If you want to become more, grow, evolve, self awareness is important but it is not enough. Meditation is not enough. Having a person to model yourself after is not enough. Reading is not enough. Understanding is not enough either.
Something is missing, the presence of which would make the most difference, and could take you through the barrier to full knowledge of your machine.
What machine, you ask?
This is the same as when you mention to someone that their little voice is always talking… What little voice they ask?
90% of what matters about a human, about you, is in the invisible, the vague, the hidden. Even others can only see the peak of the iceberg, not the whole… not the part that is immersed, not the part that we call “the machine”.
If it is an iceberg, why call it a machine? Because it works like a machine. It has its moves, it has its gears, it seems to have even a design to it.
I have a whole 53 video course on it, the 53 invisibles. I created that course a long time ago, and since then I have seen more, in more details, but this article is not about that.
This article is about mastering recognizing the machine in others.
Without that you remain in the dark about yourself. Without that you remain too focused on what you feel, what you think, what you want, what you need, and stay ineffective in life, ineffective with your own machine, ineffective in getting what you want.
As you may know, I am leading an experimental program called The Playground.
For children, the playground is where they can, without pressure, without needing to, having to, or should, practice using their bodies in different ways, with different challenges, learn to get along with others, share, butt heads, etc. so when they get to Life ready, Life where they have to and need to. Get there knowing who they are, so they can perform.
Of course the playground can be a kindergarten, the street, the backyard with lots of trees, other people’s backyards…
Climbing trees and falling down, riding the scooter and falling, swimming, running, competing who can pee farthest… you know all the things that children need to know to know who they are… to have enough independence and self awareness to start life on the right foot.
Most people never quite learn it.
In OUR Playground we do what we, adults, need to do to know who we are, where we are standing, what moves us to do what we do, why we get angry, upset, why we beg for being liked, accepted, appreciated, how we posture and why… Why we play hero, victim, attacked, never do well… Our unique machine.
But, and this is my newest learning, knowing ourselves, the inner workings, is near impossible if we don’t see it reflected in others.
In the Playground we focus only on four of the 53 invisibles.
Understanding is the booby prize… near worthless.
Unless we can recognize those four invisibles when we see them, outside of us, we won’t be able to see them and manage them inside us.
Some 35 years ago I participated in a seminar where the leader shared that he bought a red Honda. He bought red, because he wanted to be special. Different from everybody else. Because he had never seen a red Honda.
So he paid for his spanking new shiny red Honda, and drove off the lot. And to his surprise, all he could see on the road, in driveways, even behind half closed garage doors, were red Hondas.
Once you can distinguish something fully, once you OWN IT you’ll be able to see it everywhere.
And so it is with those four invisibles.
As the saying goes: you wouldn’t recognize it even if you tripped over it.
And, of course, you trip over it many times on any given day… because it is the machine… it is always there, and it always runs.
Most of these invisibles I learned in my 26 years in Landmark Education. And about 30% of them I distinguished on my own.
On the first day of the 3-day Landmark Forum half of the day is spent with two of the four invisibles we focus on in the Playground. And yet, when I ask any Forum graduate, they don’t know, they don’t recognize, they try to remember what they learned… it isn’t part of their lives… They maybe understood it, but never KNEW it.
Just like in the Bible, Adam KNEW Eve… ahem.
I am not blaming Landmark, it is not easy.
I did my first programs with that company 35 years ago. And I distinguished my own machine accurately for the first time this past Sunday, after about four hours of dealing with other people’s… and then, out of the blue, I saw mine. In all its gory beauty.
I laughed, I cried, and then I promptly forgot what it was.
Luckily I recorded the call, and I listened again. And then I spent a night recalling all the things I was not proud of in my life. And then I almost cut off my thumb, although I am quite adept with knives…
The machine went full tilt boogie on me.
I got curious. Can my students identify my machine from my behavior? And most could not. But even the ones that did could not see that the reason they did, because they had the SAME type of machine, so they recognized the “goal” of the machine, after I told them what it did.
The keyword here is to go from understanding to recognizing. Seeing it. Recognizing it in all its disguises. Distinguishing it from other things you feel inside.
Dale Carnegie, the author of “how to win friends and influence people” talks about the inner drivers every human has, wanting importance, significance, relevance, and validation, etc.
What he doesn’t say that there are two kinds of people or machines in this regard:
- Machine 1 does things in order to get that importance, significance, relevance, and validation.
- Machine 2 also wants it but instead of doing things to get it, suffers, yells, angers, blames for not getting it.
My machine works in the doing mode.
Many other people’s machine works in the blaming mode.
- People with the doing mode can be successful, although the road is really bumpy.
- The people with the blaming mode cannot be successful, because all their efforts are spent in finding ways they can blame.
Regardless what type of machine you have, you can learn it, study it in minute details, and start managing it.
But if you learn, through experimentation, how to manage it, you can finally start having both success AND significance.
In the Playground we attempt to remove wrong, the interpretation of wrong from our lives.
- The first machine will let you do that.
- The second machine will fight it, after all how can it blame if there is nothing wrong?!
My hunch is that the moment the participant with the second type of machine realizes it, realizes it that the machine puts the blame on others for not getting what the person wants: importance, relevance, significance, validation, they will be, for the first time, start wanting to own what they want, that start working towards it.
It is important to say here, that in some really weird way being a complainer, an angry person, combative, argumentative, attacking, is also moves the person towards significance. Negative significance.
Not what you really wanted… is it?
So it is always about importance, significance, relevance, and validation. regardless which type of machine is running your life.
The goal is to manage the machine to not go into the extreme moves it likes to go: heroism, saintliness, sacrificial lamb in the first machine, and anger and blame in the second.
It is the Anna Karenina Principle again: leaving the extremes in the wind.
And it is also the Hillel quote again:
If I am not for me, who is for me?
If I am only for myself, who am I?
If not now, when?
- When it is importance you want, you can give it to yourself.
- If you only give importance to yourself, to what YOU want, you are engaging in desire to receive for the self alone, the only evil there is.
- And if you wait, procrastinate, let the machine run amok… when will you do what YOU need to do to become happy, fulfilled, successful, important, significant, relevant, and validated in your life?
The 53 invisibles is a good introduction to the machine.
Get the 53 invisibles program