Archive for October, 2011

you_are_becoming

Photo credit Fe Langdon, available on Flickr under Creative Commons.

How we say

One of the major obstacles in your development is to perceive yourself as a static thing. Similarly, one of the most limiting ways for a solution-focus is to look at a situation or problem as an event frozen in time.  So you say:

“I am ill.”
“You are a poor manager.”
“He is stupid.”
“This is the way things are.”

These are facts and nothing can be done about it. It seems. While the statements above may look innocent, they are not. In fact, they act dangerously beneath the observable surface.

Are you one of the people who often heard as a child “You are a bad girl/boy” or “You are stupid”?

Did you believe that? I did.

It only takes a single authority (parent/grandma/older friend/teacher) to repeat such a statement a few times to make you accept it as a truth. Without questioning. Would it make any difference for you to have heard instead “You have behaved stupidly this time. What can we/you do next time so that you can improve?”

It would. For me.

Identity

The language construction “I am X” describes an equivalence between “I” and the very thing “X”. In such a statement an identification is taking place. If you keep repeating to yourself “I am stupid” you begin to identify with what you consider as “stupid behaviors” or “stupid people”. At some point you will start to model such a behavior more often, even unconsciously, simply because you have associated yourself with stupidity.

So, if you say “I am X” or “You are Y”, such statements act as naming on a deep, subconscious level. We make an equivalence and once we have taken it for granted, such an equivalence begin to hold forever. You stick the labels and they stay.

How to set yourself free

The first step is a shift in perception. Instead of looking at yourself as an Event, the key is to look at yourself as a Process.

You are not your thoughts.
You are NOT your emotions.
You are not your behaviors.
You are NOT your skills.
You are not  your actions.
You are NOT your achievements.
You are not your mood.
You are NOT your products.
You are not your failures.
You are NOT your problems.
You are not your parents.
You are NOT your wife/husband/kids.
You are not your car.
You are NOT your house.
You are not your job.
You are NOT your hobby.
….

While all the elements above may be very important to you and whom you have become, none of them is you. They are parts of who you are but you are much greater than their sum. If you choose to identify with any of them you may become vulnerable, fixated and stuck. And you may slow down any progress to a high degree.

For instance I used to identify with my work so I was hurt by people criticizing my research approach. I saw work as an extension of myself. As a result, it used to take me a substantial amount of time for an emotional processing before I could deal with criticism and work towards a further improvement of the ideas and applications. It was a waste of my emotional resources to suffer unnecessarily.

I am sure you know other people who are hurt or emotionally upset when somebody criticizes their approach or behavior, or when something happens with their car, or even when their children do not perform well to the expectations. It all comes from our deep identification with the Events. Be it results, attitude or children’s behavior.

Who you are

Your particular thoughts, emotions, behaviors, skills, actions, initiatives, possessions, responsibilities, failures and achievements are Events.

So, who are you?

You are simply a Process allowing, choosing, supporting and maintaining these Events. You are a Journey. Through Life.

You are not a static, frozen in time Joe. You are a Process of Joe.
You are a continuously learning and developing conscious being.
You have become and you are becoming.

Your goal is to take care of the Process to maintain it daily so that the habits you choose serve you through Time.

Watch your language

The second important point for becoming is to watch your language. The idea is to focus on describing the situation or event instead of making identity statements. Say to your child “You have not behaved kindly this time” instead of “You are a bad boy”. Say, “I’ve been searching for a new job” instead of “I am jobless”. Say, “I have not become wealthy yet, but I am taking my steps towards it” instead of “I am poor”. Say, “You have not organized your workplace in the best way last week” instead of “You are a muddler”. And so on.

Language is very important in describing and naming how you see yourself.  For a change to happen, you need to act differently and speak differently. Watch what you say and how you say it.  When you change how you describe yourself, your life, your problems and your challenges, you will begin to act accordingly. You will redirect your Process towards a better You.

Being a Process

Why does it make a difference to perceive yourself as a Process?

The key concept is that by being a Process you are already in motion. You are changing and evolving by the very nature of a process. Whatever happens, any failure, misjudgement or difficulty, any blessing, winning or achievement, change is just behind the door. You deeply know it and you accept it. You also know that change is the only stability you have. It makes you conscious to live in the moment and appreciate all the blessings that come to your life now. And it makes you aware that any difficulty, even the most horrendous, will eventually pass. Through the Process you can transform it.

By seeing yourself as a Process you begin to detach emotionally from the outcomes and the results while you are taking initiatives in the given moment. Action redirects the Process. And you know that even small steps repeated frequently enough can lead you far. In your Journey.

When you see yourself as a Process you begin to gain power, responsibility and control over your life. While you cannot control the majority of events, you can take care that the Process you are will equip you well to handle whatever comes. You begin to live by Gratitude and Love. To others and God.

You are becoming

You may not have made the best progress in your life yet but you can choose to start doing it now. In every moment you can abandon old patterns and choose the ones which serve you. By being a Process – a developing human being – you can grow into a greatness.

