Food for Thought from Mike Schwarzer’s Pearls of Wisdom, October 2013
Think of an undertaking or a task that you have worked on, one that came very easily to you? Something that you were totally focussed on and fully immersed in while following through from the beginning to the end? It might have been planning a trip, writing a report, solving a problem, delivering a presentation, renovating your house, mowing the lawn, writing an article or a book, etc. With clarity and the end goal in mind, all the steps and activities required to accomplish the task fell into place. And just like magic before you knew it, the task was completed, seemingly without much effort! In addition to this you probably felt fully alive with energy to burn. In this scenario you are fully present to what you are doing and the task at hand, in a state of flow or in the zone as athletes would call it.
Now think of an undertaking that hasn’t come easily to you? One that is important to you or unimportant. But one that needs to be done. Perhaps one that you haven’t finished yet or not even started? One that seemed to take forever or one that you kept avoiding? Your focus and attention was anywhere but on the task ahead of you. Taking your eyes of the main goal, you were thinking of all the things you needed to do to accomplish the task. And in your mind you saw these things as major events that were in the way and that were clouding your view. Or perhaps you couldn’t think of the things you needed to do. As a result you probably found all sorts of excuses and unrelated activities to do such as making another cup of coffee, ringing a friend, watching an ‘important’ TV program, spending time on a project of lesser importance but one that was easier to deal with, etc. You probably ended up feeling stressed, drained and even burned out. In this scenario you were not present to what you were doing but in your head over-thinking with your thoughts going all over the place.
Reflecting on these two scenarios, which one did you enjoy more? Which one came more easily to you? Which one felt more fulfilling? In which one did you feel more accomplished? Which one added to your quality of lif
Is that something you want?
If you could achieve your daily and major tasks with greater clarity, ease and energy, especially the ones that are not coming easy to you … is that something you want? If you could have that more often, how would that impact on your life, your work and the people around you? Is that something you want
So what makes the difference between the first and the second scenario?
The difference is in your INTENTION, that what is of your highest importance! As the quote above says “Energy Flows where Attention Goes as Directed by Intention”! The actions that you take and the things you pay attention to in anything that you do are always aligned to your highest intention or purpose! Now I am not talking about something flaky or meta-physical here but something much more tangible although something that is not necessarily running in your consciousness awareness. It’s a higher level thought or thoughts of meaning about the events in your life that run in the back of your mind.
Thought leveraged with Meaningfulness and Importance
If those thoughts are leveraged with meaningfulness and importance and that are supportive to the events that you are engaged in than all the steps and activities that you take, the things that you pay ATTENTION to, seem to magically align themselves in a way that they move you ‘effortlessly’ towards your goal.
For example, say your goal is to lose weight. Why would that be important to someone you may ask? Good question! At the surface the person might like to feel and look better. Now would you agree that a lot of people would like that, not just the overweight ones? However, is that thought alone enough for most people to do what it takes? Probably not! So what would cause a person to make a strong commitment to lose weight, cut out all the yummy fattening foods that they love to indulge in, stop drinking alcohol, exercise rigorously and regularly, count and limit their calorie intake, etc? What would be a stronger WHY for a person to commit and follow through? What else might be in the back of their mind that would be an even stronger motive than to just feel and look good? The answer might be to have more energy, to feel more alive, feel healthier and fitter. And what would be even more important than that? To be able to sustain physical activities with their children, be more attractive to the opposite sex. To be more valued by other people such as colleagues, friends and clients and to achieve more in life! And how might achieving more in life be meaningful to them? The answer might be that by achieving more they can make a bigger difference to their loved ones, their friends and their community! And how might they be feeling about that? By making a bigger difference they feel a stronger sense of self and worthiness.
Now this way of thinking, what the person holds to be true about their life, might be going on in a movie form in the back of the person’s mind with images, sounds and feelings. And whatever is going on in that movie acts as an attractor through which we filter what we pay attention to and what not. What we discount and what we count. With the above intention the person is very likely to be drawn towards steps and activities that are aligned and supportive of losing weight such as exercising even when they don’t feel like it. Pick healthy foods and limit or eliminate unhealthy ones. Etc.
On the flip side, if those thoughts are leveraged with lesser meaningfulness and importance and that are not supportive of the events that we are engaged in than all the steps and activities that we take tend to move us away from achieving our goal.
Using the example of losing weight again, what would a person’s highest intention be that is not following through? What do they might hold to be true? Feeling and looking good involves effort! What does effort mean to them? Effort is hard and requires will power! What do they think about will power? Will power rarely works! So why even bother? It’s just too hard and painful! And what do they think about things that are painful? They need to be avoided! … Do I need to go on?
Again, these are thoughts and meanings going on in a movie form. Imagine in the back of your mind the image of things that are too hard and painful and the steps you take to avoid them?
So with that kind of a movie running in the back of a person’s mind that wants to lose weight, what kind of activities would they might be drawn too? And would that help them to move towards or away from their goal?
The Path of Least Resistance
We are creatures of habit. We walk the path of least resistance in accordance to our map of the world because it feels real and natural as it is embodied in our neurology and outside of our conscious awareness. Within that map is always a highest intention that we serve with our attention, our actions and our behaviours. What we have embodied is our default, our path of least resistance. We cannot not go there unless we are aware of it and unless we are changing it.
The question is do you like the results that you are getting from your highest intention? Does it serve you in the way that you want it to? And these questions apply to individuals as well as organisations!
Where do you want your energy to flow and how do you make the change stick?
To make change stick, be clear on what you want and your highest intention that supports it. Intention is about meaning and that resides in your mind. To realise those meanings into performance, your ability to do, you have to transfer them into your body, your neurology. Once you have it in your neurology it becomes your normal way of operating.
to your highest intention, learning and growth
About the Author:
Mike Schwarzer is a Performance Strategist & Modeler and an Internationally Certified Trainer in Neuro-Semantics and NLP. An experienced facilitator and coach, with an ability to connect and align people, he helps organisations to fine tune their performance wizardry to bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to go! This includes creating and cultivating customer friendly buying environments and self-actualising leadership cultures.