I’m going to speak to you
today about how you can cultivate extreme resilience and eliminate stress.
But I must tell you that that’s just a bait and switch because what I’m really
going to talk to you about is how you can become a radically different person,
think differently, have a different model of why am I here, what is it all about?
And when you become such a person, you don’t have to eliminate stress,
it kind of goes away by itself. So, that’s my hidden agenda, okay? So,
let’s get started. That’s me. And if you really want to eliminate stress
from your life, here’s what you have to do. I must tell you, this really works.
I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist the temptation to put that on. Okay.
Most people report that there is more stress in their life than ever before.
I’ve asked thousands of people on six continents, “Why is there stress in
your life?” And of course, they’ve given me dozens of answers.
And I’ve basically boiled them down into eight major factors or eight
major categories. And I’m going to share that with you right now.
But what I really would like to do first is please ask all of you to stand up.
Please stand up. So, here’s the deal. As I said, I have heard hundreds,
thousands of people tell me why they think they feel stress in their lives,
and I’ve basically boiled it down to eight categories.
And I’m going to lists those categories right now, and if you feel that one of
those categories applies to you, I’d like you to sit down, okay? Okay. So,
let’s get started. Number one is financial, “I do not have enough.
I’ve got mortgage payments to make, I’ve got kids’ tuitions,
I’ve got all kinds of things, I want to get a bigger house. And darn it,
there just isn’t enough.” So, that’s one cause for stress. Then,
there’s relationships. Typically, with partner or spouse,
but can be with siblings, can be with children, can be with,
you know, colleagues, bosses. You’d like your relationship to be a
certain way and darn it, it isn’t. Okay? Children. We all know that children
are bundles of joy, correct? They’re sent to bring happiness and
fulfillment to you in your life. But have you noticed that children do the
darnedest things and they begin early? They poop right after you’ve changed them,
they fall in love with the most inappropriate people,
they drop out of school. So, yes, children are bundles of joy.
They bring you growth and fulfillment. They also cause you stress.
Business and career. If you’re an entrepreneur,
you want your business to grow, you want revenues to be coming,
you want customers to be satisfied, you want to be promoted,
you want more responsibility, bigger paychecks. And darn it,
it just isn’t going the way you would like it to be. So. Health.
You would like to be able to run the marathon, you’d like to be able to run
the marathon in under two hours, which would be a really big deal,
but already you’re taking the elevator rather than a short flight of stairs.
And by the way, when I say health, it did not mean just about yourself,
it could be the health of people who are close to you as well.
Then there’s the big external stuff. Politics, environment, climate change,
animal welfare, crime. This is a catch-all. I have too much
to do and not enough time to do it all. And then, there is,
“I’m not where I want to be.” We have an image in our heads of where we
would like to be and we’re not there. In fact, I was even talking to someone who
had a very robust meditation practice and she was upset because with her meditation
practice, she thought that she should be calm and serene and, you know,
she just wasn’t there. In other words, she was stressed that she was stressed.
So I’ve got most of you, and those of you who are still standing,
would you come and talk to me afterwards. I’d really like to find out which of the
categories I missed. All right. So, I told you I was going to get you to
think differently and I’d like you to consider that if you mentioned any of
those factors as the reason you felt stress, you are wrong. There is one reason
and one reason only that you feel stress, and that is that you have a very rigid
idea of this is the way the universe should be and the universe is not playing
ball with you. Think about that. This is important. You have in your head a
vision of, you know, “I have to be financially secure,”
Whatever financial security means to you. “This is how much I should be getting in
terms of an income and it should be stable, it should be predictable.
This is how big a house I want and here’s how much it’s going to cost me,
and that should be coming to me.” And it just isn’t happening.
You want your relationships to be along a certain line and your partner has a
different view. So you have an idea, “This is how my life should be.”
You got a rigid idea of, “This is how the universe should treat
me,” and the universe goes its merry way and pays no attention to you.
And that is the only reason you feel stress. Let’s go further.
You probably have not thought of your life in this way, but I now encourage you to
think of your life in this way or at least examine it. Your entire life has been an
attempt to control some part of your environment,
some part of the universe. Let me repeat that. Your entire life has
been an attempt to exert control on some part of the universe.
