As we discussed previously, if we are going to be “on a roll” in our personal, business, and family lives, focusing on what is going right will generate more of those things that are going well. Having this focus is like plugging ourselves into an unlimited personal source of power. In contrast, focusing on what’s wrong is the source of energy drain for each of us, and actually reinforces and perpetuates having those undesired forces show up in our lives. I hope you were able to have a personal experience with this principle by asking “What’s right?” questions of your friends and family over the last few days. If you haven’t read my last post that discussed how to do that, I encourage you to read it now.
Paradoxically, if we are going to be successful at removing the obstacles that prevent us from experiencing effortless high performance, we cannot do it by focusing our attention on those obstacles. You see, obstacles are the things we see when we take our eyes off our goals, so it is going to be far more effective to consistently abandon those obstacles than keep trying to overcome them. It’s a subtle but critically important distinction.
There’s a section of Highway 1 near Pacifica in Northern California that is known as Devil’s Slide. Built on highly unstable sheer cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in 1935, in the ensuing decades the road suffered repeated damage and closures from winter storm landslides, isolating and causing severe economic harm to the neighboring communities. This fight against the Devil’s Slide landslides went on for more than 75 years, demonstrating conclusively that what we resist persists. Finally the state decided to abandon the fight by building a bypass road and tunnel around the problem. The new road opened in 2013 and the almost century-long obstacle disappeared permanently.
Focusing on obstacles also creates resistance to change in us. Rather than moving forward in life in pursuit of a clear vision of our goals, most of us are paying far too much attention to past negatives and working particularly hard to avoid mistakes. Kurt Wright says it’s as if we are “backing” through life, pulling along a little box of secret hang-ups as we go. Our little box is filled with painful memories of emotions we’ve felt in the past and never, ever wish to feel again. Just imagine the energy it takes to keep the lid on that box so none of those painful emotions can pop out and hurt us again! How much would our lives and our families change if we could simply unhook from that box of painful memories and emotions and let it tumble down Devil’s Slide?
As I proceed in this series of posts to share some of the great wisdom of Kurt, the most effective mentor I’ve ever had, it would be terrific if you could begin thinking about and selecting one or more goals for yourself and your family. Here is a menu of ten possible outcomes that are available to you from our continuing conversation in the weeks ahead. Which appeals to you most?
- We could learn to master a new style of asking the right questions to build trust, improve communications, and make all of our interactions with our families and others more meaningful and productive.
- We could learn to be more disciplined in the use of our intuition, which could help reduce or even eliminate undesired stress in our lives and in our families, allowing us to enjoy greater comfort and confidence in our everyday decision making.
- We could gain more insight into the process of dissolving communication barriers. This in turn could give us more skill at building commitment and obtaining enthusiastic cooperation from everyone around us.
- We could learn how to have more control over our own attitude. This would bring us more peace of mind, as well as allow us to have a more constructive influence in our families and on everyone with whom we come in contact.
- We could shift our focus away from avoiding the downside of life’s experiences and thus feel empowered to take more responsibility and initiative.
- We could learn to reflect from within ourselves a stronger spirit of teamwork and commitment, and use it to put ourselves, our families, and others around us ahead of the curve and on a roll.
- We could learn how to convert energies now being wasted on resistance to change into a performance improvement for ourselves, our families and others around us.
- We could reduce the amount of stress in our lives by developing new habits to consistently bring out the best in ourselves, our families and others around us.
- We could identify or confirm our own life’s purpose and learn to stay more in tune with it. This would assure more energy, creativity, and fulfillment in our personal, family, and work lives.
- We could learn all the steps of building our own strategic life plans and how to master the use of each step in order to reach optimum levels of personal accomplishment and contribution to our lives.
So now, as your mentor, it’s time for me to ask you some “What’s Right?” questions. Which idea discussed here appears to offer the greatest promise for getting you on a roll and keeping you there? Of all the desired outcomes explored here, which one now holds the greatest appeal to you? What makes them so appealing to you?
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Until next time,