18 Chapters
Medium 9781609948917

10 Mind Mechanics

Hawkins, Terry Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We have talked a lot about the way we perceive the world and how it influences our reality. In order for us to take control of our life and the results we produce, it might be important to first look at the mechanics of how this actually happens.

Let’s begin by having a look at the three parts of this process — the conscious mind, the unconscious (or subconscious) mind, and our physiology. I have often heard the conscious mind described as the captain of our brain. It gives directions and tells the unconscious mind what to do. The unconscious mind becomes the crew. The crew doesn’t think for itself — it just does what it’s told. Our physiology is thus profoundly shaped by our conscious and unconscious mind.

Captain: We make a perception or interpret an experience.

Crew: The unconscious mind accepts this interpretation.

Outcome: The body then aligns itself with this input.

Let’s go into a bit more detail.

The first stage is about how we perceive the world. We chat inside our head all the time. Chat, chat, and more chat. Most of us are completely oblivious to the conversations, interpretations, and perceptions that go on between our ears. If we are to take control of how we react and behave, we must listen to this internal voice.

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8 Happiness Is a Choice

Hawkins, Terry Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

How we deal with feedback is really about choice. Whether we interpret the feedback positively or negatively depends on the perception we choose to adopt. It can be tempting to make it about the other person or the circumstance. But whether we see it as a personal attack or an opportunity for growth is our choice.

A woman who worked for me years ago was constantly late, especially for work, and when I would question her about it, she would blame the bus! “The bus is always late!” she would exclaim, not realizing that it wasn’t the bus’s responsibility to get her to work on time. It was her responsibility. My suggestion that she catch an earlier bus was not received with much gratitude — and she would continue to not be grateful for it until she took ownership of her punctuality. Taking personal responsibility and blaming others can rarely coexist.

But what about all of the other factors that influence our day-to-day moods? How do we go about staying optimistic? When we feel down, rarely does anyone show us how to get out of the Pit. It’s a bit like the advice given by well-meaning people who say things like, “Don’t take your personal problems to work. Make sure you leave them at the front door.” But has anyone ever shown us how to not take our personal problems to work? And what about the line, “Don’t take this personally,” which invariably precedes personal criticism and is usually followed by the word “but”?

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3 Pit Language and Professional Pit People

Hawkins, Terry Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

When we’re being a Pit person with our Pit posture, we also have Pit prattle! Pit prattle is that little voice inside our heads that mutters away to us. If you’ve just asked yourself, “What voice?” — that’s it! Go ahead and introduce yourself! When we’re in the Pit, this little voice will grumble in a negative and defeatist way:

“I hate my life.”

“How could anyone love me?”

“I’ll never be any good.”

“I’m so hopeless.”

“Why doesn’t anyone understand me?”

“I’ll never get over this hang-up.”

“I’ll be lonely all my life.”

“I hate my job.”

“Why did they do this to me?”

“No one understands me.”

“How will I ever cope?”

“Nothing seems to go right for me!”

“I’ll never get any better.”

“I need more money.”

“I can’t stand this anymore.”

“I’m sick and tired of everything.”

“I’ll never get out of this hellhole.”

“I can’t change; I’ve been this way all my life.”

“I’m stuck in this job/relationship/town … blah, blah, blah.”

Pit prattle is incredibly pessimistic, and when we are allowing our Pitman to rule, we can tend to criticize others and ourselves harshly. Pit dwellers often vocalize their Pit prattle. They constantly complain about their partners, their jobs, their lives, their kids, the traffic, the weather, TV commercials, the price of food, today’s youth, today’s elderly, last night’s dinner, and tomorrow’s dessert!

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Hawkins, Terry Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781609948917

17 The Buck Stops Here

Hawkins, Terry Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Why wait to be great? It’s either NOW or TOO LATE! The only time we have is this moment right now, and it’s up to us what we do with it. The moment you had five minutes ago is gone forever! That’s how life works. How we act in each moment is up to us. Giving 100 percent means giving it everything we have. It’s about playing at 100 percent in all that we do — whether it’s kicking a ball with our kids, working on a business document, riding a bike in the park, or having an afternoon nap. It’s about doing it all to the best of our ability and being in the moment. It’s also about being passionate.

My father taught me about passion and giving 100 percent when I landed my first job at age fifteen, scrubbing cupboards in a cafeteria. Not my idea of a great vocation!

Dad was dying of cancer at the time, and one day, before I left home to catch the bus for my first day at work, he called me into his bedroom. Lying in bed, he said, “Go scrub those cupboards, girl, like there’s no tomorrow.”

“But Dad,” I whined, “I don’t want a job scrubbing greasy cupboards!”

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