Some folk, when setting self-improvement goals, aim for the loftiest heights.
I say that’s fantastic. Go big, because going home isn’t an option.
But I’ll admit there’s a risk here.
It can sneak into any project – even the sort of thing you can smash out over a weekend. But it’s more common with the more ambitious projects.
It boils down to one question:
How much can you control the outcome?
You might want to live a more creative life – a worthy goal if ever I’ve heard one.
Here’s the problem:
A lot of that lies outside your control.
Want to be a famous novelist? Great – go for it. Work hard, study hard and write hard… and you’ll increase the odds of success. But maybe no publisher will touch you. Or maybe you self-publish and get lost in the noise. It happens.
Most painters, dancers and musicians never get far with it. If you break even, you’re doing well.
Because so much depends on factors outside your control.
Maybe that demoralises you.
Or maybe you like the challenge.
Then again, perhaps you step back and ask: okay, is there a better way then?
You don’t want to give up on your dreams.
At the same time, history is littered with warnings. Plenty of folk obsess over a single path to their dreams and burn out.
And plenty of others who leap from project to project, never committing to anything and so never achieving anything.
There’s a fine line between too flexible and too rigid.
It turns out there’s an easy way to walk that line, which I cover in the IGNITE System (module 1 of 19 in Monster Mind Edukaré).
It’s so important, I cover it again in module 11.
You can use it to find all sorts of ways to live a deeper, richer, more satisfying life. Like everything else, you get out from the IGNITE System what you put into it.
And that starts right here:
One of the things folk warn you about – in life and in self-improvement – is always feeling unsatisfied.
The danger, they say, is that nothing ever becomes good enough.
You get a promotion and you immediately focus on the next one.
You get the girl, then start thinking about the next relationship.
Then you wander the earth, spending your time wallowing about what you don’t have.
This is one of those things that isn’t as bad as it seems. And it sure beats the alternative. What, you’re just supposed to check out of life? Draw a line in the sand and say, yes, this is where I’ll rest now?
Some folk might like that. For me, that’s a living hell. I need to keep moving forward, chasing the next big thing.
Other folk can settle for what they are. I’m far from complete, though, so I’m gonna keep working on myself.
As far as I’m concerned, the ideal life is one where you’re never satisfied… but in a smart way.
You can let yourself gripe and moan about what you don’t have.
Or you can relentlessly chase what you want, while also being happy about it.
You can fall in love with the chase. When you fixate on the outcomes – the bigger house, the better job – then every moment you don’t have those, you’re a failure. But if you fixate on the process – building your skills, establishing revenue streams – then every day, you succeed a little more.
You can appreciate what you have, even as you create something better. A common mistake is to resent what’s yours. That’s a loser’s mindset. Winners see the value in what they already have, without deluding themselves about the problems.
Or you can be mindful about the whole thing. Live purely in the moment, with no narratives about yourself or your circumstances.
Either way, you’re never satisfied.
And it’s your greatest strength.
One of the stranger things is when you’re unsatisfied with your mind. What do you do then?
Get plenty of sleep?
All of those will help.
But if you want to take it further – I’m talking to professional mental athlete levels – then you need a serious training regimen.
Something like this:
Yesterday, I gave some anti-advice. I defied the clichés of self-improvement by saying you should compare yourself to others.
Even envy them.
Here, I’m going to do it again.
Another common wisdom nugget is to set realistic goals. I only have two problems with that:
The realistic part.
And the goals part.
I suppose if you are going to set goals, they should be achievable. No point aspiring to be a champion heavyweight boxer if you turn 84 next week.
Or you could set ambitious themes for your life instead.
What do you want to do with your life?
Stop climate change?
Found a business empire?
Save the country from enemies, abroad and within?
Become the best parent on the planet?
You probably won’t manage these. They are frightfully unrealistic.
And that’s great.
If you treat them as themes, not things to achieve, you never stop being a winner. As long as, every day, you do something that aligns with the theme, you’re golden.
Even at 84, you can do something that makes you more of a boxer than you were yesterday.
You can take a moment to think about your ambitious theme. The cool part is, no matter what you pick, you have today’s step forward right here.
Because no matter what you pick, it’ll involve your mind.
