185. Stop putting up with it.

If it’s true that patience is a virtue, then we might assume that tolerance is a desirable character trait.

That being the case you may wonder about the habit we will be discussing for the next three weeks: The Habit of Intolerance.

The Habit of Intolerance is about understanding the role and degree of ownership we each have in all areas of our lives.

Many of us spend years battling the same demons, challenges, relationships and situations that continue to bring anxiety, stress, frustration and a whole host of other negative emotions into our being.

Yes, it is probably true to say that we have at times made (half-hearted and feeble) attempts to introduce permanent change and yet we seem to always drift back to the status quo that is the cause of so much angst.

Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?

The answer is simple: we get what we tolerate.

This exceedingly powerful statement projects truth with each word. It is a constant reminder that the only reason why we keep dealing with the same things year after year without ever enjoying permanent differences is because we are willing to.

Despite all protestations to the contrary it is self-evident and that unless we adopt The Habit of Intolerance as a mainstay of our actions we will continue the ups and downs that have become our norm.

The Habit of Intolerance stands on guard right in front of us at all times to remind us that until we will no longer tolerate events and behaviours of ourselves and others, we will never successfully implement any system or process of long-term change.

Intolerance, as intended for use with The Habit of Intolerance is not only a virtue but is an essential attribute that will spare us many years of pain and frustration.

To the extent that we pay attention to what this habit is telling us and then choose to no longer put up, year after year, with those very things that consistently drive us crazy, our resolve will strengthen, a determination will expand and our commitment to long-lasting change will stay in place.

The Habit of Intolerance is one we must hold on to with great strength for to not do so potentially puts us in that pitiful group of folks who whine about the same things day after day, week after week, year after year and yet will not take the necessary steps to rid themselves of those very things that take up so much negative energy.

It is almost as if they not only tolerate those things, but need them in their lives as an anchor to rest on in order to provide comfort in their own misery.

It has long been said that pain is the catalyst to change and it is only when we reach that I can’t take it anymore moment that we will truly take the necessary action to bring about different outcomes.

Getting what we tolerate is a dominant force in our lives and one that we need take very seriously for to not do so is to run the risk of years of unnecessary heartache and frustration.

The Habit of Intolerance is a very fast method of preventing this.

Simply put, if you don’t want it then stop putting up with it.

The choice is yours.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

Advertisements

184. First, to thine own self be true.

 

“I can’t take it anymore.”

“I’ve had enough.”

“I’m done with…”

Many of us have used these statements during moments of anger and frustration. They are words that, in many cases, we have used before in exactly the same circumstances and, in all likelihood, we will use again when these situations next present themselves.

The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself is not always an easy one to acquire and while, in the moment, we absolutely mean what we say, the passage of time has a way of converting our frustration to acceptance and we take no steps to prevent the recurrence of these events.

The old adage, “we get what we tolerate” speaks volumes about how many of us choose to live our life.

We allow events or situations to repeat themselves, each time instilling in us strong feelings of resentment and we then delude ourselves by making statements such as those above while in our hearts we know we’ll continue to tolerate these very same repeated incidents.

And nothing will change until we change.

We seem to have near endless capacity and tolerance for the very things that move us further and further from the lives we want and yet we seldom make the massive effort necessary to bring about permanent change.

The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself is one of personal authenticity. It is the habit that forces us to look deeply inside ourselves and honestly acknowledge what we know to be true. Only then – through authentic self-acknowledgement – will we conclude that consistently tolerating what we know we don’t want will forever keep us on the pathway to the life we don’t want.

It takes courage and determination to be honest with ourselves. This may require removing certain people, places and experiences from our lives, but true authenticity does not allow for self-delusion.  As painful as it is, The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself is the true path we must take if we are to have any hope of creating the life we want.

It is a myth that it takes a long time to implement change. The truth is that change is instant and the myth is the result of playing at change without first adopting The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself.

Change takes place the instant we legitimately, sincerely and authentically choose to become the change we want. Ghandi famously said, “be the change you want to see in the world,” and we can all accomplish this by the strength of our resolve and the power of our determination.

It’s not about capability, it’s about commitment.  The moment we choose to no longer tolerate the intolerable is the moment the magic of true change happens.

And this will never happen as long as we delude ourselves into thinking differently.

The greatest gift we were born with is the gift of choice. We choose what we tolerate and we choose what we don’t.

When we delude ourselves into thinking that the intolerable is tolerable we are also deluding ourselves into thinking that happiness is an illusion.

There is a first step to true happiness and it is to make an unflinching commitment to The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself.

Then watch yourself change before your own very eyes.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

183. A heck of a Dale.

“If you’re going to do it, then do it. If you’re not going to do it, then don’t talk about it. You’re either in 100% or you are not in at all.”

With these words Dale began his explanation of how, in these extremely challenging economic times, he was able to create a situation for himself whereby he could choose the job he wanted from a selection of six companies all vying to become his employer.

It all began for Dale on that day in early February when “I left home at 7:15 to go to work and was back home by 9:30 gainfully unemployed.”

Like so many others Dale had been laid off from his position in a company where he had spent the last 11 years as a project manager.

Being laid off did not come entirely as a surprise as this was the third round of layoffs in the company and he had sadly witnessed several long-time colleagues being escorted out of the building.

He spent the next two days lamenting his misfortune and taking out his frustration on his wife and two children.

Then it dawned on him. He hadn’t lost a job, he simply had a new job. And his new job was to find a job.

