Greetings, and welcome to the second podcast in what we hope is a long running series of Fishing Without Bait, where we approach life from the perspective of avoiding putting definitive expectations upon ourselves – whether imposed by ourselves or imposed by others. So, when we put definitive expectations upon ourselves, then we can set ourselves up for disappointment. And, sometimes disappointment can lead to frustration. And, frustration can lead to anger. And, anger can lead to depression, anxiety, and sometimes then we feel guilt. There are two (2) types of guilt. One is legitimate guilt, where we’ve actually harmed someone or done some type of harm, and we want to make amends. And, we do so with a sincere and willing heart. There is also unhealthy guilt, where we feel that way about attempting to live up to the unrealistic expectations of others. My suggestion would be to take a step back before you place expectations upon yourself or upon other people and ask yourself, “Is this a realistic expectation?” What we’re going to do today, as we discussed on the first podcast, is we’re going to explore a bit more about a human doing versus a human being. And, on our last podcast, my co-host, Mike, who is also the producer of this podcast, was talking about how hectic and how busy his life is.
Jim: Would you say a little bit more about that, Mike?
Mike: Sure. Like I said, I’m self-employed. I do a bit of social media, video work, podcasting – as we’re doing here of course, and there’s a lot of people you need to work with, right? I have a lot of clients, which means I have a lot of bosses. So, there’s a lot of kind of doing that, satisfying that, trying to keep up on that. Making sure you’re on top of the e-mails, responding in a timely manner, driving around the city to do shoots and meetings, and whatever the case may be, and I’m always thinking about the next thing. It’s like, okay, I’ve got to do this. Okay, who do I need to address next, right? And, there’s not really time to settle in on what I’m doing now, because I’m worried I’m missing something.
Jim: You also mentioned about our lovely Western Pennsylvania weather, and having to pack twelve (12) months of activities into three (3) or four (4). Could you talk a little more about that, Mike?
Mike: Certainly, because it feels like you wait for those three (3) months that you can go down to the Point and go for a walk, and hit the trails and walk around the neighborhood. And, you don’t allow yourself to do that in the winter or anything like that. You know, we talk about how we want to walk more, just in general. But, it feels like you can’t do that on the hills, and the people don’t take care of the sidewalks, and you can’t get out much anymore when there is that winter weather going on.
Jim: Sure, and let me ask you this. And, this isn’t particularly a question directed at you. Perhaps it’s directed also to our listeners in the audience, myself. Please don’t think that I exclude myself from anything that I talk about. This is a broad brush that I paint across humanity.
Mike: You’re dealing with things just as much as anybody else.
Jim: Absolutely. For sure. It would be harder for me to take anybody further down a road than I’ve been myself. So, let me ask you this, Mike, are there the same number of hours in a day in the middle of February as there is in the middle of June.
Mike: Yes, there are.
Jim: Yes. There are. So, again the purpose of this program is to ask and help people to stay in that particular moment.
Mike: And, isn’t it a perception then? Because, the sun’s down, you think, “Well, I can’t do as much. The sun’s down. I’m not going to go out for a walk, etc.” So, it’s really that interpretation. It’s still – an hour’s an hour.
Jim: Poor me.
Mike: Exactly. And, it’s that comparison. You’re thinking ahead to what summer is like.
Jim: Absolutely. And most of our minds have a tendency toward negative outcomes. Most of us have a tendency toward catastrophic thinking. So, on our last podcast I mentioned to you about people asking where the summer’s gone, or is it going to be Thanksgiving already. How’d Christmas sneak up on us this year. So, how many times have you asked someone, Mike, “Hey, what’s going on in your life?” And, they’ve said, “Same stuff. Different day.”
Mike: Yes. I like to at least aim to have a better answer than some people, partly because of what I do. But, I like the variety myself.
Jim: So, let me ask you this, what type of life is that?
Mike: The “same stuff, different day,” one?
Mike: It sounds like they’re just going with the flow in a bad way.
Jim: Oh sure. And, this is where. “Where’d the summer go?” - You were not there. You were overcomplicating your life being a human doing. Whereas, being a human being means participating in your life, which leads us to my next topic about choices. Some people’s life is an obligation, Mike. Some people view their life as obligations, and they can’t separate between choices and obligations.
Mike: That feeling, “Well, I have to go do this to make this person happy. I need to go do that to make that person happy.” And, not so much just like workwise, right? We’re talking, like, “I’ve got to do this because it’s family. I’ve got to do this because it’s a friend. I’ve got to do this because of this?” Right?
Jim: For the students out there, how many times have you said to yourself, “Oh, I have to study?” “I have to write this paper.” “I have to go to class.” And, how often have we all said, “Oh, I have to go to work.” “I have to exercise.” “Oh, I have to go to the doctor’s.” “Oh, I have to go Aunt Mary’s on Thanksgiving.” So, what we’re doing, Mike, is we’re creating obstacles and barriers in front of us.