So train your mind to depths you never imagined before:
One of the classic – dare I say, cliché – self-improvement tips is:
“Don’t compare yourself to others!”
The logic being that you’ll only make yourself miserable.
We often compare ourselves to people at the top of their field, seeing only their successes, not the road behind them.
Or we look at someone smarter, more attractive or more confident than us, thinking, gosh, there but for the curse of the Devil go I…
When we look at people, we tend to oversimplify them. We have to. Humans are part of our world and we have to manipulate, appease and seduce them in order to get by. But humans are also too complicated to model accurately, so we approximate.
In other words, we might only see little bits of someone else’s life.
And if all they show are the good bits, that’s all we see.
So why compare yourself to something misleading and wrong?
I’ll tell you why:
It’s an excellent source of learning.
Learn what you admire in others and you learn what you need.
Even if what you see is fake.
You can take their mask and make it real for you.
Envy is a great tool. Sure, it can consume you – like any tool, you have to use it right. When you use it as a source of information, not a source of resentment, it becomes a handy thing.
The more you resent folk, the more powerful you become.
It’s an intriguing idea and it goes against what most folk will teach you. They’ll tell you to appreciate what you have, not fixate on others.
I say that’s a false dichotomy. You can, and should, do both.
But how, though?
How exactly do you use envy and comparisons like this?
I’m glad you asked, pendo. Because in Unlock the Vault – module 16 of 19 in Monster Mind Edukaré – I give you simple, step-by-step instructions on how to do that.
It might not be easy.
For some of you, it won’t be quick.
If those are deal-breakers, then you want to stay well clear of this long and in-depth program:
Folk often compare the brain and the nervous system to the most complicated invention of our time.
They used to describe it as a vast hydraulic system.
Then they called it a telephone switchboard.
Then, a computer.
And if it’s a computer, that makes your memories like a database.
But that’s not right at all. Databases, when working properly, store information perfectly. A record lasts forever, preserving the data with 100% accuracy, until something goes wrong. No matter how many records and no matter how often you access them, it remains unchanged.
Memories don’t work like that.
They change, combine, drift and disappear.
And a brain injury isn’t like a database glitch. If you corrupt some records in a database, the unaffected records remain perfectly accessible. The damaged ones are gone forever. But the brain is different – smash one part and the whole system becomes a little less perfect.
That’s not a database. That describes a hologram. Smashing a holographic record into three leaves you with three holograms, each a little fuzzier than the original.
The information persists, even if the whole system degrades.
I’m not the first to think of the brain like this, even though it’s not entirely true. After all, localised damage can wipe out a specific set of functions.
A blow to the back of your head could leave you blind, even as the rest of the brain soldiers on.
So in some ways, the mind is like a hologram.
In others, it’s a database.
In others still, it’s the internet.
But really, it’s not like these at all. I mean, these things are close. But so far, the mind is the mind, and nothing we’ve invented is all that like it.
Which means it might sound arrogant when I say I know how to interface with it.
I can barely describe it, but I believe I can influence it?
I’m perfectly humble about it, though. These techniques I describe are how your mind works to change itself.
I didn’t invent anything – I’m merely taking what others have found to already exist inside.
And what could you do with this ability to literally change your mind?
Well, anything you want, really. So long as you put the effort in first.
Here’s where you begin:
When you deal with some persistent problem – anything from a bad habit to a chronic neurosis – it’s easy to think about what you want.
You want the problem gone.
You want to be free of this, to be better.
But do you ever stop and ask what the problem wants?
Western psychology’s current take on things is, short of physical damage to the brain, our minds don’t break. They adapt. If you’re a neurotic mess, it’s because the neuroses protect you from something you’re not ready to deal with yet.
The pushy, assertive, arrogant jerk? Someone made them feel small once, and they’re still overcompensating for it.
The timid, nervous ball of anxiety? They were once punished for standing up for themselves and learned it’s better not to.
It’s a rather Jungian idea – your problems aren’t defects or flaws. They’re survival strategies, only they’re misapplied.
You might not agree with this philosophy.
Heck, maybe it isn’t true.
But the more I learn about the body and mind, the more I see strength and adaptability, not weakness.
There are contexts where your problem is exactly what you need in order to survive or even thrive.
Being anxious makes sense if the future is uncertain and dangerous. You’d want to spend time fretting on all the ways the world could kill you.
In modern times, that’s less relevant for most of us.
But how does your unconscious mind know? It’s only going off what you and everyone else taught it. If you fixate on the ways things can go wrong, your unconscious assumes that’s the state of things.
Or if you feel the need to get one over everyone, it’s because your unconscious learned that’s what it takes to survive.
Good intentions, bad outcomes.
But the great thing about your unconscious is it’s great at unlearning too.
You can reorient and educate your mind for a healthier, happier, more productive way of thinking about things.
Maybe you can completely dismantle your neurosis.
Maybe a trace of it will linger.
Either way, you can become much better off about it all.
That’s what hypnosis, meditation and other forms of mind training are all about: engaging with your unconscious in new ways, showing it what you want and letting it take care of the rest.
Many folk meditate. Most of them haven’t experienced this sort of release.
That’s because they haven’t done it like this:
Many of us walk around with a voice is our heads.
It’s a mean, petty voice.
It criticises our actions – sometimes even hypothetical actions we haven’t even done, in some imagined future.
The voice dredges up the worst mistakes of your past, the sort of stuff you’d never do again. But the voice doesn’t care about that. It wants you to relive that like you just did it.
Some of us accept this living, breathing inner critic as a natural part of life.
It comes with being human.
Or maybe you think you deserve this treatment.
But if you realise you don’t need to put up with that voice, you might find some interesting tips out there.
Ways to get a handle on that voice.
Like change it to sound like a giggly, squeaky cartoon.
Or to calmly challenge each assertion it makes.
Some even say to put that voice in a glass jar and leave it over there.
These all work.
And if you’re going for a mindfulness-based outcome, this is the way to do it.
However, all of these approaches have something in common:
They treat that voice as something separate.
Some problem that needs dealing with.
While it’s a helpful way to think about it, it’s wrong. That voice is you. Sure, it may have picked up some words and beliefs from other folk… but they’re not the ones in your mind. You’re telling these things to yourself.
That voice isn’t the enemy.
It’s harmful and misguided, sure.
But it’s also creative (how else could it come up with such nonsense ways to belittle you), persistent (obviously), influential (otherwise it wouldn’t be a “problem”) and difficult to fight.
So what if this voice only said nice things about you?
What if this voice uplifted and encouraged you instead?
Or, if you don’t want a cheerleader in your head, what if it offered an endless stream of good ideas?
This voice isn’t your enemy.
It might be the greatest ally you ever have.
Only once you retrain it, of course. Until then, it’s a thorn in your side and a waste of creative genius.
It’s better to work with this voice than to box it up and ignore it.
How do you train this voice?
Simple enough. One approach would be to meet it in one of your inner landscapes, just like what I teach you to do in Unlock the Vault (module 16 of 19 in Monster Mind Edukaré).
Here’s the link:
Years ago, I heard a horrifyingly mundane explanation for why so many ships and planes vanish in the Bermuda Triangle:
Nothing to do with ghosts, aliens, the Illuminati or portals to other dimensions.
Someone noticed there were a few islands that looked the same. So you might think you’re near Island A and radio in your position from there. Then you head towards base, except you’re going in the wrong direction. Rescue parties search in the wrong place, not realising they should be looking near the similar-looking Island B.
A neat theory.
It might even be right.
Still, it’s a nice metaphor for life.
Sometimes you think you know where you are and where you should do.
Sometimes you’re completely, utterly, hopelessly wrong about that.
You think you’re in one place but you’re somewhere else entirely.
You think home is to the left, when really you should turn right.
No one can blame you – not when every landmark in life looks the same.
Upgrade your technology.
With GPS and satellite imagery, you can know exactly where you are and where you need to go.
Such technology isn’t hard to find, though it can be hard to understand:
Your instincts and intuition.
Those gut impulses which keep you on the right track.
The automatic responses when you pull your hand back from something hot or leap out of the way of a speeding car.
You have the technology.
All you need to do is tune in:
Let me tell you about a recent trance experience I had. It was stronger, wilder and a whole lot weirder than my usual fare. When this sort of thing happens, it’s too great to keep to myself.
When talking to me about meditation and self-hypnosis, a lot of folk wonder about falling asleep during.
