Photo courtesy of quicheisinsane
Happy new year! As I write this, I’m in Mexico, about to start ten days of rest, relaxation and recuperation. This article is the second to last thing on my “to do” list, then I’m going to unplug. In this series of 3 articles I’m going to offer some tips that can help you experience more clarity, enjoyment and results in 2013 and beyond. Specifically, you’re going to discover how to get maximum leverage for any goals, dreams and resolutions you may have (whether you have any, or even if you choose to travel “goal-free”!)
Leverage Point #1 – Clarity of Understanding
Your understanding of how life works is your biggest leverage point for any endeavour. Just as your understanding of automobiles determines your ability to repair a car, and your understanding of diet and nutrition determines your ability to make healthy food choices, your understanding of how life works (and how the mind works) determines your ability to have a fulfilling experience and create the results that matter to you.
And just as a small increase in understanding about engines or nutrition can have a huge impact on your ability to make good decisions in those domains, a small increase in your understanding of how your mind and your life work can have a huge impact on your quality of life. It turns out that this is extremely relevant when it comes to creating what matters to you. I’d like to share a distinction from my forthcoming book, Clarity (being released by John Wiley & Sons Ltd in March, 2013):
DISTINCTION: Outside-in VS Inside-out
Our experience of life is created from the inside-out, but it often looks as though it’s created from the outside-in. This is because our experience of life is less like looking through the viewfinder of a camera, and more like wearing a pair of virtual reality goggles. Data streams in through our senses, and we generate an experience from the inside-out:
Inside-out: We’re always living in the feeling of our thinking. 100% of our felt experience is always coming from THOUGHT in the moment, from the inside-out. None of our experience is coming from anywhere other than THOUGHT.
Outside-in: Due to a trick of the mind, it often appears as though we’re feeling something other than our moment to moment thinking; like our experience is being created from the outside-in. This illusion can be very compelling, but it never works that way (that’s why it’s called an illusion).
History is full of these illusions and false appearances:
Flat Earth VS Spherical earth: People used to think the earth was flat, because that’s how it looked to them. But it was never flat; it was always spherical, with some bulging (officially its shape is described as an “oblate spheroid”). It’s spherical 100% of the time, even when it looks like it isn’t.
Geo-centric VS Solar-centric: People used to think that the Sun went round the Earth, because that’s how it looked to them. But the sun never went round the Earth; the Earth always went round the sun. The Earth goes round the sun 100% of the time, even when it looks like it doesn’t.
Our experience is always being generated from the inside-out, 100% of the time, even when it looks like it isn’t.
I refer to the outside-in misunderstanding as "superstitious thinking". The anthropologist Gregory Bateson famously pointed out that our biggest problems come from the difference between how nature works and the way people think. The outside-in illusion can be a troubling place to live. Some people live there a lot of the time; others only visit occasionally, but we all fall into the trap of thinking we live in an outside-in world from time to time.
When we think our feelings come from something other than our thinking in the moment, it massively complicates the domain of goals and resolutions. Let’s take a few common examples from the numerous “New Years Resolutions” articles out there: stop smoking, enjoy life more, find a soul-mate.
Resolution Example: Stop smoking, drink less etc
Smoking, drinking and other habitual behaviours are common ways people “take care of” their feelings of insecurity. Let’s use the example of someone who says “I smoke because it de-stresses me.” Their smoking habit is grounded in a couple of examples of the outside-in misunderstanding:
Misunderstanding Number #1: It looks as though their feelings of stress are coming from something other than their thinking in the moment (eg. Their job, their partner, their finances etc) but it doesn’t work that way. In reality, 100% of their feelings of stress are coming from their thinking in the moment.
Misunderstanding Number #2: It looks as though their feelings of relief and relaxation are coming from the cigarette, but it doesn’t work that way either. In reality, 100% of their feelings of relief and relaxation are coming from their thinking in the moment.
The CLARITY® model refers to the natural capacity for experience – thinking, feeling and perceiving – that all human beings are born with. This innate capacity generates 100% of our experience of life, moment-to-moment. As a person increases their understanding of CLARITY, they experience greater choice about what they do and don’t do. Unhealthy habits often fall away as your clarity of understanding increases and your misunderstanding-based stress levels decrease.
Resolution Example: Enjoy life more
Life is inherently enjoyable; while we have our ups and downs, we’re set up to enjoy life. But this isn’t necessarily evident when we’re confused about where our feelings of enjoyment come from. A quick scan of articles about how to enjoy life more reveals that even the “life enjoyment experts” are confused about the source of feelings. Here are some of the most popular things they recommend:
– Get a pet
– Exercise more
– Meet people
– Find a hobby
– Read a book
– Listen to music
– Eat healthily
– Sleep well
While all these are nice suggestions, they have no causal connection to your enjoyment of life. We live in a thought-created experiential reality. 100% of your enjoyment of life comes from your thinking in the moment. While pets, hobbies, books, people and healthy food all sound great to me, none of them can have you feel anything that isn’t in your thinking.
– Feelings of stress come from your thinking in the moment
– Feelings of love come from your thinking in the moment
– Feelings of dissatisfaction come from your thinking in the moment
– Feelings of enjoyment come from your thinking in the moment
Enjoyment of life is your “default setting”, just like it is for all people. It’s what’s there when there’s nothing else in the way. And what gets in the way? Superstitious thinking – the mistaken belief that we’re feeling something other than our thinking in the moment. 100% of your felt experience of life comes from 100% of your thinking in the moment. If you want to enjoy life more, increase your clarity of understanding of CLARITY.
Resolution Example 3) Find a soulmate
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to “find a soulmate”, people come unstuck when they mistakenly believe their feelings of happiness / joy / love / peace etc can come from anywhere other than their thinking in the moment. In fact, if you expect another person to “make you happy”, you’re in for a rough ride. Soulmate-seekers often run a pattern that looks like this: “I’ll be happy when I find my soulmate”. And it’s not just confined to soulmate-seekers; Lots of people’s goals have the structure “I’ll be X when I get Y”, where X is a feeling state and Y is a goal. Here are a few examples:
– I’ll feel good about myself when I get fit
– I’ll feel secure once I have £10,000 in the bank
– I’ll be happy when I get that new car
It’s a nice idea, but it just doesn’t work that way. We live in an inside-out world; 100% of your feelings come from your thinking in the moment. 0% of your feelings come from anywhere else. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve got nothing against soulmates, money, fitness or cars – they just can’t make you feel anything that isn’t in your thinking. And it turns out that this is GREAT news when it comes to setting goals.
When we feel insecure, we look outside ourselves to make us feel better. But when we're feeling good, we just want what we want. As you increase your clarity of understanding of CLARITY, you’ll start to realise that you don’t need anything to be happy and enjoy your life. As you start to get a deeper understanding of how life works, and how the mind works, you’ll find yourself enjoying life more and more. And when you know you don’t need anything to be OK, you’re free to have whatever you want.
You can increase your clarity of understanding of CLARITY at www.JamieSmart.com where you’ll find more great free stuff, including articles, audios and videos. In the next article we’ll be exploring Leverage Point #2 – Clarity of Mind.
Wishing you a happy, prosperous and peaceful 2013.
PS Please take a moment to post any questions or comments you'd like me to respond to. Thanks! J