Oktoberfest episode 29. Self-management
My weekly routine includes at least five sessions on my bike turbo. I have an app specifically designed for this purpose and it generates a 1 to 2 hour bike ride somewhere in the world that I watch on video while it generates power and cadence expectations based on my current fitness and my goals.
One of those episodes, which frequently change, is an episode based on riding styles. There are drills that it teaches and a checklist that it provides that you go through while pedalling.
The checklist starting with the foot moves all the way up to the neck and wrists. The point of the checklist is that you should be able to go through it when you are under extreme pressure. And so in this training app, during this particular riding style exercise, the app puts you under extreme pressure and while struggling to keep up with the power and cadence readings, asks you to check whether you are still on track with the checklist.
What always surprises me is how when I get tired I completely slipped out of style. As I start to focus on survival, as the demand on me to keep my power Hi while my heart rate is going through the roof, changes my focus and I forget the basics. I have done this particular drill at least 50 times over the last three years. It is so easy to do when I am not under pressure. When I am just doing a joyride or just going for a ride in the bush with my partner, the checklist is right on the tip of my focus and I have great style. But last weekend just showed me how far I am from having this whole style thing completely under control.
I did a five hour bike ride by myself. For the first two hours I was just Chris Froome, riding like a champion. My checklist was clear in my head and my self talk was absolutely spot on. But the sun came out a little shorter than expected and I began to dehydrate out in the forest where there were no water facilities. I’d also done the typical Australian bush ride by starting at high altitude, dropping down into the valley and of course leaving myself the horrible reality of climbing back up on the bike out of the valley at the finish.
So with two hours to go and a massive hill to climb up I started to wrestle with tiredness. The more tired I became and the more pressure I was under from a power and cadence perspective, the more I forgot about style. And yet, the secret to riding a bike up along the hill, and maintaining and efficient low energy consuming FORM is style.
There are many things you will learn from me about Innerwealth. Things like the mindset checklist, gratitude, presents, certainty, and love. And when everything is going smoothly at home or at work it is really fantastic to practice these for powerful mindset skills. But when something goes pear-shaped, and you are tired, and something didn’t go the way that you wanted to, the first thing that happens is you start to become ungrateful, out of presence, uncertain and certainly emotional, which is the opposite to love. Just like me on the bike the checklist can be easy on the turbo under no pressure but go completely out the window when the heat is on.
Another exercise that we practice at Innerwealth is self talk first thing in the morning. Parent, adult, child or motivation instruction reward. When things are going well sometimes people just stop doing the morning practice because they don’t think they need it and then the shit hits the fan and they start to ask again about how to do the self talk. And that’s like not practising the skills of my bike checklist and the top turbo and then wondering why I can’t get up the hill when I go out riding in the bush. Exercises are put in place only so that they become natural habits eventually. But those natural habits eventually, can only be tested under pressure.
From time to time I get a cold sore on my lip. It is one of my favourite things to have because it shows me that I have forgotten the checklist for maintaining my immune system at a very very early intervention point. What causes a cold sore is always when my body feels rundown. Sometimes, when things are easy, and everything is going smoothly, I get complacent about sleep and a few other things that are key to my daily recovery and immune response, and slip into old habits. I don’t need the most expensive seminar on earth, a hospital bed, to remind me that this is happened. I get a cold sore. There are few things more annoying than a big red bubble on my lip that tells me in the world I have not walked my talk. But nobody does.
Nature grows in cycles. We evolve at the border of order and chaos. And when we are in a state of order we think it is permanent. Now I have been doing personal mastery development for nearly 50 years. More than most of you readers have been alive. And I still forget the routines and checklists of being a happy healthy me. And every time that happens I shake my head in bewilderment that I could have fallen into the same old trap. I also feel stupid because I’m telling people to stick to the routines and checklists of Innerwealth when even I sleep under the radar.
One of the most important shifts in our life is when we stop beating ourselves up for being not perfect in some inhuman definition of what a human really is. When you find out that all of us evolve at the border of order and chaos you can actually say that even the most disciplined person is going to vacillated between following the checklist and forgetting it. Let me say that the higher you go in business or sport the more important it becomes to do checklists during the easy times.
In contrast to a person who stops doing checklists during the easy times who is therefore seeking pleasure and not considering the consequences of their sleepy easy times, the person who has learnt to live with vision inspiration and purpose, is always considering the impact of their behaviour on others. The person who stops doing checklist during easy times is just self obsessing. The only time this self abscessing person decides to do any checklist management is when the going gets tough. And of course when the going gets tough it’s too late to start practising healthy habits. The person who is working on vision inspiration and purpose is not self obsessing any more and is more concerned on their purpose in the world and the impact of their life on the lives of others on the planet. Such as leadership at work. When this becomes the focus, easy times are an opportunity to practice the drills and checklists because they know the hard times will come and when those hard times come it may be hard to practice the drills and checklists while they take responsibility for others.
Going back to the bike analogy on the turbo. It is so easy to say to myself that I don’t need to practice the drills over and over again and repeat that dam checklist over and over again. Because it is easy on the balcony of my home on my bike turbo to vary my motivation and make it easy. But if I do that, I know that the next time I ride down a hill into a valley and I have to ride back out again, which is going to be very common, I am going to regret the fact that my style has gone to crap at the bottom of the hill on the way back up rather than somewhere near the top. I can expect always to go out of style somewhere near the top when I’m exhausted. I am aware that at some point I might drop into a state of self preservation and survival at which time I don’t even have the energy to scratch myself let alone worry about style. But I wish I could in bed this checklist so that even under enormous pressure it remained solid. Remembering, that the purpose of style is to make it easier when I am exhausted. The purpose of the checklist is to make it easier when I am exhausted to keep my bike moving forward at the minimum of cost. And the same goes for the checklists with Innerwealth.
