Disrupt Yourself To Live Life On Your Terms
“The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can't are both right. Which one are you?” – Henry Ford
You want to live life on your terms, right? That is why you are here with us at Mavericks Unlimited. And yet, somehow it may not be happening…
Do any of the following sound familiar?
- I don’t have the time to…
- I have a mortgage / I don't have the money
- I want to things to change, but I don't see how I can shift things
The truth is that many of us have grand aspirations, and we may even believe we are working towards them. If we look at the reality of our everyday life, we may well be doing what we've always done in life, hoping to get different results.
So, you may get some improvements, but really, nothing changes. And we eventually feel worse. And nothing changes.
The Definition of Insanity
You may have heard the saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results”.
Many of us go through life thinking that if only my circumstances were different, we could get unstuck. We hope something will come along and miraculously evaporate the barriers to our preferred future.
That could happen. But It wouldn't make much difference. Why? Because your experience of life will still be the same. You'll still be the same YOU.
Your Future Is Created Now
"Yesterday is a cancelled cheque, tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is the only cash you have, so spend it wisely" – Kay Lyons
The only way to create a new future for yourself is to take different actions in the present; to disrupt your 'business as usual' with new behaviours.
Your future is created by what you think, feel and therefore do today just as your life today is the total of the thoughts, feelings, decisions and actions that you took in the past.
Take this a step further. Ask yourself honestly what you are doing or who you are being…and not doing and being in your life right now. Be honest with yourself.
Whatever you are doing or not doing and the results of that are precisely what you are going to have in the future if something doesn't change. Is that the future where you are living life on your terms? Quite possibly not.
Why Is This Happening?
This might all seem pretty obvious, but it doesn't make it easy. If you know this, you might be left wondering why you might not be doing more to change things?
You are battling your brain, which is hard-wired to have a negativity bias. This is a survival thing that goes back millions of years when our ancestors faced predators on a daily basis, so it made sense to minimise risk.
Your reptilian – or “survival” brain – takes over everything when it feels threatened. These days that might look like getting overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we have to do, when money seems short, or someone triggers us, amongst other things.
Your Default Settings
When that happens, or the going gets tough, we all have default settings that we resort to in order to try and change things.
Leaning into your superpowers is one of the big default strategies that many of us have. For example, our wonderful creative partner John has the superpowers of tenacity and resilience. Great superpowers to have. He also says he wants more time with his family and a better work-life balance.
However, John's default strategy for achieving this serene life is to work harder and longer – thinking he will get there somewhere, one day.
The fact is our superpowers can feel like our best chance of fulfilling our goals; when often a whole new strategy is required.
The Impact of a Default Setting
You can imagine what John’s predictable future might be in this scenario…and it is not getting him to where he would really like to get to. However, that is precisely what many of us do.
The problem is that we don’t question the default setting, seeing it as true. Default thoughts like “I don’t have time”, “I have too many financial commitments” or “it’s too risky” seem like truth, and because we believe them, we act as if they are true.
Default settings are NOT the truth, but they become the truth if we don’t question them.
DO THIS - Disrupt Yourself!
If you want your life to be different, you are going to have to change something… and that means disrupting your default strategies. To do that, take these steps:
- Identify your default settings – When you go unconscious, get scared or triggered what are the automatic thoughts (e.g. “I don’t have time”), behaviours (e.g. procrastination) and actions (e.g. drinking a glass of wine to chill out)? Spot those, and you’ll spot your default setting (and there might be more than one).
- Give the default setting a name – giving the setting a name and identity can make it easier to spot…and when you become aware of it, you can make different choices. In the example of John above, it might be something like “nose to the grindstone”.
- Ask yourself “how is that default setting useful?” – Notice what it gives you - a feeling of control, more short-term energy, a feeling of relief?
- What is the impact of the default setting? – There is likely to be short-term gain, but long-term pain…so, what is the downside?
- What is your predictable future? – If you carry on with your default setting, what future are you going to end up with? Is it the future you want?
- Imagine what your future looks like when you are living life on your terms - How would that person be operating, what would they be doing and being?
- Disrupt yourself! – When you become aware that you are on a default setting, choose to take on the behaviours of your imagined future self - something different in behaviour or mindset. For example, John might commit to leave work early and see what actions he needs to take to make this work. The more he does this; the more it will shake him out of his default behaviours and get him closer to the life he wants.
- Keep doing something different until you change the default setting and start heading in the direction of living life on your terms, not on the terms of your survival brain.
The thing is that ‘energy flows where attention goes’. So, when your default settings are in play, all your energy gets diverted to your survival strategy and nothing changes.
When you disrupt yourself and make a different choice, you are on the journey to make your own rules consciously…and creating that future where you truly live life on your terms.
YOUR TURN: What is your default setting? How are you going to disrupt it? Leave a comment below and share your best strategies.