Who Is With You

Jim:    Let’s make you think, Mr. Mike – and our listeners.  You’re going to have to think today.  Remember, these are challenge podcasts.  So, let’s do our own time traveling, Mike, and go back to I double dog dare you podcasts.  These podcasts are about straight talk.  If you want to do something with your life, if you want to change it – to help yourself make better choices and live life out loud, then listen on.  Our job is to not start the friendship club.  Sometimes our job is to intentionally frustrate you – the listener, into action.  Mike, years ago I was talking at an in-patient rehab.  And, one night when I walked in a young lady greeted me with I was waiting for you to get here this evening.  Of course, my ego took over.  I was thinking wow, imagine somebody anticipating my arrival!  Then she went on I couldn’t wait until you got here to tell you how much I hated you!  And, it was true, as each of her words were accentuated with hate and venom.  She went on saying you gave us all these suggestions and all this action and effort talk.  I’ve been trying so hard every day and it seems like I’m just pounding my head against the wall.  I’m frustrated and others are telling me the things they’re getting done and the step work that they’re on.  I hate you.  My reply to her was this is a good day.  Perhaps the best day I’ve had in a long time.  To which she replied, I don’t understand.  I just told you I hated you – and I do.  I said to her I appreciate your frustration.  I appreciate your dislike for me.  And, if it’s hate that drives you on to work on yourself, give me everything you’ve got.  However, what it does tell me is that you have the willingness to try and that these other people, they’re lying to you.  Our job in these podcasts is to frustrate you – to move you on.  To never be satisfied.  There’s no finish line.  There’s no end of this race.  So, I hope everyone is sufficiently frustrated and angry – and you’ll use that energy to listen on to the end of the podcast and take some action and effort in your own life.  Mike, do you have a lot of clothes?

Mike:    A bit.

Jim:    So, think of all the clothes that you own, and mix and match them.  And, imagine the number of combinations you could come up with to wear each day.  How many would that be?

Mike:    Well, I don’t have a lot of pants, so – it’s almost infinite in myhead.

Jim:    There’d be a lot, wouldn’t there?

Mike:    Oh yeah.

Jim:    However, is it still you underneath?

Mike:    Absolutely.

Jim:    And, that’s what we’re discussing today.  We’re discussing your authentic self.  What I’m talking about is how many people are disconnected from their authentic selves.  How we fit, manage, massage, morph, and mold ourselves into something that we are not in order to try to live up to others’ perceptions or expectations.  My challenge out there today is for everyone to #1: avoid being judgmental and to call yourself out when you do.  Let’s cease the competition and cease fighting anyone or anything.  Hear the words I say.  If you’re your authentic self, you have no competition.  So, what is this authentic self?  Remember in Hamlet, Polonius’ advice to his son Laertes “This above all, to thine own self be true.  It must follow as the day the night.  Thou canst be false to any man.”  And, Mike, what does this involve?  It involves telling the truth. And, Mike, I’m going to frustrate you a little bit right now.  I know that you’re a tech guy.  I know all about it.  However, my premise is that reliance on technology has made us surface thinkers and we merely skim the surface of our true selves and we’re disconnected from our deeper selves.  We’re becoming a society of voyeurs – with this glut of reality television and an overload of sights, sounds, images, and 140 text bytes.  Please tell me what you think of that.

Mike:    Certainly.  And, I think for people that are enveloped in technology you have to understand where you’re coming from with that kind of idea, right?  We do with technology have a lot of stimulus that we react to and we don’t go much deeper than that.  

Jim:    That’s correct.

Mike:    It absolutely goes right along with that thinking because we think that is the world and we don’t look at the stuff that’s around us.  We look into it as, you know some call it the black mirror.

Jim:    Indeed.  Mike, have you ever made a decision that resonates with you that you know to be true and correct?  

Mike:    Yes.  Those are often – while the most comforting, the scariest moves.  

Jim:    And, sometimes those are called epiphanies, are they not?  When we know something is right.  So we want to figure out how did that happen?  Søren Kierkegaard describes authenticity as a name for a person to face reality, to make decisions, commit to them and to take responsibility for those decisions.  And, this is truly the concept of full-impact mindfulness – to pay attention on purpose, to label and describe carefully, to evaluate rather than judge and be willing rather than willful.  Critical thinking takes a lot of work, Mike.  However, I think most times we’d like to consult Dr. Google.  

Mike:    Oh, certainly.  It is exhausting to use your brain.

Jim:    Indeed it is.  And, sometimes when I work with people they’ll tell me that I’m making them work too hard.  Yes.  That does happen.  However, sometimes appreciate the act that I take as they tell me that I do make them think.  I force them.  I hold onto them.

