Ego = Fail

Just now I was reflecting on how Eckhart Tolle mentions about how his ego doesn’t interfere with his daily events as they would cause identification with the events around him. This identification would interfere with him doing things in the moment and cause stress and anxiety. This reminded me of the numerous times when I’ve been in fear before an event and how when I’m in the flow it always works without fear. How this stress is always ego related and how without the expectations of a new beginning I do well and if I allow my ego to get involved I always seem to screw it up.Ego=Fail

Does this mean that if I am fearful or anxious I’m identifying with the event with my ego? I think so.

I’ve always said that I have “Beginners Luck”. The number of times that I’ve done something for the first time and done it initially with ease is staggering. I remember when I started skydiving at 17 years of age. I went to the drop zone the first weekend and did my training and the following weekend I went to do my first jumps. That weekend I did four static line jumps, each and every one was copy book perfect. Everyone praised me, paying complements as to my natural abilities. Then the following week end I returned to continue and failed monumentally, moving onto free fall and tumbling out of control eventually returning to static line descendants and doing 13 instead of the usual five until I eventually moved onto free-fall again. It was even recommended that I should give it away. Ultimately I amassed 2000 skydives and became an instructor at 19. By then I was humbled by by initiation into the sport.

For a short time when I was about 30 I had a sales job using a style of sales similar to encyclopaedia selling where I had to present to people in their homes from a script and eventually close the deal. After the initial training I went out on my first day to present, not expecting any results as I was such a raw recruit and managed to sell four out of five presentations blowing everyones expectations, including mine, out of the water. The following six weeks were harrowing as I slowly started to stress and didn’t sell one programme until eventually I decided to give it away and on my last presentation I sold two unexpectedly to the client and her friend who just happened to be sitting in. I’m sure I sold on the last day because I no longer had an attachment to the outcome, the stress of achieving was removed and my ego was now out of the picture.

This has happened in all the fields that I have ventured into where the first time I do something, I do well as I have no expectations, my ego is subdued as I’m only starting and I don’t expect any results. Because I’m completely with the experience and not at all in my ego I allow anything to happen and it resolves in ways far better than I would have expected. It’s even happened with the first time I played lotto and won $35 because there is no chance to win on my first attempt and I’ve never won anything since.

The problem is that once I have the initial success, I then buy into others and my own expectations based on the past experience and extrapolate it out into the future, then naturally expect the evolvement of the good fortune into something grand. Then when it doesn’t materialise I become demoralised, think of it as a failure and it all falls apart. If I do keep at it in the long term and persevere through the negative period as I did with skydiving and my trade skill I notice that I eventually return to the level of success that I originally had but now I’ve been humbled by the experience of doing so poorly during the intervening period. I then don’t think of what I do as being anything special but think of it as something that anyone can do, as is really the case. If I can do something anyone can and often times anyone has, so why should I think that I’m anything special. This is what I find so interesting.

I seem to be blessed with some innate natural talents which enable me to do well initially but if I allow my ego to rise up even at the most basic level I come unstuck then my ego feels blighted by the failure and stress develops and a downward cycle begins. What if I don’t allow my ego into the picture? What if I simply say “this person which is me is doing this thing and it will be as it will be”? If the goal of the day is achieved or not is irrelevant. It’s only important to do the task as seems appropriate with no judgement of whether it is good or bad, which is a judgement in itself. Just let it be and not to identify with the event in anyway as being something personal.

That’s the take home, “not to identify with the event in anyway as being something personal” which has to exclude any form of ego.

End of 2009 – Brilliant

Another year wraps up and I’ve been reflecting on it lately.

Back when I came up with the idea and started Your Story I commented on how the years were all the same and the disappointment that there wasn’t any real change from year to year, of my desire to shake that up. Now it’s now been nearly 3 years.

I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing when I started on this path those few years ago but I knew that I needed to start and see where it would go. The first 15 years of my adult life were wonderful years with a great marriage, adventure and achievements but after that it was particularly tough. Now I can say that of the last 15 years since my marriage went south these last 3 years have been the best, most rewarding and enlightening years.

When my daughter was little I used to say that I was running a one off, 18 year experiment in parenting and I’d get back with the results on whether I achieved anything when she is 18. Now that she is I think that experiment has been very successful but that is another story. Just the same as parenting, this last year I’ve been running another experiment in not planning, not goal setting but

Ian in Buenos AIres

simply going where the moment takes me. It started way back in May when I decided, just for one week to have a Societyfast. What could go wrong for one week of not buying into all the stuff of society?

