We have gathered together posts from other Three Principles blogs as well as our own ones. As time goes on we will be offering more services based on the Canadian West Coast and nearby islands. Look out for events and feel free to contact me to let me know about any events you think will be of interest to others in this area.
As my clients will attest, it’s not unusual for me to close a conversation or text-message exchange with this basic statement:
But how come? What does this statement, as I use it, actually mean? And why is “being you” so important?
To put it simply, “be you” is my way of reminding others that—as a birthright—they are whole, resilient, and connected, regardless of how they feel at any moment in time. And that’s important because waking up to this fact stops them from attempting the impossible: trying to fix or control wayward feelings when they occur.
Here’s an example, by way of a question: Would professional golfers who grasp that all feeling states are normal (which they are), and have no impact on their propensity to excel (which they don’t), take the time to jam their heads with mental strategies, techniques, or someone else’s idea of how to behave on the golf course? Of course not. They’d never fall victim to the mind’s variable nature. To these players, managing or even monitoring their mindset’s an impractical path.
In a sense, then, being you is the opposite of searching for or seeking self-improvement. It’s a deep knowing that answers only rest within, and, positive or negative, there’s a greater plan at work. Being you fortifies intuition and triggers insight. It insulates you from the spell of gurus and tosses conformity (becoming a follower, automaton, or lackey) straight to the curb.
Besides, and perhaps most important, the man upstairs doesn’t care about perfection anyway. Just be you. As I said, you are whole, resilient, connected—and loved—as is. Forever.
Thanks for reading.
Flow is defined as “the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.” Commonly described as “the zone,” flow, as defined, is a blissful feeling that athletes, performers, and all people seem to seek. Indeed, it’s not unusual for new clients to reach out to me with the specific goal of living in this high mental state more often.
And there lies the misunderstanding that, in my mind, needs to be reversed. Flat-lining at some peak state is not flow (it’s also not possible). Flow is, well, flow. The yin then yang of what it means to be alive. That’s why my work is never about helping players reach a next level or an elevated type of mindset. It’s about reminding them that all mindsets are normal and, no matter how they feel in the moment, they’re eminently strong and capable. In short, flow means to move left/right, up/down, and fast/slow; because that’s precisely how the human mind is designed to function.
Speaking of misunderstandings regarding flow, here’s another: the notion that a high state of mind, or clarity of mind, is our natural state. No siree. Human beings are always meandering between the spiritual and the physical, between clarity and clutter. Again, flow is the human experience. The spiritual and physical, like morning and night, are not dualistic in nature. They’re two parts of the same system, or one.
Remember: Excellence, consistency, and love emerge from those who, rather than pull the brake on the flow of the human experience (try to control or cope), purely relish the ride. Flow is the standard. It’s not some lofty state to get into or attain. As I often say to those with whom I work: There’s nothing to fix; you’re already there. Simply be yourself, stay in the game, and live. Or better yet—flow.
When it comes to my professional or working life, one of the most frequent criticisms thrown my way (and many of my colleagues, from Sydney Banks to Dr. Keith Blevens, have detailed a similar experience) revolves around my use of the word Truth. For instance, you’ve often heard me say, “It’s an unequivocal truth that human beings work from inside to out.” To which a traditional psychologist or mental coach will sometimes respond, “Don’t listen to this guy (as in me) or anyone who says that they’ve found truth. No one can find truth.”
Well, that’s correct. But here’s the thing: I didn’t go searching for truth, and that means I couldn’t actually find it. I had no formal training in the field of psychology, and in my younger life, spirituality was something I often pushed aside. It’s just that many years ago, I was simply minding my own business when, boom, truth found me. And yes, it’s true that a circumstance—an event, environment, object, life situation, another person, oneself, the past, or the future—cannot cause a human being to feel a certain way. Our feelings are solely connected to the inner ebb and flow of a spiritual energy that we call thought.