Spin.
Stir it up.
Move.

You are experiencing. You are becoming. Your best conscious Self.

***

 

event_process

Go x 3

We live in the times of Events.

Things happen. Meetings take place. Decisions are made.
There is rush, rush, rush. There is an endless to-do list.

Does it sound familiar? I bet, it does.

We want to communicate. Fast.
We want to get the results. Fast.
We want to get rich. Fast.

We want the easy, pain-free, quick fixes. And fast solutions.

Even better, we want it instant.

Instant messaging.
Instant coffee.
Instant food.
Instant education.
Instant cure.
Instant banking.

Instant life?

This has something to do with:

  1. the perception that the quality of life depends on the amounts of things, people and events we squeeze in,
  2. our weird impulse for an instant gratification.

The latter is an emotional pleasure related to getting what we want or reaching a goal. We want the very thing and we want it now. Short-term pleasure is just before our eyes, while long-term effects are hidden behind the clouds.

You want coffee. You get it.
You want the newest ipad. You buy it.
You want a fast laptop. You make it happen now.
You want these fancy trainers. Sure, you deserve them.

Following such impulses leads to overindulgence of all kinds and overspending.  It requires a conscious thought to overcome this.

Events are cool

Events are cool. They are shining spikes in our life experience. Glitter and glamor. Sweetness and refreshment. Fun and excitement. Thrill and pleasure. You name it! And while Events and Results are important, they are just single occurrences.

  • Why it is easy to eat one perfectly healthy meal, but it is difficult to eat them every day?
  • Why it is easy to go to a course, but it is difficult to practice what you learn?
  • Why is it easy to buy a guitar, but difficult to play?
  • Why is it easy to text or tweet, but difficult to write an article?

The difficulty arises from the gap between an Event and a Process.
It is easy to get excited and fire up your motivation for a one-time effort: the Event.
It is difficult to maintain the same fire for a repeated application: the Process.

Processes are maintenance

Processes are often boring. They are about systems, maintenance and practice. There is hardly any extra thrill or excitement, yet it is the processes that are key to the mastery of your life. They are about a long-term focus.

They are about 3P: Patience, Persistence and Perseverance.

What Events begin, Processes master

An Event is to get your attention.

To kick your butt. To make you think. To inspire you. To challenge you. To ask for an action.

Yes, the Events are necessary.

Some are entertainment. Some are interesting. Some are O.K.
And some are life-changing.
They shock. They shake. They shift.
Your view. Your beliefs. Your balance.

But yet, they only make sense if, after a genius spark, a suitable Process follows.

  • A headache is an Event, but being healthy is a Process.
  • A party is an Event, but a workday is a Process.
  • A diploma/license is an Event, but learning is a Process.
  • A car accident is an Event, but applying the conclusions is a Process.

Birth is an Event, but life is a Process.

Event vs Process

The difference between an Event and a Process can be summarized below:

EVENT PROCESS
Is a calendar issue Is a habit/culture issue
About decisions About development
Motivates / Inspires people Matures people
Challenges people Changes people (permanently)

 

To better understand the differences, watch this hilarious explanation:

You choose

You can pretend to be ignorant about it. To slide vigorously over the Events, and live from party to party, from paycheque to paycheque, from a small talk to a small talk. You can pretend you are above all this boring stuff that others are after. You can believe that life holds a different glamorous scenario for you. In the end you are a unique and talented being, aren’t you? You can apply the routine but why bother if you can choose the easy way.

Yet, the easy way will leave you lonely, empty and insecure. Don’t be surprised to find yourself in derail, without meaning and with little accomplishment. There are other guys, as gifted and genius as you are, waiting for you in this Pit.

The way out of the Pit is by taking the bull by its horns. Responsibility. Response-ability.

Event is to Process as Childhood is to Maturity

As you embrace childhood into your maturity, use the spark from an Event to continue with the Process. And any process is about habits or a routine. Perhaps dull, boring and repetitive actions. The same time of the day, week and month. For years to come.

Consciously chosen.

And it is the joy of the action itself, of the training, of the work, of the habit that keeps you moving. Towards a more conscious you.

It is the habit of exercising and eating whole foods that will keep you well.
It is the habit of active listening to make your relation blossom.
It is the habit of relaxing to keep you stress free.
It is the habit of honesty to let you become a content adult.
It is the habit of doing the first things first before allowing for any other disturbance.

You choose.

Decision.
Focus.
System.
Implementation.

Every day in order to keep your Processes running well.

***

Look at your life from the perspective of a Process. It will make a difference.

***

The image above shows a beautiful work by Inge Duin. See more of her works on  www.ingeduin.nl.

***

 

Before you can have,       
you need to do.

Before you can do,
you need to become.

Before you can become,
you need to breathe.

The truth.

***

Face it.

There are no shortcuts.
There are no privileges.
There are no hidden passages.

There is no other way, but living the truth.