As it turns out after that week I decided not to reconnect with the system and that’s the way it’s been all year since then. Now I’ve always done things somewhat my own way but this was really ramping it up. I have for the majority of the year slept, worked, danced and travelled as it’s seemed right in the moment. I’ve done my best not to project into the future and reminisce on the past. I have at times been far from perfect from achieving this and I have sometimes bought into fear and sentimentality but generally I’ve been able to reconnect after a time and just enjoy the moment. And what wonderful moments I’ve had.

In the last year I’ve only worked about 10 weeks which has caused me to live very lean but my life is wonderful and rich with friends old and new. I have a wonderful social life thanks to my dancing and all that Tango has given me. I’ve travelled yet again, this time to Buenos Aires. I’ve worked for a time with an artist and on Narnia – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where I made some wonderful things. The podcast is evolving and I’ve managed to meet and get a whole new level of guests to come onto the show. My skills have continued to improve both with audio and video while some people, though only a few, seem to like what I’m producing and keep coming back.

But most importantly I’ve discovered that if I take the time, to take no time, to just be in the moment and make decisions on what needs to be done now and follow that quiet feeling inside me that says that I should do … right now it all seems to work out. Leave my petty ego out of it and be content with whatever happens whether it’s others or my doing doesn’t matter. Instead of worrying I’m starting to have an attitude that something will happen, it’s just that I don’t know what it is. This is creating a new state of wonder, where I don’t know what is going to happen but like watching a film I’m curious and wonder what will evolve. Amazingly it’s working out different and much better than I could imagine.

Yes, what will come of the New Year. I wonder because I have no idea.

Lets find out…

SocietyFast 1.1

It’s now been 48 hours since I started this idea. I still don’t really know what the idea is other than to do my best to stay present, accept things as they evolve and grab any opportunities or inspirations that come along.

However in the last few hours a couple of things have happened that I find interesting.

  • I’ve put out another podcast and the previous post here with some excellent reactions from the tweeps out there.
  • I’ve had 2 hours of a screaming chainsaw next door no more than 5 m away and been unconcerned by the deafening noise.
  • Chris who I do two days work a week with phoned me to say that he couldn’t afford to have me work for him this week. To which I simply accepted the situation without reaction.
  • Then I get a call from the Red Cross Blood Service, so tomorrow I’m going in to donate platelets for the first time.
  • I’ve just been for an invigorating run around the city feeling strong and vital.

the-perfect-momentNothing much really.

I’m concentrating on being very much in the moment and as I practice I notice that I’m gaining strength at it, constantly being more aware of my body and the events around me including what I’m feeling, seeing  and hearing as I type this.

If I was to think about stuff,  I’m very much in freefall, but right now I’m fine and that’s all I’m concentrating on this week. So as I write this I’m immensely content and happy.

Things seem to be going okay so far…

Emergent Mind of the Financially Deficient.

I was listening today to an episode of Radio Lab about Emergence and it seemed to reflect and meld a few things that I’ve been wondering about lately.

Emergence is the concept that a group has an intelligence that an individual doesn’t have.

Take an ant colony. An individual ant will stupidly wandering around aimlessly doing what individual ants do and will perish in a short while without the help of others but when the ant is involved with a larger group the chances of one tripping across something that is of value to the nest increases. Then the group has the ability in their innate organisation and beneficial behaviours to create the patterns that will maximise situations. This emergent group behaviour allows the development of the nest.

The same is said for the way herds, swarms, cities and brains operate.

In the programme they say the the individual neuron in our brains is much like the single ant but when combined with the gazillions of neurons in our brain they work in harmony much like a nest or hive, to create something much greater than the sum of the individuals.

This got me thinking of a few things about human behavior and how for some of us we can grasp some concepts as self evident while other ideas, no matter how much we attempt to understand, we just can’t comprehend.

In my case I find the process of design, as in the assembly of the components to achieve a design in a proportional elegant way quite simple. I have the ability to take complex shapes and rotate, invert and rearrange it within my mind while balancing the engineering and end purpose all the time with cost and manufacturing technologies. Quite simple really. Some of this I’m sure is from my training but I’m equally sure that it’s one of my talents, the way I am, the way my neurons are wired up.

But ask me to do my tax and I’ll book out a day to get frustrated and even then procrastinate until the last moment. Try to have a discussion about share trading with me (and I have looked into it) and my mind starts to shut down no matter how important I want to make it. I just don’t care nor do I understand the importance of, and this is my main point, “MONEY”

We’re all told that we have to have money, and that we have to play the game or get out of the way. But no one says you have to make your own furniture, or our own clothes. If you can’t do these things your not told to get out of the game. However we’re all told that we have to know how to play the money game so we can get others to do the things that we can’t do. So why can’t we get someone to make us the money like we get someone to fix our car. Because the system is designed to screw us if we do. The only way to offset getting shafted is know how to play the money game or bad luck, you’re to blame for not taking care. Just consider everyone who are getting right royally shafted at present after taking the advice of consultants for the last couple of decades. As in the case of cheap home loans and Bernie Madoff.

Because of the importance that has been placed on playing the money game the few who have a natural harmony for it are held up as demigods for all of us to aspire to and emulate, while those that have equal skills as a mechanic, scientist or farmer are respectfully demeaned as not as valuable as an Investor.

We come into this world with our genetic heritage(nature) and life experiences(nurture) which when combined create the only possible way that an individual can be. Together these create our individual Emergent Mind that behaves in the only way that it can.

So if the outcome of who we are is controlled by the nature and nurture components that are involved in the life experience and we miss out on the, Money Stuff as outlined above, or for that matter the Parenting, Partnering or Making Stuff, how can we possibly get it?. Mmmmmm

Well the way things are now we have two choices.

1. We can’t do anything, so just deal with it.

2. Go get the education(experience) and learn how to do it.

We live in a money focused obsessed society. If you can’t do money your a dysfunctional and irrelevant member of society. After all look at all the ads in the papers and on the web of normal everyday folk making a fortune so why can’t you?????

Well maybe it’s not about knowledge, but about the particular way in which individual brains are wired(through genetics and experience) to see how money is created.

I’ve meet individuals as I’m sure you have who just say making money is easy and they have all the things that money can bring them. I’ve often looked at them and wondered what can you see that I can’t? What is the elusive obvious?

I did a week-end seminar a few years back, then for three days afterwards I could see opportunities all around me to make money, I could SEE(figuratively) money. For a brief time I had the vision as if someone had given me magic spectacles, to see what others could see but until then I couldn’t. I think the seminar rewired my neurons for a time.

Then it faded… It sounds bizarre I know, but it made me realise that there are physiological ways to perceive the world in different ways.

I know some things well and I see them easily. I know parenting and personal health without thinking. I can treat a partner well and I’m a good employer as well as a conversationalist. I’m empathetic and I have manual dexterity to make things along with the ability to laugh at the fact that I don’t know interior decoration and I can build a great matrimonial bed.

In our modern world it is said that many of these things are important but the ability to make money is number one and if you can do that all the others, as deficiencies, they are tolerable. We all know wealthy people who can’t do (insert deficiency here) but they are still respected because they are wealthy.

So my frustration is simply that I know that there is a emergent dynamic in our brains that enables us to see the world intuitively, to generate wealth like I know how to make a table. I know it’s simply not about knowledge but about having the components within the wiring of the brain to enable it to see the opportunities that are around us at all times.

I feel like my mind is like an ants nest that doesn’t have any idea how to collect bread crumbs. I know that they are there to be collected but I can’t sense them and when I trip over one it’s enough for just the moment. Meanwhile the bankers and corporations are strip mining the picnic table.

Polyamory on G’Day World Live.

Recently Cameron Reilly invited me to discuss a few things on Polyamory with him and anyone who wanted to call in on his G’Day World Live Podcast. We had an initial conversation with Nick Beaugeard regarding some of his climate change skepticism then I had a bit of a rave about my thoughts on Polyamory into which Kate Edwards came along for the ride.

I’ve mentioned these same points in a previous post so I won’t go into them here but if you want to read in detail my thought on it feel free to go back to the post and get back to me if you want to have a rave.

Just one brief point. Polyamory is about allowing people to have the freedom to choose the life they want and that being the case, the life some people want is to not be free therefore if you care for someone the ultimate gift is to give them that freedom. And yes that was intended to be contradictory. Life is like that often. 🙂