Picture By Jeremy Bishop
Podcast Script Below
By Dave Nelson, Founder of Milestone Mind
May 24, 2017
How many people in your life have you noticed becoming blissfully ignorant?
Standing by idle, as if the news and global events taking place have nothing to do with them, and that these things do not concern them?
"Ho-hum, back to each of our bubbles."
This week, we all heard the sad news about Chris Cornell, a man who for all reasonable assumptions was heading into the twilight of his career - but who took his own life.
At the end of what was probably a night to remember, one of dancing and laughter, screaming and clapping, jumping and togetherness, to become cut abruptly short by someone who thought blowing themselves - and other innocent bystanders - up would prove to be significant.
Being trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming as well as deeply knowledgeable about Humanistic Psychology, I feel a lot of remorse from these events, but actually, the feelings that are most raging in me from all of these events are three things: frustration, action and opportunity.
Opportunity? This is what we need to discuss.
When I started Milestone Mind it was partly because I was pissed off at what the world said I had to do with my life. It's subtle, but if you do not become aware of this dogmatic mindset bestowed upon you, you become the product of it. This mindset simply did not work for me, but unfortunately when I first came to this epiphany, I had no idea what mindset WAS going to work for me.
That was until I started educating myself, and then from there putting pen to paper and started to thoroughly work through everything about myself, and where I could direct it all.
Bottomline, it presented me with an OPPORTUNITY to change both my mindset, and more broadly, to help enact the change needed to breakdown the stifled, inflexible and idle mindset society has placed on people at large.
So then, why help change and breakdown this inherited, yet inauthentic mindset that many carry in their lives?
Because if we don't, we lose the ability to create meaningful significance in our lives, and not knowing how to create this healthy authenticity (which provides intrinsic pleasure and satisfaction) people are evermore turning to desperate measures to do so by creating artificial and destructive significance in their lives - regardless of the 'how' that they deploy.
To rewind quickly, I have no idea what goes through people's heads (including potential chemical imbalances) that causes them to create such destruction, be it to themselves, or to the broader global community.
But, I do think there is a major component missing in many people's lives that can help create clarity of mind and true meaning and purpose (and even possibly rebalancing these chemicals).
Maybe I'm just naive, but I think creating meaningful significance in each of our lives could help minimize the destruction we are seeing, if not reverse its ills.
I firmly believe that much of this destruction that we continue to see has to do with a LACK of appropriate, authentic, individualized self-expression in people's lives. We would need to be able to embark upon this self-expression by shifting the social mindset from one of control, fear, and judgment to one that gives us the license to become who we feel drawn to become, and that this would come by way of our our own self-generated beliefs of ourselves and the world around us.
More on this in a minute - but it is a social lack of trust in human goodness and kindness that holds us back from creating this license that would enable people to self-generate beliefs and values.
So what do we turn to?
The social mindset responds: "Well people are dumb, our ideologies are smart, and they need to live how we say. Everyone needs to be of the same level. People do not have it in them to create positive frameworks in their lives, so we need to impose them."
This goes without saying: BULLSHIT.
How come we simply haven't achieved this freedom, and more importantly, ACCEPTANCE of individualized thought and expression within ourselves and others?
BECAUSE IN LARGE PART WE'VE NEVER BEEN TAUGHT HOW TO DEFINE THIS SELF-EXPRESSION WITHIN EACH OF US.
We're too busy being told how to, but even more so, telling others how to live their lives. But this is because we ourselves have been force-fed on the 'how', and so we tend to pass that onto others - and that through this passing on of the 'how' - of beliefs, ideologies, and values - people think they are creating significance in their lives, no matter how shallow the significance attained might be.
This in turn causes rebellion, emotional and spiritual underdevelopment, and even hatred once one awakens to notice they are not happy with this imposed mindset, but fearfully, they can't find or even know how to find that path to happiness, and healthy significance.
So, what do they do? Destruct.
I've seen the worst; first-hand and up close and personal. I've seen the destruction of the opioid epidemic, of undiagnosed mental peril, of stress, of self-hate and self-disgust, of desperate self-expression, of the imposing of one's belief system onto others, and the negative effects that that has had on the intended audience. And, along with you, you and I have had to bare witness to the destruction that is inescapable from the streaming news everyday.
Even myself, having had a near-death experience because of being stabbed in the heart - I was dead for 7-minutes. What drives one stranger to stab another in their heart?
I've come to believe that all of this destruction is the result of utter frustration, but not with others, rather within the individual themselves. That these acts are their desperate attempts to create self-expression, no matter how ignorant they are to their own core needs; that this causes them to create significance in their lives despite how they get there.
Authentic self-expression starts within, and from how we set ourselves into motion, specifically through self-talk, values and beliefs that which we embody - BUT, AUTHENTIC SELF-EXPRESSION is self-expression without fear!
So, what does self-expression lead to? It actually leads to more than significance. It leads to a sense that you are giving all of yourself to the world, and in essence, doing your part to make the world we live in a better place.
That you are able to deploy all of your best resources, capabilities, talents and character traits to GIVE YOURSELF to this life.
I do believe each of us needs to 'do our part', but the notion that gets left out of this true, yet righteous statement, is HOW we do our part, and thus achieve appropriate, authentic and individualized self-expression that leads to healthy significance within our lives. There is actually a word for this that is the antithesis of dogma, and its called dharma - translated, your true obligations to the world.
My part is helping educate people wherever and whenever I can, around specifically creating their HOW for self-expression.
I wanted to help aid this education this week, especially given some of these events durin the same time, by breaking down two major themes in Humanistic Psychology that has been shown to help create a clear roadmap and knowledge around unlocking this beautiful self-expression. It starts with knowing what leads us there.
First, let's explore Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs. We'll break this down simplistically.
Regarding this hierarchy, you cannot move up the pyramid, unless the other lower needs have been met. This premise is crucial to understand if one hopes to reach self-actualization, authentic self-expression, and ultimately, Peak Experience (momentary transcendence).
A Journey to Authentic Self-Expression and Peak Experience (Not Peak Performance)
Next, let’s allow the motivation continuum to represent the horizontal or X-axis of levels of desire for any activity, and for what we are going to discuss today, Hierarchy of Needs (Theory of Human Motivation; Maslow, 1943), to be represented by the vertical or Y-axis.
Going off the basis that the hierarchy of needs is right, it is clear that to have one reach the best version of themselves, they need to strive to have their experience intersect where the risk is high, yet their skill level has been developed to such a point that the challenge has transformed from one of misadventure (high risk, low competence), to one of a peak experience: achieving a high level of competence in something highly challenging, but that through accomplishing the activity, they gain a high level of autonomy and expression.
It's the commitment to mastery, not the destination of mastery, that affords us these peak experiences and the ultimate expression of ourselves.
That if you can consistently push your boundary of what is comfortable, creating new comfort zones, one after the next, in something that is highly interesting to you, you could reach a level few before you have ever reached in such an activity.
We can also conclude that the event needs to be of high skill, difficulty and challenge; otherwise, this form of autonomy would be difficult to reach, not allowing for this peak experience. Embarking upon this, creates the ultimate expression of self.
But as you can see, it takes consistent work - it doesn't just happen.
Putting This Into Practice
What one thing, that is intrinsically enjoyable to you, can you commit yourself in becoming a master at such an activity, thus creating the ultimate expression of self? Is it rock climbing, surfing, playing an instrument, sport, a unique subject matter, your profession – name it now (do not overthink – what is the first thing that came to mind).
(Put Your Answer in the Comments)
Understanding now that this activity is pulling you like a magnet, let the peanut gallery of chatter begin! What is the peanut gallery? The social mindset. It is the voice that just told you that you could never reach mastery in this activity. It is all the people that will tell you that this is a dumb idea and that you could never do such a thing. It is the voice saying to you that you’re too old, or too young; too good, or not good enough; too smart or too dumb; it’s the voice that just said, ‘that would be cool, but I can’t because of this shitty excuse, and that shitty excuse’ – you can fill in the blank.
Denying yourself of this is denying the very purpose of being a human. As humans, we desire to obtain the ultimate expression of self, yet, so many choose NOT to journey there. How come? Fear is one answer, but the other is Choice. We CHOOSE the feeling of fear over the sense of the peak experience, but even more, we allow the social dogmatic mindset to overtake us.
Wow, it is a choice – that’s it.
If you’re listening to or reading this right now, your mind, body and soul are longing for this peak experience – for this ultimate expression of self. It knows you better than you know yourself, and it knows that this is your purpose, and wants you to trust it – stop fighting it by choosing fear or giving into the fixed social mindset.
This fear doesn’t protect you; it robs you.
The ultimate expression of self is pulling you every day, asking you and informing you through the pit in your stomach, or the frog in your throat by saying:
“You are capable beyond your wildest dreams; and have so much to offer. Be free, and never stop grasping for your ultimate expression of self. Commit to just one thing that is intrinsically enjoyable to you, from there commit to mastering it, and to its process: the journey of being your highest self.”
You May be Asked: "Why Are You So Motivated?" All of a Sudden
Your answer is simple – it’s the same as their ‘why’: we all desire to reach this place of peak experience, of ultimate self-expression, and that it is only reached through deliberate and hardcore daily action, improvement, growth, and achievement in a particular activity.
Tell Them Dave Sent You, and They Can Take it Up with Me.
Now, you have to choose the activity that is intrinsically enjoyable to you, endeavor to master it, and the best version of YOU will be in the palm of your hand.
If we could spread the word on this, through first making it apart of each of our lives, that maybe people could become awakened what really motivates people - IN A HEALTHY WAY, and to shift their focus from creating significance through destructive expressions of self, to positive, authentic and beautiful expression of self.
The peak experience and ultimate expression of self is where challenge, autonomy, will-power (love, desire, and perseverance), competence and novelty intersect.
We are called to experience this expression of self more than anything else in this life – this goes for all of our realities.
So, start on your journey to the peak today - to the ultimate expression of you – and do not look back.
OWN THE DAY.