For a long time I considered myself a ball grabber, but had a pretty rude awakening. I want to pass on the rude awakening or needed reminder to you because it’s life changing. These are the fundamental truths you need to live by if you really want to take your life by the balls and make it an amazing one.
The Mind Model
Before we move into each truth I will give a quick overview of the mind model. I suggest reading my article about it here as this is the essential framework that these truths stem from.
The Mind Model
Your thoughts create your feelings.
Your feelings create your actions.
Your actions create your results.
The mind model is a tool I use with my clients to change or get the desired results they want in their life. The model has been taught by and interpreted differently across various people and is also the cornerstone of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This version is based on Brooke Castillo’s framework. Brooke Castillo, founder of the Life Coach School, author and mind management thought leader, is brilliant when it comes to the
inner workings of our minds.
It’s the interconnected relationship between our thoughts, feelings and behaviors that creates the outcomes in our life, NOT our circumstances.
Now let’s move into the fundamental truths.
TRUTH #1 Circumstances in life are always neutral
“Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare
Circumstances are the pure facts of your reality or situation. They could be proven in a court of law, something everyone would agree with. “I’m in an unhappy relationship” is not a circumstance. The circumstance is “I’m in a relationship.” Your thoughts about the relationship is that it’s an unhappy one. Nothing means anything until your thoughts make it mean something.
If someone dies, but you don’t know they have died you aren’t sad or upset etc. the death of the person doesn’t mean anything until your mind thinks something about it. Now if you were just told someone has died that would trigger your thinking about it, which would create your feeling. If your co-worker’s grandma passes, you might feel badly for their loss but you won’t feel grief. When Osama bin Laden died, many people felt overjoyed, and there were celebrations across America. If someone passes and you were close with them, you will probably feel things like loss, grief and pain. One person could lose their husband and think “My life is over I can’t live without him” and feel completely in despair. Another person could think “In time I’ll be able to move on in life the way I know he would want me to,” which is hopeful. The person who feels despair and the person who feel hope are going to approach life differently, not because their husband died, but because of the sentences in their head about it. The pure circumstance of death is neutral, how you feel about that death depends on the meaning you apply to it through your thoughts.
The underlying principle of this is cognitive mediation, which is how you emotionally feel about something is not the result of what happens to you, it’s not the actual circumstance, but rather the result of how you think about the circumstance. It’s important to separate out the neutral facts from the story you have about the facts. The thoughts, the meaning you create, is what is in your control.
TRUTH #2 You cannot control the outside world, but you can control what you think about it
“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius
Wishing life was different, easier, or more fair is a waste of time. Waiting for things to happen or change is a waste of time. Dwelling on the past or how the circumstances aren’t what you want is a waste of time. Trying to control other people and their behavior is a waste of time. They are all dead-end roads that lead to nowhere.
That does not mean that life wouldn’t be easier if you could control the outside world and that people behaved in the way you wanted them to. That would be amazing! It doesn’t mean that things that happen may not be ideal. What it does mean is that the majority of life is outside of your control, but what you do have control over is how you choose to think about those things. That is what truly creates your reality, your thought inputs create your life outputs.
TRUTH #3 Your thought inputs create your life outputs
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” – Buddha
Most people focus on trying to change how they are feeling or the actions they are taking or not taking, but these are both band-aids, temporary fixes. If your thoughts are driving how you feel then just trying to “feel better” isn’t going to really work in the long-run. If you focus on changing your actions but not the thoughts underneath them there will be resistance.
Thinking is always the root cause and when you focus on that, that is what creates long-lasting solutions. Everything stems from your mind, your brain is involved in everything you do and everything you are. As you see with the mind model your thoughts start a chain reaction that creates your emotions which leads to your behaviors and decisions and ultimately the outcomes. That’s why I call it the mind model, it all starts in your mind and whatever you create in your mind with be mirrored in your results. Your results are always a reflection of your past thinking.
TRUTH #4 When you take your emotional life in-house nothing has to change for you to feel better, emotional outsourcing gives your power away
“The world cannot cause our emotions. Our emotions are always caused by what we think.” – Brooke Castillo
When you harness the ability to change and choose your thinking you take your emotional life in-house, knowing you create the thoughts that create your feelings, rather than outsourcing it to the world. Emotional outsourcing is when you put the responsibility for your emotions on other people and the outside world. Given you cannot control other people and most people are struggling to be able to manage their own emotional lives, if you depend on others to make you feel whole or happy or safe, you are forever at the whim of others. Just the way you can’t depend on things in life always going your way to make you feel calm, at peace and confident.
No one can make you feel anything without your consent. This can be an incredibly difficult mindset shift because we were taught ever since we were kids that other people make us feel a certain way and we make others feel a certain way right? We were told you hurt so and so’s feelings when you did this or that on the playground. Or so and so wasn’t nice to you during play time so that’s why you feel bad and they should apologize. But nothing outside of you can make you feel a certain way. It’s the thoughts you think about their actions that fuel the emotion. We often think the way to feel better is if things outside of us change, when really it’s an inward job — the circumstances don’t have to change to change your thinking and feel differently. Outsourcing your emotions as a way of life gives your power away.
Truth #5 Having control of your emotional life does NOT mean you will feel “good” all the time, nor will you want to.
“I came here to live a life, fully all of it. And I”ll take it, I’ll take all of it. I’ll take the whole thing. Because I don’t miss it. I don’t want to have come all this distance to live a human life and miss the experience. So I just want to show up for the full ride.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
Negative, difficult, unpleasant emotion is part of your contract with life. Showing up for this crazy wonderful difficult life is about experiencing ALL of the things. You don’t get to have the “good” without the “bad.” You don’t experience the joy, love, strength, bliss, peace and happiness without the pain, anxiety, fear and discomfort of life. The problem is we have this idea in our minds that we should be happy more often than not, when in reality life is about the 50/50. How would things change if you thought this is exactly how life is supposed to be?
You don’t want to be the type of person who is never upset about something or disappointed right? You want to be the type of person who does feel loss if you are betrayed by a loved one, who does feel grief when something terrible happens or is a little bummed if something they were looking forward to didn’t happen. What’s different is you are empowered to choose what you want to feel instead of being a victim who is being pushed and pulled by life and other people having no control over what emotional storm you get pulled into next.
When you come from this empowered place of choosing to feel a certain way because of how you choose to think instead of having to feel a certain way it lessens the intensity of the emotion, takes you out of victim mode and gives you the ideal space to process your emotions.
If your husband cheated on you most people would agree that’s “negative” and painful. It is in fact neutral, but you’re right most people would agree on thoughts about this circumstance that would make you feel pain and anger. BUT there is a difference in knowing you are allowing yourself to feel that way instead of being forced to feel that way. You may very well want to allow yourself to process those feelings. But you also don’t have to be stuck thinking thoughts like “my life is over” which just creates unnecessary suffering. Other thoughts are available to you that will give you better results and decrease your suffering. There are difficult emotions that serve you and move you forward in life and there are “indulgent” emotions like worry, pity and overwhelm When you allow an emotion you don’t have to suffer from it, which brings me to the next truth…
Continue reading part 2 here!