Mindset, view, attitude, positive thinking, expectation-set, and so on.
There is nothing new here, nothing. But it may be new to you. These are not my ideas, these are axioms or truths, discovered over the centuries. These are not my theories or creations but simply a presentation of known principles. Principles that never change.
But you have to take them in, digest them and come to see the truth in these lessons or they will remain just more words.
I express my heartfelt appreciation here to all those who have taught me, in person and in other ways.
In the beginning.
Human beings have to be taught. We first learn from our parents, then our siblings, friends and relatives, then our schools, our society, and our heroes or idols. But it all comes from our external environment in some way. All our knowledge about the world comes from something that seems to be outside ourselves.
Some people are born into harsh circumstances and the environment they can learn from and the training they get in early life is all that is available to them. Chances are they are not going to learn “good” habits, at least in the beginning. Some people are born into environments that are present and uplifting messages are presented to them to be absorbed. But regardless of one’s history or environment, it seems it is up to each individual what they latch on to. What they decide to embrace and cultivate.
If a young child is repeatedly told, “you’ll never amount to anything”, they are likely to believe this. if a young child is repeatedly told “ you can be anything you want”, they are likely to believe this.
In the same way, as what happens to us after we die is unknowable, the reason why a particular child is born into “good” circumstances or into “bad” circumstances is also unknowable. We may have faith or belief about what happens when we die, or why the sun rises, but we don’t actually know from personal experience. So we will say it is unknowable and will not focus on that here.
What is worth focusing on is what we can do about where we are now. Right now. We can start with where we are now regardless of our background, upbringing or previous circumstances. We are, where we are, now.
Chances are if you have read or listened this far, you are not entirely satisfied with where you are to be in your life right now. (Or you are a researcher or a critic!)
If you are someone who wants to upgrade yourself, you can. You can change your life.
What happened in the past is the past and can not be changed, so let’s move on.
No one can change the past, not Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Joe Biden or Tony Robbins. No One! So let’s forget the past for now and focus on what we can change.
What we can change is our attitude, our expectations, our opinion of ourselves and how we react to what the world hands us.
The first thing to recognize is that; where we are now, the current state of our lives is a reflection of our attitude, expectations, actions and reactions to the world up to this point. Full Stop!
Let that sink in.
Where we are now, the current state of our lives is a reflection of our attitude, expectations, actions and reactions to the world up to this point.
If you can’t, or don’t, accept this, the rest of this presentation will be meaningless.
You may have been dealt a bad hand when you were young, you may have had some particularly bad-breaks. But in aggregate, overall your world is a reflection of how you have dealt with circumstances that came your way up to this point. And as we continue, we will find that to a very high degree, your attitude, expectations and actions will strongly influence what comes your way.
Once you became conscious of yourself as an individual you began shaping your world.
We can think of it as cause and effect, karma, what goes around comes around or “As ye sow, so shall ye reap”. It doesn't matter what you call it. The past doesn't matter and what you call the process that makes this happened does not matter either.
What matters is, this is how it works.
You can either remain roughly in your current level of existence in society and continue in your current level of happiness and contentment, or you can move forward. You can move toward what you want.
- stop looking back
- stop blaming the world or other people for our problems and dissatisfaction
- let’s acknowledge and accept where we are in our lives
- and decide to move forward, or learn to be happy where you are now.
How we move forward
It’s very easy and it very hard.
Or it is easy to say but hard to do.
If you have gotten this far in this presentation, then you have taken the first very important step, you are willing to listen, to hear, and to learn.
It is hard work, very hard work, particularly at the beginning. You have to change your habits. Habits are one of those “two-edged swords”, it cuts both ways, for “good” and for “bad”. We will leave these two words in quotes for now, but for now let’s call “good” moving ahead toward who you want to be, and let’s call “bad” staying stuck.
You have to leave behind the habits that are not productive to what you want, and you need to cultivate habits that move you forward. And the only place to start is the hardest place, that is with your attitude and expectations.
Do you expect the best from yourself and the world?
Do you expect the best from yourself and other people? Do you expect the best from the world? This is a tough one because there is no denying there are bad things happening in the world. But you have a choice. You can focus on what irritates you and leads you to depression or anger, or you can focus on what “good” there is. And the is plenty of that also.
In reality, if you are reading or hearing these words you are already amazingly blessed, fortunate and privileged. You understand language, you can hear or see, you understand technology to some degree, your brain basically works and your life path and curiously has led you to this message. I could go on for pages as to how fortunate you are, all of which is proven simply because you have received this message. The vast majority of human beings on this planet are not as fortunate as you. The vast majority.
Yes, there are many “above” you. But let’s start here, let’s start with you. You have complete control over your own mind, but very little control over other people. What are you going to focus on? What have you been focusing on? Have you been filling your mind with thoughts of how bad the world is? Or how so many people have it better than you?
Or to you appreciate just how fortunate you truly are? So when we talk about starting from where we are, let’s have some appreciation for what we have. Let’s take stock. We could “count our blessings” so to speak.
Can you do that? Can you appreciate what you have and who you are? Can you let go of blaming other people for your problems?
Advanced technique: Not for the faint of heart.
You can even be grateful to people how have caused you deliberate harm or misfortune because now that you know how it works, they have given you a tremendous opportunity to make root-tearing changes in how you respond to misfortune. If someone just stole your car, I am not suggesting that you don’t call the police, but you can still change what goes on in your mind, you can change it from blame and victimhood to just shaking it off as “shit happens” and moving forward toward what you want.
“Shit happens” and it will continue to happen. But what are you going to do about it? What attitude are you going to take?
The world is a mirror, a kind of cosmic mirror, of who we see ourselves to be and what we expect.
