How to Change in an Instant, or “Don’t forget the milk!”

“It’s just a jump to the left.”

This may not be the greatest post I’ve ever written, but it’s one of the most important. Also, if you know me, I’m usually not one to make sweeping statements. But, I think this is one of those times.

Changing yourself — any change — takes an instant, and it’s as easy as remembering to “buy the milk!”

Imagine for a moment that you suddenly realize that you need milk. You may be on your way home, just arriving at work, hanging out somewhere, maybe already in a store. You might get the suggestion or reminder from your wife or friend, or you might remember on your own.

Are you ready? Here it comes. Here comes the change.

You decide to get the milk.

BAM! That’s it! In an instant, you’ve changed your mind. You’ve decided to do something different. There’s no argument, no resistance (necessary), no debate or committee needed.

Now, actually getting the milk into your hands may take 2 seconds if you just decided this in front of a cooler of milk. Or, it may take a bit longer to get cash, to wait for that farmer’s market on Sunday at 3p, and buy it from your friendly organic farmer. Maybe you’ll have to dress up warm, go out to the barn, and milk your cow. The quality of the milk you get, and the effort to get that quality, is up to you.

The decision to get the milk took only an instant.

The same principle applies to any other change. You may consider becoming a Project Manager, learning to program a computer, or invent a world changing product. You may be thinking of being a nicer person, forgiving a long standing anger, or wanting to be sober from drugs, alcohol, or some behavior. Maybe you want to run for President, change the financial industry in your country, or achieve Everlasting Peace. What you want to achieve or accomplish may take widely varying amounts of time and effort; all up to you.

…but the change can occur in no time at all.

p.s. Achieving most of those things is often far easier than you realize. There are excellent teachers and coaches in this world, countless “How to…” guides, and plenty of prior art.

(Thank you for this lesson, Ms. Grace.)

Seriously, where did you learn about emotions?

“Oh, yeah. I feel like a hundred dollars.” –Fletch

Did you ever go to school? Were you ever tested? Did you achieve a diploma or some recognition of excellence? And, if you did get educated, did you keep up as you grew older, while you became a much more complex person?

Perhaps you only gained a working vocabulary of emotions, from friends your own age who knew about as much as you did. Maybe you figured them out together, while you learns other subjects in school. Or did you have to struggle through them on your own, with few people to turn to?

I know, I know, it’s pretty clear when a feeling of happiness comes up, or sadness, or anger. Those feel so strong and powerful! There’s no denying that they come up, nor is there a need to explain why you feel them so strongly.

But…

I’ve found that people often confuse their feelings with their thoughts. “I feel like eating a burger.” “I feel like going to a movie.” “I ought to feel angry about this, but…”

Emotions are far more worthy of attention, and many people struggle with what they feel, why they feel those ways, and what they can do about them. There’s an incredibly wide range of feelings, and we can feel more than one at a time! They are natural, they are “honest”, and they are completely yours; no one can do anything to them without your permission.

I’ve written about “the GATE method”, a simple way to work through emotions in order to specifically understand why they come up, and what they mean to you. This isn’t the only way to process emotions, just a simple, fool-proof one. It opens the door towards understanding one’s self, and it allows a person to be responsible for themselves rather than be tossed about by their emotions. This results in a person who is fully empowered and available for themselves and others as opposed to people that are maintaining the appearance of control while bursting at the seams, ready to explode, with all their pent up feelings.

Consider the benefits of a strong education, and let’s set aside where the education comes from (college, self-taught, parochial, etc…). In a deeper sense, getting a “proper” emotional education opens the door to so much potential, and it prepares a person to create a full life. If you think your relationships are fun now, can you imagine if you both experienced life more fully, and were able to share that together? Can you imagine watching an old movie again and recognizing depths of the story that you simply couldn’t relate to? Maybe you could finally understand what is so moving and compelling in classical music, and then you might find yourself with hundreds of years of “new” music available for exploration.

It’s not difficult, but it may be unfamiliar, to study and practice the language of emotions. Just like anything else, though, it’s understandable, and when you achieve mastery of your emotional self, you open the door to a far more satisfying life, each and every day.

Onward, Mr. Jobs. Many thanks.

It’s a powerful thing we have, the ability to affect people, to affect this world. I saw how much my father touched people when so many gathered for his memorial. I can only imagine how far reaching Steve Jobs’ works are, and will be.

Thank you, Mr. Jobs. You inspire me.

Oh, no!!! It’s… MEDITATION! (Gasp! Shriek! Cower! Run away!)

“What’s so [scary] ’bout peace, love, and understanding…?” — Nick Lowe

I can make you several promises, sight unseen… if you’ve never meditated before, and you actually try it:

  • you will NOT automatically turn into a monk or nun
  • you will NOT begin smelling like patchoulli
  • you will NOT lose your sense of self
  • you will NOT start to speak Sanskrit
  • you will NOT need to practice yoga
  • you will NOT suddenly forgive your enemies
  • you will NOT lose all interest in prime-time TV
  • you will NOT stop looking Fabulous!
  • you will NOT gain (or lose) magical powers
  • you will NOT instantly love your enemies
  • you will NOT become part of a cult
  • you will NOT feel compelled to sell all your cool stuff
  • you will NOT hug the very next tree you see

You might experience some of those things over time , and if you practice really hard…:

  • you WILL feel happier
  • you WILL perform better
  • you WILL think more clearly
  • you WILL love more deeply
  • you WILL have clearer vision
  • you WILL get more value from your earnings
  • you WILL have better relationships
  • you WILL lose “weight”

These are just some of the benefits you’ll receive from meditation, and you’ll get all of these for just $1.00*.

I kid, I kid! It’s free, I tell ya!

Seriously, though, the point of this was to show how ludicrous it is to feel any fear towards meditation. The point of meditation is to quiet down.

Champions get quiet before big games, so do performers. Leaders get quiet when dealing with conflict. I’ll bet there are already times when you tend to quiet down; even sleep approaches the idea of meditation (related, but different).

If you know how to pray, there’s a saying: “Prayer is talking to God, meditation is listening.

Give it a try! It’s not as scary as you might think.

*You didn’t think you’d get all this for free, did you?!? As Guru Pitka says, “We will gladly refund your misery.”