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Get Out of the Way

“Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make.” -Bruce Lee

It’s a quote that needs little to no clarification, though we must now examine our lives within the frame of this reality.

Ask yourself this: Just how much of my work or art has suffered on account of me worrying how it will be judged? How often do I look around when I am “engaged” in a task, giving my best energy to trivial considerations?

The Power of Waiting

At my church, there’s a young youth pastor who was tagged as the “saint” growing up. He received his share of teasing in highschool from his buddies, yet when it came time for advice, he was the one receiving the texts late at night.

The youth pastor would respond to those texts with paragraphs of his own thoughts, but he realized he could provide better. He decided to wait. Or as he put it, wait on the voice of God. From there, lines of text would be replaced with words and thoughts that weren’t his own, but flowed out of him to reach the person on the other line.

Super spirituality aside, it should be clear which principle he is applying to his life:

“It is not, ‘I am doing this,’ but rather, an inner realization that ‘this is happening through me,’ or ‘it is doing this for me.'” -Bruce Lee

This is what is meant by accessing the power within. Afterall, we have the ability to channel power unhindered if we would just move our fears and insecurities out of the way.

My challenge to you: take a task (a written work, a drawing, a song, etc) and aim to do it unhindered by outside thoughts. Take just a moment to wait, then dive in like no one’s ever gonna know about it.

 

False idols

What happens when the idols were worship show themselves as frauds?

That’s a trick question, admittedly. In our search for perfection and love, we ascribe the qualities we want on the idol of our choice. Bad behavior is given excuses; uneasy feelings mean that we have the problem.

The better question is this: what happens when we finally open our eyes?

Perfection exists. Truth exists. Goodness exists. What we see isn’t it. It can’t be it. They are mere manifestations of creation. But in our search, we fail to see the elegance of the creator, and stop at the work.

The art is nothing without the painter. The smartphone, non-existent without the designers and engineers. If we remembered this daily, we would cease to worship creations. We may even recognize that we are creators ourselves, or at least possess the power.

Instead of trying to be “like gods,” we would already recognize our Image from the looking glass.

Do not be confused and place anything between you and perfection, goodness, the very Source. Similarly, don’t be fooled into believing the Source exists outside of you.

Self Image

You will never rise above the level of your self image.

It’s how you see yourself. More than that, it determines what you do. Even further, it determines your identity.

Let me explain:

Self Image as Your Ceiling: “I am not smart enough to study the hard sciences” is a limitation on your intelligence. “I’m not dedicated enough to learn French” is a limitation on your ability.

The real danger, however, lies at the beginning of the sentence: “I am…”

Those two words tell me exactly how you see yourself. They tell me exactly where you will be a year from now. Who you will be a year from now.

The only way out is to change your self image. Take a new image and plug it in your subconscious. See it. Feel it. Visualize it. Do it vividly over and over until the images jolt your body with sensations reminiscent of reality.

Self Image as your Compass: “If I were [insert identity here], what would I do?

If you were a waiter at a restaurant, what would you do? How would you act?

If you’re a waiter right now, your list will be comprised of your current every day activities of serving, being polite to customers, etc.

Now change the image: If I were the manager of this restaurant, how would I act? How would I walk? What time would I show up? Would you spend an extra minute with customers, or maybe encourage your co-workers? Would you do tasks that need to be done without asking?

I hope you catch my drift. Tell me who you are, and I’ll tell you how you will act.

Better yet, tell yourself who you want to become, and simply be it

 

What Do We Know?

We don’t have everything figured out.

This is news to me, honestly. Every time I see a new app or hear about a new business, my first thought is “Why didn’t I think of that?”

My second thought? “Oh well, looks like I’ve missed out. Everything is officially figured out now.”

Just think:  How were we connecting before facebook, and paying for online services before paypal? Better yet, who knew we could grasp those technologies along with tons of other media simultaneously on a smartphone? Great ideas, and we missed our turn to discover them.

But this is the wrong way to think. Enter Richard Branson:

“What humanity has collectively learned so far would make up a tiny mark within the circle. Everything we all have to learn in the future would take up the rest of the space. It is a big universe, and we are all learning more about it every day. If you aren’t listening, you are missing out.”

I’ve been looking at it completely wrong. In fact, I’ve made a (poorly drawn) visual aid to push my point across. Here’s my way of thinking before Branson’s wisdom:

pic quote 1

The black in the circle represents what we already know, and the white dot shows the elusive .0001% of stuff we have yet to discover. Again, this is totally wrong. Here is a proper representation:

Pic quote 2

In this graphic, the color representations are the same. This time, the visual accurately depicts our state of being with respect to our limited knowledge.

But this is all garbage, you say. Why does Branson’s word make it so?

I’d challenge you to look at what he’s accomplished. Record company? Check. Airline? Check. Over 400 companies? Done.

Better yet, look at the innovators of your favorite apps, services, and businesses. Do you think they accomplish(ed) anything by believing everything has already been done? Such thinking would relegate them to defeat and inaction.

