This may sound like a crazy question if you think your life sucks now but why do you think this is true?
Perhaps someone who wants to help you has to ask you a tough question – does it really really suck?
Maybe thinking like this is just one of your thought streams a habit you have accepted without enough challenge.
Is it as a result of pressure from somewhere else? Friends? or perhaps even your Monkey who without some help and guidance seems so keen to fix everything for everyone?
In our work with Sales People all around the world, few could tell us a good story about how they allocated their time and energy and how this related to getting and / or keeping the life they really wanted.
We all know sayings like Carpe Diem – “Seize the day” but what does that mean for you as an individual today?
Unless our delegates were very careful this meant doing things that other people thought were a good idea.
They had lists of stuff to do, to have or to be that they had taken on without real conscious scrutiny.
In the Misaligned Monkey we talked about their role as a fanatical fixer.
A natural response programmed in to our Monkeys seems to be a relentless drive to fix anything and everything to make our world better.
A response driven by its function and purpose, by its knowledge, an by its own expectation of what ‘good looks like for you’ built from hints you may have given (intentionally or otherwise) in the course of your day to day activity.
Say you wake up tomorrow what have you really got on?
What have you really got to do that must be done?
How much of this is really for you as part of you building the life you want?
How much is discretional ?
How much other time have you got or could you have?
For those of you that still work this may seem like stupid questions……
Look what happens when you don’t have to work anymore.
When you are retired, work disappears, the routine and support routines around going to work dry up.
You don’t need to be smart and shiny on Monday morning or on any morning!
You don’t need to go to work or to get work done.
Despite this most retired people still have no time.
The standard comment is ‘we are busier than ever’ or “I don’t know how we had the time to work”.
They may then apologetically raise their eye brows and say ‘grandchildren’ or ‘hospital appointments’ but if you are younger .
You might think that providing the health and money boxes are ticked, these older retired people would only do what they want, when they want to do it but it seems this is not the case.
However we find they are still busy that they still use all their time and that many still don’t feel they are the ones steering or leading their own lives.
Job or no job we still don’t do what is best for us – as judged by us
So what is going on?
When we work it is different.
Some of our delegates could see at least 5 full days a week and 48 weeks a year being taken up with working. Many of them were too battered or tired to make the most of the other time when they were not at work.
They were waiting for something magic to save them and for some this was the idea of retirement.
Working was the thought stream excuse that stopped many of them making the time for the changes they wanted.
We know the numbers :
Each week there are 168 hours
Each week most of us work for about 50 hours
Most of us travel, commute or do something to do with work for another 10 hours or so.
This leaves 100 hours a week
We sleep for about 50 hours
This still gives us as much ‘free’ time as work time. Many of our delegates just could not believe the numbers when they saw it for the first time.
How we use or allocate time.
We all use all of our time every day and the fact is that much of what we do is discretional (even when we work) and yet who or what wields the discretion?
Some of our delegates had habits that ate their time, habits they were only vaguely aware of and that they had never thought to change.
It may seem you don’t have choices but this is not true.
The fact is these automatic or default choices are often hidden in the pace of everyday life.
We have a gentle unease but nothing hurts enough to get on the case and really fix it. We play at it and so it seems hard to fix or hard to make a change. The sad truth is most of us would be sacked if we worked for a corporation the way we work for ourselves.
Being busy doesn’t help
The patterns that shape what we do with our time are not uncovered unless we take the time to step back and consider what’s really going on.
Sometimes its an illness or a change of circumstances that provides the chance for us to do this and yet any of us could do it at any time if we chose to.
This might be the start of where this post is going. Hardworking clever people who can get stuff done behave differently when it comes to living their perfect life.
It might be we never knew we could or we dont know how or maybe the truth is everything ok and there’s nothing really worth fixing?
In Joe’s Cliff we explore the idea that someone else is writing your story.
If it’s not you the question is who or what is? and perhaps more importantly who are they writing it for?
As you read it you get the chance to reconsider what you are doing . How you are living what your purpose is and how these two things tie up. Inevitably we meet new ways of thinking about these things and its a good way of checking where you are what you are doing and what you might want to do about it.
From a quiet place like view point three its easier to see who is in charge and if it’s circumstance, another person, a Misaligned Monkey or a collection of thoughts that combine into a powerful thought stream then maybe, it’s time to make a change and make personal choices that matter to us.
Being the leader might mean you can deci9de to enjoy what you have and stop or it might mean you start to stack the odds in having the life you want.
The point is its your story your life and only you can live it well.
We seem programmed to want things to be different even when they are really ok as they are.
One of the places you can investigate the question of who is writing your story is by looking at what you think needs to change.
Why would you want to change anything? is a great question.
Whatever change you pick will take time, effort and energy.
This is also true of your change is to be happy now!
If you are already using up all your time with the things you do so different will mean you have to give up some of what you do now.
The Stop Start Continue exercise is repeated in the 12 week challenge for this reason.
If you are honest you already know some of the things you do now are not your best use of time.
On some of the courses we used questions to investigate this idea further
” If tomorrow was your last day on earth what would you do?”
