So it may come out incomprehensible, botched up, and useless. But, in my view, it is worth to try…
Note: if you only read one example, make it #5!
OK, the issue: one of the measurements is to what degree your life is about you and your life… the words I use I borrowed from someone else… 1 and the words are “to what degree you think of yourself”… as a measure of humility i.e. how much room you have to learn and grow, how much room you have for the world, for work, for life… for others.Now, judging from people’s responses, do-gooding seems to be the solution they are thinking of. And given the current memes, thoughtforms, including Christianity, this is appropriate, but doesn’t make that number smaller.
So back 30 years ago, I had the same thought.
Now, did it work? No. At first, when I took it Verbatim, the spirit of the words, I got ill. Very ill.
But then, it seems, I managed to bring up what works: i.e. my life will be about Life… not MY life or me.
It’s taken me a long time, because there is no guidance out there… or the guidance that is available is as confused as I was.
So I alternated between being a do-gooder and hated, between being about myself and hated, and between doing what I needed to do and finally carving out a life for myself that I could love with a self I could respect.
Now, I am almost certain that you can’t fathom what it means for you. And I don’t blame you… I barely know what that means for you.
But… uncharacteristically, I am going to go into examples… mostly for my own clarity, so maybe, after enough examples, I will manage to see the distinction.
Examples are the trees, the distinction is the forest.
OK, example 1: The crappy speakers story
A month ago I found myself short… moneywise. So I quickly put together a deal. I’ll give you something that you need, and you give me money… lol. (this was my birthday deal)
I did it for me. And I did it sloppy, without making sure that I have integrity. I was cutting corners.
The little speaker are quite crappy. I haven’t been able to find the speakers I like, they are out of production, and the few that I can see still are available, are painfully expensive.
What’s wrong with the speakers? the sound is tinny. and it flashes led lights as it works.
Bad combination for a sound-machine for sleeping.
So I have been unhappy. Out of integrity.
Now, is that about me? is that about you? is that about the speakers?
I say it is all about me. My reputation. My self-perception. My mistake.
Whenever i think of that… which is often, I think of myself… I am locked in, and locked out. Locked out of Life.
Ever since I got my hands on the speakers, I have been morose… ugh… feeling bad.
Example 2: My student and his wife, story
My student got separated at the time he started to work with me. After a few months he gathered his courage, and decided to pursue his lifelong dream of starting his own business in forestry.
That focused his efforts, focused his attention, and he was getting things done.
This is the time his wife decided to get back together.
She moved back, and promptly started to nag and pester my student to do his part in housekeeping…
If you have ever tried to make a living AND start a business, you know that you don’t have time to do your laundry, let alone participate in housekeeping of other people…
Your priorities shifted and unless you keep your priorities safe, you won’t start the new business… because a new business is pretty all-consuming.
My student is trying to lower his “about self” number… so he is thinking of doing things for people…
But that is ALL ABOUT HIM…
Instead of that, he could negotiate with the wife what he is able and willing, and what he isn’t…
And then do the things he agreed to do, cheerfully, as the price he has to pay for having a wife… or tell her to go where she was for those months, and leave him alone…
You know I am not much for family… so that is what I would do, but people have different priorities… and my student has a choice… if he wants to have a good life, a business, and quiet in the home.
Example 3: My Landlord story
I’ve lived here in this rental for 14 years. I have a landlord who has only one house… and he uses it as a cash cow. He only does repairs when he must.
If you pay close attention, the anxiety is building up in me: I am not a match to the situation. He is too much like my mother who beat me. A yeller. A screamer. So I am reduced to a little kid, who will be beaten up.
My whole relationship is about me… I get repairs done at my own expense, which is not how it is done, but I am afraid to ask for them.
I can see how “normal” people are: next door is a rental, and they have changed the toilet, the heater, the refrigerator, the this and the that in the past few months… while I am in an apartment where the heat isn’t working, the light switches are broken, the floor hasn’t been dealt with… all for years and years….
You can see that it is all about me, instead of taking care of myself.
Feeding some old racket… feeding some old story… feeding some old self-image and world view…
Luckily this is pretty much the only area of life where I am this trapped with no view of a door to step out.
Example 4: Angry daughter story
Anyway, she is highly critical now, all fear-based, of course, all judgment is fear-based. All.
And she is a student in the 67-step coaching program of mine… and of course she hears everything through judgment, right and wrong. Tai, me, everything and everyone.
This is the shortest story, but maybe the most revealing. If everything is about you, then you can’t learn, can’t grow.
Judgment separates you. Judgment creates a world of either you or me. Judgment creates a world of comparison.
People who are busy judging do mighty little other than judge. And even when they do anything, it is about themselves… how they did.
There is no room for the other, apart from being the measuring stick, or the opponent.
And that is, pretty much, how a life where you think of you a lot, is like. Very lonely. You amongst enemies.
Example 5: Next door neighbor story
I had a conversation with the woman, who was massaging her chest the whole time we spoke.
She has serious anguish and anxiety. Her life is about herself… she calls it security… but the words don’t matter. if your life is about security, your life is about you.
I am feeling her feelings 24/7. I am at my wits’ end… Her feelings feel as if they were mine. I am muscle testing it 20 times a day, and it is always “It’s not mine”.
Ever since they moved here, I barely get anything done. I hurt, physically, I hurt emotionally. I hurt because she hurts.
Maybe it is time for me to move…
OK, now, the distinction…
Where you are the center of the universe, and everything is about you.
You are locked in… and honestly, locked out of the magnificence of life. And to the degree I am about me, I am locked out too.
The number is an indicator of your general tendency.
The reason my number is so low, is because my general tendency is not that… even though this article is full of “about me” stories.
All fear based… by the way.
So, we could say that the measure doesn’t only measure humility: to what degree you are available to learning and growth, but also measures to what degree fear is your access to life.
Now, although I may not be completely qualified to teach you how to get out of your fear-based life, I do have some insight about what it is I did where I don’t live from fear and what it is I can do where I still do.
This article, where I am bringing some transparency to where I am still inauthentic is an example.
Werner Erhard says: there is no such thing as authenticity… You can only be authentic about your inauthenticity.
Now, I don’t know if that is true, but…
So what does it mean to be authentic about your inauthenticity?
- For me, saying that I am scared and then be brave.
- For me, saying I made a mistake and be willing to get what I get, and correct if that is what is asked of me.
- For me, deciding that I can deal with what happens… even if that is yelling. (My landlord). Saying: I can deal with whatever is coming down the pike…
Dealing with something doesn’t mean anything, really. Dealing with means: not to die, not to hide, not to collapse… it means handling it.
Life isn’t fair. And things don’t always work out for the better.
Often you have to pay the piper. Go to jail. Move. Replace stuff that is crappy… even if it was free.
If you are not willing to deal with life the way life is, then you will be locked in having life be about you… and remain unable to learn, unable to grow, and unable to become fulfilled.
This is both the good news and the bad news.
It’s all about action… It’s all about how life occurs for you, how you occur for you.
Occurrence is what you see… a certain thing occurs differently depending on where you look at it from.
This is the whole essence of coaching, especially transformational 2 coaching. What I attempt to do here.
PS: If you are one of the people who have big desires and little or no actions: what is in your way is what this article attempted to distinguish: you take yourself too seriously.
People who can say: “I’ll deal with the consequences then, but now let me take this action,” have managed to grow up, mature, and allow their self to be the size it is… not the center of the universe, not the organizing principle of their life and their actions.
And this allows them to change, to grow, to learn, to become fulfilled.