It’s easy enough to do when you relax and focus.
Generally, it’s not a problem. My philosophy is if you need sleep more than you need to focus, then your body will tell you.
But I get it. If you’re meditating, it’s nice to meditate. If you wanted a nap, you’d do that instead.
There are simple solutions to this. The easiest ones are to meditate while standing, walking, maybe even jogging. It’s a tougher mental workout, which creates better results. And you certainly won’t fall asleep doing this.
Anyway, I was a little rundown when I entered this trance. My body needed sleep, so I let it. The fact I could doze with such loud meditation music playing only shows how much I needed it.
I drifted off for who knows how long.
Then I woke up.
Because here’s the strange thing about deep hypnotic states – you can be wide awake yet feeling like you’re dreaming. Having tranced, slept and woken up in such a short time, I was straddling that wonderful state of consciousness where everything is intense and nothing seems quite real.
Lying there like this, with the music blaring, I had a nightmare.
I was awake, lucid and able to move.
And I was hallucinating.
The nightmare wasn’t anything scary. It wasn’t like a monster was chasing me (my monsters are scared of me these days – hence the name of my premium product). It was far more abstract, confusing and terrifying than that.
I rolled with it. With apologies to Mr Roosevelt, fear itself is nothing to fear.
It passed, as intense emotions like to do.
I started laughing.
Not chuckling or giggling. I’m talking belly laughs. Deep, booming, eye watering, breath impeding laughter.
And it didn’t stop.
I laughed for an embarrassingly long time.
Then it became a concerningly long time.
Then it was painful – there’s only so much laughter your ab muscles can take.
That was in the first five minutes. I swear I laughed for another ten or fifteen after that.
What was so funny?
I could explain the joke, but it barely makes sense to me.
Laughter is a release of tension. If you fall off your bike but don’t hurt yourself, you laugh. It lets everyone know to stop worrying.
That’s what this laughter was all about. I had a lot of worry and tension I needed to let go of. This is how my unconscious chose to do it.
Hey, I’m not complaining. It sure beats crying.
If you know self-hypnosis, you can do the same. It’s usually not so dramatic, but it’s often this cathartic.
And if you want to learn advanced self-hypnosis from scratch – and a whole lot besides – then I’ve got the link for you:
I spent my New Year in the traditional way, at least in Australia:
Getting far, far too much sun.
My usual approach was to don as many protective layers as I could manage. Hat, sunnies, sunscreen, then stick to the shade.
Despite my best efforts, I’d still get sunburned.
I’d sweat the sunscreen off, even the sweat-proof stuff.
Or I’d somehow miss a tiny patch.
Either way, I’d burn, then spend the rest of the day radiating heat and guzzling water. Then I’d spend the night hot, uncomfortable, thirsty and needing to pee all the time.
This year, I did things differently – and was a whole lot more comfortable.
I still wore a hat.
And I stuck to the shade here or there.
But I got a lot of sun, with nary a drop of sunscreen to shield my skin.
Even so, I didn’t burn once.
I slept comfortably through each night.
I tanned like crazy, but I didn’t burn.
After getting some sun, I’d rub lavender oil on my skin.
Preventing sunburn never worked – not in the long run.
Treating it straight away worked better than I imagined.
Now, this applies to your personal development too.
Someone who is somewhat confident will probably stay there. Someone who struggles with anxiety and learns to overcome it has the advantage. They have a hunger and drive to improve, a desperation others won’t share. And they’ll know they can crawl out of the worst depths of anxiety because, hey, they’ve done it before.
Many of the most charismatic folk you meet were nervous wrecks at one point.
It’s the same with anyone who uses diet, exercise and mindset to manage a chronic condition. They’ll be far healthier than the typical person because they’ve had to dig deep into health, just to reach “normal” energy levels.
And who has greater financial security:
Someone who made a million dollars once?
Or someone who made and lost a million dollars in ten different ways?
Pulling yourself out of the pit makes you stronger.
It proves to your greatest critic – yourself – you can do it.
Nothing else compares – especially not “natural talent”.
It’s not easy, though. It takes high heat to reforge a broken tool into a strong one.
And all the hottest flames you need are right here, waiting for you on the other side of this link: