There are many ways to learn from experiences if you are aware and open to messages. Very often these messages have nothing to do with the area of life you apply the knowledge to. That is one of the reasons that people often don't recognize these messages. For instance, I have been watching the Canadian version of the Amazing Race over the last few weeks, and a couple of times in the show, I couldn't help but think how the message I was seeing and hearing wasn't just about the Amazing Race.....these points that I noticed apply to every area of life.
In the last episode, there was a challenge to pile coal in a flatbed container on a train track, and then hang a small ornament in a specific spot on the flatbed container. Most teams shoveled the coal from the pile to a wheelbarrow and then shovel by shovel put it in the flatbed. One team was lagging behind, so instead of putting it shovel by shovel in the flatbed container, they lifted the wheelbarrow up and dumped in in the flatbed in one shift move. No one else thought to do that.
The small ornament posed a problem for many teams because they didn't read the instructions fully and put it in the wrong spot. When told their task was not completed to satisfaction of the judge, they all thought it was related to the coal, and started putting more coal in in flatbed container. They only thought of the obvious. All they had to do was move the ornament. This exercise had three great messages..... listen to instructions, look past the obvious, and then innovate where possible.
In another challenge one couple promised to give a "fast track" to another couple if they won it, and then went back on their word and gave it to someone else. Their explanation was it was "game strategy". Although game strategy is important when you are competing, there is no need to go back on your word. Someone that is willing to do this to win a game is very likely to do this in everyday life, and in the business world. Not surprisingly, the couple that went back on their word ended up being eliminated because they were last to check in. Interesting that they were attempting to slow down the team they betrayed, and they ended up coming in last. We get what we give in life, and in business.
Once you have an awareness of this concept, you will realize that there are hidden messages in every encounter we have, and what we learn is applicable to all areas of our lives.
Several years ago I heard a speaker say "everyone is your teacher". This is a powerful message to keep in your mind. Often we believe that the only people who can teach are those in an educational role. In fact we learn from every decision, every experience, every child, woman, and man, every job, every hobby, everything we do delivers a message of some sort that we can learn something from. There are those in life that we feel do things the wrong way....we learn how important it is to do things in the right way from them. We see people with unhappy jobs....we learn how to chose something that fulfills us. We learn from questions children ask and things they think of that we hadn't. We learn from companies we do business with...either how to give great service through their example, or how to improve on what you see them lacking in. Since I heard this message, everyone is your teacher, I have been consciously aware of what I am learning in every situation.
I recently watched a short video of Ashton Kutcher speaking at a teen awards show.
The interesting part to me was the fact that he was delivering a message of success to young people. Ashton was called on stage for an award, but instead of talking about himself or thanking others, he chose to use that time to deliver an inspiring message. Ashton has recently been studying Steve Jobs extensively so that he could play the role of Steve in an upcoming movie. It was a great reminder that we become like those we spend time with. I t is evident he has been so immersed in learning about Steve Jobs and how he thought that it has benefited him greatly in his own leadership. It was great to see Ashton take on such a powerful leadership role delivering an inspiring message to youth.
Everyone is our teacher...the key is to be consciously aware of this concept so that you can consistently learn in every situation you encounter.
"If it sounds too good to be true it probably is". How many times have you heard this type of advice from "the experts" and well meaning people in your life? I recently received an email from a company that had that phrase on the bottom of their email. This phrase is used over and over in every category of life.
Recently my husband and I decided to go to a music concert that was sold out. We went online to see if anyone was selling tickets last minute. I found an ad with the tickets for half price. My first thought was, fantastic, I hope they are still available, because the ad was placed 9 hrs. earlier. To my surprise they were! The next day I arranged to meet the seller to pick up the tickets and said, I was so surprised to find these still available since you posted it 9 hrs. earlier than I contacted you. He said, "I had so many inquiries, at least 30, but you were the first person to commit, so I held them for you." We went to the concert and had a fantastic time!