What’s more, I didn’t, of course, make up this truth. Sure, I (like you) can conjure up ideas, concepts, theories, and methods. But I can’t conjure up truth. Truth just is. As with any principle or law, truth is foolproof. No research required. It’s the way something works, 100 percent of the time. And when you wake up to how something works 100 percent of the time, you intuitively yearn to share it; to help others see it for themselves. So, when it comes to the human mind and how the experience of all human beings is created, this is where my colleagues and I find ourselves today: Truth has hit us square between the eyes, and we’re going to share it.
Interestingly enough, in spite of his best efforts, the man considered the father of modern psychology, William James (one of my heroes), failed to uncover this truth himself. He never quite saw that human beings can only feel or experience the ebb and flow of their thinking (inside), and that circumstances (outside) are purely neutral. But he did know this: A universal explanation for the inner functioning of all human beings was hidden somewhere, and when this missing link was finally uncovered, the field of psychology would be altered forever. James once claimed, “Such knowledge, realized on a grand scale, would be an achievement compared with which the control of the rest of physical nature would be relatively insignificant.” He even likened the importance of this future breakthrough to the discovery of fire.
And that brings us to the heart of this article’s message: The field of psychology is now at a decisive crossroads. Year after year, the rate of depression is escalating around the world and finally psychology has the opportunity to take a 180-degree turn and become the working science that James envisioned. However, to do so, the field must cast aside the mistruth from which its current conclusions and practices are drawn—that human beings have the ability to work from outside to in. Again, no matter how much it looks otherwise, human beings work from inside to out (feelings, then experience, come from thought), and there are no exceptions. When we overlook this psychological fact, we struggle. When we wake up to it, we thrive. At this moment in the history of psychology, there’s no longer a credible reason for a mental health professional to send a struggling person on a perpetual wild-goose chase for circumstantial causes and behavioral cures that, in truth, do not and cannot exist.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that a person can’t take credit for something that he or she didn’t try to do or see. That’s why my colleagues and I take zero percent credit for the dumb luck that had this psychological truth fall into our laps. But it still did. And it’s here to stay. I also understand that if you’re a mental health professional, the direction we’re pointing renders much of your training obsolete. Just as it rendered much of what I was brought up to believe obsolete. But that’s just the way it is, for both of us. Therefore, rather than damn the messenger, why not consider what William James insightfully predicted for the future of this field? This breakthrough sets us free from everything. It clears up confusion and activates resilience. It’s more important than fire. The black-and-white fact that a circumstance can’t cause a feeling will change our lives, the lives of our children, and the lives of the clients and public that we serve.
We can now, with certainty, explain the psychological functioning of all human beings. Understanding the thought-feeling link is the source of all transformation. The truth fell out of the sky. William James would be overjoyed. The time has come.
This might sound simplistic (and surprising), but if you want to know whether or not a coach, counselor, psychologist, or any person understands how the human mind truly works, you might start with this question:
Is self-belief preferable over self-doubt?
If the answer is yes, then this person has bought into the illusion or myth that certain states of mind are better than others. If the answer is no, then this person has risen above it. In other words, the human experience is an inner one of constant change. Regardless of what’s happening on the outside, we’re designed to feel super-confident one minute and woefully insecure the next. Self-belief and self-doubt are actually two sides of the same coin. We’re not meant to choose one over the other.
In fact, due to the myth that human beings can deliberately choose self-belief, or that self-doubt can be deliberately willed away, we’ve created a world of victims who seem to be on a perpetual quest to fix something that’s not broken. Young people in particular. They’re told that confidence is essential for success (or that insecurity kills it). Then, when they don’t feel confident, many seek relief in a variety of coping methods—numbing themselves to the complete spectrum of what being alive really means. What often comes next is discipline (for using a coping method). They’re kicked off a team or out of school by the very coach/teacher who pointed them in a backward direction relative to confidence in the first place.