Mike: We’re creating that obligation. It’s not “I want to go to work.” “I want to do these things.” You know, it’s just the thing you have to do.
Jim: Well, we’re creating an aura of negativity. So, I specifically remember one time I asked this person whether they had to pay the electric bill. And, they said, “Of course you do.” So, I thought to myself, “Well. I’m going to see how far this goes.” And, I counted in my head, and I asked them eighteen (18) times. And, they got progressively more angry and frustrated with me until, on the eighteenth (18th) time, they threw up their hands and said, “I guess you don’t.” So, the idea is that everything in your life is a choice. If you understand, and are willing to accept the consequences of your actions, everything is a choice. So, again, we often talk about perspectives rather than saying, “I have to go to work.” Replace that with “I choose to go to work.” “I choose to pay the electric bill, as I love electricity.”
Mike: I like to be able to do all these things and record a podcast and watch my Netflix, so I want electricity.
Jim: And, again, I’m always asking people about mindfulness, which is paying attention on purpose – taking one thing mindfully at a time, which we will be exploring in future podcasts, and remembering that everything is a choice. Do you have to go to work? No, you do not. So, my suggestion is to begin to take the choices back in your life, and Mike, when everything in your life becomes truly a choice, you, my friend, will be a free person. Would you like to be free?
Jim: Would you like to be free? Absolutely. So what do most philosophers say? What do you go to these conventions for? These motivational speakers, all the CDs, all these things. All the answers are inside you, Mike. All the answers are inside our listeners. What we need to, what we could do, is be still and just start to listen to ourselves.
Mike: I guess a part of that, if I can interpret for my own situation. I’m always looking at events, conferences, etc. I’m always looking at things around the area and saying, “Oh, I should really go to that.” And, do I really want to? Right? And, a lot of them I try to look at, and I’m like “This would be fun. Let’s see who I could run into. This would be a blast.” And, taking that, and what is the benefit for me – emotionally and not just professionally, I guess. And, for me, I love talking to these people about these subjects, and seeing who I can run into – new relationships. I enjoy connecting with people, so I reach out for that thing. And, I kind of assess, is that going to be too difficult to do that for what that day looks like. Do I have too many clients that day, or something like that, and decide, “Nah. We’re good. We don’t have to do this. We don’t have to do this thing.” And, I don’t have to work for this client, for instance. There’s a really good, are you familiar with Tim Farris?
Jim: I am not.
Mike: I don’t know about some of the concepts in there, but Four Hour Workweek is a thing, and he has a concept of firing your clients. You know, twenty (20%) percent of your clients are eighty (80%) of your problems. And, if you find out what that twenty (20%) percent is, you don’t need to have them as clients or customers, or whatever the case may be. It’s such an anti-customer service thing to say, and I interpret that for a lot of peoples’ lives. What’s the twenty (20%) percent of your life that you really don’t need to deal with that is causing eighty (80%) percent of your trouble?
Jim: Let me ask you this, Mike. How many people truly want to go to work?
Jim: When we hear “I have to go to work.” So what we ask people to do is take those choices back in your life. Your emotions are a choice, Mike. Your feelings are a choice. And, also all the thoughts that come in. You may not choose them, however. When they’re there, we learn how to deal with them. So, perhaps today’s focus would be to concentrate your choices on the things you believe you have to do which cause some stress and discomfort in your life, such as having to go to work; such as having to exercise; such as having to deal with your next door neighbor; such as having to go to Aunt Mary’s birthday party whom you would rather not be in her company. So, what we want to do is begin to shift that. Stop. Step back. Take a breath, as we talked about in the last podcast. Accurately label and describe the situations, your emotions and feelings. Then, make a wise-minded decision. It sounds like a long, involved process. However, it can be as automatic a thought as thinking about going to work and getting in an angry, frustrated and depressed mood. Your thoughts and your feelings are your choices. There’s no one out there, Mike, who legitimately has the power to make you angry, happy, sad, glad.
Mike: You decide to let that thing bother you.
Jim: You have a choice. Most people don’t believe they have a choice. How often have you said to yourself, “You made me so upset. You made me so angry. I wouldn’t have done that if you hadn’t done this.” You’re giving that person much power. You’re giving it to them. In effect, you’re taking your choices, wrapping them up, giftwrapping them, and having them delivered to that individual. So, what I’m asking people to get out of this podcast is to step back. Becoming the observer behind that thinker, which we’re going to explore in our next podcast, Mike, and begin to take those choices back. They are yours. Please, take them back. My hope is that you will continue to listen to these podcasts as we continue to evolve our topics and our subject matters. Should you have any suggestions, criticisms, questions that you want to throw in, please do. And, my good friend, Mike, is going to tell you how to do that.
Please check out our website at FishingWithoutBait.com where you can listen to the show, comment on our discussions and find out where you can subscribe to our podcast. Fishing Without Bait is a production of Namaste Holistic Counseling, P.C.