Just Tell Me What to Do! (#963)

I once sat down with a potential client who had read The Inside-Out Revolution and thought I’d be the perfect coach to help her make a difficult career transition. At one point she got so frustrated with my unwillingness to provide her with a clear action plan that she yelled “Just tell me what to f*@#ing do and I’ll do it!”

This also sometimes happens when I do introductory talks or interviews about the principles behind the inside-out understanding. People ask questions about “What would the 3 principles approach to success be?”, substituting weight loss, happiness, relationships, business building, or indeed any other potential aim or category of life experience for the word “success”.

The reason my answers to these questions are rarely initially satisfying is simple:

The 3 principles of Mind, Consciousness, and Thought are not an approach to life; they are an understanding of what life is and how it works.

By way of illustration, three commonly known forces at play in the physical world are electricity, magnetism, and gravity. Knowing these three forces exist in nature does not imply any particular morality or course of action – it just makes it easier for us to navigate the physical world as we learn to take them into account and to harness them for the benefit of humanity.

Similarly, knowing that there is a pre-existing life force (Mind), a built in capacity for awareness and understanding (Consciousness), and an infinite creative potential  that is continually creating our experience of reality (Thought) does not tell us what brand of beer to drink or how best to go about creating things in the world.

It simply makes it easier for us to understand where our experience of life is coming from and who and what we really are at core.​

​Here are some of the differences between an approach and an understanding:

Approach

How shall I live?​
Strategies
Engineering
Useful ways of thinking about things
Variable
Personal
Prescription
After the “therefore…”

Understanding    

How life works​
Principles
Physics
True whether I believe it or not
Fixed
Universal
Description
Before the “therefore…”

So if I want to get stuff done in the world, what’s the value of understanding the principles? Why is it that pretty much anyone who stays in the inside-out conversation long enough begins to find themselves happier, more successful, and in better relationships with the people around them​?

Because the more accurately you see reality, the easier it is to navigate that reality.

For example, let’s say I want to have a closer, more loving relationship with my children. I want them to be more respectful, do better in school, and avoid the many dangers of growing up in the modern world. If I thought I needed to use an approach, I might use punishments and rewards in an attempt to keep them “scared straight” and motivated to stay in school and get good grades. If I were particularly skilled at it, they wouldn’t even know I was doing it, as the only “punishment” they would get was a disappointed look and the only “reward” they would notice was how pleased I was​ when they did as I wanted them to do.

Now imagine for a moment if that approach is really successful and our sons and daughters learn to do as they’re told. Is conditioning our children to please an authority figure really the secret to their long-term happiness and success in the world?  What if the next authority figure that comes along doesn’t share our morals and values? Or what if they’re really well meaning but their advice is terrible?

Here’s what I know:

  • ​My kids have access to the same innate wisdom and common sense as I do
  • When we’re caught up in our thinking, we’ll feel lost and struggle; when we have relative clarity of mind, we’ll do as well as can be done
  • My well-being is not dependent on my children’s behavior; their well-being is not dependent on mine​

Knowing this does not force any particular approach on me, nor does it deny me access to any set of behaviors. I’m still free to ground my kids for behavior I don’t approve of and buy them stuff when they do well at school if that’s what my wisdom guides me to do. I can still be a disciplinarian on some things and permissive about others. I can love them unconditionally because I love them unconditionally, not as a part of some kind of “strategy for success”.

What’s different is that my guiding force is not a philosophy, it’s an understanding. I can rely on my in the moment intelligence to steer the ship instead of having to refer to the manual or ask someone else to tell me what to do. And the more clearly I know which blips on my radar are icebergs and which are simply blips, the easier it will be to move forward full steam ahead with ease, grace, and love.

How has the inside-out understanding impacted your approach to life?​ What’s become simpler? What (if anything) now seems more complex?

Please share your thoughts on the Inside-Out Community Facebook page, and I look forward to continuing ​our conversation there​!​

With all my love,
Michael

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