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How to Navigate Life’s Course; THE CURVE

sailing boatWhen you stand on the shore of a vast ocean … looking out at towards the horizon, you see the edge of your world. How courageous is it to sail towards that edge?

It was only a few hundred years ago, everyone thought the world is flat. Sailors had to summon masses of courage to sail beyond the horizon. They hadn’t yet discovered that the ocean, like the planet itself, is curved. So, although it is only about 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) away, the curve of the earth means you must move towards it to see what is beyond. We first journey to what we see, then, from that new location we can see more and can journey further.

Life can be likened to sailing an ocean, whether to a paradisaic island, a land of adventure or a new frontier. Each new horizon, is a new chapter in your book, or scene in your play. But you must travel to the horizon ahead of you before you can set sights on the next one and go even further.

More than courage is required for a journey though. Great sailors understand they need knowledge not only of their vessel but of the external forces affecting the vessel; the tides, the ebb and flow of the ocean, undercurrent, wind and temperature changes, are all elements the Sailor responds to navigating across the vast ocean. Great sailors do not ignore what’s beneath and around their vessel, nor struggle against the elements. Rather, they leverage off the elements.

And in Life’s journey, just like the ocean that lies beneath, always supporting our vessel, it’s the stories we tell ourselves which inform how we journey, and whether we re-act or respond like a competent sailor.

Imagine though how much in the journey would be missed if one never dived into the waters or explored the riches beneath – never looked up and re-orientate by viewing the star and pausing, in wonder, to appreciate their magnificence.

When the sailor is clear minded, he has the capacity to utilise the stars to calibrate his position and set his course. The stars, like the essential, consistent SELF, help set the course – the direction that is right for you.

How does a sailor come by these skills and knowledge? Does our society or schooling provide this? Would you agree that our training is to set goals and head straight for them? But in ‘life’, just as on the ocean, are we not confronted with external elements that could take us off course?

In life, we too need knowledge of our vessel, skill and understanding of what lies beneath and a connection with what’s above to allow us to safely and accurately navigate to our chosen destination, and that’s why we have createdThe Power of Story Transformation Program which explores all these elements of your life’s journey.

We hope you’ll join us so you too can become the captain of your life’s ship and enjoy the journey even more fully. If you wish , just email us for more information 😉

Using Brain Power To Break Habits: Top Three Tips

neurons

A funny thing happened the other day.   It illustrated to me how are our patterns or habits are really powerful.

Here is what happened … the coffee jar was empty and I went to the pantry to look for another pack, but none was there.  My husband being a very efficient and competent keeper of the house never lets anything run out.  ‘Strange’, I thought, ‘before I go buy more coffee I better just double check’.   He was away, so I text him to ask if there was any coffee.

Before I tell you his answer let me give you some back ground. For 18 months we have been renovating our kitchen/dining room area and installed a new pantry.  With our own hands we took the wall out and built the new cupboards.  In January I painted the new room together with my father.  I sit every day in our new bright open space admiring our new shiny white cupboards and the lovely open space we have created. Not something that is easy to forget you might think.

My husband’s reply was, ‘there are 3 packs on the top rack’.  ‘Top rack, I thought, ‘doesn’t he mean shelf’. I had gone to the old pantry that was in the laundry and totally forgotten about the new cupboards we have even though I look at them every day.

This reminded me of how strongly the neural pathways in our brain become when we do things repeatedly.  And why it is difficult to break old habits even though the old habit no longer makes any sense.  This is because there is no emotion in a habit, there is no thought and it happens in a specific context.

So, if our old patterns are wired so strongly into our neurology how do we support ourselves in stopping old habits?

We can use these same 3 features to support our change i.e. prepare something that will reactive our thinking in the specific context without triggering emotion.

How? One way is to do something that will block us from getting to the end point or to stop us achieving result of the old behaviour.  That is what happened on this occasion.  When I got to the cupboard, the coffee wasn’t there.  I couldn’t achieve my result.  This made me switch over into conscious processing and THINK.

Another thing we can do is set up a reminder.  I could have stuck a note on the old cupboard saying, ‘remember to look in the new pantry’.

Here is an example of combining these.  I used to, every morning, go to the kitchen and press the button on the coffee machine.  I decided that I wanted to drink water in the morning before I had a coffee.  So I moved the coffee machine away from where it was normally.  That way when I went to press the button it simply wasn’t there.  I had to think.  In addition, I put a jug of water in its place.  This reminded me of what I had decided consciously.

How do you think you can use this information to break habits that no longer serve you?

The Most Powerful Force In The Universe: Your Presuppositions

achievement man smallIn answering the question…

‘What are presuppositions and why pay attention?’,

I offer this except from my book.

Many people ask me how it is that I have created such huge change in my life. 

As I reflect on that, I recognise that there were beliefs I held, some assumptions I made, that were very powerful. We all make assumptions that we belief to be true, even though we haven’t really explored or haven’t we really gather evidence for them.  This is not all bad. We have to make some assumptions otherwise we wouldn’t be able to function – we wouldn’t be able to take any action. 

