This article could be called a “life hack” which is a fashionable word nowadays. I don’t mind… but whatever you’ll call it will define it… Because what you’ll call it will be a context… What? Yeah…
And context is the ultimate life hack.
Most people don’t understand the distinction: context
Why is that a problem? Because of all the elements of life, context is the easiest to change. And when context changes, life changes.
So you don’t understanding context means that life cannot change easily, cannot change fast.
Now you are interested, I hope.
Have you ever asked yourself: What am I doing?
If you haven’t, then maybe you should start asking that.
Now, when you ask yourself that question, what you are really asking: what is the context?
Context is where you can design, where you can create your life. The content cannot be changed… that requires action. But context is all in language.
Context answers the questions: what am I doing? Why am I doing it?
If you get good at inventing context, you get the upper hand with life.
Context is not an “IS” thing… it is malleable. It is up to you. Moment to moment.
A famed physics professor was interviewing students for his graduate course. His first question was: why are you wearing this jacket?
Depending on the answer he accepted them or not.
If the answer was not creative, then the person wasn’t going to be creative… and to do physics well, you need to be creative.
To come up with many creative contexts, you need to be able to move your eyes to look at things differently, from many different places. Your eyes cannot be stuck. If you treat life as “IS” you are stuck, and no one can help you.
Context is decisive. It decides the quality of your life. It decides your mood. It decides your actions. You better get better at it fast… or your life will never change.
Here is an example: as I have shared before, one of my Reclaim students asked me to be his marketing/business coach as well.
We decided to go with ecommerce: selling stuff.
It’s slow going.
Everyone says that it is the fastest way to make a ton of money, but they are lying.
So my client was struggling making videos, and sales pitch, and this and that… and I could feel his insides going somber.
His little voices were getting busy telling his that it was never going to work, that he was not inspiring, he was not cut out to own a business.
So I piped in: this is a test business. we never meant for this to succeed… who the heck would want to run an ecommerce business… not me, not him.
But it’s a great vehicle to learn skills, sales pitch, sourcing, and even making entertaining, engaging videos.
The mood instantly shifted. He got excited, turned on, seeing, suddenly all the skills he has already learned, and the skills he is learning.
This is the power of context.
The quality of your life, the quality of your actions depends more on the context than on the content.
A good context is one that excites you, that makes you feel good about yourself.
Everyone has a default context, and your default context is made up by the disparaging little voices that sound like your brother, or the bullies at school. You are no good, and you’ll never be any good.
The little voices urge you to quit while you are ahead. Or hurry.
I know because the little voices are not personal. We all have them. I do too.
I am more sensitive than most, so I notice a minuscule drop in my self-confidence, and in that moment I start massaging the context.
My favorite context is training, practice, skill building. Why? Because inside that context being a knucklehead is OK… and I am often a knucklehead.
The moment the context is shifted, life opens up. The thing I was losing, failing at, now becomes an experiment, and more often than not, because I am looking at it differently, it starts to show me how to do it so it can succeed.
My whole work is with context. I hardly ever work on content.
Here is another example: yesterday I walked to the grocery store. I did not need to buy anything, I just wanted to see if I can.
And yet, the context could have shifted into victim… Poor me, I don’t have a car, poor me, nobody takes care of me, poor me I need to walk miles to buy stuff to eat.
I know people like that: they are so attached to their dramatic context, that even i can’t move them out of it… even though I am really good at changing context.
So I walked as a victory lap. I heard “I’m so excited” for the whole two plus hours. That was the context I invented.
Now, in the dead of winter, it may get difficult to maintain an empowering context, but it will be a great training.
Because my favorite context for anything is training.
I learned to design context in Landmark Education.
Looking back, they always encouraged bombastic contexts, like blazing a path, or transforming the world.
Sounds sooo good, but is it really empowering?
I don’t think so.
The context needs to keep in step with who you already are… and be just a little bit bigger, to give you freedom, freedom to act, freedom to play, freedom to correct, freedom to be creative.
I like to imagine the playing ground like a ballroom with columns you can smash into. They inform you, but they also teach you to know where your body parts are at any moment. 1
Whereas a wide open space (context) gives you no guidance, no feedback, no indication of where you are.
If i said: my goal (context) is to transform humanity so we start respecting the planet, and Life…
Where do you start? How do you know if you did anything?
Instead I do it my way: a little limited yet inspiring part at a time.
Little voices, memes, context… or muscle testing… and interpreting what the test says.
I am excited… that I can wrap my arms around. I can succeed at it and I’ll know if I did or not.
I can see that I can even teach a few people how to do it.
I can see that that gives me a life worth living.
And isn’t that what living life is about?
It’s all in the context. Well crafted? Good life. Poorly crafted? Poor life.
I’d love to do a few context crafting classes, but I don’t know if you are ready? Please let me know in the comments section.
- I play a lot of freecell. I could make up that I play freecell for world peace… but that would be a bs context. Instead I made up that I play freecell to teach myself two things: 1. that the order in which you do things matter 2. that if you massage something long enough, you’ll see how it can be taken to where you want to go…
Why those? Because those are my weaknesses. I tend to not want to obey process, and I tend to give up things too early. My weaknesses likely never go away, it is like a limp… but I keep them at bay by practicing the opposite.
My client who is somber by nature, could invent everything as a practice to see the funny side of things. That is easy for me… but probably hard for him.