I am going to approach doing good business from a little bit different perspective. I am going to talk to you about the relationship you have with your mind and how the state of your mind affects every business decision you make. Unless you have a good mind you will never be able to succeed and keep growing your business, whatever that business might be.
When I talk about business what I ultimately mean is making more and more money at what you do and feeling good while you’re doing it. Being able to focus, to really listen, to be creative, to be open to new opportunities, to form solid and respectful relationships is an art, and unless the mind is strong and steady, you will always fall short of your goals. So….by entering this process through the back door, we are going to look at the foundation and underpinnings of what it takes to create good relationships and good business.
Personally, I have gone to many seminars, heard lectures, and read numerous books over the years on time management, on improving corporate relationships, on being more productive and organized, etc. and I don’t think at this point there are too many more methods we can hear that we have not heard before. We come back from one of these talks, make another list and set another goal, and in truth we are no closer to improving our work situation and how we feel every day.
Each One of Us is Hard-Wired
This is because for things to change we need to change the hard wiring. Each one of us is hard-wired. That means that because of our stuff, and every one of us has stuff, after awhile, we are programmed to react certain ways. What this means is that we do most things on automatic and this automatic way is the way each one of us is hardwired. One button is pushed and that automatically takes us to the next button.
Have you ever just been going in one direction, either in work or a relationship, and something happens or someone says something, and all of a sudden, you’re upset? A button is pushed and that button may or may not have anything to do with what is actually going on at the moment. The next thing we do is lash out at the other person who is totally clueless as to what is going on, and yet for us it feels very real and very personal.
Now it’s okay to do things on automatic if they work for you and make you feel good, but if they don’t work, you’d be foolish to keep doing things the same old way. But this is precisely what most of us do.
So…the key is to change the underpinnings (the hard-wiring) not just slap some new method on the top. Because unless the underpinnings, the foundation of what we are doing changes, we will once again be sucked back into the old way of doing things. That’s because hardwiring has critical mass and momentum and will greatly outweigh anything we initially put on top of it.
Understanding How Energy Works
Let’s just spend a minute and talk about energy and how it works. This is not my airy fairy theory on energy but real physics; the stuff Einstein talked about.
Everything moves; nothing stays static. That means that the more times we do something the more critical mass it gains and the faster it moves. So, if we are doing something that doesn’t work and we keep doing it, it gains critical mass and speed; that is, it begins to have a life of its own. For example, if you are continually having a communication problem with your customer or client and constantly feel uptight and you do not address this in a healthy way and change the way you are doing this, this problem will continue to get worse.
When this happens, we get sick, don’t return the phone call, have an argument, lose the contract or worse yet, blame someone else for our misery and end up being a victim.
Instead of looking at someone else, the first place we need to look is at ourselves, the relationship we have with our self, and that ultimately is the relationship we have with our mind. Unless we understand the nature of the mind and how the mind is an integral part and root cause of everything, we can never make changes that bring new results.
We need to quiet the mind. We need to stop the incessant chatter that never gives us a moment’s peace and creates constant stress in our lives. Said another way – When you have a mind that never stops, you have a stressful life!
How Do You React to Thoughts?
Quieting the mind does not mean that we anesthetize ourselves. (I am not taking about a zombie-like state. If we want to do that, we can take drugs.) It also doesn’t mean we don’t have thoughts or things to do, but rather that we are not held hostage by those thoughts. Said another way, we do not feel compelled to chase after every thought that pops into our minds and we get to actually pick and choose what thoughts we want to pay attention to. Up until this point, everywhere the mind goes, we go. The mind is leading us around and we willingly follow. The tail is wagging the dog; the dog is not wagging the tail.
How many of you answer the phone very time it rings? Most people feel that when a phone rings they must answer it. But what does a phone ringing really have to do with you and your life? Really nothing. Also a phone that doesn’t ring – what difference does it make? Do we feel unloved when the phone doesn’t ring? And yet, most of us feel when the phone rings we must answer it.
What if I were to tell you that the nature of a phone is to ring – that is what it does – phones ring – just like the nature of the mind is to have thoughts. You do not have to answer the phone every time it rings and you do not have to chase every thought you have. A phone rings, a mind has thoughts, - that’s the nature of things.
What happens is that when we feel compelled to answer the phone every time it rings and chase every thought we have, we will absolutely be on overload and never get anything done. In other words, we will not be able to focus, not be able to complete one task before being distracted and heading off in another direction.
So, the first step is to recognize that we are on overload. Rather than do more, we need to do less. When our work feels unmanageable, we need to stop. If you keep pushing past this point, you will continue to feel even more overwhelmed MORE STRESSED OUT!
This is when you get sick, have arguments, make mistakes at work, have a fender bender. You begin to get little signs and signals from the universe, telling you to slow down, and if you don’t listen, the universe keeps upping the ante until you get it.
