“I wanna be a badass.”
This carefully thought out plan was hatched about 8 years ago when I realised that my life is only going to last so long. It might reach 90-100 years or it might get cut short early.
Fortunately I had reached the point at which I accepted, life’s not about money, although having certain amounts of it enables me to do more cool stuff!
Often success is judged on who has the most money in the bank or symbols to suggest this is the case.
Now, I judge my success on the extent to which I can do what I want, when I want, where I want and with who I want. Yes business success is required to help this happen, but it is no longer about targeting absolute amounts of money.
The biggest cost, which I was unwilling to pay for a very long time, is the discomfort of knowing that lots of people don’t ‘get it’ and that the most powerful things you ever do to change your life seem illogical to you and pretty stupid to everyone else.
This concept is the hardest thing you will ever have to get your head around because it affects how you approach everything you do.
Writing A Hero’s Code forced me to face a lot of demons and there will be many more to come in making it have the global impact I want.
Often when shit happens over your childhood and you’re ‘no good’ at sport, get bullied or generally f*ck up, you start becoming programmed to see yourself as a failure and your life as this period of time that needs to be lived conservatively.
You put limits on what you want to do.
Ask 100 people what they would do on their perfect day and many will describe who they would work with or for, where they would work, how much spare time they have etc.
This isn’t their perfect day!
This is the day they can best visualise based on what they see as current reality.
The truth is, there is no such thing as reality, just what we perceive at that moment in time.
If you have the kind of parents and teachers that most of us do, you’ll have had it drilled into you that life is a steady treadmill through set stages:
School – University – Job – Married – House – Kids – Save – Retire – Don’t do much until you die accept try to maintain some level of health
I decided that actually, this sounded pretty dire given that I have one shot at time on this planet and maybe there was another way.
The problem now was dealing with the fear of stepping off the path, trying to convince people that I and they could take a different route which, whilst it would ultimately lead to the same ending that all humans reach, it would be a lot more fun and fulfilling.
Slowly I started to notice the same patterns over and over again in speaking with clients, athletes, friends, family.
Everyone keeps themselves chained to their current existence whether they like it or not because of fear.
At the most basic level, we know that humans are only programmed by nature to be scared of heights and loud noises as a safety mechanism.
Which means that all of our other fears rare created totally in our heads.
Things that happened in the past have no bearing on what happens in the future. It can’t!
The past has gone forever and the future doesn’t even exist yet so how can it be affected.
So what is it that grips us so badly when we want to achieve a certain goal but something inside us just keeps holding us back, making excuses in the back of our brain and stops us making progress towards the things we dream about?
It really isn’t that difficult to explain.
You are scared of things that don’t exist.
I used to think that the complexity is in getting past these fears but actually again it’s not as difficult as you think.
The process you want to use when faced with one of those dilemmas where you want to do something but you get nervous, you feel anxious, your breathing changes and it can even make you cry in the most intense cases, is The ‘What If’ Scenario.
This is infinitely more effective when you write out the questions and fears in your head, and the logical answers. This helps your brain see it for what it really is, rather than becoming this monster in your brain!
All you do, is write out the fear you have and ask yourself ‘What If That Comes True?’.
Bear in mind before we move on that it is very rare that what we fear comes true anyway.
If you look back at your life you’ll see that both the best and worst things that have happened to you, you never saw coming and couldn’t have predicted.
The things you worried about never really materialised right? If they did, it’s usually because the state of fear made you act differently and convinced you that your thoughts we real, making you act in ways to make it come true.
This happens because your mind doesn’t like ‘cognitive dissonance’ (a difference between reality and the person your mind believes you are). It then causes you to take actions to bring together the ‘dual personalities’.
So if you keep telling yourself you’re going to get fat, your brain accepts you are in fact fat and encourages you to take actions to confirm it!
Strange but true.
So back to the ‘What If’ game, and questioning yourself.
Keep doing this over and over again, and eventually you will reach a point where your brain says, “I’m not actually scared of that!” and most of the fear will dissipate!
Too simple? Yes it is, like most things in life!
To illustrate this, let’s use Jill who’s joining a bootcamp and the dialogue that should go through her head.
“I’m scared everyone else will be much fitter”
LOGIC: “If they are so what?”
“I’ll look stupid that I can’t keep up”
LOGIC: “So what if you can’t do quite the same as them and you do things a bit slower?”
“I’ll feel silly”
LOGIC: “Why will you feel silly? Also, notice that you said you were worried about LOOKING silly at first, but actually you’re worried about how you will FEEL. You control your feelings 100% so now the fear is about you not someone else…”
“I’ll feel silly because they can do more than I can.”
LOGIC: “It’s not a competition and you’re not at school so what’s the problem with not being able to do the same as them at first?”
