Gremlins and Brick Walls
Gremlins and Little Liars
Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams.
Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in,
but with what it is still possible for you to do.
- Pope John XXIII
Anytime you hear a negative conversation in your head, you can be sure it’s not your higher Self talking. Each of us has negative voices inside our heads. These voices put us down, remind us of our mistakes failures, and give us all the reasons why it is not going to work. These voices have been called lots of names. Gremlins, the Little Man and Little Liars are my favorite names for these negative thoughts.
When a song or a TV show comes on that we don’t like, we don’t complain about it. We just change the channel. Joel Osteen preaches about how when the negative thoughts and memories come into the TV screen of our mind, a lot of us get some popcorn, find a chair, and sit down to watch it. That’s not the only channel. There is a channel that has all your victories, accomplishments, and good times. You have the remote. Change the channel.
Emotions Have a Message
A weed in your garden is not negative, it is a call for action. Emotions give us the energy to make changes. All emotions have a positive message. Find out what the message is. For example: If you are really worried about something, the message could be that you need to get something done that you have been procrastinating.
In Get the Edge, Tony Robbins gives suggests 5 steps to handle emotions.
Identify the emotion. Is it fear, or is it anger etc. Tony Robbins says that there are 10 main negative emotions. They are fear, hurt, anger, frustration, disappointment, guilt, inadequacy, overloaded, lonely, and uncomfortable.
Acknowledge and appreciate the message it is offering. Fear is sending a message that you are worried about something, and may need to do something about it. Anger’s message is that someone has broken one of your rules that you feel is really important.
Think about how this emotion can benefit you.
Remind yourself that you can handle whatever comes up. You have probably dealt with something similar to it before. It didn’t kill you. You have survived 100% of the challenges you have faced.
Take action or change how you are viewing the situation. Sometimes it’s worth taking a stand for something, and other times it’s better to decide that it is just not that important.
“Fear is part of us, and it is meant to feel and to let go. If it is possessed instead of passed through us, it beats us up in body, heart, and mind. It is ruthless and pervasive. Fear knows our Achilles Heel and goes for it every time. It kicks us when we are down. It compels us to make imprudent choices, then laughs at us for our rashness. It kills our 2 best friends: trust in ourselves and trust in the possibility of an alternative outcome.”
Fear is the Big Fat Daddy of all negative emotions. Or as my wife would say, the Big Fat Mama Llama. The fear of fear can lead to us taking so many precautions that we never live the life we want to live. We walk on eggshells instead of breaking out of the egg. Fear kills more people than death. Fear kills people in their twenties even though they are not buried until they are 70. A successful person is not someone without fears, doubts, and anxiety. It is someone who knows that fear is normal and doesn’t let it interrupt his life. You don’t have to get rid of fear, just don’t let it sit in the driver’s seat. It’s totally OK to have doubts and fears, but you don’t need to invite them over for a sleepover. Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
The boogey man is not real and neither is Fear. It only exists in your mind. It only exists in the thoughts about the future, most of which will most likely never happen. It is estimated that 85% percent of the things we worry about never happen. The battleground is in your mind. There is an African proverb that says, “If there is no enemy inside, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”
“Disturb not thyself about tomorrow which has not yet come. Rest not upon that which is no more. Live happily in one instance and throw not thy life to the winds.”
You are going to be inspired by your dreams and also terrified by them. Go toward your fears. Embrace them. On the other side of your greatest fears is your greatest life. Success is on the other side. But if you give up, you’ll never make it to success. There are two parts to fear; the scary unknown side and the exciting side. When you start feeling afraid, you should get excited. It means you have the opportunity to move to a new level. Doing the thing you fear will give you energy and make you feel alive. Whenever your energy level is low, go do something that scares the heck out of you, and watch your energy level soar.
Everyone has to overcome their self imposed doubts and fears. Don’t kid yourself. Everyone has fears. Fear will go away when you come to realize that the only thing to get from life is the experience of living it. Action also reduces fear. If you just get out there and take action, you will find that your fear decreases.
I love the Cherokee legend of the white wolf and the black wolf. One day a grandfather told his grandson about a fight that was going on in his mind between a white wolf and a black wolf. The white wolf represents love, peace, joy, happiness, and faith. The black wolf represents fear, anger, hate, guilt, and pride. His grandson asked “Which one will win?” The grandfather answered, “Whichever one I feed the most.”
“Fear of failure in the future is crippling. Commitment to a vision is invigorating. To commit yourself beyond turning back, you have to take decisive action. The moment you cut off the possibility of turning back, you will tap inner powers that will lead to success and multiply your chances of succeeding.”
Be OK with failing. When you fail, you are going to learn. The only way to really fail is to not learn anything from your mistakes. When failure smiles at you, the only thing you can do is smile right back. You don’t have to always win or be right. Just don’t be too worried about being wrong. Risk is an inherent part of living a good life. You can’t live a full life without taking risks. You can’t drive your car down the street without taking a risk. If you don’t take risks, you are just existing, instead of living. “The Average person tiptoes through life, hoping to make it safely to death.” And then, when they come close to death, they beg for more time. The goal is to not look back and say, “Wow, I felt safe.” The goal is to say, “Wow, that was an adventure.”
