Hacking Reality - Thinking For Yourself
Originally posted on my blog as separate posts - here as one article.
I am Iron Man - Weaponise Yourself For Success
You become dangerous to “normal” people when you think differently because you challenge their reality, you challenge their acceptance of their limitations and their inability to rise above and beyond and achieve success. Successful people have weaponised themselves - they have transformed themselves into someone who can gain the advantage (one of the definitions of “weapon”) and become that person who creates success for themselves.
It's making the ontological shift a shift in beingness from who you currently are to who you want to be.
This isn't a linear progression, it's not one step following the other, then the next step following that. It's like a hyperspace jump, where you fold space and instantaneously transition from one level of existence to another completely different one. It's what transformation really is about. Becoming someone else.
It's the shift Tony Stark makes in the Iron Man series of films - he realises it's not about who he becomes when he puts the armour on, it's who he is underneath. And that's where the power is.
It's the creative genius in his mind not the cool tech he wears.
This is the secret martial artists have known for thousands of years from the Shaolin monks to Taoist masters. That you work with the body to master the mind.
It’s the warrior lineage behind the Feeling Thinking Loop™.
You are the weapon when your mind is sharp unless you’ve let your mind become dull and stupid.
What the martial arts masters understand is that martial arts isn’t about violence - it’s got nothing to do with hitting people. In fact it’s got nothing to do with other people!! It’s about mastering yourself because that’s the route to power.
The martial arts master doesn’t need to fight because they can’t be hit. They get physical flexibility = metal flexibility so they aren’t stupid enough to get into a fight and don’t need to lower themselves to violence unless the cause is just.
Violent and angry people are inflexible and we are living in a world where there are more violent and angry people.
And I don't just mean violent and angry towards other people.
How often do you feel anger, frustration, unhappiness and even violence towards yourself when you don't get what you want?
"Normal people" are rigid it in their thinking, you can argue that they don't actually think that much, that most of what goes on in their head is what they've allowed other people to put there. What they watch on TV, what the people around them talk about.
For a marketer it's a temptation because they are setting themselves up to be manipulated. You just speak to what reinforces their existing prejudices and they'll accept you as a leader because you are showing you are one of their tribe and a leader because they don't want to take the responsibility.
In personal development it's dangerous to be the "guru" because the client is the one who needs to do the work and it doesn't matter how good you are as a coach/therapist because you can't do the work for them which is what they are trying to set you up to do. We all learn to be dependent first from our parents, then school/college/university, then at work you do what your boss tells you or you don't get to work there very long.
I always tell the coaches and therapists I mentor that they are setting themselves up for problems unless they teach their clients to be independent.
It's the same for marketers - you've got to be the trusted advisor. Tell the customer what they DON'T want to hear not what they do. Tell them the truth. And if they go somewhere else while you haven't made the sale you have built credibility which is always more valuable long term.
This is the weaponisation part - always doing the right thing for the client/customer because it gives you the advantage long term. But that almost certainly doesn't make sense in normal thinking, you have to expand the amount of time you can hold in your head, it's not just thinking a couple of moves ahead, it's thinking about winning the game and winning is ALWAYS win win.
Sun Tzu in the Art of War spoke about knowing your enemy as well as you know yourself as the path to victory.
But as I say no matter how good your quantitive research and your qualitative research if you don't know yourself you will always lose.
This is thinking for yourself - knowing what you want is how you start to hack reality to get it.
Hacking Your Story
The best hack is the one that people don't believe is possible. It's real magic when you can go from knowing you can't do something to knowing you can.
And then going beyond that to what you couldn't have dreamed or fantasised as possible for who you thought you were.
Myth is one of those secrets that is out there that is hidden in plain sight.
If you ask most people the definition of the word: "Myth" they'll most likely say it's something that doesn't exist.
Yet it's the power behind story, and how story affects you is one of the most powerful things to be aware of.
How most people talk about myth (at least those that talk about myth) is to use Joseph Cambell's Hero's Journey.
A structure that is hidden in plain sight.
Just go to the movies, it's not just George Lucas who got Joseph Campbell's input for Star Wars, Christopher Vogler has run his version of Campbell's work adapted for screenwriters for probably 30 years now.
The Hero's Journey is the story that we all live.
Joseph Campbell described Myth as the bridge between the ordinary world and that which couldn't be put into words which usually has the word "sacred" as the label.
I use it to talk about that which you can't talk about. The that that can't be put into words. But can be referenced when you are working within a mythological framework.
This is why clients often describe the work we do as sacred.
It's miraculous to me that at a time when the world is more and more uncertain and many people seem justifiably pessimistic that there is an opening and sharing of what was once esoteric and hidden. And in particular there are now western teachers or eastern teachers who have grown up in the west that speak to the western cultural viewpoint and there is less the need to try to make sense of an eastern culture where many western people just see the surface form.
Chogyam Trungpa was one of the first examples of an enlightened individual going I'm in the west so don't need the cultural baggage I brought with me and as I want to teach and share my experience how do I use the cultural baggage of my students to help them.
He understood the value of authentic sales and marketing is being authentic.
This was also Joseph Campbell's message - not to get lost in the literal interpretation because that's not true. It's just the people who want to control you, control you by limiting your thinking. You already do this to yourself so it's easy to reinforce your fears, it's easy to keep things simple, easy to not do the work of thinking.
It's easy to get lost in a surface world where life has no depth. And the story you are living really isn't that good.
But the point is that depth is already here when you look.
You make the meaning because it's you writing the story.