You might think that this is not relevant. And that is probably the truth if you are not on purpose or following a vision greater than yourself. And there is no reason why you should not do that. The shift from being a pleasure driven individual who is trying to make a happy family and a comfortable home and get through work as quickly as possible so they can go and play football or touch tennis, is a big shift to being a person with vision inspiration and purpose.
But one day we all wake up to the notion that nothing of the senses ever satisfies the soul. And no matter how hard we tried to make a family happy or to give ourselves pleasure we come to the realisation that this is the definition of infinity. Infinity is the attempt to make other people happy including ourselves. Because as soon as we get happy with XYZ, we become comfortable with XYZ, and ABC becomes really attractive. Satisfying the senses is what drives us to be narcissistic and we all do that for a given period of time before we suddenly go I’ve had enough. This moment of, I’ve had enough, is what used to be called a midlife crisis. But now this crisis can happen to people even 18 to 25 years old. I even see young children and youth at the age of 11. They see the misery of their parents always stressed and worried and say I’ve had enough of whatever it is my parents are consuming.
Those young teenagers are basically saying nothing of the senses satisfies the soul but they are saying it way too early in their life. All things being equal they would have it least lasted till the mid 20s and maybe even to their mid 40s before this crisis. An identity crisis is win everything we thought was going to be important doesn’t become important any more and everything we thought would make us happy doesn’t and everything we thought would make other people happy doesn’t and suddenly there is a question. WTF?
This is the most important time in life to have a coach who has spirituality as one of their seven masteries. Yes, a midlife crisis will impact relationships, yes a midlife crisis will impact health, yes a midlife crisis will question financial pursuits, yes all of these things. And yes if we’re not careful we will end up single, broke, in Bali, doing yoga, no job and wondering what the hell went wrong.
But nothing did go wrong. It was an awakening. When a person suddenly comes to the realisation, realisations that are written about in the Innerwealth book, that making other people happy is an impossible task, living for pleasure is and rewarding, that having financial goals as being the core stability of our life is cold, this is a moment in life that is very important. We go from being a consumer to a giver. That transition is like the process of being skinned alive. Nobody should underestimate the challenge. And that is why checklists are so important in going through these transitions. The majority of the world is built around narcissism and deceit of pleasure. So when you decide to ride up a steep hill and move from who you were in focus to who you can be in focus, vision inspiration and purpose, all of the affirmations around you might suggest you have lost your way when really, you found it.
Since I started Innerwealth I have been open to many of the teachings of many of the most popular people in the world in human development. But I am no longer. What I see people making money out of books and speaking engagements and workshops encouraging people to revert back to pleasure seeking and narcissism when most of the people who are seeking help are seeking to move beyond it. This transition, challenges every thought we have and can send us in multiple directions if we follow classic teachings shared.
Back in the 70s the West discovered eastern teachings. The Beatles went to India and studied with the Maharishi. It was a wonderful discovery and many of the great teachings of the east were brought to the west. Not the least of which is meditation. But if you go, as I have, back to the roots of what was being taught in the 70s and go and find the roots of those teachings in their home, you will find they were all corrupted in the process of delivery. Once the original gurus passed on, their work was diluted, so that narcissistic people could consume it. But it’s teaching was against the principle of narcissism.
A short story before I finish. On treks in Nepal one of the great experiences is visiting the old monasteries that scatter the mountains in the Himalayas. Many of them were rebuilt from parts of ministries that were carried from Tibet across the Himalaya to escape the Holocaust. Ancient scrolls wrapped in heavy wood. Beautiful artwork carved into rock. Years of worship embedded in the floors and ceilings. And as one enters any of these big or small monasteries they are greeted by monks with a smile. It gives the entire impression of happiness. And it is really easy to mistake the purpose and function of this monastery as being to make you happy. To make you feel good. But this is never the case. And it is of quite some shock for my clients to find out that you never ever go to a monastery for yourself. The monks are not happy because they live in a monastery, they are happy because you have come and they can share vision inspiration and purpose with you. The purpose of a monastery is for the greater good. The purpose of meditation is for the well-being of all beings. The reason monks spend time exercising and doing practices for their body is to keep them in a good state to fulfil the purpose of the monastery which is greater than the self.
And if you translate that into your job you might get a different view point. When we go to work to give ourselves pleasure we are like a monk who is meditating to make themselves happy. And if that were to take place the monk would not last because they could not suffer such deprivation as they do for the purpose of their own pleasure. And any monk who does this usually ends up giving back their robes.
Maybe next time you are thinking why do I have a family and you are wondering how to make them happy there, you can consider that the purpose of a family it’s not it’s own pleasure but the well-being of all beings and the home you have is a monastery.
Getting caught halfway between a pleasure seeking narcissistic young person and the realisation that nothing of the senses ever satisfies the soul and that vision inspiration and purpose is, in a clumsy western way, the solution to crossing over and fulfilling the transition to become a purpose driven person, it might make things a lot easier than trying to be caught halfway in between listening to the mass-market hype of narcissism and self pleasuring, getting confused about the purpose of eastern teachings, and half doing the Innerwealth work whenever there is spare time or life is too tough, then you might recognise the benefit of doing those checklists during the easy times, just like me on the turbo on a Sunday morning, like right now, getting into my bike gear and repeating that same checklist for the 51st time. I really don’t need that checklist today or for the easy days, I need it so I remain with my vision inspiration and purpose when the times get tough going up those long, long, long, long Hills.
That’s the end of this episode. With spirit, Chris.