I spent much of 2016 in a funk. I awoke many mornings with a deep sense of regret. I was beating myself up for decisions I had made that had led me to where I found myself. I felt I had made an irreversible mistake moving to the California central coast. My business had suffered a setback. Home prices (including the one we had sold in 2013) had been soaring since we sold, to the tune of six figures beyond our sale price. We had moved to a place where the cost of living was nearly 40% higher. Given the fact my business was down, you can see why I was feeling such financial pressure.
The outside world provided little to feel secure about either as this was the height of the Clinton/Trump campaign.
Our mortgage was higher, but our income was lower. As compared to where we had left, I strongly felt that financially, we had made a major misstep.
Given the increased cost of a housing in the area we left (and rentals being both scarce and costly), moving back was no longer an option. Regardless, my wife had no intention of going back (nor could we afford to do so).
Not having what you want casts a darkness over everything you've got. Despite the fact we were living in paradise and had a good life, I didn't see it as such. Some nights I couldn't sleep because I had such a knot in my stomach that I had done something irreversibly 'wrong.'
After much suffering, I finally came to realize a truth that set me free. I know there were many contributors to the awakening to the truth I felt, and I doubt I will ever acknowledge all of them. I will try to suggest some of the books and videos I found particularly helpful. If a particular piece I suggest doesn't resonate with you at first, I recommend you revisit at a future date.
Experiences you have between readings can often give the content new meaning. It has for me, to the extent I don't even recall reading the book previously! Such was the case with From Here to Here. When I read it in the midst of my suffering, it brought significant clarity and ultimately relief I was so badly needing. I had a similar experience when I reread Coming Into Existence: The Struggle To Become An Individual by Raymond Rogers.
What aided my 'awakening to what already was' was meditation and yoga. I acquire knowledge from a variety of sources, but it's during and after meditation that the most significant insights bubble up into my consciousness. After 3 years of meditating, I can attest it is an essential aspect of my life I will never let go of. I also feel that yoga and meditation go hand in hand. Yoga prepares your body for mediation, and mediation is the icing on the cake of yoga.
Sidebar: While the application of my meditation practice deepened during a 2-day mini retreat I attended in Jan-2017, I owe the full appreciation of my practice to my teacher, John Freeman who teaches TM on the central coast. TM was the best investment (in addition to Landmark and MBSR) that I ever made in myself.
What if you found out that everything you ever needed was exactly what you always got. And that you'll continue to get exactly what you truly need when you need it. And that there's nowhere else you need to be other than where you are right now. And that there's nothing you will ever actually need that you won't get when you need it. In the end, all you need is what you got.
Would you agree that who you are is defined by your actions?
But what if you discovered that your actions are not defined by you? At least not the 'you' as you think yourself to be.
And if you are not in control of your actions, then who is?
The decisions we make stem from two main sources:
Our experience of life and all the decisions that impact our results flow indirectly from the pre-conscious. What we are aware of (or conscious of) is downstream from a preconscious source. The only influence we can have on our preconscious is through experience. Genetics and conditioning are the preexisting conditions, but experience is the wild card.
One form of suffering is the result of believing we can 'willpower' our way through a struggle in our life. Free will as I'll define it is a myth. The more we believe we have free will over our actions, the more frustrated in life we become.
The blueprint of our life looks like this:
We take up residence in a pre-built home which was built by our parents, and contains all the idiosyncrasies of their making (which in part was inherited from their parents).
Our experience (and thus reactions that result) is never objective because we are wearing lenses that are built from the experiences we've encountered up to this point. Even our beliefs are grossly inaccurate since they are based on evidence from a subjective view and the explanations we've been given.
For the most part, the blueprint which makes up your being was written by someone else. Who are you is the cumulative result of all those who lived before you and contributed to your DNA. Your parents, your parents parents, your parent parents parents, etc… all played a part in drafting the blueprint that makes up who you are.
Let’s imagine you were born and put into a room with no exposure to the outside world. Your experiences would be severely limited. You would no doubt closely resemble your parents. All you’d be is what you inherited from them.
But thankfully, we are not confined to a room. We are thrust into a highly dynamic, unpredictable world. And thus our conditioning begins. Social conditioning is the strongest and it's all we have until we begin to discover our inner truth and connect with our inner guide.
In a real sense, the internet (and social media) is turning everyone into everyone else. Authenticity carries so much weight today because it's in such short supply.
But even as we think we can guide ourselves, we can’t.
It’s been an assumption based on an illusion that we decide. The illusion that free will exists.
We don’t have free will. At least not as free will is typically defined.
What we are free to do is experiment, throw ourselves into a new set of conditions, and in doing so, we can influence our higher consciousness (upstream).