If you want to live a life of meaning and purpose, find fulfilment etc. You need to go looking and not just tell the story of what is happening to you. Most reality TV is mindless, but somehow compelling if you've also got nothing to do.
It's about doing the work.
It's about making your life art.
Seth Godin gets this deeply.
Art is the expression of your feelings to other people that you encode in your medium of expression.
And this doesn't have to be painting or sculpture it can be how you live your life.
There is more to you - a mythological dimension - just like the Flatland story. It's moving out of living in a black and white monochrome world to beautiful colour.
But it's not about someone telling you your life purpose in 3 easy steps or that your astrological chart shows that you were born to be or do this. It's your story, you are writing it, living it, and sharing the highlights.
Mythology is the power of how you make the highs high, epic, legendary.
It's the hack of Neo getting unplugged in the Matrix and realising it was all a dream, an artificial creation designed to keep you asleep.
You don't want to be living your dream, what would life be like if you were epic, legendary? That's probably beyond what you can dream, but worth doing the work for.
The Ultimate Problem Solving Hack
A problem is a problem because you make that distinction. Change the distinction and you change the problem into something else.
Most problems change when you start from the position of feeling good.
If the problem can't be solved by you, you change the "you" part of that equation.
This is how you make the impossible possible.
If you live a life where there are times when you feel negative, lack passion for your work and just generally don't like how your life is. It's not all the external stuff that needs to change it's the internal you that needs to change.
If you feel negative, unhappy and worried it could be because you are in the habit of letting those emotions run you.
I often ask clients what emotion they feel before they go and do the thing we are talking about them going and doing and the initial response is almost always that they aren't feeling any emotion. It's a purely intellectual decision or thinking process they claim they go through.
If they think about it for longer they often get that they are feeling some negative emotion, whether that's just a light unease or something stronger.
This is why I talk about experience being a Feeling Thinking Loop™ because feeling is always priming what we think.
If you are stuck and have problems you can't solve you change the "you" part of that equation.
Prime yourself with different feelings and you will think differently about what used to be the problem.
I call this: "Winning before you play".
It's always the best opening move to start with yourself and how you feel.
And this isn't about confidence. It's as I was saying last time. What's beyond what you dream? What would be epic or legendary? This isn't the BHAG the big hairy audacious goal, it's a story, a process not a fixed thing to accomplish.
How do you feel when you are epic, when you are legendary?
This is a different order of consideration.
It makes the problems smaller. Molehills not mountains.
And it's just something you do in your head. Or something you do when you are thinking for yourself.
Which is a question of developing the mental flexibility in just the same way going to the gym develops your physical flexibility which is why a personal trainer is so helpful.
When you shift your perspective things change.
You don't need to be Tony Robbins on stage in front of thousands of people to be epic and legendary.
I like the analogy of surfing which I've used before when I talk about how I use my concept of attitude.
Beginners are looking for the big wave they can ride, how much they can do in the time they have. The pro is out there all day in the water waiting. But that doesn't mean they are doing nothing.
George Leonard says this very well in his book Mastery. That life is lived on the plateau and only occasionally are their opportunities to level up, or catch the epic or legendary wave to use my words.
But it's by being in the water and going with the flow of what's happening, being able to keep your balance when the molehill size waves come along so when the mountain sized opportunity of a problem comes along you have the right attitude or angle of approach to ride where that takes you without going under.
Because it takes you somewhere new.
It's a new opportunity.
Finding Your Warriors Heart and Not Selling your Soul to the Devil (The Mythic Hack)
Living with a warriors heart your thinking is focussed on who you are when you perform at your best. The art of impeccable performance. But it's not just about being good or great. It's a mythic consideration.
Remember it's myth that powers your personal story.
It's why we're talking about you being epic or legendary. It's the step that is so big it's almost impossible to rationally take. It should be beyond what you think is possible for you but is something you long with your heart and soul for anyway.
Your logical mind should rationally go: "I can't do that."
But you almost go: "I want that so much I'd make a bargain with the devil and sell my soul to do that."
But this is where we need to be careful because it's not about making the compromise of selling your soul to the devil - that's the easy way out!!
Instead it's finding the courage that heroes have to go and do the impossible, to go and do anyway when your chances of survival let alone success don't look good.
This is not thinking as you normally do with your head.
It's putting your attention on your heart and what you feel is so right that that is more important than anything else.
This is a dangerous consideration because it's not about what others tell you in fact if others are telling you that's the time to stop listening to them and start listening to yourself.
It's the devils voice when it's not truly your own.
Any voice of authority is the devils voice when it's telling you what to do. BUT you need to understand if you've already been listening it's got you already so your voice has been corrupted and what you think is being influenced. Wisdom is getting you've already been hacked so how do you fix yourself and get yourself uncorrupted and free from infection.
You find your own voice by listening to your heart rather than your head. And not to other people telling you what they think you should do.
Your heart says things like:
"I don't fit in."
"I don't believe in the religion of my parents."
"I don't want to follow a path that is inauthentic."
"I want to find and follow my bliss."
It's learning to listen to the truth that your heart tells that your head doesn't want to hear.
This to state the obvious isn't an easy path.
It's a path that you have to find for yourself.
But your salvation is that the heroes of all time have found in their hearts the courage to follow this path.
It's what Joseph Cambell called the Hero's Journey.
Today even if you're not in business for yourself you need to be in the business of being yourself.
This is following the path of being an entrepreneur with heart.
It's being the difference you want to see in the world.