Isn’t it time we stop this cycle of misunderstanding? A person’s state of mind is the ultimate variable. His or her worth as a human being—the capacity to love, serve, and excel—is the ultimate constant. Self-belief is not better than self-doubt. They both are necessary. They both are guides. No matter what, if you’re experiencing a feeling, emotion, or state of mind, it cannot be abnormal.
While, in my mind, it’s unfortunate, “issues-based” coaching (e.g., addiction specialists, marriage specialists, weight-loss specialists, or I-can-help-your-mental-game-in-golf specialists) seems to be the norm today. Trouble is, trying to help another person, or yourself, overcome a specific life issue by focusing on that issue drastically reduces the odds for development, insight, and achievement. We’ll get to what increases the odds later, but for now, here are the six reasons why (if you’re a coach, therapist, or consultant) you might want to reconsider this common practice ASAP.
- There’s not a causal relationship between a specific personal issue and one’s state of mind.
No doubt, it often appears that personal problems, or issues, are the cause of mental anguish or strife. But, in truth, it works the opposite way: Personal problems are a symptom of mental anguish or strife. Meaning, a person cannot feel better by trying to fix an issue that has nothing to do with how he or she feels in the first place. Plus, it may sound strange, but an issue isn’t really an issue at all. Issues tend to disappear entirely, or no longer look like issues, the instant a person’s state of mind ascends.
- Focusing on a specific issue points people in the direction of what they want to avoid.
Quite simply, addressing a supposed issue energizes the illusion described in #1. Here’s a quick story to illustrate: I once worked with an NHL team whose goaltender, according to the head coach, needed to stop giving up goals late in games. I asked the coach, “What have you guys done to help him?”
He said, “We talk to him about this issue all the time, but it’s getting worse.”
I replied, “I’m on it, but you must promise me one thing: You’ll never discuss this issue again.” The coach reluctantly agreed and, without me ever discussing it either, the issue disappeared. The team then went on to finish first in their conference.
- It’s impossible to reverse-engineer the human experience.
Human beings work one way: inside to out. That is, a change of heart (inside) is the only thing that can create a change of experience and clear up issues (outside). Sure, starting outside with the intent of working inside might appeal to someone who’s mistakenly blaming his or her low mood on a specific issue. But since fixing issues can’t fix moods (we can’t work outside-in), shifts will be minimal at best. For example, many coaches make the body language of their players a vital issue. Some even hire body-language specialists to teach players how to carry themselves. What they don’t realize is that body language is strictly an effect of one’s mood or state of mind. So, while players may temporarily exhibit good posture or forced smiles, they don’t experience the inner shift that causes consistently genuine and productive behavior.
- Truth is universal; the implications of truth are personal.
Although it’s a universal truth that the human experience is an inner one of spiritual ebb and flow, creating our varying perceptions of the world outside, the implications of this truth—or issues cleared up by it—will be personal for each of us. For one person, it might mean less fatigue and increased energy. For another, a decrease in the urge to cope. For another, a more powerful bond with God. You’re not a soothsayer. No one can accurately predict where looking within might take someone. We do know this, though: Truth (inside) comes first; implications (outside), second. Always.
- Addressing personal problems limits possibilities.
Seeking or offering help for a specific issue restricts opportunity. If you tell someone that you can help them lose weight, for instance, they’ll most likely confine their focus to weight loss only. This requires intense concentration and personal thinking, which narrows vision and reduces the chances for widespread growth.
- It’s a matter of integrity.
As inferred in #4, no one wants to make promises that they can’t keep. Whether in overt marketing or subtle innuendo, if you’re in the coaching business, you simply have no ability to guarantee precise results. And, if you’re tempted, bait and switch tactics (luring clients in the door by offering to fix X and then hoping to deliver Y) aren’t cool either. Rather, here’s what you can offer and guarantee the people, teams, and organizations with whom you work: love, accessibility, support, and an unwavering guide inward for answers. The bottom line: Issue-based coaching lacks integrity.
So there’s the list. And while I hope you find it helpful, the question remains: If issue-based coaching isn’t advisable, what kind of coaching paradigm actually does increase the odds for development, insight, and achievement?
The answer: one that strips away, and doesn’t take advantage of, the widespread misunderstanding that external “issues” truly exist. In other words, the world outside is merely a projection of the world inside. And we help others, and ourselves, by pointing toward this fundamental principle—never away from it.
Thanks for reading,
Here’s a quick review of a conversation I had last week with a player I’ve been working with for about two years. It reveals the power of waking up to the fact that the human experience is, by nature, one of yin and yang; light and dark; positive and negative; spiritual and physical. A moment-to-moment thrill ride. Some call the realization you’ll read about below acceptance, detachment, or surrender. I prefer freedom or Truth. Feel free to drop me a note and let me know what you would call it.
Player (via text): G, do you have two minutes to speak? I’ve got to tell you something ASAP.
Me (via text): Yep, call me now.
Player: Thanks, here’s what I wanted to talk about: It’s crazy, about an hour ago, I felt a wave of insecurity and worry build up inside of me. I mean I really felt like crap, like my life was caving in. But for some reason it then occurred to me that I was perfectly okay feeling that way. What I’m trying to say is that I actually felt horrible and wonderful at the exact same time. Almost as if I was watching or looking down on myself as I struggled. So liberating, but the strangest feeling in the world. Is that normal? I’m not sure if I’m even making sense.
Me: Perfect sense, buddy. In fact, I think it’s on the plus side of normal, and this might be the coolest thing a client has ever told me.
Player: Nice. Thanks. I’m on cloud nine. This means so much.
Me: Love you.
Player: Love you, too. Talk soon!
Without a doubt, finding a new perspective on the human experience—not trying to fight, control, or fix it—is an inspiring effect of grasping what the human experience truly is. It’s all energy. And whether coming or going, all feelings are normal. This player, I’m happy to say, is seeing it clearer and clearer every day. Knowing that he, like you, is okay no matter what is life’s ultimate blessing.
Here, to me, is one of the most confounding misconceptions springing from the worlds of self-help and psychology: The advice that people should wait for their heads to clear, or do something to try to make their heads clear, before they take action. Indeed, this misconception seems to paralyze more and more folks each day. Truth is: There is no actual connection between one’s potential to excel, compete, or serve, and his or her current state of mind.
If that surprises you, welcome to the club. I’ve never worked with an athlete or coach, from the high-school level to the finest on the planet, who hasn’t fallen for this fallacy. Until, that is, they recall moments of brilliance (such as hitting a golf shot close to the flag) that occurred at times of mental clutter. Then, almost like clockwork, relief sets in. A bit of dismay, too. As they wonder why they’ve been chasing an insignificant target or level—a high state of mind—for years.
Do you know the mental-performance saying, “Mindset is everything?” Well, it’s born from the misconception mentioned above; it’s such the wrong direction. Why? Because mindset is, and always will be, the ultimate variable. If anything, understanding the source of mindset is everything. What human beings feel is connected to the yin and yang of spiritual energy. And, whether cluttered or clear, spiritual energy can never be negative, abnormal, or problematic. Spirit can’t work against someone.
One more thing regarding the surprising irrelevance of mindset: Sometimes, when I indicate that it’s impossible for one’s feeling state to inhibit potential or talent, people get the idea that I’m prodding them to jump right up and take action. Not at all. In fact, I’m not saying you should take action; I’m not saying you shouldn’t. I’m saying the question is unimportant and, because it points outward, it’s also unhelpful.
These two questions, on the other hand, are important and helpful. They points inward to source, so they reveal a ton of implications and possibilities, too:
1. Do passion and love rest within your heart, within your soul, no matter what mindset you find yourself in?
2. When your vision is momentarily blurred, does your innate mental health remain an untouchable constant?
The answers are a resounding YES and YES. You are connected, whole, and capable—100 percent of the time.