Achieving your Goal
When you look at the human brain, you need to understand that there is a difference between the conscious and the subconscious and one of the concepts about the subconscious is that there is no time in the subconscious, everything is in the present. So when you have a memory for example, even though the memory is something that is in the past your brain pulls it into the subconscious and it gets illuminated or revealed in the subconscious, and while that memory is playing in your subconscious mind, your brain experiences it as if it is happening at the moment. It is one of the reasons why memory can trigger an emotion because if you understand how the brain file data and stores memories, every memory is stored with an attached emotion to it, so when that memory is extracted into the brain and it is remembered the emotion attached to it triggers with it. Because your subconscious has no understanding about time, there is no yesterday, today, or tomorrow, everything is now. The brain experiences that memory as if it is happening now. That is a good thing to use when you want to put someone in a state or yourself in a specific state but that concept has a little bit of a risk as well because the same rule applies when we start dreaming about tomorrow.
How to Achieve your Goals
What happens to the brain when you dream those dreams, the brain experiences them as if they are happening? Now think about it from a different angle. Some of you know people that are in an abusive relationship and have you ever met a woman that’s in an abusive relationship for a very long time and you wonder why they don’t just get out of it, its as if she is in a state of contentment and accepted it for some reason. One of the reasons this happens is because we daydream. If you are in an abusive relationship, what the brain often does is dream about a good relationship and because the subconscious brain cannot differentiate between time, the subconscious mind cannot differentiate between fake or real, synthetic or actual.
This is simplistic when we think about movies. When you watch a movie, ladies, when you watch a chick flick like the notebook, you cry every time at the same scene. When you watch a movie, intellectually, you know that that character busy dying, that you crying about will re-appear in another soap opera next week. But you still cry about it because a part of the brain does not differentiate between time and reality. It experiences what it experiences as if it is happening now and as if it is real, there is no differentiation. When your brain experiences a dream state of happiness, it means you are experiencing happiness. If you are in a bad situation and dream about a good situation your brain and subconscious mind, your emotional state experiences the good situation as if it is happening, and that very often creates a state of contentment. In other words, even though part of my life is miserable, I have times where I have good moments. Even if those good moments are fake moments.
Here is the risk of that, it very often causes us to dream about what we want to achieve, experience it in the short term, and then it allows us to still sit on the couch and do nothing about it because we have experienced it, and that short experience gives us a state of contentment. Part of our brain believes it has happened, so we don’t put in the energy and the effort and the behaviour to make it happen. That is one of the reasons we very often procrastinate on our amazing goals because we think about them, we dream about them, we experience them and because we have experienced them, part of the brain says you have experienced it so there for you don’t have to do anything about it. And tomorrow we wake up feeling miserable because nothing has happened in our lives and then we go back into that dream state
2 Types of dreams
There is an old saying in the project management field, failing to plan, is planning to fail. Unless you have a well-structured, well-formed strategy plan, step by step on how you are going to achieve that dream, you might find yourself dreaming about the dream and not doing anything about it. So, what I have done in my life is have differentiated two types of dreams in my life. The one type of dream I call a dream. But the other type, I do a deliberate action plan where I apply discipline and courage and I act on that action plan. Those dreams I call goals. So, there is a fine line between a dream and a goal. And the fine line is, the one has a strategy to it and action and behaviour. The moment we start acting we start getting into a motion.
Have you ever gone to the gym or wanted to do some exercise, sometimes beforehand you just don’t feel like it, and the first 5 minutes of it you are just lethargic, and not really putting in a lot of effort, but once you start getting into it, something just kicks in and you start putting in a huge amount of effort and you’re on a rollercoaster of an energy drive and you start producing amazing results.
Goals have that. Dreams do not.
