Read just about any survey where the respondents said something was important to them versus whether they do it. Everyone has an opinion as to what is important. Question is: is it important enough to do it? Take any Family Feud type question for example. One hundred American men surveyed said this is the most important thing to them. The top six answers are on the board. There seems to be this pat answer in the politically correct order. Can’t you see the top answers as the bell dings when the board flips? GOD! The contestant yells. “Good answer, good answer,” his family claps and cheers. Ding! God/church/religion. Number one. We’ll play Steve, and the game goes on. Spouse. Good answer. Ding! Family/children. Ding! Country. Job. Ding! Ding! Entertainment/ pleasure. Ding!
What if we stopped the game right here? Contestants, where do you spend most of your time, energy, and money? If I were a betting man, I would say you could probably flip the list upside down. There’s a saying that goes like this: “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.” If there is a disparity between what we say and what we do, it begs the question: why? Any problem can be boiled down to the cause by asking “why” at least five times. Usually, it doesn’t take all five “whys.” So let’s take the number one New Years’ resolution: to lose weight. Followed by exercising more so we will take both together. People will join gyms like crazy in January, and then the attendance drops off shortly around February.
The Five “Whys”
Number one: Why do people make these resolutions? Normally, it is because they have guilt or remorse. Some want to do better.
Number two: Why does the attendance drop off in February? People quit their resolutions.
Number three: Why do people quit their resolutions? Too hard, peer pressure, it hurts, I can’t look like that, no really cares, lack of discipline, really not that important. They have tried it in the past and didn’t make it. Certainly not going to make it now, etc.
Number four: Why do people think these things? Because that is the script that is going on inside their head.
Number five: Why do they have this script? The reasons will be as varied as the people themselves. I believe it comes down to this: they have lied to themselves over and over, year after year. They don’t believe the resolutions and therefore do not do what they say to themselves. And you’re saying “Huh?”
The Ant and the Elephant
Vince Poscente has a short, but powerful little book called The Ant and the Elephant. I highly recommend it. In short, the ant is your conscious mind. The elephant is your subconscious mind. The ant tells the elephant that we are going to lose weight and exercise. The elephant laughs at the thought because it has heard it so many times before and knows the ant is lying. Again. So the elephant lumbers on as it did before according to the script as written. We believe something is the truth because we have heard it over and over again. We have ingrained it in our script. We have to change the script to change what we believe which in turn changes what we do. Don’t miss this.
Hit the Target
Case in point, in an earlier article this year I laid out several lofty goals. I will hit these goals. You how I know? I have hit them before and will do it again. My elephant knows I can, so I will. I am no more special than you or anyone else. How did I do it before? I changed my script. I chose to. Was it easy? Heck no! Was it worth it? Absolutely and you can do it too. Here is how I did it and will continue to do it.
- Lead. First off, know that you can lead your elephant. You can school the mind, soul, and body. You can change your script. It starts with the “want to.”
- Feed. Change what you feed your elephant. Your elephant feeds on what you give it. What is the daily diet of your elephant? Is it healthy or hurtful? It is fed through what and who you watch, listen to, and read. If your daily elephant diet is soap operas what do you think your life will be like?
- Speed. Too many resolutions fail because people want instant success. Know that it takes time to change the script. Know that it takes some work as well. Start small and keep track.
- Read. Be selective. You should read more than you watch or listen. Listening is important, but a different part of the brain is engaged when you read. Again start small. Start with “The Ant and the Elephant.”
- Weed. You are what you think, and you are only as successful as you think. Pluck the negative thoughts as if they are weeds. Replace them with positive thoughts. Keep doing this. A perfect example was given to me by a friend about my garden. He said when you till the garden you bring inactive weed seeds to the surface, and they sprout. Kill those weeds and then till the soil again. Then kill the new weeds. It may take many times of this process to kill the weeds, but they will always come back, but not as strong.
You can do this. It helps if you have someone to partner with you and challenge you. If you are one of the fortunate ones that can find a mentor you will be miles ahead. You also can sign up for several self-directed education courses. I would be glad to recommend books and audios for you. You can see the books I have read and are reading at Goodreads.com. I also have several blogs where I recommend books. As always I welcome your comments and questions. You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.