Are you going in the wrong direction(s)?

“Speed is irrelevant if you are going in the wrong direction.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Before you decide on which steps to take, you need to be clear about your direction

The biggest problem that most of us have (that we don't know we have) is that we're hurrying and trying to be more effective along the wrong direction.

And, it's understandable. Our families, our culture, our religions, our philosophers, and our institutions have largely tried to model, instruct us in, and encourage us along these directions.

Not just one wrong direction, but three wrong directions

Perhaps a better word than "direction" is "priority." We have been instructed in and encouraged to follow three priorities that, in many respects, are the reverse of what would work best for ourselves and for others.

Three wrong priorities, each of which can affect the others.

Fighting with our fear: the first wrong priority

From as early as three to four years old, each of us start to absorb the message that fear is the bad guy, something to be resisted or, at minimum, to not let others see that we're frightened. We learn to resist our fear. Soon, this resistance becomes automatized. As such, what we call fear is never simply fear. It is resisted fear (which I also call dufear or dammed-up fear). And, more than that, some fear goes completely underground and then expresses itself in ways we would never recognize as fear. For example, guilt. See undoing guilt to understand this.

About face: to prioritize unresisting and making friends with fear, thereby making courage easy

Unresisted fear will give you energy and even confidence. Choosing courage will become easy. The issues of worry, feeling pressured, feeling overwhelmed, indecisiveness, impatience, self-consciousness, low self-esteem, difficulties saying "no" or making requests, setting and maintaining good boundaries with others, guilt, and many others will either be minimized or, more likely disappear. See undoing fear for the fundamentals of understanding this. Then declare an about-face on this life direction and priority, and step by step (see kickstarting a mental habit) consistently move in this new direction.

Putting results and the future first at the expense of now: the second wrong priority

Again, as young kids (and it continues for a lifetime) we're all encouraged to delay gratification, to think about tomorrow, to tolerate whatever we have to do now in order to get the future we want and to avoid the future we don't want. 

  • "You need to brush your teeth before story time."

  • "You can't have the candy before you eat the broccoli."

  • "Don't be lazy."

  • "You need to do your homework before you go out and play."

  • "If you go to that party, you'll be grounded for a month."

And then you begin to say all these (type of things) to yourself. For a lifetime. Whether or not you obey these edicts is another question.

About face: to prioritize Now and Next both being happy, with enjoying-the-process first ahead of any particular result

With this new life priority, life becomes easy, all sorts of chronic issues dissipate and more often disappear. Procrastination is gone. Persistence happens automatically. Patience is easy. You become your own best friend and fan. You even get more done. Planning and following your plan is a piece of cake. You greet each day with excitement.

Now-Next integrity is a first priority. Declare this new life direction and priority now! The NNI toolkit is all about that and how to do that.

Putting taking care of others over taking care of yourself: the third wrong priority

"Don't be selfish."

"Share your toys with Johnny."

"Be a good girl and put the dishes away for me."

"We should all be kind and generous."

"Don't be a scrooge."

"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven."

"Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country."

"Family, duty, loyalty...these are the cornerstones of a good life."

And then you begin to judge yourself according to this priority of putting others ahead of yourself and "being a good person." For a lifetime. Whether or not you obey these edicts is another question.

About face: to prioritize Oneself and Others both being happy, creating mutually selfish relationships, never sacrificing yourself for another (if push comes to shove)

With this new life priority, life becomes easy, all recurring relationship issues dissipate or often disappear. Defensiveness disappears. Saying "no" and making requests becomes easy. You never feel taken advantage of or "used." You're able to give to others without expectation and thinking they owe you something. Living a life true to yourself, rather than what others expect of you, becomes easy and natural. Everyone is your benefactor in one way or another (and you for them). Feeling good will and love with others becomes second nature.

 

Oneself-Others integrity a first priority. Declare this new life direction and priority now! The OOI toolkit is all about that and how to do that.

Declaring your three new life directions and priorities

#1 Declaration: making friends with your fear and choosing courage consistently

Declare this out loud to yourself, to at least one other person, and to the world (repeat it as often as necessary to bring yourself back to the new you):

"I, (your name), am prioritizing making friends with my fear and choosing courage consistently over allowing myself to be dominated by worry, pressure, stress, guilt, and what I think others expect of me (or other forms of resisted fear)!"

Tools to use to support the expression of this new life priority: kickstarting a mental habit, CCC toolkit, undoing fear, undoing worry, undoing pressure, undoing expectations, undoing perfectionism, undoing stress, undoing seriousness, undoing guilt.

#2 Declaration: Now-Next integrity

Declare this out loud to yourself, to at least one other person, and to the world (repeat it as often as necessary to bring yourself back to the new you):

"I, (your name), am prioritizing Now-Next integrity over allowing my Next to dominate my Now (where my Now is unhappy) or my Now to rebel against my Next (where my Next is unhappy)."

Also, make the important implementation declaration:

"I, (your name), am prioritizing designing and enjoying the process and journey of my life over any particular result or set of results, which are just a means to enjoying that process.

Tools to use to support the expression of this new life priority: kickstarting a mental habit, NNI toolkit, buffers, under promising, doer and the planner, five-minute trial, persistence, small celebrations, step by step, turnabouts, undoing lazy, undoing procrastination. Also, lifestyle first, results second is an important link.

#3 Declaration: Oneself-Others integrity

Declare this out loud to yourself, to at least one other person, and to the world (repeat it as often as necessary to bring yourself back to the new you):

"I, (your name), am prioritizing Oneself-Others integrity over allowing my Others to dominate my Oneself (where I'm sacrificing myself for the benefit of another) or my Oneself to dominate my Others (where I'm expecting another to sacrifice themselves for me)."

Tools to use to support the expression of this new life priority: kickstarting a mental habit, OOI toolkit, 100% responsible, your #1 job, are you messing in another's business?, listening, lost in maybe-maybe land, undoing expectations, Partnership Conversations, undoing defensiveness, undoing guilt, under promising, saying "no," undoing shoulds.​

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