There is a huge difference between the 2 and yet they are very close to each other. If you have dreams in your life and you have found yourself dreaming the same dream and realising I’m not getting into it, you need to realise it is a dream and you have no right to call it a goal unless there is a strategy and action attached to it. See the difference between the two. So ask yourself what is your goal because here is the strangest thing about this, if you merely keep dreaming and not convert the dream into a goal with a strategy and an action plan and then a behaviour, what you will find is that external factors will start creating and forcing you to behave in certain ways, then you become reactive, and you don’t live a life of pro-active. The moment you become reactive, you become controlled or influenced by something on the outside. You are not in control of your life. The moment you become proactive, then you become in control of your life. And that is a massive difference. If you look at successful people and you look at unsuccessful people, that is very often the main differentiating factor.
Act on your goals
It doesn’t matter if you feel great unless there is a behavioural response to it, it is merely just a dream. There is how many people around this world, that have been dreaming the same thing as you, and they have been thinking I need to go do that, I need to go on that workshop, that thing has been offered for free, there is something really interesting about this. And then they dream about doing it and then nothing happens. Because there is no action.
Motivation is one of the biggest false emotional states you can experience. Motivation is a false emotional state. Motivation does not create action. Now I am not knocking motivational speakers, they are critical in our society and I love motivational speakers. But have you ever been to a motivational speaker session and at the end of the session you find yourself really pumped; you are ready to take on the world? You are energized, you know this is the moment you have been waiting for, and you know you are now going to kick ass. You are going to make this stuff happen and then the next day nothing happens. And then the next day you have forgotten about it, and the next week you are back into your normal default behaviour patterns and your tank is empty, and the only way you can ever feel like that is to go back to a motivational speaker.
Motivation is part of the brain that gets disillusioned about a potential outcome. It experiences something in the future as if it has already happened and then it feels fantastic. Motivational states are often very similar to a dream state, so I want you to look at it differently. I want to tell you a story. Let’s assume there are two guys standing on a cliff and at the bottom, there is a beautiful ocean and these two guys want to jump off the cliff. Number one decides he is jumping, as he is jumping, he has this adrenaline rush, and swoosh into the ocean.
Very thrilled and excited he now runs back up the cliff and to the top. Number two took a few steps back and decided he is not going to jump. Now they are both standing on the cliff, which one now feels motivated to jump, very simple, the one that has already jumped. We believe we need to feel motivated before we take action, we don’t. First and foremost, before we take action, we need to experience hope, hope is a future emotion that says if I do something there will be a result. It is an emotion of positive expectation that something could happen. Once I have hope or I have the positive expectation that something can happen. The next state I will need is courage. You see the guy that jumped for the first time, at that moment what he experienced was hope, was a potential expectation but combined with that he also experienced fear. He also experienced a nervous state and inside of those states he applied courage to push him through those states, take the leap, have the experience. Because he has now had that experience the brain can now reference that experience. Now the brain is motivated to experience it again. What motivational speakers do is allow your brain to tap into things you have achieved in the past, create that in a way where you believe you are experiencing it in your future. And now you feel motivated that you can do it again, but if it is a new behaviour you will not take action. You need to apply courage. Courage combined with discipline creates sustainability and results.
A deadline forces a human to take courage, but here is the difference.
If you decide you want to go for a run, and you don’t go for a run and you dreamed about the run, but you are not taking any action on it. If you decide to get fit and you want to run every day. To start that process you need courage and discipline to start to action so you can get into a motion. Then you start feeling motivated and you start doing this more and more. That is a towards strategy behaviour, because you are starting to run because you want to get fit. But there is another way to get you to start running and that is by putting a snake in your room. That is fear-based behaviour. And all fear-based behaviours are not sustainable, because you will only run-up to the moment where you believe you have gotten away from that initial catalyst that got you to run. The moment that fear is gone you will stop running. If you believe that timeframes are what gets you going then you must start to realise that you are living in a fear-based kickstart behaviour. Would you rather want to live in a fear-based kickstart behavioural pattern or would you rather want to live in a courage, disciplined, congruent behaviour? Step into it, take the first action. Teach your brain to become proactive, start taking the actions, then get into that discipline, then start feeling the pleasure, the rush from it, now you are motivated to start the motion going, and now congruency and a continuous behaviour will start.
