I was on a call with one of my clients the other day sharing with them the once concept that I believe can positively change their lives forever and I noticed that I began to stumble with my words and my belief in the concept. It was not so much my belief in the concept but my inability to explain the absolute importance of the exercise. Thousands of years ago at the oracle at Delphi an inscription was carved in the wall: “To thine own self be true.” But philosophers throughout time have always struggled with the concept of who is thine self? In western culture this idea was distorted by Descartes when we said; “I think therefore I am.” And that is when the suffering of Western Culture began. Now this sounds like some pretty heady stuff for a business coach who helps people make more money and have more fun but this stuff is the very root to make the later happen.
All of us think too much and fall into the trap that our thought are us and worse yet that they are true! A better way to language Descartes quote is “I am therefore I think.” Notice that thinking enhances the being or the I am. It is separate from being. Thinking does not create being, being creates thinking. Which is the opposite of “I think therefore I am” which means that if I did not think I would not exist which is not true i.e. sleeping, in a swoon, etc. Your thoughts are not you. They have never been nor will they ever be. They just occur as the clouds occur. If we buy into our thoughts we limit our intelligence and our choices. Someone out there must be screaming I am my thoughts as well as my feelings, Ken! Of course you are but let me share an insight which may make you reconsider.
The distinction lies in ownership. What you own you are responsible for and you understand its functionality. Its functionality is also predictable. You own your car and if I ask you at anytime of the day where it is and what it does, you will be able to tell me exactly. “It’s in the drive way and if I turn the key it will start.” I also know that some of you are thinking well what if it was stolen or it didn’t start. Now that is a possibility but the probability of that happening is close to zero. Stay in the conversation. In the 25 years of my driving experience my car has never been stolen and it failed to turn over maybe 3 times. Now comes the scary apart of this mind that you own. You have almost a zero probability of telling me what you will be thinking about or how you will feel at anytime for the rest of this day, week, month and or year! You have absolutely no idea of what you will be thinking about or what you will be feeling at 6 pm today! So if you don’t own your mind who does? I will submit that it owns you! You know the feelings of depression, self doubt, anxiety, not enough-ness, not good enough, I am a loser, I should be doing more, why won’t anyone call me back, why aren’t I rich, why am I so unlucky, why can’t my relationship be better, why are my kids spoiled, bratty etc you know that whiny unhealthy conversation or you get distracted by some drama, Obama did this, your mom did that, your client did this, boy she is cute etc. You are much like a BB in a beer can getting kicked down the road by a kid in Appalachia. The mind is constantly bouncing and looking for more entertainment and you have succumbed to it. So instead of being productive you embrace in mind dramas.
Why do I bring this up? Your greatest productivity tool is your mind! Your greatest distraction and productivity killer is your mind as well! Your business is a direct reflection of what you think about and what you hold important. If you mind is polluted and totally out of control guess what your business looks like! Now you may be thinking, well Ken, I am pretty successful you know I make $250k a year! Yes, that’s good for you! But just think of what you could be producing because you know that down deep you are not hitting your potential! God if you are making 250 what are you leaving on the table? Does 250k satisfy you? If it does, cool, you no longer need to read any further you are in the Nirvana Zone and you do not need the knowledge I have. But if you’re making 750k a year and this concept is ringing in your ears read on soldier.
So how does one achieve clarity of mind, purity of motive and the peace of direct action?
It’s hard and it requires lots of work. Not intellectual work but visceral work. It’s a struggle, its painful and a pain in the ass. Your mind is not going to want to do this work because the mind thinks its you. So how does one figure who thine own self is? The answer is painfully simple: stillness. The exercise of identifying what the mind is and you are not. Once you can identify the difference new choices will begin to arise for you and its choice and will power which make our lives worthy. It’s the ability to choose our outcomes are what matters. Consciousness, awareness, mindfulness are what matters not impulse, reaction or instinct.
So how does one practice stillness? Here is the simplest way to do it. Take 10 minutes sit in a chair, close your eyes and do not move or go to sleep. Engage in the battle of not doing and simple notice what arise in the field of your consciousness. Allow your thoughts to come and go and simply focus on your breath. This sounds very easy but it is not. It will be one of the hardest activities you will engage in. You may find that this exercise is too hard for you then you should seek a teacher. It is well worth the exercise because you will begin to make friends with someone who you absolutely need to be your best friend and that person is you! Not your thoughts. With practice you will see a distinction and you will be amazed.
Another reason we practice stillness is so we can become aware when we are paying attention or we are not. Are we paying attention or are we thinking? When you are engaged with a client are you really engaged with that client or are you working your agenda and formulating something witty to say, or some plan on overcoming some kind of objection? Are you really present with people? You see your attention is the greatest gift you can give someone. Not just making believe you are paying attention but the very essence of your being. Once again this in not easy and the first step is to still the mind so you can see yourself for who you really are and then you can interact with your clients as they really are and your results will be amazing!
Welcome to the “Way” of Business!