Sunday, October 7, 2012

Getting to the heart of the matter

Imagine ...

You are sitting at home, curled up in a warm blanket in front of the TV, watching a kid's movie that features a rakish hero and an old magic lamp. You think of all the pressures in your life — work, bills, relationships, health —- and you think to yourself about how wonderful it would be if life were like the movies. With a poof of animated smoke, a big blue Genie appears in front of you, wisecracking jokes in a voice that sounds an awful lot like Robin Williams. The Genie puts a piece of paper and a magic pen in front of you, and says that he is ready to make all of your wishes come true — whatever you want, the whole enchilada — as long as you can write it down in two minutes or less.

Try it. Take a piece of paper, and spend no more than two minutes writing out all the things you want in life. Ready, Set, Go! Write as many as you can.

After you are done, you tentatively hand it to the Genie, thinking to yourself that this is it - your stress level has finally caused you to blow a gasket. As he takes the list, the Genie lets out a raspy belly laugh, and exclaims with a twinkle in his eye, "Oops! I forgot the story! You know how this works ... I can only give you three wishes, or Eisner will have my head!" As he pulls his head off to demonstrate, he gives you another two minutes — laughing that this is a one time, blue light special offer! — to circle the three things from your list that you most want.

Go for it! Two minutes. Which three things do you want most? Circle them.

Your two minutes are up! The paper disappears with a strangely mouse-like squeak, and reappears in the Genie's hands, glowing with a light you have never seen before. You disbelievingly rub your eyes as the Genie reads your list. He looks at it quizzically, and asks "Are you positive this is what you most want?" Like most of the rest of humanity, you think about it, and then you sheepishly shrug your shoulders. With a gentle laugh and a wink he says "I thought not — otherwise, you wouldn't have to be wishing for them. So, I'll tell you what. I'm going to send you over to a friend of mine, who can give you something even better than wishes — he can give you Tools."

What Do You Want?

As simple as it sounds, few people know what they most want in life, and even fewer consistently focus on getting it. For most of us, most of the time, we focus on the means to getting what we want, rather than our core needs themselves. We obsess on "success" at our job, making "enough" money, or having the "perfect" relationship — or else we don't focus at all, and simply react to what life throws at us.This is fantastic, because it offers a tremendous opportunity to radically improve your life!
The following is based on the work of Tony Robbins, one of the most successful coaches and motivational speakers in the world. Based on his work with over 3 million people, Tony's conclusion is that we are all driven by some combination of six core needs.
Core NeedDescriptionAnchors
CertaintyOrder, control, securityAvoiding pain and fear
VarietyChaos, adventure, noveltyPleasure, freedom
SignificanceIndividuality, importance, egoSelf worth, judgments
ConnectionCommunion, approval, attachmentReceiving love
GrowthLearning, spiritual developmentEvolution
ContributionService, surrender, careGiving love
Based on the way we live our lives, most of us prioritize one or two of these needs above all others.

Take a minute, and think about your life. On which of these two needs do you spend the most time and energy, on a day to day basis? Not what do you want to invest in — what DO you invest in today?

Most likely, these are your current top two core needs.

The first four needs (levels 1 and 2) are our physical needs, which we all find ways to meet, even if it is through violence, casting ourselves as the victim, or mental illness. Our physical needs are in tension with each other. The more certainty we have, the less variety we have, and vice versa. The more significance we have, the less connection we have. Because of this, we can never fully satisfy all four of these needs in a physical way, and different people prioritize different needs as being most important to them. At their core, many conflicts between two people are really a conflict between different needs. For example, masculine people tend to need more Significance, Variety, and Growth, while feminine people tend to need more Certainty, Connection, and Contribution.
The next two needs (level 3) are our spiritual needs, which are the only needs that provide lasting fulfillment. The meaning of life — the meaning we crave for and create in our lives — comes from growth and contribution. While none of the needs are "better" than another, happy, loving, fulfilled lives require shifting our primary focus from the earlier levels to the later levels, as we mature. A common developmental challenge in life comes when we become unconsciously fixated on satisfying a given need, past the point in our lives where it is time to start reprioritizing it behind a more mature need.
How well we satisfy our first four physical needs defines how successful our life is. How well we satisfy our two spiritual needs defines how much fulfillment we find in life.
Again, we all have all of these needs, and we naturally want to satisfy all of them. However, if we could do so easily, we would be bored. Luckily, we can't, and the core tension built in to our deepest needs provides much of the fuel and spice which makes life (and relationships!) interesting, and keeps us growing throughout our lives.
One of the reasons why Tony Robbins has so many ecstatically satisfied customers for his $4995 Date With Destiny seminar is that very few people consciously know their core needs, understand that meaning and fulfillment come from meeting our most advanced needs, or are consciously living their lives from the inside out.
Again, this provides a fantastic opportunity, where coaching can help you gain tremendous Life Leverage in getting what you most want out of life.

As simple as it sounds, few people know what they most want in life, and even fewer consistently focus on getting it.

How well we satisfy our first four physical needs defines how successful our life is. How well we satisfy our two spiritual needs defines how much fulfillment we find in life.

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