You’re an entrepreneur, you really want to grow your business,
you want to serve a certain number of customers, you want to have certain
revenues coming in. Because if all of that happens, you think you’re going to
feel a certain way and you really want to feel that way. You go to college,
you get good grades. You go to grad school,
you get good grades. You go off, you join a company, a well-known company,
you move your way up and you want to become department head or you want to
become CEO because when that happens, you will feel a certain way. Your friends,
colleagues, society will look at you a certain way. That’s good.
That’s what I want. It is an attempt to control your environment.
Everything that you do is in some way, shape, fashion, or form,
an attempt to control your environment. Your entire life is an endless quest to
have control. This is important. So, do you get what I’m saying? Yes?
That’s what you’re doing your entire life, you’re trying to have control. Well,
I have some news for you. You do not have control. Further,
you never had control. Wait, it gets better.
You never will have control. What you have is the illusion of control.
And this is really important for you to know, so let me spend some time about
it, some time on this. The illusion of control comes about
because in your life, you have set a goal for yourself and
you’ve said, “You know, here’s my goal and if I do all of these
things, then I’m actually going to achieve my goal,” and guess what? You succeeded.
And you did this many times in your life and each time you succeeded.
And so you think, “Gee, I really can do it. I can do it.
I have control.” And not only have you done it, but you’ve observed others around
you and they seem to have done it and they got the results they wanted. So,
all of that combined to tell you, “Yes, I can do it. I have control.”
That is the illusion of control. And this, by the way, could have happened 9 times
out of 10, 99 times of 100, 999 times out of a 1,000. So you say,
“Yes, I can do it.” In reality, any of the thousands of things that could
have derailed you did not. Be grateful. Be immensely grateful. Now,
the illusion of control will break down in your life. In every one of your
lives, it’ll break down sooner or later. And if you’re firmly wedded to the
illusion of control, that’s when you go to pieces. Now,
I’m not knocking the illusion of control, it is a wonderful creation.
That’s what makes you get up in the morning and strive and do all of the
things that give meaning to your life and accomplishment. But it’s wonderful to
use the illusion of control, knowing that that is the illusion of
control. Because when it breaks down, and it will sooner or later in every one
of your lives, you don’t go to pieces, you simply say, “Oh,
this is where the illusion broke down. Where do I go from here?” Okay?
There was a wonderful novel I was reading which really brings home the myth of
control, and it’s a really good novel. So, it has a protagonist.
And there was a king who was somewhat autocratic and a queen who was even more
autocratic. And in a distant province, the natives were rebelling.
And the king got tired of this rebellion and he really wanted a peaceful kingdom.
And being a control freak, he decided the best way to control the
situation was to magnanimously accept some of the demands of the rebels. So,
he decided he was going to do that. And the way he was going to do that is he
was actually going to go to the place where the rebels were and give a speech in
which he would magnanimously concede some of their demands. And he hoped to bring
them in the fold. So, he announced that he was going to be
giving a speech there. And it so happened that the leader of the
rebels decided, “This is a golden opportunity. What I’m going to do
is I’m going to bump off the king and the queen.” And he really wanted to
control the situation and make sure that it happens so he sent, not one, not two,
not three, but six separate assassins to bump off the king. Now,
the motorcade route where the king and queen were going was published. So,
the six assassins positioned themselves along that and assassins number one and
two were somewhat slow getting off the mark, but assassin number three
threw a bomb. And the king and the queen were in an open car with the roof folded
down, and the bomb struck the folded roof, bounced into the street behind,
and blew up the car behind the king’s. That was the car that contained the
bodyguards. And that tipped off the driver of the royal limousine,
that there was something wrong. And he stepped on the gas and
assassins number four, five and six didn’t have a chance to do
anything. So, the king and queen went to the governor’s mansion,
to the town hall rather, and the queen directed the governor
because he didn’t have control of the population. And she arbitrarily
decided that they’re going to scrap the program and they were going to go right
back to the capital because obviously, it wasn’t safe. She took control of the
situation. So, the only thing that they were going to do was stop by the military
hospital to visit the wounded, these were the people who had been in the
car behind that got blown up, and then we’re going to go straight back.
