I think you can learn from everyone – either as examples or anti-examples.
Here’s something we can all learn from.
I caught the train recently – interstate, so it was a long trip. Not long after I sat down, two people got on – a woman and her son. She would have been in her late 20s or early 30s. He would have been eight or ten.
They had two hours ahead of them.
I bet it felt longer.
The woman had barely sat down when the boy was already wriggling, squirming, complaining and nagging. It was common kid’s stuff, you know how they get.
He wanted to play games on her phone. She said it was nearly flat, so he couldn’t.
I know what you’re thinking – what a convenient excuse to keep him off her phone. Nope, it was really flat. I know this because she asked me if the train had USB charging ports. It didn’t, but I lent her my portable charger.
Even then, there was just enough charge for her to make whatever calls she needed to.
So her son wriggles more, squirms more, complains more, nags more.
She tells him to stop.
He does, for a few minutes.
He asks for money to buy food.
She tells him she has food if he’s hungry.
He doesn’t want that food, of course. Back to the wriggling, back to the complaining…
After 20 or 30 minutes of this, she’s yelling at him to sit still and be quiet. Strangely enough, he squirms and nags more than ever.
The boy did settle down a few times. I can only imagine how relieved the woman was to finally have some quiet, to let herself think.
Every time, he would break the silence a few minutes later with a calm, quiet question. She’s not the only parent to make the mistake of ignoring the kid, hoping to keep the quiet going. So, of course, he plays up, doing what he knows will get her attention.
And then they’re back to yelling at each other.
Seeing a parent struggling with a child is like listening to someone vomit. It might be unpleasant to be around, but it’s way worse to be the one experiencing it.
With the woman’s phone charged a little, she hands it to him to play with it. That buys her a few moments of silence. Then she’s back to yelling at him, telling him to play this game and not that game because that one had ads and –
For the last 20 minutes of the trip, she’s out of patience. She’s yelling and smacking him, he’s screaming and crying, each making the other more and more miserable.
It must have been the train ride from hell.
Not for me, though – I wrote a few chapters of a book while tuning them out.
“Couldn’t you have helped them, William?”
Define ‘could’. I could have put them both to sleep for the entire trip. I could have made them enjoy the entire ride as they feel relaxed and happy.
But I don’t go around imposing what I think is best on folks. Unless they ask – or there’s real danger – it’s not my place to change anyone.
I showed them both kindness and compassion, which they lapped up like cats after a dust storm.
I led by example by staying calm throughout the ride, inside and out.
Anything more would have been overstepping my bounds.
Now, this isn’t me having a go at some poor woman. She was doing the best she could. In fact, she was doing better than her best. I imagine a younger version of herself, before she became a mother, wouldn’t have had what patience she did. The younger her would have curled up into a ball with her fingers in her ears after 20 minutes.
But she didn’t need more patience.
The only thing that would have helped is to change.
This isn’t a story about parenting – it’s about anything.
I see folks trying to advance their career… and failing.
Trying to find love… and struggling.
Making all the wrong decisions when it comes to their friends, their health and their finances… and wondering where it all went wrong.
Then they ‘read a book’ that teaches them ‘a cool tactic’ and they think – finally, this is what I need.
But the woman on the train didn’t need some parenting tip – some magic phrase or gesture that would have calmed her kid right down.
She didn’t even need ‘to be a better mother’, whatever that means.
What she needed was a new way to think and a new way to be.
You see this in everything from seduction to sales, too. People learn some new behaviour – a trick – and think it’ll solve all their problems.
Make eye contact, touch them on the arm, use their name…
These external tactics don’t work…
Not until your internal state is sorted.
Contrary to popular advice, you can’t fake it til you make it. If you could fake confidence, who would be anything other than that?
You develop, experiment and explore at home, then be your new self in the boardroom.
For that woman, the Train Ride From Hell started long before they reached the station…
And it’s still going.
She and her son will only exit the vehicle when they find new ways of being.
