Preview of Your Life

Jim:    Greetings, and welcome fellow travelers of space and time.  For whatever reason, you’ve landed in my universe – the universe of Fishing Without Bait – a lifetime without definitive expectations where we continuously look for and chase that white rabbit all the way down the rabbit hole.  My name is Jim Ellermeyer.  I’m a behavioral health therapist.  And, as always, I’m joined by my good friend and producer and co-host, Mr. Mike.  Mr. Mike?

Mike:    Hi, Jim.  How are you doing this week?

Jim:    Good.  Say some good things for us, Mike.

Mike:    Just a quick reminder that how you react to things is how you decide to react to things.  

Jim:    That’s correct.

Mike:    As I’ve been reminded of this week.

Jim:    That would be called a choice, would it not?

Mike:    That is a choice.

Jim:    You spoke to me earlier about going to the theater to see a film, right?

Mike:    Yes, I did.

Jim:    When you went to see the film, what did you have to do to get in?

Mike:    You gotta buy a ticket.

Jim:    You have to buy a ticket, is that correct?

Mike:    That’s right.

Jim:    So, when you went in, did the film start right away?

Mike:    Nope.  Nope.  Definitely not.

Jim:    What happened?

Mike:    A lot of commercials.  A lot of waiting.  A lot more commercials.  A lot of waiting. 

Jim:    So, they had previews.

Mike:    No.  No.  Commercials.  They had like three previews.

Jim:    Oh wow.

Mike:    Only three previews, amazingly, right?  But, they filled a lot more of that time with commercials, and commercials, and commercials, and commercials.

Jim:    Okay, so previews are coming attractions, right?  

Mike:    Right.  It’s stuff that they want you to come back to see.

Jim:    Absolutely.  So, what do they show?  Do they show the boring parts of a movie?  Do they show some sad parts?  What do they show you in the previews?

Mike:    The exciting, whizz-bang-explosions, the funny parts, all the good parts.

Jim:    Absolutely.  Sure.  So, that is quite often what we imagine in our minds for our life to be like, is it not?  

Mike:    Exactly.

Jim:    If you remember before when we were talking about the secret life of Walter Mitty – living this lifetime of imaginative nonsense about who he wished he would be.  And, then you waited for the film to start, is that correct?

Mike:    Right.

Jim:    Okay.  So, quite often, what do people do?  Their life is like a film and they’re waiting for it to start.  And, while they’re waiting for their film to start they’re imagining all these different previews that could occur in their life – that imagine their life could be.

Mike:    Those thoughts of my life would be so great when this happens.

Jim:    Yes.  Absolutely.  The ifs, the buts, the maybes.  What we’re talking about tonight, Mr. Mike – we’re talking about buying the ticket.  What does that mean to you?

Mike:    That means committing to that thing happening – committing to going to the movie.  Committing for that movie starting.  

Jim:    So, what you’re talking about is committing to action, correct?

Mike:    Right.

Jim:    And, not – as we’ve spoken so many times before in these podcasts, when we live a life of wishes and hopes.  When we live a life waiting for things to happen, and these last few podcasts we’ve had, Mike, are challenge podcasts are they not?  Where we’re challenging people to actually grab hold and do something with their life – to buy the ticket.  Mike, I’m going to repeat the little story about what action and effort is, what faith in action is.  For those of you – you don’t have to be religiously inclined, this is just an analogy of a story.  So, this person prayed to win the lottery every day, sweat blood, prayed real hard and nothing ever happened.  They just sat in their house waiting for the lottery win – waiting for, I guess, the cash truck to roll up to the door.  Well, nothing ever happened, so they got so frustrated and angry that they ran outside one day and they yelled up at the sky, they said “God, please!  Why won’t you let me win the lottery?”  And, God called down and said, “Could you meet me half way and at least buy a ticket?”  So, my idea in your life is – what are you waiting for?  Where can we buy the ticket?  Think of the things that you wanted to do in your life.  Think of the things that you are doing in your life.  So, let’s imagine some of the things you do, Mike.  Where did you buy the ticket?

Mike:    For me, I bought the ticket by saying this is a thing that I’m going to do, and I’m not going to take no for an answer, which is a choice – not an easy choice, again.  And, there’s a lot of things that can keep you from letting that choice happen, but I made that choice to say I’m going to run a business this way.  I’m going to try to do this.  I’m going to try to do that.  I’m going to get involved with this industry.

