One of the common characteristics of people I meet is that they have no skills, no tool box, they are waiting for the right opportunity to do anything. They will start to learn the right skills when they need them, when they’ll know what they want to do. And, of course, it is too late to dig a well when you are thirsty… they languish of thirst…
I am a lot like Bob in the movie “Bob The Butler”.
I am inspired by that movie to do even more skill building to fill my tool box.
I am 70 years old. I have 27 skill sets, 27 ways to make a living. I am an architect. I am a brick mason. I can lay wooden floor, I can lay tiles both on the floor and on the wall. I can hang wallpaper. I am a plumber. etc. etc. etc. One time I counted. I have forgotten more professions than you know how to do.
What did this do to me? What did this do to Bob, the butler?
For one, we, the Bob-the-butler-people, don’t have to get stuck if one door closes… we have other doors that are open.
The more tools you have, the more ways you can solve issues, the less ways you get stuck.
Of course, it is true that what gets you stuck is your voices… and the marker feelings… but, trust me, they talk a whole lot less if you have more successes and experiences under your belt. A whole lot less.
Of course if you are stingy, you won’t do what Bob the butler, or I did.
Because stingy means: you want every breath of yours to be worth it… instant result, instant reciprocation, instant payment.
I am OK paying it forward ( pay it forward by doing a good deed for someone else).
Of course being the recipient of a “blessing” in paying it forward is easier than being the one who says: here you go… pay it forward.
I am this second type… I live, I breathe, I exist in total abundance. I need for nothing. I want for nothing.
I think it is mainly a cultural thing: most people, maybe all people I know have more than I do. Some: a lot more. And most people are really stingy. 1
Bob is anything but stingy. Watch his behavior, his words don’t give him justice.
I wasn’t always like this. The “world” seems to foster craving, hunger, wanting, a sense that something is missing.
It began for me when I arrived to the United States, in 1985. Hungary wasn’t like that in 1982 when I left there, and Israel definitely wasn’t like that in the in-between years.
But here, in America, everything suggested that I should have more. 2
I don’t know if it was just me feeling other people’s feelings, or it was communicated with the voices… but it was oppressive. My desire number went sky high. And my happiness dropped to nothing.
At the time (till 1988) I worked as an architect for hire (through Architemps, a temporary employment agency) and I felt this “I should be having more, I should be somewhere else doing something else” tension in every muscle… I was miserable, and in addition to that, I was doing a poor job at my job… because I didn’t want to be there.
In the evenings and the weekends I was at the Landmark Center… At the time I was participant in a Landmark seminar: Excellence: in the Zone.
In the seminar, part of the seminar, I created a project to bring excellence to my job.
The technology of the seminar is simple: list your complaints in life. Then create a project around one of your complaints, and bring possibility to the area. I used this technique successfully in many Landmark Seminars… Complaints stood on their heads are giving you an amazing new view.
It is similar to the inversion technique where you want something, and you, instead of starting acting on what you want, you ask: what can I do, how can I be, that guarantees that I won’t have what I want?
The Anna Karenina Principle, the principle of the strait and narrow is based on this inversion, both the Landmark version, and the other… Brilliant.
You can see how this applies… The desire trap, the stinginess, the waiting for the right thing… Even the sweeping things under the rug! If you don’t see it, please ask me in the comments…
Doing my seminar project, transforming my job from misery to a place I bring excellence to, I hit on something profound: the more interruptions, the more negative energy I have in my space that says somewhere is better than here, the less excellence is possible… and the less I enjoy doing my job.
I’ll have an off-color analogy here: if you are surrounded by pictures of beautiful specimens of your preferred gender, sex will always pale in comparison to what you imagine it would be with those beautiful looking people. Desire trap.
Or food: if you are on Pinterest all day looking at good looking food, your simple dinner will be unsatisfying, and you’ll probably fill yourself with a lot of potato chips, or bread, or candy, to fill the void.
This is desire trap, and this desire trap is why you live in scarcity, and this is why you do only a so-so job at life…
…you don’t want to be here, doing this life, you want to live in that dream-life you imagined.
Almost every person I deal with through my site is trapped in the desire trap. Whether it is abundance, happiness, joy, meaning, peace, riches, health, love that you desire, you are trapped in the desire trap… and life is tasteless to you.
One of the hallmarks of the desire trap is being more present to what you don’t have than what you do have.
The biggest fear you have is that by giving, you’ll be having even less than you have now… and you protect your desire as if it were the guarantee that you will have what you want.
I remember that I was deadly afraid to do anything, especially things that were connected to that desire, in fear of failing and then losing even the “hope” for fulfilling my desire.
It turned out that this approach was a definite paralyzing approach, an absolute misery maker.
Only when I was willing to take steps not connected to my desire that I was able to finally rid myself of the desire trap.
At some point in the 80’s I attended 12 step programs. First for Adult Children of dysfunctional families (ACOA). And when I felt done with that, I started to attend Emotions Anonymous meetings. I was an angry person. I suppressed my anger and I needed to learn to release my anger so it wouldn’t kill me.
People in emotions anonymous were worse off even than myself.
One of them, a guy, lived not very far from me, yet I had to take two buses to get to his house.
I went there to visit him… I had no friends. No relatives. I was alone. I felt alone. I wanted to experience that I still belonged to the human race. I spent the afternoon and the evening with him. Then I didn’t see him at meetings, and asked around about him.
Turned out that after that afternoon, he snapped out of his depression, and started to work. He was doing well. He didn’t need the 12 step program any more.