A tourist was roaming around New York City, pretty much lost. They saw a person standing on the sidewalk so thought to ask directions. This person just happened to be Leonard Berstein, the tourist asked, ‘ can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall’ , Leonard’s response was; ‘ practice, a whole lot of practice’
If our attitude and expectations can be better, then we need to practice changing our attitude.
How can we improve our attitude?
The better our attitude and expectations, the better the results we will see. So how can we change or improve our attitude?
First, we have to start from where we are. If we have a very poor attitude we will have to make big changes, but like even the biggest projects it always starts with a first step. We just have to start making changes one step at a time.
We can start even when we are just day-dreaming. Are we day-dreaming about how bad things are? If we are we can start thinking about how we would like things to be.
Did someone just cut us off in traffic? What is our reaction? Will be annoyed for the rest of the day? Or can we just let-it-go and bring our minds back to how we would like to be. Can we “let it go” and refocus on the task at hand?
The self-fulfilling prophecy — Law of attraction — abundance mentality
Regardless if it is some kind of magic or just phycology, attention and coincidence, it really doesn't matter that much. At least not for now.
Have you ever noticed how if you decide you need a new car, you start noticing car dealerships, car ads in the newspaper and noticing types of cars? We are fully aware that today, once you make that first search about cars, Google, Facebook and YouTube start sending car ads your way. But Google is not putting newspaper ads in front of you or building car dealerships. The dealerships were always there, so were the radio and newspaper ads. You just didn’t notice them. They were not important to you so you just filtered them out. But once you turn your mind towards something, not only do you start noticing opportunities and amazing coincidences, but somehow these coincidences also seem to become more plentiful. Even without the search algorithms.
We have to start from where we are.
If you are far from where you want to be, then you have a long way to go. If you are almost there, then you don’t have far to go. If your world is crappy right now you are going to encounter a lot of crap, a lot of things that aren’t the way you want them to be. And if you have the wrong attitude, a lot of disappointment. But if you change your attitude, every disappointment becomes an opportunity to practice your new attitude. Remember that word, practice? There is no way around it, you have to start from where you are.
But the sooner you start, the sooner things will begin to change. Because habits are what they are, it is hardest at first. Just like pushing a car, or your couch, it takes the greatest effort to get it moving at first. Once it starts moving in the right direction it gets easier. Imagine if the car is rolling backwards and you first have to stop the backward momentum, the get it moving in the right direction. If your habits are very negative, it is going to take some effort to turn them around.
The first step is, to be honest with yourself. Admit that you want to change or improve. Then start. Start in little ways, start with your thoughts. It is not necessary to make big proclamations to the world. Just start quietly with yourself. Gain a little momentum before you start proclaiming that you are changing the world. DO IT… first internally. Sure post some reminders if they are helpful to you.
Some good places to practice.
- Treat other people the way you want them to treat you.
Can it get any simpler than that?
- Start with simple things. Practice “expecting” things to go your way. Expect that there will be a parking space available. Expect that the meal will be delicious. Expect that you will have a nice time. Expect that the next stranger you meet will be nice to you. But don’t get annoyed when there is no parking space, but do it again the next time. And the next time, and the next time. Something will begin to shift.
Have you ever played basketball? Have you ever played baseball, poker, or baked cookies? Did you make a basket on the first throw, hit a home run on your first time at bat, or even have perfect cookies the first time? OK, you get the point. Even the simplest things take practice. Everything gets better with practice. It doesn’t even matter if you start to get parking spaces, you will start to expect the best, and things will start to work out for the best more often. They will. Absolutely. Guaranteed. No doubt about it. If you actually do it, actually start changing our attitude and expectations.
Q. How long will it take?
A. As long as it takes?
When we first start anything new, at first we are just imitating. We are going through the motions. Sometimes people say “act as if”, “fake it till you make it”. While this may worth considering, don’t take it too far and don’t be simplistic.
Just because today you decided you are going to be a brain surgeon, It is probably not a good idea to “act as if” you are already someone who cut open someone's head. You know some of these slogans and self-help stuff get a little distorted. In fact, some of these distortions come from people “faking it” when they really don’t understand what they are talking about.
But If you decide that you are going to be a kinder person, sure act as if you are kind. Maybe you are seething underneath but you can still say “ Let’s agree to disagree” rather than punching someone in the face. You can say it even if you don’t really mean it if your intention is true. It’s a start.
Through imitation or emulation or copying other behaviour, we begin to learn. It is how we learned to walk and to speak. If we want to “take things up a notch”, we should find “good” habits we can copy and imitate. Can we imitate patience? Can we imitate kindness? Can we imitate discipline?
Can we “act as if” we are patient. Can we “act as if” we are kind. The idea of “fake it till you make it” may have value. But don’t fake being a brain surgeon.
The real meaning of “act as if” has to do with fooling yourself and not fooling other people. Fooling other people is disingenuine. Intentionally fooling yourself is training yourself. If you fool yourself long enough about being kind, you will become kind. Or disciplined, or patient, or focused.
When people who don’t really know what they are doing and start teaching other people while they are just “faking it”. Sometimes the essential essence is lost that instead of fooling yourself into becoming more competent you can start fooling others about your competence. Does this make sense? Think about it.
Pretending you know how to fly an airplane does not mean you know how to fly one.
Teaching someone how to fly an airplane while you are pretending to know how to fly an airplane is an even worse idea.
This is just the first lesson in this series, there are 9 more. It is just the starting point. Think about what was presented here, go over it again. Compare it to your own life experience, try to see the truth in it. But don’t take it on blind faith. It is true, but if you don’t connect with the truth you could start thinking you can operate on peoples’ brains, or that you can fly an airplane. Maybe start with being patient.