” If tomorrow was your last day on earth what would you NOT do?”
It worked for some to start them down the road of a more active choice.
Its where the story if the Fishermans’ Seconds came from.
Most of us keep busy until we can’t keep busy.
Our busy life can mean
We lose touch with things that matter to us or will matter to us in the future
We don’t enjoy each day and we don’t prepare for a good future
Some of the retirees we have met seem to have cracked the inbuilt need for change to have ‘more of this or less of that’.
They no longer think like this.
This small group have time, many of them have money and some of them choose to use it to do only what they want to do.
They have long periods where they appear to the untrained eye to be doing nothing.
Most of us will live longer than ever and some of the thoughts offered by our older generations speak to this investment. It makes perfect logical sense to do enough to be physically, mentally and financially ok at 70, 80 or 90. however the reality of this can only kick in when its too late. Balancing fun now and a good life later is worthy of consideration. Knowing what you have chosen makes it easier to ignore (politely) wayward thought streams that may hold a different view.
Whether we like it or not, we are complicit in our own work rate, our own quest for change and, if we don’t step up and assertively make some choices it will never end and our work will never be complete and most importantly we won’t be the person we could have been.
We will get to the Gates of Heaven with a flood of excuses and a load of coulda woulda shoulda stuff in our pockets.
There are some great examples around of people who have not accepted agreed wisdom and thinking who are forging a new reality based on their own experiences and beliefs. if you struggle to believe what supports the life you want look for inspiring people who can show you share with you and help you to be all you can be.
That may mean someone who seems to do nothing all day long.
See what the most excellent Jane Fonda says here (11 minutes)
Jane Fonda has a CV that demonstrates a life well lived. You may know her as an actress, as a fitness guru or in any of a number of different guises.
Here is what she says about choices in old age that really offer options for those of us of any age. How you see what your future may be like alters what you may choose to do today. her vision feels much more acceptable than those who tell us old age is a time of decline, of reduction in powers of waiting for the end.
If you do decide something needs to change how do you start to think about what really matters?
Is it really something that won’t matter ten years from now or is it something that really will?
Somehow we need to find the balance between enjoying today and building excellent tomorrows.
Sadly many of the things our delegates gave their time to, achieved neither.
Whats next ?
If you have not yet reengineered your relationship with your Monkey you may still be driven by a host of shoulds and coulds sponsored by a Monkey who is misguidedly trying to help you.
As your relationship changes, as you work through the exercises and make what you want more clear these reduce and the Monkey dialogue is more focussed on what you say you really want.
In the last chapter of the book we considered the idea that everything is ok now. That instead of looking for things to fix we look instead for things that are good enough. Things we have no need to change.
Practitioners on a shamanic workshop run by our friend Derek step up their gratitude practice and experience a massive contribution to their own feelings of peacefulness, and the feeling that that things are ok now.
It works and yet few of us do it regularly. perhaps its too old fashioned, too simple and perhaps its overshadowed by new shinier stuff.
Do we feel just enjoying the ride is giving up ?
Is it the modern phenomena FOMO – fear of missing out if we back off todays latest thing and look after our own self?
The Misaligned Monkey journey is about moving to place where we act authentically where we behave in line with who we really are.
Understanding the three stages of life as the lovely Ms Fonda explains them, gives us another input that changes the priority of what we might choose to do today.
What we might see as important and worth our remaining time and energy.
Anything that helps us gain a new perspective or reassess what we are doing on a regular daily basis is worth a few moments.
Theres a case to build a life you love and there’s plenty of evidence a determined human with a plan can achieve striking changes in their own lives.
We work our way through the techniques and we get to some base truths like:
Any actions that don’t support your desired results are unnecessary.
We listen to the stories of Victor Frankel, Maxwell Maltz and even Marcus Aurelius which document how we can alter our internal world to be authentic and achieve our own success in extremely difficult external circumstances. If Maxwell Maltz and co can ignore their reality and still move to their own advantage then we all can whatever our circumstances.
If we are not bothering to fix what we see as our sources of not ok then maybe the truth is our world is ok now?
Suppose we work on this basis
Let’s not be picky, could you lose your life now as it is?
We steer the ship, we drive the bull dozer and whilst we accept inputs from our thought streams via our Monkey, we are the ones who choose.
We choose how to look at things and what we will or won’t do about them.
If you are spending your time doing things that don’t suit you , don’t contribute and don’t take you where you want to go it’s worth doing a deeper dive into why this happens.
What is it you believe to be true that makes you waste your time like this?
What is the thought stream that encourages this and what is its purpose?
What would really happen if you just stopped?
Be wary of any thought stream that leads you to believe
you have to ….
you have no choice.
This is never true.
View Point Three
From view point three, with an onside Monkey this is all so much easier to assess and deal with or rectify.
In the last chapter of the Misaligned Monkey we looked at the idea that everything might be fixed already.
You can probably immediately notice several thought streams that say this is not true for you and you have things to fix.
Welcome to our world but remember its you and me that decides if we are going to run with any thought stream or not.
Find the recommended books and stories for this post area on our Book shelf