I’m a voracious reader of books and prolific consumer of training content.
First and foremost, it’s because I’m looking for breakthroughs in my own work.
And second, I’m always looking for material I can adapt and bring back to my readers, listeners, viewers, and students.
You never know what might produce a breakthrough for yourself or another, given that what’s obvious to you isn’t always obvious to another (and vice versa).
And I know I’m not the only one that’s wired this way.
But in our search for content that’s going to help us, we sometimes forget:
We’re usually not invested in what we don’t pay for
We don’t spend enough time upfront assessing the applicability and utility of the content before consuming it
If we don’t have a specific end in mind, we’re more susceptible to meandering aimlessly and wasting time that could be better allocated
There are teachers who are disproportionately better at teaching and relaying the material we need right now
If we want to make the most of our reading or learning time, then, it stands to reason we’d be better served adopting a simple strategy for choosing input that’s going to offer the best value now.
This is easier said than done, and like me, you might be stubborn and insist on finishing books you started, regardless of their relevancy, but that journey is paved with less breakthrough and excitement overall because it’s generally coming from a place of duty and obligation.
Choosing your input isn’t just about being choosey, though. It’s more about identifying which creative wells are worth drawing from at any moment. Which water will in fact nourish your being and fill you with inspiration?
In summary, we need to go straight to the source. But we’ll need to endure the hard intellectual work of determining what we need to learn now, why we need to learn it now, and how it’s going to apply to our work. Only then will the input have a lasting impact on us.
Conventional wisdom says you need to do, have, and be to get anything in life.
First, act. Second, get. Third, have.
But if you’ve read enough personal development and spiritual books, then you know it works the other way around – be, have, and do.
The only problem is that this can seem a little abstract in practical reality.
What we must do is visualize and stand in the possibility of the outcome we’re creating. And we need to make that mental image as vivid as possible, with people, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch. Most importantly, conversations! What words would be exchanged standing in the outcome you’re creating?
“We did it!”
That much you already know.
What we want to do with that visualization is be abundantly clear on what it looks like to be it. To be the transformation. We’re not trying to get anything yet. We’re just looking to understand how we can create that outcome as a way of being. Because you can be that now. And that way of being is going to produce the outcome.
Be, and then the having and doing will sort itself out.
We didn’t necessarily choose our lenses, because it has a lot to do with encounters in early childhood and what we made those events mean.
In layman’s terms, our lenses can be summed up as confirmation bias.
Everywhere we go, everything we do, we’re always out to prove that our lenses are right – even when there’s no inherent value, advantage, or benefit.
My lens? That I don’t matter.
I came face to face with this lens today, while in conversation with my coach. And I can see its presence everywhere. What I didn’t notice before, I now see clearly, and I can’t un-see it.
I can see that I’ve gone through life with this lens and have only found more and more reasons to confirm it with every new task, program, project, business, community, or relationship I take on. I’ve collected a mountain of evidence for my lens.
In the coming weeks, I will be disappearing this lens with my coach.
What lens is running your life? What have you collected a mountain of evidence for?
This is more stream of consciousness than anything.
But I thought it would be worth reflecting on this past month, which was mostly dedicated to my working vacation and some local travel.
Here is what August taught me:
You need to be able to say “no” and not have it mean anything. Know when too much is too much and let others know when you’ve reached that point.
Time away can transform your home. By the time you’ve returned, you will see it with new eyes. As the late Wayne Dyer said, “change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” Returning home represents a good opportunity to begin appreciating what you have more.
When creating change in life, the best place to come from is a space of gratitude and appreciation. Things tend not to change when you feel like there is always somewhere else to get to, something better to be, something more to do. When you come from that space, you only attract more things to get, to be, and to do.
Leave the phone in the pocket and put it on vibrate. Turn off all but essential notifications. You don’t need constant reminders that you’re getting texts, messages, and emails, and nor does anyone else around you.
Enjoy the scenery. Smell the roses. Again, put away the phones and cameras and just be there.
People aren’t hearing what you aren’t saying. Are you speaking up and saying what needs to be said?
Empty your head. Get everything down on a yellow legal pad, notebook, or whiteboard. Action can wait.
When you’re asking yourself whether you should make a request of someone, the answer is almost always “yes.” Don’t give yourself more than 30 seconds to make up your mind and just do it.
Opulence may seem out of reach at times. But it can always be rented, especially in groups.
The beach you get to in the nick of time to enjoy the last hours of sunlight are better than all the “better” beaches you couldn’t possibly reach before nightfall.