I reckon you’ve been curious about what separates the elite performers, thinkers and leaders from the mundane ones.
A challenge can inspire one person… while another crumbles from the pressure.
A crisis can transform an ordinary person into a hero… while another retreats from the world.
It comes down a difference in how you see the world.
How you think.
But no one is teaching you how to think differently.
I see so many young, smart, talented and ambitious folks struggling. You know life can be more – that you can be more – but you don’t know how to create that.
If you ask for help, you’ll get all sorts of well-meaning but awful advice.
“Learn a skill!”, “find a hobby!”, “travel!”, “get a new qualification!” – this is what people offer you, as if you’re after some small tweak to one part of your life.
You don’t want a tweak.
You want a revolution – to shed your weaknesses, harness your untapped abilities and transform your life.
That’s what I offer you.
Welcome to the thoughts you haven’t been able to think yet.
I’ve spent years honing the skills to shift you into different consciousness states, where you can think around your stubborn problems, explore new possibilities, and grow.
If you want to become who you know you can be, this isn’t optional – you have to think outside the comfortable and familiar grooves of your own thoughts.
I’m not going to tell you what to think – you’ve had enough of that for three lifetimes.
I’m going to show you what brilliant things you have in that gorgeous brain of yours, just waiting to come out.
I asked that question of myself a lot.
I want to overload you with so much value, your life after subscribing is noticeably better than before.
Here’s what I settled on. If I change this, I’ll only change it upwards:
You get all that the moment the first issue arrives.
On top of that, you get these bonuses with your first issue:
Your emotions, habits and instincts might be automatic, but they’re not inevitable. There are many proven ways to unravel these ghosts in your neurology – here are 34 of my favourites. You will learn:
Most of your challenges will fall to any of these.
Nothing holding you back can withstand all of them.
I’m not a doctor. You’d have to be clueless to take my advice on your wellness.
I’m offering it anyway.
Although it’s not so much ‘medical advice’ as how to find the best qualified person to give it.
Thanks to the incessant culture war that leaves nothing untouched, there are now two common schools of thought:
“Oh, you’re sad that your dog died? You know, there are pills that will numb you right up!”
“Oh, you’re chronically depressed? Medicine is a scam – have you tried yoga?”
Yeesh – no thanks to the both of those.
As far as I can tell, there’s only one way through this. I’ve seen skilled and compassionate doctors do this and I’ve seen doctors… who don’t.
Want to know which kind of medical professional you have?
See if they ask you these sorts of questions.
Use this guide and you’ll quickly spot the quacks who only care about pumping you full of drugs… and the doctors who genuinely care about your wellbeing.
Again, I’m not a medical professional, so do what you will with this info.
Exploring your limits and evolving doesn’t have to be complicated.
That’s why I built Phronesis Accelerator around three core ideas.
That’s all – just three.
Yet there are thousands of ways to think about, apply and enhance them. And there’s no change or improvement I’ve found that doesn’t tie to (at least) one of them.
With this bonus guide, you’ll learn:
As a hypnotist, I know you can influence someone and have them not remember it.
As they say – just because you can, that doesn’t mean you should.
Going the other way and being more memorable is not only a more ethical way to influence someone, it’s easier to learn and it works at scale.
After all, don’t you want everyone you meet to tell their friends how great you are? Word of mouth only happens when you stand out in someone’s mind.
You will learn:
I’m going against expert advice here.
When I told some people how much I was giving away each month, they warned me against it. They pointed to leading experts who said people prefer less content, so they feel like they’re mastering what they get.
They said I could serve my audience better by giving them less.
I considered the advice, politely thanked them for it and immediately rejected it.
I’m not going to ‘serve you better’ by giving you less than you need. That patronising nonsense panders to the lazy. If weak-minded people run away from my offer, screaming and tearing their hair out…
Good, I’ve done my job.
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Yeah, yeah, I’m sure you’re ‘an audio learner’. That’s a preference, not a limitation. How much do these labels you give yourself hold you back, I wonder?
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Cover image by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash