The Mount Everest of Life's Questions
If the doctor gives you a prescription, one-third of individuals won’t fill it. Of the two-thirds who do fill it, half won’t take the medication or will take it incorrectly. Yet if you take your pet to the vet, you are highly likely to fill the prescription and give it correctly to your beloved animal. Why is that? Why do you treat your pet and other people better than you treat yourself? A question worth spending time on.
Over the past few months, I have been studying the anchors of brain health for new programs that the Adaption Institute is releasing soon. One area that intensely affects your life is what and how you think about yourself. Why do you treat your animal and other people better than you treat yourself? The answer may shock you.
Do you feel you have value? Honestly, deeply, down to your DNA, do you think you have value and worth? We avoid this question; it scares and terrifies us because what if the answer is no. The other day my daughter called, and part of her job is to critique individuals who teach. She watched a mid-twenties individual teach a class that had a few bumpy moments. After the class was over, she shared her thoughts on what he did great and some areas to work on. He resisted and argued that she was wrong. Then, realizing that he wasn’t ready or willing to hear the feedback, she stopped. Five minutes later, he came back and said, you are right, your feedback was correct, and I’m sorry I argued. My daughter noticed he looked despondent, and she told me, Dad, he looked broken. He had a sadness that went beyond hearing negative feedback. She watched him for the next 15 minutes and, on a break, pulled him aside and asked if he was all right. This mid-twenties man, with a wife and a young child, tried to hold it back, but the flood gates opened, and he broke down and wept. It wasn’t the feedback; I am sure it was a host of events occurring over time that made him feel he had no value. Maybe he was struggling to move ahead in his career, provide for his family and make something of himself, but he constantly felt like he was failing.
You see other people's faults, failings, and inadequacies, but you are intimately aware of your own; you live with them every day. You have a front-row seat to the worst part of you. And this front-row seat comes with a loud section that can cheer you on or boo and catcall you to failure and deep sadness.
So you should treat yourself as if you have value. How do you do it? First, you adopt an attitude about yourself. Set up your life, so you are doing something worthwhile. Deciding to do something worthwhile will set you on the path and increase your chance it will happen. If you aim at something, there is a higher likelihood it will happen. Lay out a plan.
Second, ask yourself if you could have what you needed and wanted, what would it look like? If you could have the family you want, what would it look like? What would the intimate relationships look like, what would your career look like? How would you deal with temptations like drugs, alcohol, and sex? What would your life look like? How could you and how would you use your time outside of work productively and meaningfully. Now, this is a great start. What would your life be like in 3-5 years in the future if you did these things?
Step three is to reverse it. It is one thing to be motivated because you are going for something you want, but another useful thing is to be terrified. Being scared out of your mind is one hell of a motivator. Take inventory or stock of your weaknesses, your inadequacies, and your faults. Be aware of the one thing you need to quit doing. Imagine those weaknesses, those inadequacies, faults, addictions, and behaviors getting the upper hand for the next 3-5 years. In the words of one of my favorite philosophers, you are bitter; you get more bitter, you are a little cruel, you get more cruel, you’re anxious and stressed, you get terrified. You drink, you become an alcoholic. You fall apart in that particular, horrible way; only you can fall apart, and only you know about it. On the outside, it may look like everything is just fine. But inside, you are on your journey to your own personal hell. Write down what will happen if you don’t get your act together. What will your life look like in 3-5 years? A concrete description of your own personal hell. It’s good for you. Then when you wake up in the morning, and you have things to do, and you don’t want to do them, you say to yourself, “I have hard things I have to do that are keeping me out of hell.”
Now go use your brain and think!
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