Our higher consciousness influences our preconscious, which actually determines the decisions we make and the lens upon how we experience the world we live.
Through meditation, we tap into our higher consciousness.
If we had to consciously make a decision for every moment of our day, we'd have a nervous breakdown by noon.
Our preconscious contains the data used in cognitive processing, but preconscious itself is outside our conscious awareness. Other forms of preconscious processing include: priming, tip of the tongue phenomenon, and blindsight (see links below to learn more).
Since preconscious is out of conscious reach, we cannot recall it at will. Preconscious is always at play and called upon when it is needed. The information contained in our preconscious is delivered on a need-to-know-basis only. That is, you will only receive the information when you need to know it.
What this means is that while we like to think we are the driver of our lives, we are only along for the ride. Who we truly are is an observer to the unfolding of life.
The good news is you need no longer envy anyone or pity another. For we are all victims of a set of circumstances outside our immediate control.
We either had skilled designers (our parents) or we didn't. We either had favorable conditioning growing up, or we didn't.
The best we can do is work with what we have, and find our uniqueness in the world. Be proud of our uniqueness and do our best to appreciate the uniqueness in others and accept everyone for who they are. For who they are is not their fault, nor their doing to claim credit for.
It’s not what we know, but what we do with what we know.
The feedback to our preconscious occurs through experience. Experience is the evidence needed. Our preconscious will not believe anything else.
My intent in Wireframed is to provide you with 'code' that you can integrate into your preconscious. They are snippets you insert upstream to produce desired results downstream.
Wireframed is a model where we examine life from the perspective of a program.
We are not programmed to solve every problem, but problems do give our programs something work on.
Life only demands from you the strength you possess.
I do what I can. The more I do, the more I can.
If fear is plaguing you, then let the program run. You will find that the fear disappears when we do the very thing we fear doing. The experience itself is what allows the fear to lessen.
How to you deal with a fear of uncertainty? By living through uncertainty.
The fear I have of poverty stems from the fact I've never lived in poverty. Those who have are in a way fortunate because it's a fear they no longer live with. Those who have near death experiences no longer fear death. It's the unknown that gives fear it's legs.
By stepping into that which we fear to experience, we almost always discover it's not nearly as bad as we imagined it to be. Regardless, we learn (perhaps trial by fire) what we need to know for the fear to no longer get in our way.
To get what you want, you must accept whatever happens and continue on your way.
When you reach a plateau, go further. ~Bruce Lee
To expand your comfort zone, you must step beyond your comfort. When the comfort ends, the challenge begins.
Experiences produce chemicals in our bodies which create feelings. New experiences create new feelings, new feelings create new thoughts, new thoughts create new actions, and new actions produce new outcomes.
Our thoughts come from our mind, but where does our mind come from? Preconscious precedes consciousness (awareness).
Knowledge is the precursor to all experience. Our knowledge, our ability to acquire new knowledge is only limited by the experience of applied knowledge.
Our brain is the hardware, and our mind is the software. 50% of our program was written while we were still in the womb (we inherited the programming from our parents combined DNA). 50% however is written by experience. Therefore, half of who we are is our own doing. The other half is a gift from your parents.
To become limitless, adopt these key beliefs:
Asking the question ‘who would I have to become to have ____ in my life?’ begins to reveal the work necessary to rewire ourselves to acquire that which we desire. Rewiring requires new knowledge, but knowledge alone is only the first level. We must apply that knowledge and experience for ourselves to develop new beliefs that will take us in a new direction. What we believe is what influences our preconscious.We can only become (and get) what we are wired for. Rewiring is the process of rehearsing ourselves to be that which we want to become. Fake it till you make it. But to think and live as if it were true can only take us so far. Without the wisdom (knowledge + experience), we are living in a false reality.
It's as if someone came to me tonight and gave me all the answers.
I will try to put some of this clarity into words for you now.
Failing the Amazon interview lowered the veil.
The veil is that to succeed in corporate America, it's very much about how well you can project your potential! Successful companies like Amazon set a very high bar and as such, need to screen for candidates who meet this bar.
But here's the thing - and this probably extends far beyond just working for a company - where we are is largely a result of how well we can show others an image of who they want to see (and want to be). It's why self-help books is a multi-billion dollar field. Successful authors (and speakers) are able to convey a narrative that people buy into.
Remember the day you decided to leave IBM? It was when my boss told me "You need to tell your boss what he wants to hear so he can tell his boss what he wants to hear." This might have been the most valuable bit of advice I ever got.
One thing I notice about people in high paid positions is that they are good at pitching what others want to hear.