And to do so very quickly.

Dale is a project manager and finding a new job was now his new project.

And that meant he was now employed full-time.

He set up a makeshift home office in his basement and spent a few days developing his project plan.

His plan included being at work every day by 8:00AM, taking a 45-minute lunch break around noon and leaving the office only to attend client meetings (interviews with potential employers and meetings to expand his network).

Quitting time, as always, was 5:00 PM unless there was urgent work to be done in which case Dale stayed in the office until he was satisfied that he had accomplished all that could be completed that day. This was an 8 – 5 job and, with the exception of his lunch hour, every moment was to be spent researching job positions, submitting resumes, contacting and expanding his network been doing any and all other activities that could end up in a job.

There was no time between 8 & 5 for socializing with friends, helping around the house, visiting the mall or any activities other than those that could direct him to his new career.

A full-time job.

Dale knew the task was a formidable one but he also knew that to succeed in this project he had to be all in.

There was no time for self-delusion or for fooling himself into believing that applying for a job here and there could in any way constitute serious effort.

He told me of friends and colleagues who would call and talk endlessly of the challenges of trying to find employment.

The one thing that struck Dale as being common to those who were calling to complain of their hardships was that they had all deluded themselves into thinking they were doing everything possible to find new jobs.

They believed they were trying hard whereas Dale believed they were hardly trying.

He shared with me their stories of sending out one resume per week or “making a few calls here and there” in a half-hearted attempt to “get something going.”.

Unlike these friends Dale adopted The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself and his efforts paid off handsomely.

With that level of activity, it was inevitable that his efforts would result in a high number of job interviews and it quickly became apparent to Dale that because of his efforts he was in the new position of being able to reverse the process and interview companies to determine whether they were good enough for him.

His commitment to The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself opened his eyes to the very fact that even in this harsh economy there are still jobs for those who put in an enormous effort to find the ones that are best for them.

Dale will also tell you that The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself applies to everything in life and that if you set out to achieve something and delude yourself into thinking that playing at it will get you there, then you are in for a great deal of disappointment.

And with six great jobs to choose from, who can possibly argue with logic like that?

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

182. Self deception is a long and painful journey.

 

I have often wondered whether we are aware of the degree to which our habits play a regular role in our everyday lives.

It has long been said that all behaviour is learned and, this being the case, by the time we reach a certain age we have adopted many of the habits which will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

While we don’t consider most of our behaviours to be habitual, it is helpful to understand that whenever we display any emotion, e.g. anger, we have to do certain things in our heads and in our bodies in order to produce the emotion we call anger. This means we have, over the years, learned how to conduct this behaviour by doing it repeatedly, thus forming a habit.

As humans, we have long been labelled creatures of habit which simply means we have taught ourselves how to repeatedly behave in certain ways and, quite often, we have adopted triggers which will immediately cause us to behave in certain ways thereby delivering on one of our habits.

As is the custom with this blog, every fourth week we introduce a new habit and today I would like to discuss The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself.

Delusion is the process we use to rationalize thoughts and behaviours we know are not in our best interests but, at the time, will satisfy a need or desire that is present within us.

By way of example please allow me to replay the conversation I had several weeks ago with a married couple who have long been struggling to get their weight under control and who are both at a stage where they are placing their health at risk, and yet seem unable to make any long-lasting changes in their lifestyles.

For as long as I have known “Carl” and “Carol” bringing their weight under control and down to manageable levels has been a part of every conversation we have had.

Over the years they have signed up with all the well-known weight-loss brands, have joined several different gyms and have never managed to successfully stay with any program or regimen long enough to realize benefits and results.

As I listen to their discussions I have come to realize that as much as they love each other, they are each other’s worst enemies and regularly sabotage each other’s efforts to assume ownership and control of their weight and their health.

They have both become extremely proficient at convincing one another of the “okayness” of straying off course in order to justify deviating from the plan by “just having a tiny sliver of …” or prefacing the introduction of a behaviour that will move them away from their goal with a statement along the lines of, “If we both promised to be really good tomorrow then we can… today.”

Self-sabotaging behaviours are common among all who have not made a commitment to The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself.

I know a number of people who, just like Carl and Carol, have been trying for years to get their weight under control. These folks fail to learn the importance of The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself and consequently play at their goal of weight loss through their habit of self-delusion.

There are many tried-and-true pathways for achieving and sustaining weight loss and none of these promote self justification as a valid reason for for deviating from the process.

The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself means you learn how to become bigger and stronger than those emotions inside you that mischievously lead you to repeatedly sabotage your own efforts and thus expose you to the risk of reaching the point where even the thought of attempting, yet again, to lose that weight takes on a feeling of pointlessness.

Discipline means doing what you know you should be doing when you don’t feel like doing it or not doing what you know you shouldn’t be doing when you feel like doing it.

If we want results in our lives, we have to be serious about doing what it takes to produce those results and we need to develop the discipline and mental toughness that pushes aside those delusions that may give us short-term pleasure and quick fixes of enjoyment but will, without question, over the long-term cause us nothing but angst.

The Habit of Not Deluding Yourself will keep us on the path to where we want to go and, while along the way, temptation will undoubtedly present itself, this habit, if faithfully followed, will enable us to stop paying any attention to that temptation and to stay focused on the big prize that awaits us at the end of the trail.

And if we stay on that path, we should only have to take this journey once which certainly beats starting out, faltering, and going back to the beginning, over and over again.

And that has to be the best possible result.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.