Oktoberfest episode 33. Values and behaviour
It probably doesn’t surprise you listening to this podcast or reading it, that behaviour is always on top of the tree of what we achieve. If a person talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk, it doesn’t matter. The walk determines the result.
Nobody walks their talk. We limp our lives. We know what we want and yet we also know how we feel. How we feel is not always going to drive behaviour that will get us what we want. I want six-pack abbs but I ate packet of jellybeans yesterday that were given to me by the pharmacist for being a good boy. But for the rest of the day I ate well. I didn’t walk my talk but I did limp.
When I first started travelling the world with my weekend retreat for aspiring individuals, I called it real spirit. The reason I chose this title was because I had spent the previous 15 years of my life chasing my tail in what could be called a spiritual pursuit. I wanted most of all to change the results of my life and yet I mostly pursued things that changed how I felt.
That meant I vacillated between jellybeans and healthy food. That was more a metaphor that it was reality because I was vegetarian for most of the time. I guess you can say I must have felt really bad before I started that journey. If I felt really good I wouldn’t have gone out looking for things that made me feel good. And so I understand why I went and did what I did.
But what I found after many years of pursuing feel good personal growth was that I still didn’t always feel good. I was disappointed when I didn’t feel good. All the meditation and yoga practice, all of the association with eastern teachings did not make my feelings go away and did not guarantee I would feel good. I so the outcome was rather disappointing. So I thought it wasn’t real. And when I did discover the process of improving my life, I called it real spirit. It’s probably a little bit arrogant, but I was trying to say what I had found about feeling good was completely different to what is commercially called spirituality.
You see, most of the arts of eastern spirituality are practised before or after work. We see this at Bondi all the time. People go down and practice their yoga on the beach or meditate, then go and do the work that pays the bills, and then after work they return to the beach to try and shake the stress. This same group of people might go as a collective to a coffee shop and when you hear the tone of their conversations you know that the meditation, whatever the style, didn’t last much past the sand. I’m happy for them but that is not what I think we are looking for in human development.
When you are sitting at your computer in the office dealing with some ridiculous calamity that has manifested it self and therefore threatened this years bonus for you and the company, the question will come about how you feel. When you are debating with your partner about whether the lounge suite should be green or yellow, the question will come how do you feel? And I think this is far more important than whether you feel good sitting on a beach on Bondi with your legs crossed.
After all that work chasing my tail I started to meet a few people who were successful in the area of life I wanted to achieve success in. At first I considered them to be my competitors. But then I came to realise that I was having an inferiority complex. I needed to work out how I could rub shoulders with people who were achieving financial success as well as personal success. I recognise there were people who were really doing a brilliant job of being themselves and delivering an incredible service to the world they worked in.
These people that I met over the period of the next few years with champions in their industries. They also linked their lives, they also didn’t feel fantastic all the time, but they had a commitment and drive it was absolutely enviable. They also practised some level of spirituality in their life but it was more focused on achieving a result than it was simply being good.
The one thing all these people had in common was a drive for excellence. Whether they were talking about trying to prevent suicides in A first nation community or whether they were trying to share knowledge that they had, or whether they were building a massive amount of money bye creating a business, they were committed to excellence. And this is where my inferiority complex evaporated.
As I spent more time travelling and working with these champions I started to see what it look like behind the curtain of a person who is committed to excellence. Firstly, that commitment to excellence required sacrifice. They were not your normal parents, they were not your user-friendly mum or dad. Secondly, they appreciated that the quality of their health depended 99% on what they ate rather than an aspiration to be a mediocre triathlete. And so their health program was based mostly on what they didn’t eat, and what they didn’t do. And with this I begin to appreciate that you can benefit from learning from the eastern teachings which teaches you how to deny your senses first. All of these champions still had the appetite to be distracted and run around and party but, they had a big enough vision to dwarf those temptations.
But it wasn’t just a vision. A commitment to excellence means they wanted to be the very best in whatever field they had chosen. And that ambition was the 24 hour a day seven days a week ambition. They were not just sitting on the beach in the morning wanting to feel good. If they sat on the beach it was because there was some connection between doing that and their ambition/vision.
With a commitment to excellence, the line between work and play became a complete blur. These champions why not running away from their work on the weekend, and if they had a spare moment during the week it wasn’t sitting down trying to recover from work because they didn’t really know when work finished and where everything else started. And as I started to emerge as one of these people from this period of wanting to simply feel good, my values drove my vision and I to became driven for excellence.
It is hard to explain in a podcast how painful that becomes.
Mediocrity or, it’s good enough, becomes the absolute enemy. Tolerance for distraction and low value life becomes revolting. And some people might say it this is completely selfish but, when you explore it you realise that anybody who has done anything on this earth worth remembering, has become committed to excellence and struggled.
In my day I meet many people who work very very hard. They are very very stressed from time to time. They are also very committed to their families and their lives outside of their work. And this is a real struggle. It is far easier when you are committed to building something bigger than yourself to deal with other priorities.
This all comes down to values. And there are intrinsic values and there are extrinsic. If you are in pursuit of extrinsic values that’s like starting at the finishing line and running backwards. Instead, it’s wise to start at the beginning with intrinsic values. When you can connect your intrinsic values to what you do you will become inspired. When you connect your extrinsic values to what you do you will become motivated but desperation will be your collaborator.