However, many things that we suppose aren’t in our conscious awareness – they are ‘presupposed’. For example, when I turn on the tap, I don’t suppose water will come out, I don’t even think about it, – it’s pre-supposed in my experience – it has to be what I believe for me to take the action of turning on the tap, right? It only comes into my awareness that I presupposed that if water doesn’t come as I expected.

This is how I use the word ‘presuppose’, an assumption or a belief that is so permeating that it does not even come into consciousness. This is the ‘pre’ part of ‘presuppositions’, it is ‘pre’ or before our consciousness, it is supposed to be true without thought. We just assume something is true.

As I’ve suggested, it is really important that we make some assumptions, because we can’t allow everything to come into consciousness.  Imagine if we stopped to think about everything before we did anything!

Right now, as I sit here typing this for you, I make the assumption that the chair is solid enough to hold me. You know, sometimes chairs are faulty and that they don’t hold you, but most of the time they do, so we just sit down and we have presupposed that it will support us. We open a door and walk into a room and we just presuppose that there are foundations and that they will hold the floor. These are just simple little things that I use to illustrate that there are many, many, many assumptions that we make, all day long every day.

Many of the assumptions that we make allow us to function and they are useful. Some of them though actually create problems for us. Never the less, what we presuppose to be true is very powerful because it informs the way we act and the choices that we make.  I’d like to illustrate this with some stories from my life, if that would be ok.

As I think back on my life, I know that there was a belief that I held, an assumption that I had that was not very useful. You see, I was very, very, very shy, extraordinarily shy.  So shy that I never spoke at all outside the home. Until I was about 14 or 15 years old I still really spoke to people, unless I had developed a close friendship with someone then I’d speak a little.

Why, you may ask. I had presupposed something that was not useful. I believed someone spoke only when they had a new truth to share – something new that was not yet known on this planet. I could not comprehend that people spoke things that was already known. So I waited to discover something, like the “law of gravity” or “e = mc2”, before I’d speak.  Naturally, I never spoke.

That was not a very useful thing to believe because that made me socially dysfunctional.  I’m sure you know, speaking is just as a way of connecting with other human beings, even though we are not really saying anything profoundly new.

So, here I was this 10 year old, waiting to discover a new scientific fact before I thought I had anything useful to say.   A key thing here is that I didn’t know consciously I believed this.  I wasn’t aware I thought this. I had never consciously thought this. I just presupposed it to be so.

But something happened to change this.  One day in High School, when I was in year 9, I was invite to wag school, to a house where the parents had gone away and a whole heap of kids were going to hang-out. I was curious about normal kids and what they did, I suppose, because I wasn’t normal. Growing up in a cult, I was not allowed to socialise. I was allowed to go to school right at the start of the class, but I wasn’t allowed to do sport or do any of the social interacting, I was only allowed to go for the academic curricular things. So I was curious about how normal kids did being normal and how they did social interacting.

I sat in the corner. There was all this kind of social chit-chat going on. There was animation, energy and people were having a good time being happy. I was just sitting there in the corner, all by myself, not speaking to anyone. Sitting in the corner of the back wall, watching all of this social interaction going on, I asked myself a question, “How are they doing that? How are they finding so much to say”?

In asking that question I had to presuppose something… if they are able to do it, then I am able to do it. do you get that? In me asking, “how are they doing that?”. I held a belief about myself that I had an ability to learn. I knew that I could learn really well, and I actually learned more quickly than other people.  These are the kids that are not excelling very well at school, because they wagged or for some other reason. They were the kids that were not that bright. I was thinking, ‘if they are not that bright and I am ok at learning and they are not so good at learning, and they can do this social interacting, then it must be possible for me. It is a matter of working out how’.

Because I presupposed this, I started to pay attention for the very first time to what it was they did and how they did it.

I realised that they weren’t saying profound truths.  As I listened more and watched them, I realised that something just pops into their head and they just let it come out their mouth.  Whatever is in their head they just spoke it. I learned that we make a social connection through talking, and I thought, ‘I can do that’ and I do now.

Now, I don’t suggest that I just talk meaningless rubbish, and only do chit-chat. But, I can, and I understand the value of it. We use speech to engage in a social dance, like when we ask, ‘How are you?’, we’re not asking for a medical report. We’re saying, ‘I care about you and I would like you to know I am interested in you’.

I am illustrating three things with this story; 1. I never spoke until I was about 15 years old because of an un-useful presupposition i.e. that speech is only for sharing new profound truths 2., when I presupposed that I had a capacity to learn I found I did, and 3., when I presuppose that anything done is doable, I listened in a different way, and discovered how.

I presupposed another un-useful thing, (which escaped my notice until THIS VERY MOMENT), ‘I’m not normal’. This isn’t true and it wasn’t a helpful story I was telling myself.

Fact is, or a more useful story is, ‘I’m as normal as anyone I’ve met.  I just had an unusual context to learn and grown in’.

You’ll have stories of your own, as you think about it now.

So, if what we presuppose is so powerful, what will happen when we presuppose things that support what we really want; in life, in work and in love?