How Quick Do You Get The Lesson?
I have a friend, a CEO of a large company, who kept saying he needed to slow it down. He wanted more time with his family, more time for himself. He was literally on a roller coaster from morning to night. And then, finally, after saying this for years and becoming more and more involved in a non-stop life, he had a heart attack.
He was young, in his late 40’s, but it stopped him. He was confined to bed rest for close to a month; not allowed to work. When I talked to him he told me he knew that was only way to change the collision course and although he was not happy about getting a heart attack, he knew it had saved his life.
You do not need to get a heart attack to get it.
Has your mind ever been going so fast you think you are going to explode? That you couldn’t possibly hold one more thought? When this happens to me, I actually sit down in the middle of the floor. I’ve done this for years and it works. It instantly stops all the craziness.
I don’t know whether plopping on the floor is so physically ridiculous (I’ve been known to do this in full business attire) or sitting immediately centers you in your body and takes you out of your head. Either way, it stops a frantic mind and allows you to breathe.
For example, have you ever wondered why you feel rested in the morning after a night’s sleep? It’s not just because you put your body in the prone position. Do you know why you wake up and you feel peaceful and calm? This is because the mind has been at rest. In the morning, the mind is clear and clean and ready to receive as well as to process new information.
When you have so many thoughts in your mind, there is not room to receive any new information. Simply from a physics point of view, when the mind is going so fast and is so chaotic, even if new great information were coming your way, the mind’s franticness would push it away.
The Game of the Ego
What actually happens is a game of the ego. We think we are our thoughts. We pull the thoughts we like to us: "You really look beautiful today” and we push the ones away from us we don’t like – “So and so said something nasty about you.”
Pulling the thoughts to us we like and pushing the ones we don’t like away from us – this is what creates a frantic mind. So, when the mind is frantic, it is on overload, and we need to stop. Stopping, when we are overwhelmed is the first step to a clear mind. Instead of cranking it up (what we usually do), we need to slow it down.
And don’t get confused with what feels natural. What feels natural is being frantic. The more frantic we feel, the more frantic we become. This is naturally what happens, as this is the way we have been doing things for a long, long time. To do things differently and get a different result, we need to do something that doesn’t feel natural.
Sitting down in the middle of the floor is not what you usually do, but it will stop the constant chatter instantly. At least we have a starting point…
You Only Have One Heart
What we need to understand is that when we tell ourselves one part of our life has nothing to do with the another part, we are rationalizing. This is simply not the case. We are trying to make sense out of something that feels totally out of control. We learn to compartmentalize, hoping this will take away some of the pressure but it creates more, rather than less, confusion. This is because as much as we attempt to partition our lives, the irrefutable truth is: we have one life, we have one heart. If we close ourselves down in one part of our life, we will automatically be closed in another.
It is very difficult to have a good work life when you feel closed and shut down in your personal relationship, and when your work life is stressful, how can it not affect your personal life?
As much as we try and separate the different aspects of our lives, thinking one part has nothing to do with the other, that is simply not the case. Every part affects every other part. (Remember, you have only one heart. )
Another thing we need to understand is that our life is not any busier or more important than anyone else’s. We all have our stuff; none any better or worse than anyone else’s, just ours.
I have a client that asked me “Why is this happening to me?” I said, “Because what is happening to me is not happening to you. We all have our stuff. Mine is mine and yours is yours. What I have belongs to me and what you have belongs to you. And, if it doesn’t work, you need to change it.”
Critical here is not to think of yourself as a victim. We are not victims of an unmanageable life. It is not a random life handed to us that causes chaos and makes us frantic. We have created the life we have, and if it doesn’t make us feel good, give us a sense of peace, we need to change it.
The same way we take credit for the good things that happen to us is the same way we need to take responsibility for our problems at work and at home. We can’t just pick and choose what we want to take credit for.
A Conscious Choice to Change
And finally, we literally have to get tired of our story. You have to get really bored hearing yourself say the same things over and over. (Trust me, your family and friends get bored hearing the same story from you – they listen because they think they are supposed to listen.) So, only when you’re really bored with your story can the conscious process of change begin.
The reason we need to be responsible for the change is because things do not just automatically change for the better with the passage of time. Actually, if things aren’t going so good they usually get worse with the passage of time. That is because time is neutral; it does nothing but pass. Things that are good normally get better, but things that are bad, get worse over time.
The key here is for YOU to make a conscious choice to change and in order to do that you need to look at the problem from a new vantage point. Instead of looking to change this and that on the outside, you need to look to the mind, understanding it is the cause of what is happening.
Outside changes, whether changing jobs or relationships, will always produce problems. There is no way to avoid change; life is change. Remember, it is not what happens to you in life, but how you deal with it. And how you deal with it is a direct result of your mind.