In fact, if you look at senior execs, they build an image of excellence. And most of what they do day-to-day is get others to fulfill that vision.
I am a visionary. I have big ideas. But where I fall short is also largely where society lets me down.
The vision is only the start. To fulfill the vision, there's got to be a middle and end. That middle is exactly what middle management is for. The 'end' are the worker bees who get it done.
So as you move higher up the food chain in any company, you will find that the people high up understand that their success is in a large part how well they can create a vision and showcase to a sense the illusions others want to believe.
And when does the illusion becomes real?
That's when you have something that amazes people. Like this Neo writing tool.
As a business owner, to take your this game to a higher level, it's essential that you tell people what they want to hear and then figure out how to deliver it!
When I am being totally honest with myself, I see that this is the reason I've didn't fit into the corporate mold and why I as little as I like to admit it, I was probably not a good fit for that job at Amazon!
Just as Doug sees more the world more clearly now once he discovered the Tall Poppy Syndrome, I too see much clearer in what might be described as 'perception is reality.'
Who we see ourselves to be is a reflection of how to world shows up for us.
To excel in a highly competitive (and growing more competitive daily) world, you must understand this concept.
It's like seeing the matrix for the first time and I feel there is SO MUCH I can learn from that movie again (and the various books that use a similar analogy).
Just think of the speakers who crashed and burned before they emerged as major figures.
I often say that "we write the book that we need to read."
It's true. To the extent that you understand that what people want is for you to tell them what they want to hear.
How often do I see this in myself? How often am I 'sold' into an idea because the person (or company) told me what I wanted to hear?
The book 10/10 is an example of telling people what they don't want to hear. We want to believe that another 9/11 will never happen.
Even someone like Dave Ramsey gets this - and I think he's mission is driven by planting the seed in people minds that they too can achieve the 'ideal'.
The idea is that we live our lives in pursuit of an ideal version of ourselves we may or may not ever realize.
Where we spend our money is people, products, and services that we believe get us closer to this 'ideal' unrealized version of ourselves.
When the muse wakes you up, get up! I'm happy to get up at 2am and start writing - it's when the clarity spills out best. While the rest of the world sleeps and dreams, I turn my dreams into words.
The 'full package' looks like this... A brilliantly written narrative begins with an idea or vision (the start) - actually, before the start is a well written background. The background is essential! Then the vision is conveyed with great clarity. Now that we are in agreement of both the problem and the need for a solution, we proceed to write a narrative of how we end up with the 'ideal' result.
This is exactly how you MUST answer each question in an interview. It's why becoming a master at the STAR process is essential. And in hindsight, I can see with great clarity that it's exactly why I failed to convince each and ever interviewer that I was in the top 50% of my peers (the criteria used).
Referrals are to a large extent why I'm where I am today. When someone finds you as honest, a hard worker, and ultimately delivers the result they wanted (or better!), then you'll come up in conversations with others.
This is how successful individuals (and companies) happen.
As I head back to bed, I rest knowing a new truth. 'And then it hit me...' is such a perfect title for this piece, my book, and my talks on the subject.
The subject is "What the person who is more successful than you knows that you don't"
If you define success as being in a role of influence, earning more than enough to live well, and component to do a job better than 50% of their peers, you'll get it.
Sure, I can tell you that this is the path to becoming part of the 1% club because that's what you want to hear.
But if I'm telling THE TRUTH, it's that where you really want to aim is to be on the + side of the 50% tug-o-war. By this I mean that given two choices, are you the one that gets chosen?
And what is the criteria being used? The criteria is the 'ideal' for the job. If you really ask the question to the answer you don't want to hear, it's that anytime someone was chosen over you, it was because you failed to paint the picture as the 50% better choice.
In reality, it's not often the best person for the job - but rather the one who can convince the decision maker they are the best person for the job.
The ones who get job offers after every interview know this well. It's how well you pitch yourself as the best candidate.
And this is where I need to do the most work. It's how we show up everyday.
And yes, I will disappoint people because I get it - to get the job, you've got to draw this vision. It's much easier to come up with the idea than it is to deliver it... and the good news is that I'm really good at coming up with ideas.
It's the main criteria Amazon uses to hire. If you are in the interview loop, your job is ask "Is this person above the 50% bar of those already in that role at Amazon?" It's how you continually hire the best and the best keep getting better!
"At Amazon, the hiring manager and the bar raiser must both believe the candidate can do the job and exceed 50% of the folks currently doing so."
To thrive, I just need to find the next link in the chain - and for that, a team of others who can see the world with this sense of clarity. I will always ask "Is this person in the 50% better class?"
Would I be willing to follow them into battle?