But the governor was somewhat flustered at being ticked off so publicly and he
forgot to tell the driver that the route had been changed. So,
the driver proceeded along the original route and the governor said, “No, no,
we’re going to the military hospital,” so he stopped and was reversing.
And as he was reversing, assassin number five,
who happened to be in a coffee house next door came out and he saw the king and
queen in the car just a little bit ahead of him. So, he promptly took out his gun
and took pot shots at them. And I don’t know how familiar you are with
handguns, but if you’ve got a homemade handgun and you are a dozen or more feet
away from your target, and you take hasty pot shots,
odds are pretty good, you’ll miss. He hit the king in the neck and the queen
in the stomach, and both of them died within minutes. Now,
isn’t that a wonderful tale of how you don’t have control? I lied.
That was not a novel. That was history. The king was Archduke Ferdinand,
the queen was Queen Sophie, the fifth assassin was Gavrilo Princip,
and that gave us the First World War. So, given the truth that you never have
control, you never had it, how can you eliminate stress and cultivate
resilience? Well, I want to share some concepts with you. Concept number one is
mental chatter, which is the internal monolog that you have going on in your
head all the time. It begins when you get up in the morning, is with you right
through the day, is with you now when you should be listening to my chatter instead
of yours. But in the short time I’ve been speaking, how many of you have
already gone someplace else? What am I going to have for lunch?
Who do I have to call? Right? I rest my case.
Mental chatter’s always been with you. It’s like an unwelcome relative who’s
shown up in your house and you can’t throw him out. So, you live your life as best
you can despite your mental chatter. You ignore him, suppress him,
work around him. Big mistake. And the reason it’s a mistake is because
you don’t live a real life, you live an artificial life.
And this artificial life is constructed with your mental chatter. Now,
I want you to think about something, any situation which is of concern to you
right now. Let’s say you got fired or you don’t have a job and you’re looking for a
job, your mental chatter makes it an order of magnitude or two orders of magnitude
worse than it is. You lost your job, “Oh, my God, I don’t have a job.
What are people going to say? Will I ever get a job?
I want to be financially independent. I’ll have to move in with my parents.
This is absolutely terrible. I don’t want to move in with my parents.”
All of that is mental chatter and I invite you to think of it.
Whatever situation you are in, your mental chatter about that situation
makes it an order of magnitude worse. Then we have mental models.
And a mental model is a notion you have that this is the way the world works.
But this is not the way the world works, it’s your model of this is the way the
world works. And the more you believe in your model of, “This is the way the
world works,” the more evidence you seem to get that this, in fact,
is the way the world works. And very soon, you’re built a silo around yourself that’s
so thick you can’t break out of it. Your mental chatter,
the mental chatter that you entertain, and the mental models that you hold
dictate your life. You’re all living in a matrix. If any of you have seen the
movie, the originalMatrix, we’re all living in a matrix.
The only difference is, this was not constructed by an alien
civilization out to get you, you constructed it with your mental models
and your mental chatter. Now, I’m going to illustrate this with an
exercise. So, I don’t want you to just listen to me, I want you to put yourself
in a situation that I’m going to outline. You’re going towards an important
appointment, you have an important appointment and you’re going there.
You’re driving. You are stuck in a traffic jam, not a run-of-the-mill traffic
jam, but a massive traffic jam. It’s a really, really hot day and your air
conditioning has broken down. Got that? Put yourself in the situation.
Going to an important appointment, running late, stuck in a traffic jam,
really hot day, no air conditioning. And all of a sudden,
somebody cuts in front of you and almost causes an accident. What are your feelings
towards the driver of that car? Would it be fair to say that
loving kindness is not it? You know, road rage was invented in California,
but it traveled the world. Alright. So now I’m going to share some
information with you. This guy who cut you off so rudely was
given some very disquieting information. His son had been involved in a serious
accident, has to be operated on immediately, and is desperately trying
to get to the hospital, and has no knowledge of whether or not
he’ll ever see his son alive again. So, when I share that information with
you, can you physically palpably feel the rage, frustration drain out of you to
be replaced with compassion for a fellow human being? Yeah. But the point is you
don’t really know whether the guy who cut you off was an inconsiderate jerk or a
distraught father, right? So, here’s what you’re going to do.
Now that I’ve raised the possibility, you’re going to hire a private
investigator to look into the matter and report back to you. You laugh at me,
I’m giving you a perfectly practical solution. And if the private
investigator reports back to you that the guy was an inconsiderate jerk,
you’ll be really pissed off. But if the private investigator reports
back to you that the guy was a distraught father, you will feel great
compassion. But until such time as you know for sure, you’re going to remain
neutral, right? I see a number of heads shaking. I don’t believe any of you are
going to hire a private investigator to look into the matter. But if you
don’t do something like that, you’ll never know whether or not the guy
who cut you off was an inconsiderate jerk or a distraught father.
But the more important point is, it really doesn’t matter.
You have the choice of determining what is the emotional domain you occupy
In all likelihood, you did not even recognize that you had a choice and you
exercised that choice. But now that I’m pointing it out to you
explicitly, do you recognize that? You had a choice and you chose to exercise
that choice, and you never even recognized that you actually exercised the choice.
The reason you exercised the choice you did is because of the mental chatter you
entertain and the mental models you hold. That’s how important these constructs are.
I will go further. Every time you have a situation in your life that you find
unpleasant and it persists, not some of the time,
not most of the time, every time. You have a situation in your life,
you find it unpleasant and it persists, you are using one or more mental models
that are not serving you well. And when you start making changes in those
mental models, you’ll be astonished how quickly the situation will resolve itself.
Neale spent a lot of time talking about this, and I can only applaud that.
We spend too much of our emotional energy on the 2, 3, or 4 things that we think are
wrong in our lives and we entirely ignore the 30, 40, 50, 200 things which are
pretty darn good in our lives. Everybody in this room is incredibly
privileged. And when I point it out, you do recognize that.
You don’t have to bother about whether you’re going to have lunch today,
you don’t have to bother about whether you have a roof over your head or a bed to
sleep in. So, when I point that out, you say, “Yes, yes,” and you do recognize
you are incredibly privileged. The problem is you don’t feel that you
are incredibly privileged, you feel that you are put upon.
Flip this around. Consciously, and do this preferably,
you know, just before you go to bed, think about the many things in your life
that are actually pretty darn good. And I’ve got to tell you that if you’re a
Type A person who lives in your head, and I’m sure this room is full of Type A
people who live in their heads, you have a tendency to think gratitude
rather than feel gratitude. So, you can’t go, “Good health, check.
Bed to sleep in, check. Roof over your head, check.”
It doesn’t work that way. You have to feel it rather than think it.
So, if you’re a Type A person who lives in your head, then it’ll take some doing
before you get to the point where you actually feel the gratitude rather than
think the gratitude. Persist until that happens.
And when you get up in the morning, don’t go immediately to the space of,
“Oh my God, there’s too much to do and I don’t have enough time to do it all.”
Go instead back to that space of appreciation, gratitude.
And eventually, you want to get to the point where your default emotional domain
is appreciation and gratitude. Now, let me give you a little bit advanced
version of the same exercise. We begin by being grateful for the many
good things that we have in our life. But do recognize that whatever you are
grateful for can go away. You’re grateful for good health,
you get hit by a truck, and you’re a quadriplegic. Eventually,
I would like you to be in a place where you are not grateful for something,
you are just grateful, period. And that is when you find that your life
truly has been transformed. We all have a habit of viewing the world
through an other-lens. You know, a few hundred years,
Galileo got into trouble because he kind of postulated that perhaps the sun doesn’t
move around the earth, the earth moves around the sun.
Every single one of you is convinced that Galileo got it wrong.
The earth does not move around the sun, it revolves around you personally.
Think about that. I’m not really joking. You’re laughing at me.
I strongly resent that. I’m trying to make a serious point and
you’re laughing at me. Think about how no matter what happens,
you very quickly bring it down to what’s the impact on me. Your spouse gets a great
job offer and you say, “Gee, how’s this going to affect our
relationship?” Your boss leaves the company and you say, “Gee,
who’s the new person going to be and what’s my relationship going to be with
that person?” Or possibly, “Am I going to get promoted or is it that
turkey down the hall?” Think about it. Is it or is it not true that no matter
what happens, you quickly bring it down to what’s the impact on me.
That’s living in a me-centered universe and here’s what you need to know.
If that is where you spend most of your time, if that is where you
predominantly live, you are going to live a life of mediocrity,
punctuated with flashes of pleasure, but essentially meaningless.
It just comes with the territory. That is the way it is.
The only way you’re going to be able to bust out of that is if you can find a
cause which is bigger than you are, a cause which brings a greater good to a
greater community, and you have tremendous flexibility in defining both the greater
good and the greater community. But unless you can find something which is
bigger than you are, that brings a greater good to a greater
community, and in the pursuit of which you can subsume your identity,
you’re going to live a mediocre existence. We have an unfortunate habit of sticking
labels on things. Any event that happens, in our head, we immediately decide,
this is good or this is bad. It does a tremendous amount of damage to
us. Let me tell you a story. There was a man and his son and they lived
in a beautiful valley and they were dirt poor. And they were very happy,
though, but they were dirt poor. And the man got sick and tired of being
dirt poor, he decided he was going to become rich. And the way he was going
to become rich was by breeding horses. So, he bought a stallion.
Didn’t have money to buy a stallion, borrowed very heavily from the neighbors.
And the very night he got the stallion, it kicked the top bar loose for the
paddock where he housed it and ran away. And the neighbors came around
commiserating, “You thought you were going to become a rich man,
but your stallion has ran away and you still owe us money. You are screwed.”
And he shrugged his shoulder and said, “Good thing, bad thing. Who knows?”
That stallion fell in with a group of wild horses and they were close to where the
man lived and he was able to lure them into the paddock, which he had repaired,
so escape was no longer possible. So now he had the stallion back plus a
dozen wild horses, which by the standards of that village, made him a wealthy man.
And the neighbors came around saying, “We thought that you were destitute,
but fortune has smiled upon you. How fortunate you are.”
And the man just shrugged his shoulder and said, “Good thing, bad thing.
Who knows?” The man and his son decided to break the horses so they could sell
them on the market. One of the horses threw the man’s son and stomped on his
leg. It broke and healed crooked. And the neighbors came around,
“He was such a fine young lad and now he’ll never be able to find a girl to
marry him. How terrible.” And the man shrugged his shoulder and
said, “Good thing, bad thing. Who knows?” The king declared war on a neighboring
country and press gangs moved through the villages,
rounding up all the able-bodied young men but they spared this man’s son because he
had a crooked leg. And the neighbors had tears in their eyes and they came around
and said, “Oh, we don’t know if we’ll ever see our sons alive again,
but you still have your son, how fortunate you are,” and he shrugged
his shoulder and said, “Good thing, bad thing. Who knows?”
And it goes on like that forever. And there’s a lesson in that.
Can you think of anything that happened in your life that at the time it happened,
you thought, “This is terrible,” but you can now look back upon it and say,
“Gee, that was actually pretty good.” So, if something happened to you in the
past that at the time it happened you thought was terrible but you can now look
back and say it was actually pretty good, why are you in a hurry to label anything
that happens now bad? Is there any possible way in which in X
years it could turn out to be pretty good? Just pausing to consider that question
will take you to a different emotional domain. And if you then take the
next step and say, “Is there anything I can do to make that happen?”
You move into a realm of possibility and courses of action will open up to you that
you never would have considered before. We, from a very young age,
have been taught to set goals. And parents, teachers, coaches,
all told us, ‘Set a goal for yourself and then come up with a plan of action to
achieve your goal.” All of the companies I work with have goals. In fact,
most of the companies I work with no longer have goals, they have stretch
goals. So we tend to live our lives in the following fashion, “I set a goal for
myself, I succeeded. Life’s a blast. I set a goal for myself, I failed.
Life sucks.” We live in a sinusoidal curve, oscillating between
elation and despair, and we spend altogether too much part-time
at the despair and off the spectrum. It’s a terrible way to live.
There is an alternative and the alternative is the following.
Forget about the goal. Goals are important,
but they’re only important because they set direction. Once the direction has been
set, forget about the goals. Don’t even think about them. Instead,
pour all of your emotional energy into, “What do I have to accomplish?
What do I have to do in order to achieve my goal?” And pour your emotional energy
into that. When you do that, two things happen. You actually start
enjoying the journey. The journey is the only thing we have.
The destination is a mirage. You get there and then you’re off
someplace else. People want to climb Mount Everest. How much time do you spend
on top of Mount Everest? A few minutes to a half hour at most.
You climb up there, your buddy takes a picture of you, your buddy gets up there,
you take a picture of him, and then you’re on way down,
and you hope you don’t get killed in an avalanche. So,
if you’re going to climb Mount Everest, you better enjoy the weeks and months of
acclimatization on base camp one, base camp two, and onwards. The journey
is the only thing you have. And when you invest in the process,
not the outcome, you enjoy the journey. And paradoxically, the more you are
detached from the outcome, the higher the probability that you will
actually reach the goal you wanted. And if you reach the goal, wonderful.
If you do not reach the goal, wonderful. The mistake that all of us make,
that all of us buy into, is that the benefit of this approach is,
“Then, we will reach our goal.” The reason we try very hard is so that we
can reach our goals. And if we don’t succeed, you know,
it’s this screwed up. It’s terrible. Falls. Remember what I said earlier,
you do not have control over the outcome. You never had control.
You never will have control. The benefit of this approach is the
advantage for you, the benefit you get is the growth that happens when you try your
best to achieve the goal that you set for yourself. Whether or not you reach it
really doesn’t matter, you have already benefited from the growth
that occurs in you as you go. That is what we miss out.
It’s not about achieving the goal, it’s about how you develop as a person and
grow as you try your level best. And you do that by investing in the
process, not the outcome. Julius Caesar. The conspirators killed Caesar because
they thought they would be able to rule Rome. But remember what I said
about control? They did not figure on two things happening. They did not figure on
Mark Antony giving his famous “Friends, Romans, countrymen’s speech,
“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. For Brutus said he was ambitious,
and Brutus is an honorable man.” And that got the population all riled up
against the conspirators. And then Octavian Caesar rounded up a
legion to come after them. And far from ruling Rome,
they had to flee. And Brutus regretted his role in the assassination because when
Caesar said, “‘Et tu, Brute?” It really struck home to him.
And Cassius comes up to beat Brutus before the battle of Philippi and he asks
him for help, and Brutus declines because he wants no part of it anymore.
And then Brutus says to Cassius, “And whether we shall meet again,
I know not. Therefore, our everlasting farewell take.
For ever and for ever, farewell Cassius. If we should meet again, why,
we shall smile. If not, why then, this parting was well made.”
Think about that as a blueprint for your life. All of you are here
assembled in San Diego. You have left spouses, children,
relatives, friends, business colleagues behind. Is there any guarantee
that you will see any of them again? What happens if, at the time of parting,
you have this thought in your mind that this could, in fact, be,
“Whether we shall meet again, I know not.” What happens to all of the petty rages,
resentments that you hold? They all drop away, don’t they?
It is extraordinarily difficult to live with that intensity all the time,
but it is possible to live with it some of the time. And when you do that,
you’ll find that this has a transformative effect upon your relationships and your
life. When you look upon your partner, when you look upon your child and you
sincerely wish him well and you recognize the possibility, at every parting,
that you might not see them again, there is a different dimension to the
relationship. Try that as the blueprint for life. Einstein said the most important
decision you’ll ever make is, is the universe friendly?
Most of us believe that the universe is indifferent to us. It doesn’t know we
exist and couldn’t care less. Some of the time, it seems to be working
for us. Some of the times, it seems to be working against us.
Some of the times, it’s actively working against us. So, if we are driving and
we’re late for an appointment, it will arrange for a traffic jam and for
our air conditioning to break down. But what if that wasn’t true?
What if the universe was actually benevolent? What if it not only
knew you existed but was well disposed towards you? Now,
friends don’t shaft friends, do they? No. So, if it was a benevolent universe,
it actively gives you exactly what you need for your growth.
It may not be what you want, but it is exactly what you need.
Just as if you’re a small child, what you want is a tub of ice cream and
what do your parents give you are fruits and vegetables. You don’t want fruits and
vegetables, you want ice cream. And it’s only when you have a much greater
maturity and understanding that you can say, “Thank God I got fruits and
vegetables and not ice cream.” What if the universe was like that?
It gives you stuff. It’s not what you wanted.
You want to get promoted, you get a pink slip.
But maybe what if this was exactly what you needed at this stage?
Regardless of whether or not the universe is benevolent, if you believed the
universe was benevolent, your life would improve dramatically. Now,
just because you recognize that a model is intellectually superior doesn’t
necessarily mean that you can adopt it. But you can work towards it.
And one of the quickest ways to find out if the universe is benevolent or not
is, look for evidence that it is. And the more you look,
the more you will find. And eventually, you will come to the point where you will
tip over, and you will believe the universe is benevolent.
And when you do that, you’ll be living in a completely different
emotional domain. This is a wonderful tale. There are many versions of
that. I like the one I’m about to share with you. It comes from the
Native American tradition. So, there was a young man who was growing
up to take his place among the adults of the tribe. And the final rite of
passage was a conversation with the medicine man. And the medicine man told
him, “Here is this dog, loving, trustworthy, kind, intelligent.
And here is this wolf, malevolent, vicious, cruel, ready to strike at
anything. And the dog and the wolf are fighting. And the dog and the wolf are
both inside you.” And the brave asks, “Which one will win?”
And the medicine man says, “Whichever one you feed.” Now,
think about that. This has a powerful lesson for us. Inside each one of us is an
altruistic, ” Let me help my fellow man and do what I can to make the world a
better place,” and inside each one of us are, “Let me grab everything I can
for myself,” and the devil take the hindmost impulses, and the two are always
at war with each other. It is your job to selectively identify and
feed the dog in you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re
only going to feed the dog, that ain’t going to happen.
The best you can hope for is that you will feed the dog a little bit more than you
feed the wolf. But when you do that and the dog becomes stronger,
it’s also your job to selectively identify and feed the dog in everybody you run
into. And when the dog in you becomes friends with the dog in the other person,
magic happens in your life and in the world. We are, all of us,
going on a journey. There is this one journey which is a very long one,
which is Viva Barn, and we are going to die. And we were born alone and we will
die alone. And that’s a massive journey. And every single one of us is at some
stage on that journey. You watchDesperate Housewivesand you
go on a journey where 40-something matrons are having affairs with 19-something
gardeners while the husbands are fooling around with fashion models. Ask yourself,
“Is this a journey that I want to take? Is this a place where I want to spend
time?” Do that many times in your life. Is this a journey that I want to take?
Is this a place where I want to spend time? And if you sincerely ask
yourself that question, you’ll find change happens in your life.
The books you read, the movies you watch, the topics of conversation you bring up,
your reaction to things your friend says, the friends that you hang around with and
the things that you do in your leisure time. All of those will change
organically. All you have to ask yourself is sincerely and mindfully,
“Is this a journey I want to take? Is this a place where I want to spend
time?” And with that, I’m done with my part of it.
But I have left some time for questions. Thank you. I think it’s a very practical
application that can be shared. And since you are in high esteem academia,
do you have any thoughts on bringing this to the teenagers? I know you’re in
college, but I think that this would help them and their parents
to let go of the control. The short answer is yes,
this is very applicable. And in fact, the younger the person is,
the more they actually grasp this. It’s funny you asked that because I just
came back from speaking at a Vistage group in Columbus. And in the audience were the
head of a school and a member of the board, and the reason they came is
they really wanted to bring this into their curriculum.
And the short answer is yes, it can be done. Has to be done in a little
more subtle fashion. But I think one of the things that will
benefit us very, very, very greatly is if we could have our
children understand that they are not their thoughts. Yes. That thoughts come and they go,
and you can observe them and not be thoughts. And can you imagine what our
society would be like if someone was on a homicidal rage, and instead of reaching
for an AR-15, he could pause for a moment and say, “Gee, my mental chatter is
running amok?” Yes. Yes. I’d love to see that happen. I want to see that and I want to be a
part of that. Thank you. Thank you. Hi. Thank you so much for your
presentation. When you were talking about gratitude and you were talking about
thinking about gratitude or feeling the gratitude, can you expand a little
more on when you know that you moved from thinking of gratitude to feel
gratitude? Because I’m in that journey and I think that I’m not there yet. I know. It really is a problem with
Type A individuals and there are no more Type A individuals than you find in top
business schools, let me tell you. Here’s what you have… What’s your name? Joanna. Okay, Joanna. Here’s what you do.
Imagine sometime when you genuinely really did feel grateful, you know,
either a relative or friend or someone did something for you just so unexpected, you
felt, “Gee, this is fantastic.” Recreate that in your mind like a short
mental movie. When you do that, you will once again experience a remnant
of the real gratitude that you felt. When you think gratitude. “Yeah, yeah,
yeah. No, I know. I’ve got a bit of food to eat, I’ve got a roof over my head,
I’ve got a bed to sleep in,” there’s no feeling in it. It’s just a thought.
And you will know that because immediately afterwards,
you drift off somewhere to all of the terrible things that are happening in your
life. Don’t go down that road. When you persist on…initially,
it will be just the thought. You think about, “Yeah,
I have a bed over my head,” but what happens is start using your body.
Start using all your senses. “I have a bed.” How does it feel?
Feel yourself lying on the bed. Feel the texture of the sheet.
The more you focus on that, the more you bring all of your senses into
play, the more you will move from thinking into feeling. It takes some time,
so you have to work diligently at it. But if you are looking out for,
“Am I simply thinking this or am I feeling it?” Gradually,
you’ll find the feeling will evolve. But it may take some time so don’t beat
yourself up for it not happening immediately. Thank you.
Okay? Thank you.
Yeah, over there. Hi. Thank you very much for
being here and your wisdom. I have an issue with the goals thing.
I’m not a very goal-oriented person. In fact, when somebody says goals,
I get afraid and freaked out and, you know, and distracted by all of that.
And so, I just wanted to know, how do you really, because otherwise,
it sounds like we’re all just going to be noodles, you know? Just going to be? Noodles, you know. We’re just noodles.
We’re just here and we’re having a good time and, you know, “Oh,
life’s beautiful,” and blah, blah, blah, and we don’t have any desires. And,
you know, it’s just…but I mean, we’re so striven with driven, you know.
We’re just so striven with driven and I just don’t…I feel so distracted by goals
and yet I don’t have any. My goal was to come here. That was good.
You know? You know, I have goals to sing, I have goals to do this and goals to do
that, but when it comes to really actually making those things happen,
something happens along the way and they don’t really actually happen. I mean,
rarely do they happen. So, how do we really actually make a goal,
not be so invested in it, but yet accomplish the goals that we see
ourselves being in our lives, or having? You’ve asked several questions in one,
actually, and they are quite profound. So, let me give you a quick answer to
that. And that is the following. Examine your mental chatter.
You’ll find that there are certain things that say, “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if
this happened?” Pick any of those that is persistent and recurs and say,
“Wouldn’t it be nice if it happens?” Then make that a goal. Now, once again,
you said, “How can we be sure we’ll achieve the goal?” You can’t be sure
you’ll achieve the goal. And to be honest, it really doesn’t matter whether
you achieve it or not. What matters is that you try your level best and you
really try your level best. Because the benefit of this process is not whether you
reach the goal or not, but the change and the growth that happen in you as you make
that attempt. And recognizing this is what will prevent you from saying, “Hey,
why have a goal at all? I’m simply going to sit down and drink a
lot of beer and watch television.” Because you’ll find eventually that falls
on you. So, you are driven, recognize the drive, harness it,
and understand that the benefit is not… is going in the direction that your
drive is taking you, doing the very best you can,
but give up attachment to the outcome. Okay? We are done. So,
thank you very much.