” Well it doesn’t I guess, I just want to be better than I am now”
LOGIC: “So surely beginning the bootcamp and being around better people will teach you how to be better?”
“I guess but what if they mock me?”
LOGIC: “You’re going to an exercise class full of professional adults, you’re not in the school gym any more. People will have respect for you and be GLAD you are there because the more people that are there, the more it confirms in THEIR mind that they’ve made the right decision themselves. If someone DID say something (which they won’t), how will it affect the impact of the exercise and nutrition on your body.”
“It won’t….What if people see me sweating though?”
LOGIC: “Hmmm yeah that would be weird at an exercise class designed to do just that….”
“Okay but I don’t want to feel left out?”
LOGIC: “Again this isn’t school where you pick teams. In fact, you are instantly going to make friends with people who have AT LEAST one shared interest with you, probably more. You’re going to feel LESS lonely and become part of a group instead of sitting at home stewing about your health and figure whilst you watch crap TV”.
“But what if it hurts?”
LOGIC: “First, nobody can MAKE you do anything you don’t want to therefore if you’re a little sore in the first week, you should congratulate yourself for being able to push yourself beyond just getting a little sweat. Second, if you feel muscles you don’t normally, you have ALREADY started transforming your body as you will have burned fat and started developing lean muscle to make you look much better. If it does hurt for a few days so what?”
“I might have sore legs!”
LOGIC: “What if you do? How much will it affect your 8 hours of sitting down job?”
“Well it won’t but what if I’m more tired?”
LOGIC: “You’ll get into a routine of sleeping better and waking up more refreshed…”
“But what if I have to stop in the middle for a rest?”
LOGIC: “What if you do? Everyone else will be getting on with their session.”
“But they might think I’m not as fit as them!”
LOGIC: “We answered this one – now you’re hunting for excuses! Nobody there paid to come and watch you exercise so they won’t even notice – they are there for themselves!”
“Okay but what if I die?!”
LOGIC: “Find out if anyone has died on the bootcamp. I’m pretty sure they haven’t so again you are just creating problems in your head!”
I think you get the idea!
All your fears have a rational answer and when you keep asking “What if that does happen?”, you soon run out of reasons if they were reasons in the first place!
The same process can be applied to jobs, money, getting out of bad relationships and anything else troubling you right now.
Travelling is something most people want to do but find excuses not to.
Yet have you ever met someone who said they wish they hadn’t travelled?
No, but they probably had the same fears you do about jobs, houses, money and other stuff which is easily overcome!
It requires a willingness to suspend disbelief for long enough to see that what you call reality is actually just a perception formed in your head.
My reality could have been seen as being a personal trainer and having to work 50 hours a week to make money. That is the ‘reality’ for most trainers.
I shifted that and looked for and created other ways to help MORE people, make MORE money and have MORE time all at once.
The reality was just where I had got to at that point in life – it was dynamic and changeable!
The future was up for moulding, but it could only be done with a willingness to look at rational reason rather than listen to voices from the past – the voice of the 13 year old who didn’t get to hang with the ‘cool kids’ and was convinced life would be best if I got a well paid office job.
The fact is if you don’t take some ‘risks’ you’re life will be as it is now.
Can you live with yourself for the rest of your life, knowing you could have made a difference?
Beware this takes practice and lots of Quick Wins to build your confidence!
However, you will find that the old saying “the first step is the hardest” rings true because a lot of what we do including our thought patterns and daily rituals come in circuits.
Break the circuit at ANY point and EVERYTHING starts changing. It’s like taking one wrong turning in your car – the rest of the journey is different and you are forced to make new, challenging decisions.
If we go back to the bootcamps, the hardest step is turning up to that first session. After that your mind starts seeing you as a different person and the nutrition actions become much easier where they weren’t before because you’re a new person in a new routine.
Go try this for yourself but make sure you write it all out on paper answering your questions as you go along and realise how different the answers sound on paper!
When you’ve finished you’ll realise that your fears of failing have no basis so maybe you’re actually fearing succeeding.
In which case you need to start the process again!
What I actually do lose 4 stones?
What if I become a Size 8?
What if my friends treat me differently because of my size?
What if I start to hang around with lean fit people instead of those friends who aren’t comfortable with it?
What if I do start going to new places and meeting even more cool people?
Eventually you will see that the success is nothing to be feared but something you have always wanted!
And here is the twist.
It’s neither a fear of failure or a fear of success but a fear of change because when you start doing the things that matter you WILL find yourself hanging out with different people, eating differently, attracting different people (and yes, hot girls), earning more money if that’s what you want, getting comments good and bad from people – it just feels strange.
Getting comfortable with this discomfort takes practice but becomes easier when you see all the kick ass things starting to happen.
How to really make amazing changes to your life is detailed in A Hero’s Code with exact steps to get what you want and embrace the journey!
due for release on September 15th 2012