Myths of The Mind, Body, Spirit Marketplace Number 1
What are the personal development myths that keep us trapped in a cycle of seeking?
I’ve been around the whole ‘personal development’ world for quite a while, and I’ve been captured by (and in some cases, seen through) some of the big myths and illusions that fuel the industry.
I’m sorry to say that I’ve also propagated some of them.
I’m not happy about that, but it was part of my own learning journey. So once I saw through them, I cleaned up my act, and I’ll keep doing that as I see through more of them.
In the meantime, I thought I’d write a series of articles about the more prevalent ‘MBS Myths’ that still seem to be popular in our community (and often far beyond it). Have a look, let me know if you resonate, and feel free to add your own!
* MYTH #1: The “You’ll be happy when” illusion – the idea that happiness, confidence, peace of mind, security etc are somewhere to ‘get to’ (those states actually reside in the last place people expect!)
We get hooked by this myth because we’ve been conditioned to believe that there’s somewhere to get to, and that “there” is better than “here.” And “there” comes in a variety of tantalizing flavours that look some- thing like this:
I’ll be [happy/secure/fulfilled/peaceful/better/successful/ok] when I…
Get the money/the car/the yacht/the house – the “there” of stuff.
– Find the right work/hobby/exercise/pastime – the “there” of doing.
– Have the right partner/friends/children – the “there” of people and relationships.
– Write the book/start the business/learn the language – the “there” of accomplishment.
– Can take a year off/travel the world/eat at the best restaurants – the “there” of lifestyle.
– Achieve time freedom/financial freedom/social freedom – the “there” of freedom.
– Lose the weight/stop smoking/start going to the gym – the “there” of self-improvement.
– Change my thinking/my limiting beliefs/do my affirmations – the “there” of mindset.
– Meditate properly/find the right practice/get enlightened – the “there” of spirituality.
– Accept myself/love myself/just let go – the “there” of surrender.
You may have experimented with none, some or all of the above. You may have made big changes and improved your life in a variety of ways. Or maybe not. At times, you may have felt like you’re nearly there, like you’re very close, like the pot of gold’s just around the corner. And yet…
No matter how close you get, doesn’t it always seem like there’s a little more you need to do?
So are there things worth doing, accomplishing and achieving in life?
Absolutely! But the idea that an external goal or object will provide persistent happiness, security or wellbeing is just balloon-juice.
I’ve done this with numerous things over the years, including business success, health and even relationships, and here’s the thing: I’m still vulnerable to it…
Last May, I was in Tenerife with my dear friends, Jan and Chip Chipman. One morning, Jan and I were having coffee and talking about my business, when I had a sudden realisation…
I’d been doing an “I’ll be happy when” with my company (the form it took was along the lines of “I’ll be happy once it’s all properly organised” etc), and I’d been completely unaware of it.
I was flabbergasted! I’ve been teaching people and sharing about this myth for years, so I’m usually pretty alert to it, but it had still managed to slip in through the back door.
My insight into this last spring is one of the things that’s resulted in big changes to the structure and focus of my company over the past year.
So what about you? Stop for a moment and cast your mind back…
What’s an example of something YOU wanted or longed for, something where you were sure that when you got it that you’d be happy / peaceful / fulfilled? But then when you got the object of your desires, you soon found yourself feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied or in some way falling short again. Or you found your attention on the next “I’ll be happy when” objective?
This is the foundation for how much of the world’s marketing and branding has been practiced for the past century, and it’s largely invisible to us. Many industries are reliant on fuelling insecurities in their customers then stepping in with the latest “solution” (beauty industry, diet industry, I’m talking about you!).
But we think that people need to know the truth, not have their suffering fed.
We each have the capacity to see through the “I’ll be happy when” illusion and wake up to the truth of who we are and what we have going for us.
Remember at the start of this when I said that states like happiness, peace and security actually reside in the last place people expect?
Happiness, security and peace of mind are something we each have within us, and the only thing that obscures them is the belief that they’re found outside of us. Like a football being held underwater, as soon as you let go of it, it rises to the surface. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been holding it there, or how much effort you’ve put into it; the moment you let go, its natural buoyancy begins to lift it.
Can you resonate with these examples of the “I’ll be happy when” trap?
Where’s a place that YOU’VE seen through the “I’ll be happy when” illusion for yourself?
Let me know in the comments (I’m looking forward to reading these).
Sunday Times Bestselling Author, Speaker and Executive Coach
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