Mike:    Your brain is a muscle, and we are forming our brains around these activities – around technology and thinking of things the way we do math.  And, there is an argument of well, maybe we don’t need to math as much because we have computers that do it for us.  But, then, are we opening up part of our brain to do something else?  Or are we not exercising a part of the brain that is useful and needs a little bit of stimulus?

Jim:    And, there lies the rub.  So, when we – let’s say many years ago when men used to plow fields with horses and plows, okay?  It took a long time, did it not?  And, did not tractors save a lot of time in plowing fields?  So, the idea is when you saved that time, did you put it to a useful purpose?  By perhaps using the calculator and doing those types of calculations in a much more timely efficient manner, are you using your mind then to delve into deeper things?  Are you using it more purposely or perhaps just maybe watching The Banana Splits, which I may do sometimes.  

Mike:    Which is an unofficial prescription on this show.

Jim:    Certainly. So, I’m asking everyone to turn inward at least a few times a day.  And #1 disconnect from everything.  Disconnect from all inputs – whether electronic, mechanical, and even contact with people.  And, listen.  Listen to yourself.  Look inward. Be silent.  And, Mike, examine the people that you associate yourself with.  List what you admire about them and what their attributes are.  Mike, if you hang out with people that drink, what are the chances are that you’re going to end up drinking?

Mike:    You tend to join the crowd.

Jim:    Sure.  And, if you hang out with fat people, who are you most likely to become?

Mike:    The fattest.

Jim:    You very well may be.  So, remember, you are usually the average of the people that you hang out with.  Okay, the people that you associate with.  And, some people may think this is ridiculous.  However, have you ever seen pictures where married people who have been together forever and ever, and they actually truly begin to resemble each other?

Mike:    Yeah.

Jim:    Or people who actually resemble their dogs?  Their pets?  This isn’t made up, this is true.

Mike:    No, no.  Absolutely.  There’s a picture of people and their pets.  There’s a lot of things – blogs and tumblrs out there for that.  Yes.

Jim:    Once again, a lot of words, Jim – where’s the substance?  So, Mike, we’re going to continue on this subject in the next podcast. However, before then, I wanted to introduce a concept that perhaps some people are unfamiliar with.  And, that’s to discover your Ikigai – that is a Japanese phrase translated into the reason for being.  Wow.  That sounds deep.  Again, let’s not try to have paralysis by analysis.  Why look for complex answers to our issues?  Remember, we are ceasing to fight anyone or anything.  So, Mike, let me ask you this.  If you would have as much time as you needed, and the resources to do anything you wish?  What would that be?  That may be one of the first steps in finding your passion.  Have you ever thought about that?

Mike:    I have a bit.  And, that’s a question of – you know, whether you’re on the right path for what you’re working on, right?

Jim:    Correct.

Mike:    And, it’s always been like, well I do more of the thing that I’m already doing.

Jim:    So, let’s say a Saturday morning.  We wake up.  We don’t have to go to work.  Perhaps we don’t have to cut the grass or anything else.  We have all the time.  What do we do?  What do we sit there – what’s our passion?  What would something that we really want to do?  So, we’ve often talked about what’s important, have we not, Mike?  That’s a recurring theme that we talk about on this program, over and over again.  To step back and evaluate.  And, if everything was taken away from you, who’d be standing with you?  What’s important in your life?  And, once again I want to reiterate our philosophy that we are spiritual beings having that human experience, Mike.  So, we’ve talked about trapping the monkey before.  Where the monkey grabs that banana and then can’t pull his hand out of the cage.  So, what’s the difference between us and the shiny items that we grasp with our minds throughout our lives and we covet them and want them so badly that we lose our focus on our true authentic self.  So we’ve talked about mindfulness as having action and effort in the present to make a future possible, and getting back to the Ikigai – so if we think of four concentric overlapping circles, with the center being the Ikigai, which is your purpose, your being for living and the other intersected parts of the circle would be things such as what you love, your passion, your mission, what the world needs, your vocation, your profession, what you’re good at, and of course – what you can get paid for.  We want to put all these things in perspective.  Write them down.  Label and identify.  Label and identify – does that sound familiar to you, Mike?

Mike:    Certainly.  I’ve been around enough to know that one. 

Jim:    Yes.  And, we recently discussed creating our own flag, did we not?  Our logos.  Our own icons.  Everything’s connected.  We talk about connecting the dots, do we not?  We talk about everything being interconnected.  So, let’s label and identify the things that are holding us back from our reason for being.  Our Ikigai.  The things that are important in our life.  There are reasons for living.  And, that’s my challenge for you today – to disconnect from the absolute nonsense that will have no meaning when your spiritual being ends this earthly experience.  I hope I frustrated and angered some people into action today.  Do a kindness for yourself.  Do a kindness for another. And, take some time to listen not only to others, but to yourself.  Listen to your heart beat.  Listen to your breath.  Disconnect and disengage.  Until we meet again, Namaste.