When your life is about you... when your life is about others... when your life is about ideas.. these are different sizes of a life you can have. In this article we'll examine the effects of these levels on your peace of mind, level of fulfillment, the quality of your life.
We'll start with me... and my experience.
In 1988 January 1, around 3 minutes after the ball dropped on Times Square, I declared something that ultimately turned my life around.
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Then periodically, since then, I made declarations in a similar vein, that clarified and solidified that historical declaration in 1988.
My original declaration was: I will have my life be not about me and my life, but about others.
Then in 1997 I declared that I'd do what I needed to do to live till 120, so I can live long enough to make a sizeable contribution to humanity.
About 10 years after that I saw that having a life about others is a trap... it reduces my life to the sum total of the life others want to have... So I changed my tune. I now have a life about the possibility to cause humanity to go to the next level of evolution... human being.
So what am I talking about? What am I trying to say?
- When you work on solving problems that are about you and your life, your life is small, and stormy. I call it puny... You and your life fill your whole cone of vision, and given the dual nature of humans, good/bad, lower self, higher self, gene driven, higher ideals driven... you'll spend most of your time being unhappy about yourself. Guaranteed.
- The next level up is having a life about solving other people's problems. But other people have the same dual nature, so you'll still have most of your life in misery about how they are and how ineffective you are... whether you pretend otherwise or not, that is what you are doing.And it really doesn't matter what profession you are in, teacher, politician, priest... if you hinge your happiness on other people's actions, you'll be unhappy. Guaranteed.
- The third level is having a life solving problems for what's possible.I just finished a book "Teach Like a Pirate". The author is about creativity and the possibility of teaching. Those are ideas. Solve problems on the level of ideas...You take on a problem and make it yours. That simple act takes you out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death and makes you untouchable...
I have been watching a couple of marketers that are crushing it. And I am watching other marketers as well for contrast.
The two marketers have taken on the problem of influencing people to do what is in their best interest through marketing... That is what they dedicated as their main concern, and even have family and love and health inside that big problem. Money they make is only and indication on how well they are advancing on solving the problem of influencing.
While other marketers either have their work about themselves, about their money, about their success, or about the success of their customers. They build systems, they build experiments. But their work is not about themselves or about the results others produce with their work.
A roller coaster life. More unhappiness than happiness. The dual nature, the unpredictability of humans, their own and that of others drive them nuts. They chase the next high, only to fall into the next low.
Your personal concerns all come from your genes: survival and procreation.
Your personal concerns therefore are all ego. The desire to be loved, to be well thought of, to be entertained, to be entertaining, to look good, to feel good, to be happy... all gene driven desires, all ego.
Nothing wrong with it, it has kept humanity survive, and fight, kill, destroy for hundreds of thousands of years.
But when life is about those concerns, then life is doing nothing for the human part of you, the higher self.
So your human part is starved. You feel a lack. You feel a lack of meaning in life.
You resent having a roller coaster life, you resent other people for keeping you down, or pulling you down, but ultimately it boils down to this: the problems you solve are always the context of your life.
The context is the level of life you play. And the context is not solvable on its own level. (No problem can be solved on the level of consciousness that created it, only on a higher consciousness level.)
If you work on your relationships for the sake of having better relationships, then you won't. Not possible. You are working on the tree branch you are standing on. You are painting yourself in a corner.
The thing gets in its own way.
You need to create a context that is on a higher level.
Example: if your concern in not to get wet in the rain, then you'll do all kinds of things to avoid getting wet in the rain, while you get wet.
But if you make it your concern to build a shelter... not getting wet is a mute issue: you don't.
You need to be able to take your eyes of the prize... and direct it higher.
That requires you to have the capacity... because it's really hard.
Having a concern is like driving a car being concerned that the hood may pop up any time and cause you to have an accident. The ultimate concern is to be safe.
Imagine yourself being concerned with that. Or that your tires down blow out. Or that the door doesn't accidentally open.
How well will you drive? Not well... not at all. Actually you will have little attention on getting where you are going... and you'll probably endanger your welfare as well.
The idea of creating larger context aka concern than what is at hand, directly in front of you, is an art and most of us are not equipped with the capacities to see the forest for the tree...
Seeing the context you could choose to do the activity inside of... hinges on your capacity to see the big or bigger picture. To stop being myopic and glued to your small concerns.
But you can evolve yourself slowly, starting small.
Find or create slightly bigger concerns for everything you do.
The question to ask: "why?" or "to what end?" or "what are you building with that?"
Ask the question 3-4 times...
You'll know when the original problem suddenly dissolves in a much bigger problem, that you can take on.
The three levels of this capacity are illustrated with the three different stone cutters.
The first, when asked what he is doing, says: I am chipping away at this stone. I am a stone cutter. The second, when asked what he was doing said: I am cutting stones to earn enough money to support my family. The third looked deep within, and said: I am cutting stones... the stones will be used on a cathedral... so ultimately I am building a cathedral.
- The first could not see anything beyond the activity. Most of humanity lives on this level
- The second could see that doing the task earns him a living... even this connection is difficult to remember for most people, although it is obvious.
- The third, while doing the same work, physically, is seeing his work in a larger context that makes the tiring work of cutting stone as near glorious as possible. You, for the most part, are not interested in raising your sights to that height... either because you can't, or because you won't.
All human development starts with self-interest. Healthy self-interest.
You get your energy from ego... Your job is to direct that energy in a way that serves both your lower self and your higher self. Let me interest you in the quality of your thoughts, the quality of your emotions, the quality of your life.
The capacity, surprisingly, is called generosity. Not what you expected? Of course... society has generosity as giving... But it isn't. Giving is part of the genes' way of surviving... it is called "reciprocal altruism" and you can find it in the animal world...
Generosity, on the other hand isn't found there.
Generosity is the capacity to rise above, to have your concerns take care of themselves inside a larger context.
Those marketers "concern" to make a living, or to be providing for their families, takes care of itself inside the context of being better and better in persuading people to do what they need to do to get what they want in life.
Start small... Ask for ideas... Share ideas.
You are not required to invent the wheel...
PS: I have room for two more people in the "Face the Tiger" workshop starting tomorrow. The smallness of your life and its detrimental effect of you are one of the issues we "attack" with communication.
What we are attempting to do, in practice, not in theory, during the workshop, is resolve issues in communication. First with ourselves and then with others. Brilliant... nurturing... the perfect environment for growth.
And just that you know: you have probably NEVER communicated... just talked... and talked... and talked... And TALK IS CHEAP.
Email me if you think this workshop is for you... email at bottom of the page.