Quick story: When I was 13, I got my first set of golf clubs. We lived right across the street from a driving range, and I got to play all the time. I loved it, and I got pretty decent, which made me feel good.
Then as a young man, I stopped playing. I was struggling to get by, my confidence was shot, and I didn’t feel like I had time or money for fun things like golf.
Years later, after achieving a lot of business success, I decided to give it a try again… and I stank.
At first, it was no big deal. I figured I was just rusty, and I’d get my chops back pretty quick.
But that didn’t happen. I started taking lessons, practicing, trying different swings—nothing worked. I couldn’t get nearly as good as when I was 13! Can you believe it?!
I was rich and successful at this point and had been for some time, but I noticed something interesting. When I would play golf and not do well, I wouldn’t feel very good about myself.
It wasn’t like, “Oh my God, I’m a terrible person.” It was just, “Why can’t I do this better? It’s ridiculous. The ball doesn’t even move. There’s no opponent trying to tackle you. You just have to hit the ball!”
It might sound silly, but I would get a little upset with myself. Even with so much to be happy and grateful and proud about in my life, my golf game could really throw off my mental game.
I’ve heard this kind of thing from countless people over my years as a coach and teacher.
For a lot of them, when they’re doing something they’re not so great at, their self-esteem suffers a little bit. And for some, it suffers a LOT!
We may know we shouldn’t attach our self-worth to anything so dumb, but we do it anyway.
And measuring yourself like this can drive you crazy! It drains your energy and takes away your happiness.
Not a great way to live or create success—true or true?
So what can you do?
Well, you need to learn how to handle it—to not get so thrown off by these external things, and to get back on track fast when you do.
You need to train your mind. That’s what I want to help you with now.
The Secret Of A Successful Life
We all have an important part of our mind called attention. It’s like a strap-on headlamp— the kind you might wear for camping or walking around at night.
Everything is dark, but wherever you point your lamp, something lights up. That’s all you can see.
Everything else still exists, but the only thing that exists for you in that moment is what you focus your attention on.
If you’re at a restaurant in Los Angeles, things are going on in New York and Barcelona and just around the corner, that you know nothing about.
But let’s say you get out your phone and looked up today’s news in Barcelona. Suddenly that becomes your focus, and wow, that exists for you now, because you changed where you were pointing the light of your attention.
Here’s the secret: the focus of your attention determines the quality of your life.
So you need to focus on things that help you feel good, enjoy life, and accomplish your goals.
This is hard, and most of us will never get it anywhere close to perfect. But you have to do your best because the alternative sucks!
Left to its own devices, your mind can create a disastrous life for you. Its job is to protect you, so it’s always trying to turn your attention toward threats.
That might be an intimidating looking person, criticism from your boss, or shame about a mistake you made.
Imagine your boss yelling, “You totally screwed up! What’s the matter with you?!” You focus on that, and you can’t let it go. It’s on you like a leech.
You might focus on it for the next three months, playing it over and over in your mind and dragging out the hurt, anger, and sadness.
If you do, what do you think your life is going to be like for those three months? Terrible!
And if there aren’t any threats, your mind is always ready to make something up!
“I don’t think Joe likes me. He never smiles at me.” Well, maybe Joe’s depressed or going through a divorce or hates his job. Maybe it has nothing to do with you!
Regardless of what your mind says and regardless of what it’s about, it’s always the same voice, that I call “mindfrick.”
It’s mind friction. It fricks you up and slows your growth. Life would be clear, simple, beautiful, and smooth if you didn’t have friction, but you do, because of the voice in your head.
So what do you do about your mind? You’ve got to take the bull by the horns and recognize that the voice in your head is not the voice of God. It’s not even the voice of reason. It’s the voice of fear and ego.
You’ve got to intercede and change the focus. You must control your attention.
How To Control Your Attention — Method #1
When you feel like your self-esteem has been shrunk or you’ve got a raging case of mindfrick, number one is to bring your attention back to your center—your true self.
Your true self has no attachment to how well you play golf, what your boss said, or what Joe might think of you.
Your true self is all about expansion, love, and presence. That’s it. And all of that will give you connection and energy. All the other crap that’s in your head is just crap in your head.
The best thing to do is focus on the present moment, paying attention to what you’re doing right now and noticing that everything’s okay, there’s no immediate threat.
For example, you might start the day like “Okay, gotta go to work and face the boss again,” and to defuse that situation from being upsetting, you can stop, and focus on what you’re doing. “ I’m putting on my shirt. Do this top button. Now do the next button. That’s good. There’s my jacket, let’s put that on. Let’s see. How does my hair look in the mirror? Not bad. Now we’re going downstairs, one step at a time. Nice. Very good.”
Meditation can be a great way to develop this skill of presence because you’re practicing coming back to the moment.
When you meditate, you think about your breath. And if you think about that meeting coming up, and “Oh, I’m not sure I’m ready,” you catch yourself and come back to the moment, and your breath.
What To Do When Method #1 Doesn’t Work
Now, I said the best thing to do is come back to the present. But let’s say you’re like me a lot of the time— you’re not so enlightened, and it’s hard to get present. So you’re not going to be perfect the first time.
But when mindfrick is wreaking havoc and you can’t come straight back into the present moment, there’s an intermediate step you can take.
You can use a positive trigger.
A positive trigger is a thought— something that makes you feel empowered, loving, and happy.
Personally, I have a pretty short laundry list of go-to positive triggers. I’ve got each of my kids. I’ve got my partner Michelle. I’ve got my mother. Or I think of a time I helped someone in a big way and how I want to do that more.
It’s like having a trusty weapon readily available that zaps away negativity.
I put my attention on one of those things, and that silly thought about my golf game goes away.
“What about golf? I don’t give a shit right now. Who cares?”
So try this now. Write down one positive trigger for yourself, and make it a picture that you can see.
The more vague it is, the less useful it’ll be in the heat of the moment.
When you’re experiencing mindfrick, you need something very specific and visual to focus on. And it needs to be something you have a powerful, positive, emotional connection to.
Start with just one thing, and don’t change it for a while. Make it a habit. Just one go to positive trigger that turns your attention away from negativity.
And remember, this is an intermediate step. Once you’ve settled down, you want to come back to the present moment.
There’s a big difference between reality and fantasy. Mindfrick is fantasy, but the intermediate step is, too. If I’m going to choose between two made up stories, I’d rather have a positive one than a negative one, but they’re both fantasy.
Only the present is real. And that’s where you tap into the power to create your life the way you want.
Now, remember—you won’t get this perfect every time. And that’s ok. You have to make a practice of focusing on the present moment and using your positive trigger to help you get there. And please share in the comments below what your positive trigger is!
The world and your mind will always try to keep you in fear and struggle, or at best, the comfort of your personal status quo, even if it’s shitty.
You have to keep practicing shifting your attention toward something positive and towards something that serves you in your life. And because this is so difficult, it’s a very good idea to get support.
So to help you get started, I have a very powerful and FREE training that covers this whole topic in much more depth. It’s called…
I want you to sign up right now so I can share with you the real reason most people don’t achieve their goals and 3 keys to creating true success in life.
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