We are all the center
I was sitting with my mom, reading my Snoopy Encyclopedia of the Solar System. OK, I just trolled the internet and cannot find this thing, but I swear it existed. Maybe it didn’t belong to Snoopy. That is not the point. As the story goes, and I don’t remember this part personally, I was about 5 years old, and I looked up at my mom and said, “It’s like we are each the center of our own solar system.”
Wisdom vs fear
Since the smartest thing I ever said was when I was 5, it goes to show that becoming an adult doesn’t necessarily make us any smarter. In fact, unchecked, “wisdom” can just become a stream of defensive programming that actually blocks us from reaching our full potential. We get comfortable in our perceptions, we stop asking questions and more importantly stop listening to the answers we get, trusting instead. . . our hard earned “wisdom.” We get used to dishing out advice, and sometimes that advice is outdated . . . way outdated, or flat out wrong.
People who are in appointed positions of leadership are exceptionally at risk of this keen little psychological pot hole. I distinguish with the term “appointed”, because, just cuz your employer calls you a leader, doesn’t make you one. Sorry. Ask your team, and don’t hold the answers you get back against them or you will just get brown-nosing. Brown-nosing is great for a person’s ego, but it does little to systemically improve organizational culture. End soap box #2,334 on this topic. And, I am one of those appointed leaders, for the record, so I do try to eat my own dogfood here. Nom nom nom.
Back to the reboot
Wisdom is a cool thing, but there’s a reason we can’t teach it to our kids. Some of it . . .(gasp). . . is not wise. It’s just fear, packaged as wisdom. Faux wisdom. Once I accepted that wisdom comes, in part, from never accepting one’s self as being wise (much like I believe we cannot call ourselves leaders), I started investing in an ongoing assessment of my internal dialogue, my beliefs, what I held to be real, and sort-of applying my own personal CI/CD pipeline to it. That’s a software term that stems from several decades of realizing technology is changing way too fast and software will never be perfect (go figure), so let’s apply an ongoing cycle of continues integration and continuous delivery to it so we can evolve software in an ongoing way. So it goes with out minds, our mindsets, our “core.”
This self assessment and “reboot” process has been going on for decades. It’s just amazing how much social programming and other crap builds up in our brains that we simply need to throw in the recycle bin, defrag, or restore to the default configuration (or just delete the configuration entirely! poof!). Flash the bios, yo.
The latest reboot
I just went through this exercise yet again, and I thought in my best Yoda impersonation, “Write about it, I should!”
There was this gentleman, Bill Harris, who did a video series on self awareness. It was just him and some sticky notes, but it did a really good job of wrapping some process and framing around this idea of becoming self-aware. He made a comment about how, once a person can observe themselves doing/saying something and watch those actions/statements actually create the outcome they get back, then, they become aware of themselves, aware of how what they say and do generates what happens next in their lives. He explained it a lot better than that, but it’s this self-awareness that lets use rescript how we behave. And I stumbled into such a scenario just a couple days ago. That’s going to be the subject of another post.
But the point is, these reboots are event driven. After investing in self-awareness, I will stumble into these hooks or triggers and then I catch myself, almost like a robot, thinking things, doing things or saying things that come from some funky little program – usually driven by fear or by ego. Self-awareness is the key to teasing these little programs out of their dark corners and bringing them into the light so we can understand them and make sure that’s the “code” we want running in our brains. There’s many times when I look some thought progressions, things I have done or said, and think, “Nope. Time to do some re-scripting!”
Re-scripting & the history eraser button
Re-scripting takes a little practice, but honestly, once we can catch ourselves the first time, it becomes easier to catch ourselves subsequent times and reinforce the change we want to make. In this case, I had a recurring thought that was negative. I kept seeing myself always having to do things the hard way. Consequently, the stuff I have been doing has been difficult. Gee, I wonder why that is?!
The re-script is easy. Because I want things to be easy, the first step is to start seeing things as easy! Welcome to some of the LOA and positive thought playbook, right? When I hear myself thinking a cynical thought like, “I always do things the hard way,” I have this mental device which I pulled from Ren & Stimpy. True story. There is this episode where Ren & Stimpy attempt to guard the “History Eraser Button.” So, I have this little grey box with a red “history eraser” button that I keep in my pocket (in my imagination, of course).
Whenever my thinking goes down a negative path that I want to rescript, I imagine myself pulling that box out of my pocket, and I press the history eraser button which, thankfully, just erases the stuff I want erased. Poof. Then mentally, I walk through the thought progression again, and imagine it how I want it to go. In the case of my latest dilemma of doing things the hard way, I pictured myself with my wife on a balcony overlooking the ocean, drinking a piña colada and magically, the thing I wanted done was completed without me doing anything but relaxing. Easy.