to look glamorous, or to impress others with our wealth or wit there is another world. Beyond shame and embarrassment there is a ground so firm you can build a life on it. That world is best described as the willingness to unlearn. This may surprise you that it is not solid. It is a process.
Leadership is a process. That means it is always, daily, hourly, evolving.
On the other hand, when we fix our opinions, fix our judgements and focus simply on getting things done or manipulation of the circumstances to motivate others we become managers. There will be, in the near future, no place in the world for those leaders who cannot adapt to the evolving mindset. There are less and less jobs for managers who master the art of fixed mind, ego, are used to control the behaviour of others instead of self. Automation will overtake them.
Evolving leadership, unlearning judgement, is a process. This is an elite quality. It means that there are benchmarks an evolving leader will set for their personal life and leadership that this process causes. This we call “SET AND FORGET.”
Now you might be challenged by this notion. It may be something you have to unlearn. I will endeavour to explain. We will use kindness as an example. An evolving leader knows the benefits of kindness and so there is no need to debate that this is a great asset in any leader in any field of life. But we know we have to be cruel to be kind sometimes. Even the Dalai Lama speaks of the two sides of compassion. But there are two ways to achieve the outcome of kindness. You can judge it as good, which is learning, or you can learn the process that causes kindness, which requires unlearning.
Classical knowledge defines kindness as a good thing. So it becomes an outcome. But when we try to be kind, we are again result focussed and will judge our day on the degree of kindness we demonstrated. We, as leaders, might have to fire someone, or destroy a competitor, or swing a deal that is one sided in our favour. And that is considered unkind. How can we live with ourselves if on one hand we benchmark ourselves on aspiring to be kind, and we are really judging ourselves as not kind, by necessity. I hear frequently, “I had to be harsh” and harsh is a self-judgement, this is called learning.
Unlearning this way of thinking we focus not on what we think “kindness is good” but on how we think. There are no half measures in this.
What then is the process you would employ in order to create the outcome of kindness so you can “SET AND FORGET”
Consider the following statements as a starting point:
Now you might jump out of your skin when you hear this language and leadership in the same sentence but thinking is not verbal. What we are doing here is peeling away the root thoughts so you, as a leader, are always coming from an unlearned, evolved and super conscious space. So, if, for example you have to do something harsh or considered externally, unkind, like fire someone, you are not in judgement of them, you or the situation. You come from a place of love, and your action is not based on kind or unkind, it is based on building the business, performance and culture.
Can you recognise the difference between what the leader thinks and how the leader thinks in this first example. One is the process of thought, that you are worthy of love no matter what you’ve done or not done and this brings an inner glow to the leader and it feels like kindness. The other is to recite a book or a value that is thrust on us that we cannot adhere to a a leader we must do stuff that’s harsh. it’s a huge shift.
The thought – how we think – that gets triggered by this statement is enormous and changes all our ego identity like a volcanic eruption on a day by day basis.
Every human has every trait almost forbids the use of ego and identity and forces unlearning. If the person at work is giving you the shits, then the same qualities they are exhibiting that give you the shits, are in you, and therefore you, at some level must do them and that means you give yourself the shits.
That alone drives to the development of self-reliance, self-respect, self-love and most other self’s we’ve spoken about. If the people you lead or lead you, have every single human trait, then you do too. So every human being you lead or leads you becomes your guru when they give you the shits or you admire them. Either way, you are looking in the mirror.
Learning means you develop a paranoia about being near people who push your buttons. In you focus on what you think, you’ll say I need to be brave or get over it or some harsh criticism of your reaction to people, but it leaves the judgement in place and lets you march forward, pissed off but covering yourself with a warm blanket of what you think.
If you fully take this second statement into your mind you cannot bluff yourself into bullying yourself into just accepting, or tolerating, or avoiding communication and interaction with certain types of people. You get really forced ti process, evolve and unlearn, evolveyabastard, as we jokingly say.
As we search for authenticity and evolving leadership, the very definition of “who I am” must grow. The concept of the “I or Self” must become bigger and richer.
However, many people get this bigger upside down. They might even define their salary as the concept of self and say, “I am bigger because I have more money.” Which is only partially true. Here again is the conflict between how we think and what we think.
The author must confront this challenge in nearly all people who are going into transition between learning and unlearning models of leadership. It is the most common quality of those trying to get bigger to become more righteous.
Righteousness is poison to unlearning because it accuses the world or others of being wrong. Righteousness blames others and the world for circumstances of discomfort and loss. Righteousness condemns anything that disrupts the learnings of the child and forbids engagement at the unlearning opportunity – righteousness and victimhood, blame are all associated with what we think. They cannot survive when this statement of how we think is embraced. Nobody does more to me than I do to myself.
With this process of thought, the leader is empowered. Instead of saying “I want to be an empowered leader” and struggling continuously to be right, it is wiser to set and forget. Yes, I want to be an empowered leader and then forget this as if it is the top of the mountain and there’s no need to continually remind yourself as you climb that that is where you are going, it’s pretty obvious.
Instead, the process of how you think as a leader can go to “nobody does more to me that I do to myself” which simply put means if you treat yourself as a loser, with no self-respect, or as a fraud in a job that you don’t deserve or as a partner in a relationship where you are compromised by guilt, you will get treated like that at work. In contrast, if you do the opposite the opposite is true. There’s just no other solution.
If you are treating yourself like the person you wish to be, like a global leader, dressed for it, thinking for it, hanging out with people at that level and feeling 1000% worthy of it, I mean without BS yourself, then it will come true.
This is the arena of the SUCCESS FORMULA training sequence you have been through already on this blog and audio program – 40 posts to teach “nobody does more to you than you do to yourself.” Real Empowerment from how you think not your ego.
When we are capable of seeing that we are not simply “body or thoughts, feelings or imagination”, then we are able to understand ourselves more as a whole. We are not only our body or our mind. When we take on the path of self realization, beyond body and mind, we begin to feel bigger than before, a bigger context to see our life. We also begin to recognize the cause of our suffering. Then we see that by identifying with our learning identity, thoughts and judgements called EGO we breed the very suffering we so long to eliminate.
More about this next time…