Surprisingly the same thing happened to me! I also snapped out of my depression.
That simple one-time incident of being willing to be generous with my time, my warmth, my listening snapped ME out of MY depression… and the rest is history. I started a magazine, that was wildly successful. I still had periods when my life was about my life, and I slipped back into depression. Lately I have been able to stay out of depression… my life is not about my life any more.
There is a principle in this. Your life makes no sense when it’s about your life. It leads to depression. There are a lot of ways people express this principle… choose something bigger, etc.
Most people think it is giving your life to other people… but that is a misery maker too: some people are like a black hole, nothing comes back… lol. You need to choose yourself, be Self-ish, and give from that place. Only give away what is not really yours… your time, your love, your compassion. Not your Self. But give it fully, expecting nothing in return. The moment you do: you are stingy. And life is heading downward.
It’s like a rope-dance. Don’t lean too much to either side and then you can cross the abyss.
How to have a life not about your life?
You need to pick an idea, an idea bigger than just your life…
An idea that includes you and your life… but doesn’t stop there. In my case the idea that includes me and doesn’t stop with me is creating a methodology to take humans to the next level of evolution… it’s a purpose bigger than my life, it is unlikely and probably impossible to accomplish. Yet it is worth giving my life to it… As I am attempting the impossible, MY life gets enriched too. It is a win-win.
I like success. I like when people tell me: this was really great. Or I like to see you succeed. But I am not hooked on it… My life, the quality of my life doesn’t depend on my day to day success, or even on the success of my purpose in life.
Truth be told, I have to work on remembering that, occasionally. I used to have to work on it at least once a week. Now I can go 6-7-8 weeks not needing to unhook myself.
I am researching software solutions to create a community of people who would be willing to support each other to become a human being, to be productive, maybe even producers.
I have now four students who are learning how to do that. If I can teach them to be both generous and Self-ish, that will be a big step in the right direction to make their lives worth living.
I start small, and if and when it works, I ratchet it up.
I also do what I teach… 90% of the time. Not bad. 10%: I am still working on it.
I have found that my 10% is self-sabotage.
I have been trying really hard to choose myself. But when I say “I choose myself” I have a blank there. I don’t know what that would look like. I don’t know what that means.
One time, a few weeks ago, I succeeded. I said it differently: I am important to me. And suddenly I had a choice: to have a phone call or to buy myself grocery for the weekend. I chose buying the grocery. The sky did not collapse. Nobody yelled at me, and I was beaming.
This week I read a book, which would not be a big deal: I read at least one book every week… What was a big deal is that I read a book I didn’t know anything about.
I followed an advice from this guy who wrote “Hustle”. He said: read a few pages in the Amazon preview, and if it grabs you, buy it. If it doesn’t, or you don’t want to spend the money, just read those pages.
I had massive fear… my conscientious 3 nature that makes me read books cover to cover was piping up. “Hell, we can try it!” I said brightly, and read a few pages from this book…
I know when I get “hooked” and I want to read the whole book… and this is how this book was.
I read it. I cried over it. I saw myself in it. I saw that I have a lot of stuff swept under the rug… and that stuff keeps me from taking care of myself. Keeps me from choosing myself.
In one of my articles this week I am talking about the method of alleviating depression. The same method will work to work through the “under the rug” stuff… coming to terms with it, removing some of the “is-ness”. (My Playground method)
This is my self-project now. It will take as long as it takes. I don’t think it will ever disappear… but I’ll treat it as a the ball of yarn, I’ll snip away at it until I can restore flow.
Because when you cannot choose yourself, there is no flow in that area.
I am lucky. Most people I work with have a huge pile of stuff under their rug. I am going to be able to do this clean up project while I am dealing with their stuff… just like reading this book has helped tremendously.
Will my students be able to do it for each other. NO.
What kind of “listening” does a person must have to be helpful?
Listening is how you listen. Most people have a lot of stuff blocking their listening, they agree, they sympathize, they advise, they try to fix, they condone, they disagree. They judge. They turn the conversation to be about themselves. They narrate what you say. In essence they are lousy listeners.
Good listening is about the echo the speaker hears.
Just like echo is killed with stuff in a room, the person who is speaking cannot hear themselves in a listening that is full of “stuff”.
Some people are naturally good listeners. Others need a lot of training…
If you don’t have a good listener, you need to find a professional listener. I am a 90% good listener. Why? I guess I bring my own stuff and that may muffle the echo.
I am sure this is the same 10% that is missing for me to be impeccable in other areas of life.
Impeccable is my favorite word… impeccable integrity… impeccability. Crisp. Beautiful.
PS: I spoke with my brother a few months ago. He said: take care of yourself. So maybe saying “I take care of myself” could be my phrase for “choosing myself”.
This opens up a whole can of worms… not now. I need to work on this in my privacy. I don’t think you are ready for the can of worms… lol.
- Being stingy with their heart, with their time, with everything. The opposite of stingy is, surprisingly really, appreciation and gratitude. The source of abundance. Because abundance is a state of being, a state of mind. The state of flow. What blocks the flow is stinginess. Your stinginess.
- I remember reading an article during my commute to work that suggested that I only buy stuff I need and not what I want. These were distinctions wholly alien to my mind… New. Unfamiliar. And corrupting me… they made me want even more.
- wishing to do what is right, especially to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly.
“a conscientious and hardworking clerk”
synonyms: diligent, industrious, punctilious, painstaking, sedulous, assiduous, dedicated, careful, meticulous, thorough, attentive, hard-working, studious, rigorous, particular;