This was another reminder that people are conditioned to be so skeptical, and are afraid to commit to things...30 people could have had the fabulous experience we did, but probably bought into this phrase. I could have done the same thing....I could have thought, "why didn't anyone else buy the tickets at this price, it must be too good to be true."
Now this was not a life decision, it was a concert, but this same thinking that most in society have been conditioned to buy into holds people back from so much they could be experiencing.
The key is to trust yourself to make good decisions. When I spoke with this person on the phone initially, I asked specific questions. When I met with him, I made sure it was a very public place.
To experience great things in life, stop buying into the conditioned beliefs you hear going on around you. When you become aware of conditioned beliefs, it will surprise you how often you hear these phrases in every day conversation, both in business and in personal life. It is a choice to accept this thinking. Learn to make your own decisions from the heart, listen to your own intuition and not the voice of society. We are given intuition for a reason....to guide us in the right direction.
In every aspect of life, there are individuals that create results for themselves, and those that don't. What is the difference? How can 2 people with equal qualifications and capability have 2 different results?
Let's look at a couple of examples. Two people join the gym and want to lose weight. One person goes 5 days a week, watches what they eat, and pushes through those times they just don't feel like it. This person is consistent and persistent with their actions and committed to doing what it takes for as long as it takes. The other person starts out going 5 times a week, but then doesn't see the result immediately and is not willing to do what it takes. They miss classes, go off their meal plan and put the blame on everything but themselves.
A few years ago I experienced this firsthand. In January, the gym was packed. By the 3rd or 4th week, we were pretty much back to the committed people that had been going for years. The majority of people that say they want to lose weight, become fit, etc don't stick to the commitment they made to themselves. They start and then stop....they self sabotage.
We see this in relationships too. Julie wants to attract the ideal partner. This person comes into their life and initially everything is great. The relationship doesn't last because Julie starts putting up a wall and won't let this new person get too close to her....Julie self sabotages the relationship.
In business Mark wants to move forward in the company. His boss sees potential in him and identifies his desire to move up, so starts giving him more responsibility. Mark doesn't fulfill his role, and makes excuses as to why he couldn't do what the boss was asking (it could be staying late to complete a project, working on higher level tasks that he can learn new things from). Mark does not step up to the plate that he says he wants and self sabotages.
Why do these people say they want something and then when it is right in front of them, they do not take the actions necessary and self sabotage?
- Fear - they are afraid to take on this new role because they are not sure they will know what to do with it when they accomplish the goal
- Limiting Beliefs - they don't think they are capable
- Low Self Esteem - they don't think they deserve it
The person at the gym that self sabotages may be a person that has been overweight and told by "well meaning" people in their life that it is in their genes to be heavy. This could be a shy person with low self esteem and confidence, and they start to think about the possibility of reaching the goal and the new attention they will receive...compliments, opposite sex noticing them more, etc. They don't know how to deal with that. They feel it is easier to stay heavy, so they don't have to work on their minds as well. They can just stay inside their shell which they perceive to be a safe spot because it doesn't challenge them to think differently.
Julie wants the ideal partner but when this person comes into her life, she puts up a wall....maybe because she has been hurt in a previous relationship. She doesn't want to allow herself to feel like that again so she puts up a wall, even though this new person is everything she has ever wanted.
Mark says he wants the promotion but he doesn't feel like he is really qualified and doesn't know how he could handle the responsibility.
All of these self sabotage situations come down to the same thing. Mindset. When we are changing something in our lives, we cannot do it with the thinking we have had up to this point. We must be willing to identify why we are stuck in the place we are, and be willing to learn a new way of thinking to take us to the next level. The person at the gym needs to work on their self esteem and confidence. Julie needs to work on her deserve level and realize just because she had a bad relationship before, does not mean this new relationship can't be as wonderful as she desires. Mark needs to do whatever is necessary to increase his skill in the area he feels he is lacking in.
The most important thing to recognize when making any type of change like this, is that you cannot achieve better results in any area of life, without being willing to let go of the thinking that brought about the result you currently have. You must be willing to grow yourself, and leave your old thinking behind to step into the next level you desire.
Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader