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Dissuasion


If your paradigm can’t delay or distract you, it will escalate the game and confront your dream directly.  It will try to talk you out of taking any kind of action on your dream – it will try to dissuade you.

Let’s say you set a big goal for yourself, something that will take some effort to accomplish. Perhaps you’d like to advance on your job. You consider meeting with your boss to discuss the available opportunities, and then you start wondering, What am I doing? I’m already busy enough. I don’t need any more stress. Or maybe you think, After taxes, the raise in pay won’t really make that much of a difference. At last you convince yourself that, I probably don’t want a promotion after all, and you give up on the goal.

This is the classic “sour grapes” reaction, expressed as some variation of “I actually don’t want to.”  On closer examination, it turns out to be nothing more than a response to failure, whether that failure is real, as in the fable of the fox and the grapes, or simply feared. It’s an easy and very common face-saving defense, but one that exacts a big personal toll in the long run.

Your paradigm knows everything about you. It has access to your whole library of failed attempts, forgotten dreams, and unrealized goals. It remembers all the times when you didn’t do what you said you were going to do, and won’t hesitate to use that information to keep you safely inside the familiar territory of your comfort zone. Dissuasion is just one more arrow in your paradigm’s well-stocked quiver, one that aims to keep your best-laid plans from going astray by not letting them get off the ground in the first place.


Here’s To Your Dreams!

Margery

Have you ever talked yourself out of making a big move, and then justified the decision saying it wasn’t worth the trouble anyway? I welcome you to share your experience and comments here.

Dealing With Distraction


Picture yourself finally sitting down to write the book you’ve planned in your head for years. You set a date and time to begin writing, and you actually followed through - you overcame procrastination!  You’re seated at your desk, pen in hand, silently congratulating yourself, when your subconscious mind does what it does best. It digs up another paradigm to stop you from making any more scary changes to the status quo - it distracts you!

You’ve probably experienced at least one of these common distractions, or some variation on the theme:

I’ll be more creative if I get the laundry done and my desk cleared off first.

I’ll be able to work better if I’m not hungry. How about taking a lunch break now?

I haven’t checked my phone or email in at least ten minutes. Maybe I should make sure I haven’t missed an important message before I get any more involved in this project.

We frequently resort to multitasking in order to deal with distraction. But in reality, attention cannot multitask. It can only flit back and forth in fractions of a second, giving the illusion of multitasking, and our brains aren't nearly as good at this as we think they are.

It’s not only mentally, but physically impossible for your attention to be focused in more than one area at a time.  Let's say you’re working on some activity while you’re talking on the phone about something completely different. You're not actually doing two activities simultaneously. Instead, you're rapidly switching your attention from one part of your brain to another. That adds up to a lot of time and brain cell energy consumed, and diminishes the quality of your performance at both tasks.

Your attention is the one thing over which you have complete dominion. Even if you're not consciously aware of it, you’re constantly choosing what you pay attention to and what you ignore. Remember that whatever you focus on expands in your life, and it does so to the exclusion of everything else - and here lies the key to dealing with the distraction paradigm.

The first step is to shine the light of awareness on what is competing for your attention. In other words, notice what you’re noticing. Then deliberately shift your focus back to what you really want to, or know you should, do to serve your best interest.  Practicing this critical skill can be a challenge, especially when the distractions are noisy and persistent.  However, the good news is that without the support and nourishment of your attention, any habits of thinking that limit your potential eventually wither away almost without effort on your part.


To Your Best Life!

Margery

What distractions compete for your attention most often, and how do you deal with them? Share your experience and comments here.

Delay – the #1 Enemy of Your Dream


Sometimes it’s hard to start and keep moving in the direction of your dream, especially when the “how” of it all is a mystery.  Thoughts like How am I going to get there?, or How can I make this work?, or How can I possibly do that?, threaten to take us out of our comfort zone.  That’s when our paradigms start whispering in our ear, sounding like a well-known fictional character saying, “Well I won't think about this now. I'll think about it tomorrow." 

Everyone has heard the seductive voice of procrastination, and felt guilty for giving in to it.  This is because we tend to equate procrastination with laziness.  But that’s like saying anorexia is simply about not eating enough.

Procrastination isn’t about laziness - it’s about fear.  It’s about perfection, and feeling overwhelmed by your lack of it, going way beyond striving to do your best.  Approaching a task with a perfectionist mindset will only bog you down in the planning stage of your dream. To put it another way, if you believe you have to wait until you know how to swim before actually putting a toe in the water, you’ll never get wet.

A good plan can only point you in the right direction. The best plan is meaningless if you don’t actually take the first steps.  Here a some strategies that can help silence your delay paradigm and break the procrastination habit:

1. Start small.  When you get an idea, do one little thing to get going on it – and do it right away. Most people get an idea. Then they sit and wonder if it’s a good idea. Then, they keep wondering if it’s a good idea.  In his book On Writing, author Stephen King says that when he gets an idea, he writes it immediately and imperfectly.  This strategy of taking small steps right away reduces the pressure to be perfect, and makes even the biggest goal seem less intimidating.

2. Use spare time wisely. Who doesn’t complain about having no time? The truth is we all have plenty of time, but like many good things it often comes in small packages.  Stop waiting for hours of spare time to begin your idea or work on your project. Learn to use those spare moments to take one of those “baby steps”, and you’ll be amazed at the cumulative effect of your actions.

3. Don’t ask yourself how you “feel” about doing the activity. If it’s a priority, don’t waste time asking yourself how you feel about doing it. Feelings are an easy way to avoid commitment. Make a decision to act and then just do it. Don’t shrug it off and think, “I’ll probably feel more like starting later.” You won’t!


Let’s face it - there will always be more research to do, another book to read, another skill to learn. Life is unlikely to calm down on your timetable, just because you want to do everything you planned all at once. You can always find reasons why you can’t take the next step. 

The exciting truth is that once you stop waiting for the perfect opportunity and start moving, the resources you need - like more confidence, inspiration, creativity, new partners and supportive friends - will appear as if by magic.  The most important thing is to begin, even when you don’t know how you’re going to finish. By continuing to move along your path, you allow a Higher Power to meet and assist you every step of the way.


To Your Success!

Margery

Try enlisting an accountability partner to help you break the procrastination habit. Call a friend, tell them what small step you are committed to take that day, make an appointment to check in with them to report your progress, and then follow through. Share your experiences here. 


The 4 D’s-Stealth Weapons That Can Shatter Your Dream

Have you sometimes found yourself inspired to take action on your dream, only to have something derail you?  Just because you might feel nervous about making a change, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re on the wrong track.  In fact, it’s precisely when you decide to take action on your dream that your paradigms, or ingrained patterns of thinking, crop up to prevent you from making any changes to your routine. Like subconscious stealth weapons, they work behind the scenes to undermine your best intentions.  

Your paradigms aren’t going to say, “I’m your paradigm and I’m here to stop you from achieving your dream!”  They take a much sneakier approach, cloaking themselves in one of four general disguises depending on the level of perceived threat to the status quo. The coding system for terrorism assessment is a useful way to rank these four D’s in order of severity.

The first level of response, On Guard/Code Blue, is delay.  This typically happens early on, even before you take the first step. For example, you’ve decided to finally write your great novel, and you have your workspace organized and all your materials ready to begin - tomorrow. 

If you manage to overcome the delay tactic, the next higher level of response, Elevated Threat/ Code Yellow, is distraction. After all, you’ll be able to concentrate on that project so much better and be so much more productive if you stop now and check your email, just in case there’s an important message you should read first. Sound familiar?

But suppose you resist getting distracted.  Your paradigm doesn’t give up that easily.  It then responds to a High Threat/Code Orange situation with dissuasion, trying to convince you that deep down you really don’t want to change – as in “I don’t want the added stress of that promotion. I’m too busy already.”

If you insist on pushing ahead anyway, your paradigm now takes desperate measures to keep you where you are.  When all else fails, it resorts to Severe Threat/Code Red, or DEFCON 1.  The military term DEFCON, or “Defense Readiness Condition” 1, signals that an attack on national security is imminent.  Under these conditions, your paradigm triggers the fight-or-flight reflex, complete with physical panic symptoms that are difficult to ignore. When you’re in a state of DEFCON 1, it’s very easy to move right past your rational thinking, back into the safety of your comfort zone. 

As you imagine a more expanded version of your current life, a part of you wants to move forward and a part wants to maintain your current reality. You always have a choice - to take the next step or not.  Recognizing the strategy your paradigm is deploying to block your forward progress is your own stealth weapon for success.


To Your Success!

Margery

What stealth weapons has your most persistent paradigm used to try and keep you in your comfort zone?  Share your thoughts and your personal strategy for fighting back. 

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