You have freedom to create any context you wish. There are only two kinds of contexts:
1. Empowering Context
2. Disempowering Context
Empowering means, simply, that it gives you power to go in the direction you meant to go. It is like the wind behind your back.
Disempowering, as in anything negative, what takes you off your path, hinders you, takes your power away, makes you doubt, etc.
The Anna Karenina principle 2 applies here:
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Or as I like to say it: the strait (and narrow). Strait is not a misspelling of straight… No. A strait is a narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water. Like the Bering Strait. Or the Strait of Gibraltar: connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean See. You go a little bit to the left: land. You go a little bit to the right: land.
In my work, in the work you do with me, you want to go from not being worth a damn, from living a comfortable, meaningless life to a life of meaning in the three areas: wealth, health, love and happiness. You want to become an Expanding Human Being…
So, it is an empowering context, (or several) what keeps you in the strait.
A disempowering context is what deviates you to land… i.e. you won’t get to the desired destination.
I am teaching you this because unless you know what I mean by the words I throw around, you won’t benefit from reading my writing, or attending my workshops and webinars.
Now… let me get to the “meat” of what I wanted to share.
I have ended my 4-year arrangement with “Sarah”… For the past four years she picked me up every Tuesday, took me to the chiropractor, and then took me grocery shopping. Easy, predictable, pleasant.
But when I looked at living my dream life: being able to travel and live in any part of the world, being able to speak from the stage, being independent and enjoy living into old age, the comfort and ease of our arrangement kept me stuck.
I need to be able to strengthen myself through discomfort.
So today is the first day when I am going shopping since I ended the period of Sarah. I am using a van service from the Community Center. I have tested it out once, and it was a tiring experience; I had to go to bed and stay in bed after it, for the whole afternoon. I was exhausted physically and mentally.
And this is where the context becomes really decisive.
I noticed that I was dreading the trip: waiting for the ride, being in the van with others, waiting for the ride more, and more waiting as he drops off people… three hours instead of the normal one hour… Reading my kindle in crowded grocery store to pass the time… Pulling my attention back from the emotional and physical distractions. Oh my… lol.
But context comes to the rescue.
The new and empowering context I invented is that I am doing it (the change) to train myself and my body for the life I always wanted for myself… a life that is neither easy, nor comfortable: a life of growth. A life I can do well into my nineties.
Not so hard that I can’t work. But not so easy and comfortable that I don’t have to stretch and grow.
We live in a world where comfort, enjoyable, and easy trumps all other choices.
And growing is not comfortable. Just look at teenagers!
Seeing what keeps you from growing is the first step, and hell, that is very not comfortable. It is downright painful, as the handful of people can attest, who braved the “What is the truth about you” workshop yesterday.
But unless someone chooses what they want instead of what they are used to… the future they have been giving lip-service to, instead of the comfortable low grade depression, empty life, ineffectiveness… unless someone actually chooses the path, the strait, nothing will happen.
I haven’t talked to the participants in the workshop, yet. They may or may not choose to go for their dreams.
Either way you choose, it is OK with me. I have chosen, and I am doing the steps that are consistent with the dream. My dream.
You’ll do what you’ll do.
But now that you have a tool: you can set the context and creating an empowering context will go a long way to overcome the many ways ordinary, empty, meaningless life wants to hold you back.
Now, one more thing… this came almost as an afterthought, but it’s as important as the rest of this context article:
Let’s go over the Anna Karenina principle again… a principle that holds true to any and every area of life:
The Anna Karenina principle describes an endeavor in which a deficiency in any one of a number of factors dooms it to failure. Consequently, a successful endeavor (subject to this principle) is one where every possible deficiency has been avoided.
The tendency, the desire, the pull to take shortcuts, to do things fast and shabby is very overwhelming for humans.
This applies to every area of life. Making breakfast, making coffee, doing the dishes, reading, writing a dissertation, doing the steps in the 67 steps…
I catch myself being pulled into that mode.
But… but I won’t be caught doing any work but doing it complete and thorough.
That is a “who I am” issue. I am the kind of person who does complete and through work, no matter whether it’s dinner, a conversation, an article, a step in the 67 steps, coaching, or editing a website template.
That is who I am. Complete and thorough. I am a lot of other things, but this is the “context” I can bring into bear when the desire to be comfortable, when the desire to hurry, to get through, to get done and get to the good stuff… comfortable… when that pull of mediocrity is pulling my chains.
I keep myself in the strait by saying: There is no way I am going to be anything less than complete and thorough, because being true to myself is more important to me than the goodies that wait for me on the other end.
Integrity is being true to yourself. There is more to it, but like the Anna Karenina Principle says: unless you have integrity in everything, you have no integrity.
This, the being true to yourself, is where most people miss integrity… the second most frequent trip-up is: “doing things in an empowering context…
Dutiful is NOT empowering. Neither is hurry, the context of “let’s get through it so we can get to the good stuff”.
Change is hard
Do you think this is hard? Hell yes. No wonder the world is full of people plagued with quiet desperation. Underachievers. Empty lives, rootless, loveless, meaningless existence.
Dreams existing only in words… not in reality.
Because this is hard.
- The Anna Karenina principle describes an endeavor in which a deficiency in any one of a number of factors dooms it to failure. Consequently, a successful endeavor (subject to this principle) is one where every possible deficiency has been avoided.The name of the principle derives from Leo Tolstoy's book Anna Karenina, which begins:Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.In other words: in order to be happy, a family must be successful on each and every one of a range of criteria e.g: sexual attraction, money issues, parenting, religion, in-laws. Failure on only one of these counts leads to unhappiness. Thus there are more ways for a family to be unhappy than happy.
- The Anna Karenina principle describes an endeavor in which a deficiency in any one of a number of factors dooms it to failure. Consequently, a successful endeavor (subject to this principle) is one where every possible deficiency has been avoided.
The name of the principle derives from Leo Tolstoy’s book Anna Karenina, which begins:
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
In other words: in order to be happy, a family must be successful on each and every one of a range of criteria e.g: sexual attraction, money issues, parenting, religion, in-laws. Failure on only one of these counts leads to unhappiness. Thus there are more ways for a family to be unhappy than happy.