Jim:    So, Mr. Mike, let’s imagine that we have this – right here, nobody can see it of course on the ether on the radio, but when you’re looking at this, what do you see?  

Mike:    I see a monkey.

Jim:    You see a monkey.

Mike:    It’s a monkey.  It’s a flingy monkey that you’ll get at, like, maybe the grocery store or something.

Jim:    Kind of a happy guy.  Smiling face.  

Mike:    Yeah.  Look at him.  He’s got a cape.

Jim:    Okay, so, if you would move around to the back, what would you see?

Mike:    Of the monkey?

Jim:    Yeah.  What would you see if you moved around to the other side?

Mike:    The butt of the monkey?  

Jim:    The butt of the monkey.

Mike:    Yes.  The monkey butt.

Jim:    What happens is, is quite often that people – it’s a matter of perspective.  Let’s move back to the front again.  What do you see?

Mike:    Monkey.

Jim:    What part of the monkey?

Mike:    The face of the monkey.

Jim:    The face.  The smiling little face of the monkey.  Did the monkey change?

Mike:    No.

Jim:    Who changed?

Mike:    My perspective of the monkey.  

Jim:    Right.  So, for everyone out there, I’d like for you to be able to label and describe, to sit back and become the observer of when you’re trying to manipulate that monkey, and you’re trying to change the monkey around so you’re getting the view that you want.  And, that’s how many people take their life.  They grab the situation and try to manipulate it and twist it into a place that they like, where isn’t it much easier to just change your perspective, Mike?

Mike:    So, you’re telling me – and the people out there, that we just need to reposition ourselves and stop looking at the monkey butt.  

Jim:    That’s correct.  Stop looking at the monkey butt.  I love that.  So, do you enjoy looking at monkey butts?

Mike:    I don’t.

Jim:    I know, that’s kind of a strange question.

Mike:    Maybe there are some people that do.  I don’t know.  And, maybe that’s their choice.  And, maybe that’s their take.  And, maybe they’re on the monkey butt ticket. But, I think for the context of this, we’re going to say the monkey butt is not the good thing.

Jim:    Okay, so how do you buy the ticket to change your perspective?  You have to take some action and effort and you actually have to move.  And, again, we’re talking about the wishes and hopes.  And, again, we’re talking about making the choices.  And, again, as the challenge – there’s a quote by a gentleman by the name of Dennis Waitley.  And he says there are two primary choices in life – to accept conditions as they exist (to look at the monkey butts) or accept responsibility for changing them.  Accepting responsibility.  When in your life, Mike, do you think that you began to accept responsibility for your actions?  

Mike:    I think certainly after several years in the workforce and on my own, and I realized oh, I need to make the change.  I need to make the change that I want and not let things happen to me.

Jim:    Part of emotional sobriety, along with having the self-esteem, self-concept, and self-identity and not allowing people, places, things, and situations to determine your own self-worth, one of the things is to be able to make conscious choices and accept the consequences of your actions.  Have you succeeded in everything that you’ve done?

Mike:    Absolutely not.

Jim:    I remember my son asking me one time, “Well, Dad, what if this doesn’t work?  What if it fails?”  And, I looked at him and I said, “Well then, we fail.”  We fail.  That’s what happens.  Sometimes, failure isn’t acceptable, is it Mike? 

Mike:    To some, no.

Jim:    No.  However, when we go into an endeavor, if we do our best, and we take the best perspective that we can.  And sometimes, when things don’t work out – is that the end of the world?  Does that completely shatter your life?

Mike:    No.  You pick up the pieces, the shattering if you will, and you move on.  And, you learn from it.

Jim:    There’s always another ticket to buy, is there not?

Mike:    Exactly.  There’s always another movie when that Batman movie didn’t work out for you.  When that Green Lanterns of the World didn’t really do it for you.  There’s going to be another movie.

Jim:    Would you be content watching previews the rest of your life, Mike?

Mike:    No.  Because, then you’re basically living in a dream.

Jim:    That’s correct.  So, you want to buy a ticket.  You want to be at the main event, do you not?  

Mike:    Right.

Jim:    You want to be at the main event, be at the premier.  

Mike:    You want to be at the main event, for the championship belt – no holds barred.  