A comfort zone is a safe place, but nothing ever grows there
You must go through a lot of defeats to learn how to not be defeated. Just because you failed, that doesn’t make you a failure. Life isn’t do or die; it’s do or try. It doesn’t really matter how many times you fail. What is important is the number of times that we succeed. And there is a perfect correlation between the number of times you succeed and the number of times you fail and keep trying. You are not your past failures. You are not your past habits. You are not how others have at one time treated you. Don’t confuse the results you get with who you are. You are not the results you get, you are much greater than that.
Problems are illusions. They are not real. They are created by the mind because we think we are separate from our source. You are not separate from God. You are connected to God, everyone and everything. Trust in the same power that moves galaxies and creates a baby. Your “problem” is not the problem. The Problem is that you think your “problem” is the problem. Read that again a couple times and think about it.
Of course you will still have to deal with situations that come up in life, but they don’t have to be “problems”. What problems do you have right now? I’m talking about right this very second. If you can agree with this next quote, I guess you don’t really have any “problems”, do you?
“Right this minute, my family and I are safe and feel no threats to our safety. Right this minute, I am not starving. Right this minute, I am healthy enough to do what I need and want to do. Right this minute, I have everything I need. Right this minute, I really have nothing to be upset about. I am fed. I am safe. I am comfortable. I am healthy. I have a little money. I have everything I need in this moment. Everything is okay. Right this minute, everything is fine.” –Unknown
Give most of your attention to the things you want in your life instead of giving most of your attention to what you don’t want. You get what you are looking for and expecting.
Obstacles or Opportunities
“Brick walls are not there to keep you out. Brick walls are there for you to prove how much you want something.”
Our problems are pretty similar. Rain falls on the just and the unjust. The difference between being successful, or not, is often the solutions. Most people view brick walls as stops signs. They are simply a normal part of the process. You just deal with them as they come up. If they didn’t appear, your goal would be too small.
Nick Vujicic is one of my favorite people on the planet. He was born with no arms and legs. He travels around the world as a motivational speaker. In his video, No Arms, No Legs, No Worries he talks about how obstacles are really opportunities in disguise. Nick would know. He has had to overcome so many challenges. Obstacles are those things you see when you take your eye off the goal.
Don’t be afraid of obstacles. Take a creative look at them. Get clear on exactly what the “problem” is. Get to the core of what is happening. Find a way to say “Yes this happened, now what?” Have the patience to look at it until you can clearly see what is going on. When you have clarity, solutions will arise. Obstacles are something you can do something about. If you can’t do anything about it, it’s not an obstacle. It’s simply a fact of life. People don’t go around complaining about gravity. “There is nothing that will not reveal its secrets to you if you love it enough.”-George Washington Carver
When an obstacle/opportunity presents itself, go through these questions.
What are the facts? I only have $50 in my checking account is a fact. I’m financially ruined forever, is not a fact. There are objective and subjective facts. Even though, “I’m feeling really scared about this” is subjective, it is still a fact.
What is good about this? There are always two sides to a coin. There are ups and downs to everything. More than half of people who had breast cancer and survived, said they were glad it happened to them. This experience really made them appreciate life more. (On the flip side, 75% of people who win the Lottery eventually say they wish they would have never won.)
What is not perfect yet? Instead of asking “What is wrong?” you look at what could be improved.
What am I no longer willing to do? What caused this situation and how can I keep it from happening again?
How can I do what I need to do to make the situation better, and enjoy the process? Anything worth doing has some level of fun in it.
When you find a major obstacle, attack it like a swarm of bees on an orange tree. Focus all your energy on it. Hour after hour, day after day, until you overcome it. A regular light bulb uses the same amount of energy as a laser that can cut through steel. The only difference is how focused the energy is. Few obstacles exist beyond those in our mind if we are creative in looking for solutions.
You should be concerned about some of your obstacles, but not worried. When you are in Los Angeles, you should be concerned about the traffic, but not worried about it. Worrying is about as effective in solving problems as chewing bubble gum is to solving algebra equations. Refuse to look at obstacles as anything other than an opportunity. Every adversity has the seed of an equal or greater benefit. When you decide to do something great, you can expect to have some great obstacles/opportunities. “Obstacles will look large or small to you according to whether you are large or small.”-Orlson Manden.
We worry simply because we don’t think we can solve our problems and we don’t trust God. Life is not all rainbows and butterflies. Life also has hurricanes and thunderstorms. But either life is good and worth living, or it is not. Albert Einstein said the biggest decision we have to make is whether the universe is friendly or not.
“Many of us have dedicated our lives to feeling good: avoiding suffering at all costs. We want day without night, beauty without ugliness, comedy without tragedy.”
We can be OK with knowing some of our experiences remain unresolved and unfinished. There is a Zen saying “This being the case, how shall I proceed”. That is a better question than “This being the case, who is to blame and why is this happening to me?”
If you have nothing, then you have everything, because you have the freedom to do anything, without the fear of losing something. Rock bottom is a solid foundation from which you can rebuild your life the way you always wanted it to be.
Some baseball players step up to bat thinking about the double play they hit into last time. Other players step up to bat thinking about the home run they know they are going to hit. Rehearse the future, not the past. The biggest thing that will keep you from accomplishing what you want to do is the story you have in your head about why it is not going to work.
Exercise: Write down 5 of the biggest challenges that happened to you in your life. Look at them closely and write down the benefits that came from these challenges.
If you are married, your spouse may be a brick wall that you need to climb over. You may need to have some serious conversations with your spouse and explain how important this is to you. I believe there is always a way to find a compromise that will work for both of you. Get creative. Maybe it will take 2 years to transition instead of 6 months. If that’s what it takes to make both of you happy, so be it.
As partners in your marriage, you should want each other to succeed and be successful in whatever each of you wants to do. Each of you should be striving to give each other wings to fly. If your spouse will not support you in trying to live your dreams, then you have problems in your marriage that you need to work on.
If it comes down to it, you may have to say something like, “I feel like I have to do this for myself. If I don’t, I will always regret it. I hope my other qualities will make up for this decision.” Then find other ways to try to make it up to your spouse. Maybe you give her a night off every week where she can do some things she has always wanted to do. Maybe you can find the money for him to have something he has always wanted, etc.
In the short run it might make sense to give up on your dream to try to make your spouse happy. But in the long term it will not bring happiness. It will bring resentment.
YOU are responsible for making it happen.
I am Responsible, I am Good Enough
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to ones courage.”
Refuse to make excuses for anything. Refuse to criticize or blame other people for things going on in your life. Have you ever met a happy, successful person who regularly avoids responsibility, blames and points fingers and makes excuses for their unsatisfying life? Me either. Repeat over and over “I am responsible.” Even if you are not at fault for your situation, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for your beliefs, thoughts and actions from this time forward. If a drunk-driver runs a red light, slams into your car, and you become paralyzed; was it your fault? No. But are you responsible for the rest of your life? Yes. This doesn’t mean you feel guilty and ashamed. It means you take control of your thoughts, attitudes, actions and ultimately your outcome. Until you take responsibility, you will never be able to change anything. You are the problem, and the solution.
You are good enough. Even with your limitations, you need to recognize that you are good enough for life, and life is good enough for you. You don’t need to have a huge bank account or to be the perfect person. “Your basic adequacy is in your breath, in your beating heart, in your life. You are adequate to life because you are life. You have all you need; a heart, a body, an imaginative mind, a basic connection to all life.”-Laurence BoldtRemember, life does not have to be anywhere near perfect to be wonderful.
Your circumstances aren’t what make you worried or depressed. It is your thoughts about your circumstances. Michael Singer says, “We have given our minds the impossible task of wanting only good things to happen and no bad things. That is the equivalent of asking our body to lift trees and jump mountains.” We need to think about what we are thinking about. The minds’ favorite question to ask is, “What if this doesn’t work?” We need to ask right back, “What if this does work?” We need to spend more time talking to ourselves instead of listening to ourselves. Transform your inner critic into your inner coach. Don’t take criticism from your inner critic. Ask for specific things you can do to improve and then thank him for the advice.
When you hear a negative thought, ask “Who is talking here? Is it my higher Self, or my gremlin?” You would never let anyone else talk to you the way your Gremlin does. If someone you knew put you down and said the mean things to you that your Gremlin does, you would kick them out. So don’t let your Gremlin talk to you that way either. Your higher Self only wants peace. You want to feel Good. If you are in a negative mood, tell yourself “I want to feel good. What thought can I think that will make me feel good?” Ask over, and over, and over until you find a thought that makes you feel good. Find something to be grateful for. Gratitude can overpower negative thoughts. Gratitude is the strongest emotion.
Even in the most peaceful surroundings, the ungrateful heart finds trouble. Even in the most troublesome surroundings, the grateful heart finds peace. There is always something to be grateful for. Find something, and then build on it. Hold a positive thought for at least 15 seconds. Really feel it. Think about how grateful you are for it. Then find something else to be grateful for (preferable something you are even more grateful for).
Last week my baby girl kept crying and crying and I was getting really frustrated. I decided to find something to be grateful for. I chose to be grateful for her. I’ve always wanted to have a girl, and fifteen years after we have been married I got one. And she is the cutest sweetest thing you have ever seen. I held that thought for a while. Then I thought about how grateful I am for my wife and boys. I held onto that thought for a while and started to feel very grateful. Then I moved on to how great my whole life is. I held on to that thought and started to cry because of how blessed I am. So in about a minute I went from being very frustrated to extremely grateful and happy.
It doesn’t work every time, but it sure is nice when it does.