Let’s use an example. Let’s just say I walk down to the beach one day and there is a sign that says “Bondi Beach Bay swim competition in one month.” I look at that sign and think I want to win in my age group. I then go to the Swimming Coach at the pool and start training. And then I start to think what it will be like when I win. And the swimming starts to take over from my work and the next thing you know I don’t have time to get things done because I’m at the gym and when I’m not, I’m looking up videos on how to swim. And here’s how easy it is to be motivated to do something but not have that thing aligned with your values.
When you come to the end of the 30 day challenge you will have been given a few exercises to help you explore your values. If your mindset is still obsessing with the word should, your values will be a complicated mess. One of those values exercises asks you to look around you and observe rather than hypothesise about your values. The 13 values questions are really important because they look at your history of behaviour rather than the mystery of your thoughts and ambitions.
But this is not the only thing that makes a champion. Whether you are an Olympic champion or a person who wants to do Olympic level things in your business or whether you want to be an Olympic level engineer, the ambition to be anything else has to be questioned. To be a champion has always got a commercial aspect to it and this is the wonderful thing about competition. When somebody says to me as their coach, I want to get a new job, I asked them have they considered whether they are ready to compete in the next level? And so we can have commercial and personal aspirations to grow and just like me becoming motivated to race in a swim race the question will be weather the sacrifices necessary to win at the next level are included in the expectation of being a champion.
Champions are real people. They go home to families. They have health and therefore health problems from time to time. They lose sleep when things go wrong. They need a return on their investment, usually money. They need to invest that money both in their own security and their long-term business. But at the end of the day with all this the commitment to excellence in their chosen sphere of life is second to none. Marriages might come and go, hopefully not, health problems might come up because of travel, but the one thing you will find each of these champions has mastered is stress.
And this is where values become the absolute benchmark. If your intrinsic values are not being satisfied you will be stressed. If your extrinsic values are not being satisfied you might become unmotivated. The difference between stress and unmotivated is the feeling. Stress does not distract us from being a champion it is absolutely however a roadblock. Unmotivated on the other hand is in its self and awful feeling and breeds doubt and doubt breeds mediocrity. Once a champion starts aspiring to mediocrity by trying to balance too many balls in the air, the destiny is for told and it will not be a good one.
So the champion mindset. It is nearly impossible to mimic another person. Because everyone is absolutely unique in the way they approach the target. But there are some ground rules and these have become the teachings of Innerwealth.
Let’s run through them quickly;
When a person is thinking got to, should, need to they are absolutely aspiring to mediocrity. Most people live in a prison of their own thoughts, mostly the should’s and the shouldn’ts of their life. It’s not necessarily what they think but how they think it keeps them in a state of mediocrity trying to decorate the present sell of their own thought process. And so self honesty becomes a very high aspect of being a champion.
Secondly the ability to stay on track becomes the powerhouse. When I am sitting in my office and one of the children come in to ask me a question I can either get angry and tell them that I’m in a meeting and I’m very important or give them my undivided attention. Whatever I do, whatever emotion that I use, whether it is kindness or anger, I will have wasted energy that I could have conserved and used more wisely. And this is the difference between the champion and mediocre individual is that the mediocre individual will spend energy on things that are really nothing to do with the end goal. They will argue with a spouse or get emotional about a child trying to come in and ask a question. Neither of those two things achieves anything. And if this person is stuck in the shoot of life this will happen to nearly every single thing they do. Their emotions will be stuck as the driving force of the day and emotions are simply energy in motion. But it’s not going anywhere even though the individual might feel they’ve achieved something by being angry, critical, judge mental, seft protected, etc.
Third, success in any field is a science. It does not rely on nonrandom variables. Success whether it is in the Olympic Games or in a corporate hierarchy is a science. The more scientific you make this process the more likely it is you will achieve success. But that success formula changes from industry to industry and job to job. But ultimately it is a strategy. Every champion I’ve ever met no matter what their field of work as a strategy for success that they have been given by the person who achieve success before them. In other words they have been coached or mentored. Many people are trying to achieve things to prove that they are worthy. Again this is motivation and it comes from extrinsic values. It’s the equivalent to starting a running race at the end and running backwards towards the start.
Finally, excellence is a lifestyle. It’s not just something we invent or a shirt we put on when we go to work, or go swimming at the pool. It is all very well to understand the formula and have a strategy for success but if we are distracted and lazy in its application then the results will be equivalent to what we put in. That means, in must be on constant vigilance. There is a pyramid or a hierarchy of aspects of life that must be in place in order for a person to be able to be focused on the mountain top. Things like self-confidence, anxiety, stress, life balance, well-being and others add up not to an outcome, but to a foundation that will allow a person to focus on excellence in their chosen field.
I’m going to end this episode with a poem which I believe summarises everything I know about the lifestyle of champions. Innerwealth is built around the skills that enable this poem to be put into practice.
A Master in the art of Living…
Draws no sharp distinction .
Between their work and their play.
Their labour and their leisure .
Their minds and their bodies .
Their education or their recreation.
They hardly know which is which.
They simply pursue their vision .
Of excellence .
Through whatever .
They are doing and leave .
Others to determine .
Whether they are working or playing.
To themselves, it always seems .
As if they are doing both.