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When you try to change your life for the better, it always seems so difficult. There are too many obstacles, too many distractions, and too many opinions.
It can all get so overwhelming.
But when I decided to change my life, I did it in a way that seemed counterintuitive. Totally against what I had learned from the self-development gurus.
You see, almost all self-development gurus advise the same thing: if you don't like your current reality, fight to change it. And if you fail, there must be something wrong with you!
In essence, their methods ask us to battle with our own emotions, circumstances…even life itself to get what we want.
But fighting your reality is not a sustainable strategy.
In fact, it's a recipe for disaster.
It's not just a matter of trying harder or being more determined. It's a journey within our minds.
Our culture teaches us that the right way to get what we want is:
But leveraging our reality is WAY more effective than fighting it.
Here are three reasons why:
First off, there's an excellent chance that the desired outcome will never happen if we have to beat ourselves into submission to get it. We can't force our emotions because they're stronger than our thoughts.
And we can't fight reality because it's bigger than our willpower. So maintaining a battle stance is unsustainable because it's a one-sided war that we can't win.
What do I mean?
Many years ago, I tried to follow this "fight" approach when changing my life and getting ahead.
I was miserable for so long because I still believed that my "real life" was just around the corner. If only I could do this, or if only I could get that, then everything would be alright.
But even though I did what the popular personal development books told me- stay positive, fight and persevere for what you want, never give up - I was exhausted! And I was still unhappy, and "there" seemed to be farther and farther away.
And what's worse, my friends and associates who didn't follow the self-help teachings seem to be having more fun and finding more success than me.
It was a frustrating time because I was battling with my own emotions and trying to force reality into submission.
But I wasn't making any progress, and the harder I tried, the more miserable I became.
Then something changed…
I started to ask myself: What if I'm seeing this all wrong?
And it's how I discovered an even better approach than powering through and trying harder.
I can't say it was easy, and I won't say that I never missed the boat, but the results were almost immediate:
Instead of fighting all those crappy "symptoms" of unhappiness- my fear, worry, anger, self-doubt - they started to disappear because I wasn't allowing them to distract me.
I stopped trying to battle reality and instead started leveraging it, and as a result, my mental state changed quickly. I moved from misery to contentment- the exact opposite of what fighting reality gave me.
The second reason: trying to make changes from the same mindset and worldview
Over time, I came to understand better why this happened.
It wasn't magic. It was biology and evolution.
Stay with me here. I know this sounds strange...
When I said I fought against reality, I learned that we NEVER see reality as it is. We only see reality as we are.
It's a simple idea, really, but what's impressive is how it changes everything.
Our brain takes in sensory information and alters. It filters out all things that don't match what it expects to see.
In other words, the reality that we experience was created almost entirely in our heads.
No wonder it's so hard to change things "out there" in a way that makes us happy. We're trying to change the wrong thing. It's like not liking something you see when you look in the mirror and try to change something in the mirror.
There is more to this, but can you begin to see why it's been so hard to make real change? Once you can see that we can never know reality as it is, not even a little bit, and once you start questioning yourself, everything starts to crumble. That's when the breakthrough came for me.
And things started to change...drastically.
But how do you break out of your reality when, for you, it IS Reality?
Well, the best way to transform your reality is to move from a state of fixed knowledge to one of wonder. It takes you out of your head and into a space where you can imagine more possibilities.
Do you recall how I did this?
It was with something we've been doing since childhood: ask questions.
Mine was, "What if I'm seeing this all wrong?" And although this is not the most positive question, it started me on an entirely new path.
Such is the power of questions.
But, like many things in life, questions are a double-edged sword.
Asking "why does this always happen to me?" or "why can't I ever find happiness?" will produce undesired results fast.
Most of the time, asking yourself "why" questions draw us deeper into complicated past issues. So it would be better to avoid them.
On the other hand, empowering questions can powerfully open our minds and hearts to NEW realities...new possibilities that make change inevitable!
You have to move beyond just changing what you do...and beyond just changing what you believe (most personal development programs only address these levels but you have to do more).
You have to change the very way you experience life. And this is a different kind of work- it's about changing your biology, managing your emotions and psychology so that you can see reality differently.
And once you start to see things in a new way, every aspect of your life will be transformed...for the better.
The last reason seems obvious in theory but MUCH harder in practice: consistency.
We all know that consistency is critical for change, but it can be hard to stick with something new.
It's easy to get discouraged and give up on something you're trying to change if you do not see progress fast enough or if you don't have the support of your friends and family.
The best way to make consistency easy is by making habits.
But, it's hard to create new habits because of all the myths out there.
Here are some common myths about creating habits and what they mean for your success.
Myth 1) You need willpower - Nope! Willpower is overrated. It is a limited, fickle resource that runs out fast. If you want to make consistency easy, practice small, tiny actions that grow over time.
Myth 2) Motivation is needed - False! Start now, don't wait to feel motivated. Do something small now and let motivation follow.
Myth 3) Bad habits must be broken and replaced with good ones. The truth is that habits are neither good nor bad but effective or ineffective. The real difference is whether or not they deliver results. In general (but not always), it is better to focus on creating new habits than struggling to stop "bad' ones. By doing it this way, you'll have momentum from the beginning, and it will be easy to get inspired by all that you're accomplishing.
[Pro tip: you can leverage your "bad habits" as fuel for good ones. But that's another story.]
Myth 4) Repetition creates habits. Not true. While repetition strengthens habits, emotions create them. Observe how people get hooked on social media and video games. As a result, they were attracted to the same feelings every time, so you can use emotions to your advantage when creating a habit.
So why not leverage the reality of how you naturally and easily create habits and therefore make consistency easy?
We quickly talked about the three components of a personal transformation program that gets results:
1. Works with reality, leveraging it to get the desired results naturally
2. Moves you from a fixed reality mindset to a mindset of curiosity, wonder, and new possibilities
3. Makes consistency easy by using our brain's natural tendency to create habits through emotions
We all know that trying to fight our circumstances is never successful, and often we end up worse off than before. But what if there was a way of working WITH things?
How would this change your life for the better in every single way imaginable?
I go much deeper in email. Join me there...