Jim:    Absolutely.  Can we imagine – can you buy a ticket to the premier of your life?  This is buying a ticket to the premier of your life.  Why can’t every day be a premier?  Is every day that you wake up, and that you participate, and you actually be in the world, is that a premier?  It is.  It’s a new production, is it not?

Mike:    It’s a new production starring Ben Affleck as me.

Jim:    Ben Affleck as you.

Mike:    Did I go too far?

Jim:    And, you have a choice.  You do have a choice.  Do things always go out the way that you want them to?  No.  However, when things don’t go the way we want them to, do we try to wrestle that monkey around, or do we change our perspective?  Can you change your seat in a theater, Mike?

Mike:    Certainly.

Jim:    You can get up and move, can you not?

Mike:    Guy’s talking behind me.  There are plenty more seats.  Unless it’s a sold-out show the premier evening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Then you’ve got a little bit of a problem.  But, generally yes, you can change.  

Jim:    Absolutely.

Mike:    There’s still something you can do.  Sometimes it’s a little tougher.  Sometimes the movie theater’s full, and you just gotta ask some more people hey can you move down?  You’ve got to do a little more negotiating, but you can still make a choice to do it.

Jim:    Or you have a choice to leave.  

Mike:    Exactly.

Jim:    Absolutely.  So, when we keep going back to this matter of choice.  And, buying a ticket to the premier of your life – and the question is where do you buy this ticket at?  Okay, okay, smart guy.  You want me to buy a ticket to the premier of my life, where do I get this ticket?  Where do I get it?  You get it through taking inventory of your life.  You get it by taking choices – not impulsive choices, but standing back and becoming the observer.  Becoming the observer of your life.  And, what is the next right thing to do.  And, as before we asked, Mike – give yourself permission to be vulnerable.  Give yourself permission to ask.  Give yourself permission to fail.  Has every movie that you’ve ever seen been the most wonderful movie you’ve ever seen?  If everyone you’ve ever seen you walked out and said oh my gosh, I’m so glad I came.  

Mike:    No.  But, I’m very selective on what exactly I buy the ticket for.

Jim:    So, how do you be selective?

Mike:    From experience of the bad movies that I went to when I bought a ticket.

Jim:    Sure, you maybe look at reviews.

Mike:    You learn from the failures in your life.

Jim:    Yes.

Mike:    And the bad movies, and the bad showings.

Jim:    You look at reviews.  You view past experiences.  You look at others’ experiences, correct?  Perhaps you talk to some friends whose opinion you value before you go ahead – before you go to the movie.  And, then you know what, sometimes that movie still isn’t – still doesn’t live up to your expectations.  

Mike:    We talk so much about making a choice on this show.  I think one thing to clarify on top of everything else is that can very much be an informed choice.

Jim:    An informed choice.  An informed, conscious choice.  So, even though we may get this – from all the information we can get we can still go into that movie theater, into this premier, into this movie, and find that it doesn’t live up to our expectations.  So, how many times have you gone to see a movie or gone to an event that’s been hyped beyond its capability to produce – the production.  To have the results.  Although it may have been very good, it couldn’t have lived up to what you anticipated.  

Mike:    You look at those and you say, well that was in trouble from the beginning.  

Jim:    Mm-hmm.  So, hence, when we talk about going through life, fishing without bait, I have an open mind.  I’m open to possibilities.  And, I’m willing to make choices.  And, I’m willing to buy this ticket to go into the theater and see the premier of your life.  That’s my challenge to everyone out there.  Where do you buy the ticket?  Have – open your mind.  Open your life.  Make tomorrow – make tonight the premier of your life.  What opening scene would you like to have?  What characters would you like to have in your life?  What would you like to be having doing?  If you were writing the script, what would it be?

Mike:    When you’re getting in your head – let’s say you do a preview to that ticket you want to buy for your life – that you’re going to buy the ticket to.  How does it start?  You’ve got the movie voice guy saying “In a world when a person makes a choice, the choice….”  Where does it go from there.  And, then make that happen.

Jim:    Absolutely.  And, you’re the only one that can make it happen.  So, my choice is give yourself permission to be vulnerable.  Give yourself permission.  Be flexible enough to change your position in life, and stop trying to wrestle that monkey around to get into the position where you want it to be.  Buy the ticket.  The premier of your life starts now.  Until then, Mr. Mike, Namaste.  

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