Instead, they see the world as the second visual portrays, full of uncharted territory. Better yet, they take old ideas and make them better, or two bad ideas and combine them into one good idea.

This was news to me. If it was news to you too, then consider this your first great discovery. Now, what can you create in light of this?

Encountering the Dominant Handshake

The media seems to be catching on to our President’s rather interesting handshake style:

giphy-1

Is this a case of an awkward handshake, or is there something more? Let’s take a look at what’s deemed “The Socket Wrencher:”

The Socket Wrench.  This handshake is very much the same as the water pump; however, the pumps are in and out as opposed to up and down.  Most often the socket wrench handshake is achieved when the shaker pulls the shake into their territory then commences to push them backward.  This move is performed by power players in an attempt to get the shake off balance and in the shakers zone.  You could get injured in this form of handshake.

There’s no doubt of Trump’s awareness to power plays, and he knows exactly what he’s doing here.

Countering the Dominant Handshake

There’s a very simple counter to this style of dominance. First, enter a handshake with a slight bend at the elbow. Reaching your arm to almost a full stretch (shown above) is poor form for your balance as your head and waist are slightly bent forward.

Secondly, use your left arm to simultaneously give a gentle pat around the bicep. Placing your arm at the shoulder is also acceptable, but it gives an obvious ring of a power play. Also, notice the emphasis on placing your hand on the arm, not gripping it. It will look a little like this:

056-shoulder_hold

What’s the Takeaway of All This?

We can discuss the importance of body language in general, especially depending on the industry in which you operate, however the point is to hold your own. True power is independent of others, and your refusal to be literally jerked around by an overly domineering individual can provide a clear signal of this.

Do the Bigger Fall Harder?

With her unprecedented defeat, MMA Fighter Ronda Rousey went from being an icon of “mythical” proportions to the poster child for fragility in just a matter of seconds. Now, she has finally come out of hiding to discuss her future in the Ultimate Fighting Championship:

The former women’s bantamweight champion revealed on Tuesday that her upcoming bout with Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 would be ‘one of my last fights.’

Now UFC president Dana White has confirmed that news as well by saying that Rousey has informed him that her career will come to a close in the near future, although he didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag on how many fights she actually has left in her.

It’s hard to believe that such a dominant figure can be sapped of all confidence following a setback. So what exactly happened there? Let’s revisit the shame/guilt dynamic, shall we?

 Many people think shame and guilt are the same thing, but they are very difference. To reiterate a concept I’ve discussed in the past, guilt is feeling bad about something you did, while shame is feeling bad about what you are, your very essence, your very identity

 For shame-based people, even what little sense of guilt they have ends up fused with shame, making it something called toxic guilt. That is, they can’t separate their guilt from their shame, meaning they can’t separate their actions from their identity. For example, when you are operating from a sense of guilt, you can say something like “I am a good, decent guy who just happened to do a stupid thing. Doing something stupid doesn’t make my whole identity defective.”

Quoting “The Rawness” website, which is now down. Emphasis mine.

Ronda Rousey did not see herself as a good fighter who happened to be winning due to good technique and hard work; rather, she was an untouchable supherhuman who simply couldn’t be challenged.

There’s nothing wrong with a little overconfidence or banter, but the real problem starts when you begin to identify with the external, namely, your actions or circumstances.

“I’m going to beat up Correia and Tate, then go film a movie.”

-Ronda Rousey

Rousey went from boldly proclaiming her fights as an afterthought to hiding her bruised post-bout face in the airport. She constructed herself so squarely on the external that after the defeat, she claimed to have thoughts of harming herself. Afterall, her identity as she saw it, was defective. She was defective.

While many will debate her status as a role model, it is best to view Ronda Rousey’s story as a cautionary tale with universal application. She inspired many in various ways and encouraged women to find their craft, but she failed spectacularly in showing how to handle a setback. For her, it’s not too late. She can take this lesson into her newfound acting career. For those of us watching, we’re just as susceptible. We may not experience a fall anywhere near those heights, however identifying with the external in any situation can prove to be just as toxic.

 

 

 

 

The Best Revenge

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

-Apostle Paul

We live in a world where mediocrity is commonplace.

You expect others to bring competence to their jobs, only to be disappointed. You expect social and emotional maturity, but instead you get thin-skinned pugilists who deal out bitterness as a default. You expect intelligence, but to your dismay, you encounter the masses making superficial commentary about the impending Presidential election.

There is only one way to win.

Want to hit back at poor customer service? Bring excellence to every task you undertake. Take on the unintelligent by refusing to entertain it (“it seems we have nothing to learn here, so I should better not engage in a ‘debate’ at this time”). Trade kindess and confidence for the bitter and vitriolic.

You are the thermostat. Allowing the unsophisticated, the emotional predators, and the undesirable to change your temperature is a victory for them. Do not get in the mud.

Unless you’re a candidate in the midst of campaign season. Jump in the mud and fight. You’re already dirty.

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