It is a simple thing to reflect quickly. Think about times when you take a short holiday, and you go on holiday for a few days, let’s assume you have worked very hard up until that point. Have you noticed that you need to unlearn the behavioural pattern of working consistently, the first day or two your brain and body actually struggle to get out of the motion of working because that congruency is installed? You have to teach yourself to relax, but once you have taught yourself to relax, have you also noticed that now you have to apply courage again to get back into the action and then the flowing of the motion, to get back into that work zone. But once you are there, it starts becoming easier and easier and you start doing more and more. Its patterns, its programs, its repetition.
How do I install this to become automatic in it?
When you build your strategy and structure your goals, you need to install a personal self-celebration on every small achievement. So, every couple of days you want to have some form of measure in place, where once you have achieved it, you can celebrate it by rewarding yourself. Now, self-reward is something a lot of people struggle with. Self-reward is not when I go and I am happy and I hold up a poster and say look guys I am happy, self-reward is when I treat myself to something. Now I love chocolate, so one of the ways I treat myself is I literally take a bite of a piece of chocolate, I do not need to eat the slab to reward. The gift or self-celebration can be extremely small, but what I want you guys to understand. If I do a strategy and it takes me 6 months to complete, but inside of that strategy, once a week or at max once every 2 weeks I have a small self-celebration of achievement where I reward myself, it might be I go for a walk, it might be I work in the garden, it might be I sit down for 20mins and play a game, it might be I go and meditate, it might be I listen to a beautiful song, it might be I eat a piece of chocolate. It is some kind of behaviour where I say this behaviour is my celebration reward for achieving. If I do this every week or every 2 weeks for the next couple of months, I am reprogramming my subconscious mind that discipline is rewarding. That discipline comes with the celebration.
We need to understand as humans we only have a single fear. You are only born with one fear. The fear of the unknown. That is why we are scared of the dark and scared of unknown things. We do not like running in the mist because we don’t know what is ahead of us. As humans, we would like to know what is ahead of us. So, our biggest fear is the fear of the unknown. When you plan a goal, when you start strategising, when you realise you have a very scary, magnificent, bodacious goal you want to achieve, if you have never achieved it in your life before, it is an unknown because it’s an unknown, instinctively as humans we go into a state of fear. It is not a fear of failure, that is a complete disillusion lie, it’s a fear of the unknown. But because the brain struggles to comprehend this fear of the unknown, it tries to give it meaning. In the process where the brain tries to give it meaning, it starts believing it’s a fear of potential failures. It has to justify the fear to itself, so it starts coming up with potential reasons of why it is fear. And those potential reasons are possible things that can maybe go wrong. Now if you think of your own life, how many times have you feared something in the future that could possibly go wrong. But 99% of the time it didn’t even happen, and the 1% of the time, you realised it’s not so bad Afterall. The reason that happens is that that future fear is a disillusion. It’s a complete disillusion that the mind creates. The mind fears the unknown. Now, what do you need to step into the unknown? Not motivation, not inspiration. You need courage. It is in that moment of fearing your own greatness that you need courage to become the person you can become. If you stay in your comfort zone, you
will feel content, you will feel safe. Being safe in life and in a content state, being in a comfort zone, is the biggest handbrake that is holding you back from your true potential.
How do I activate courage?
You act in the midst of it. You do. It is a verb. To apply courage is not an emotional state. Applying courage is a verb, it’s an action. You start doing something. Force yourself to do something. What is the one thing? I often get people telling me I want to become a motivational speaker but I am petrified of speaking in front of groups, if you listen to people that have become speakers, and i will use myself as an example, you think I woke up one day and decided I want to be a speaker and speak in front of 1000s of people, and I had no fear. Of course, I was afraid. Some of the guys that know me well, every time I need to speak in front of a new group, especially if it is a large group, I still experience fear, I have a massive amount of nerves. Courage means, in the midst of that fear, act!