Posts

Are you a humanDoing or a humanBeing?

Human Being not Human Doing

If you are like so many people out there you have spent your entire life doing instead of being.

  • Doing is safe.
  • Doing is living your life remotely.
  • Doing is acting out the life you want without ever fully committing yourself to it.
  • Doing is living in fear at what people might think of you without ever pursuing your purpose-driven life as you were meant to.

Start Being your life.

  • Being means committing yourself fully and completely to your life’s purpose.
  • Being means actively living the person you have always dreamed of being.
  • Being means owning your life for better and for worse.
  • Being means living fully, awake and aware of who you are every minute and where you are vividly and in living color.
  • Being means living a fulfilling life every minute of every day.

Are you a humanDoing or are you a humanBeing?

You can repeat the mistakes of your past or you can learn from them to own your future.

Start right now, during your time alone. When there is no one else around.

I can help you discover your life’s purpose so you can begin to live your life as the person you have always wanted to BE.

You don’t have to DO this alone.

I can work with you so that you can begin to live a purpose-driven life and BE the person you were born to be.

I have learned how to transition from Doing to Being ten times over. Let me coach you to be the same.

This is my Life’s Purpose, it is what I am.

 

 

Stillness in the Modern World

Stillness:

It is that wonderful quality of being fully present no matter where you are. It is a pure mental state cultivated on the Buddhist path to nirvāna
A Buddhist might call it upekkha. A Muslim speaks of stillness when they use the word aslama, in terms of submitting to Allah’s will. In Hebrew, the word is hishtavut. In the Bhagavad Gita, the epic poem of the warrior Arjuna, the word is samatvam. The ability to be Still – is the ability to be truly present without feeling the need to do anything. It is the focused calm that comes from a balanced mind— and to at peace with yourself and the world around you. The ancient Greeks spoke of euthymia when they contemplated that state of stillness.

The concept of stillness, to be centered as the chaos of the world spins around you, and, as one master once taught me, to observe the circus as it spins around you and to act only when it is necessary. “A true warriors never acts out of anger,” he would say, “be still and let them come to you. Simply hear only that which needs to be heard. Speak only what needs to be said and possess the quiet that comes from being still.

Stillness is that quiet moment of inspiration from which to draw your best words and ideas as you need them. It is when your inspiration comes from within. To be able to reflect while being an active part of a conversation or to be able to search through your memory in order to have the right answer when it is called for.

Stillness is that ability to step back and reflect while others scramble for an answer.

Stillness is also the art that allows you to make room for gratitude and empathy. Most important stillness is the seed from which your spiritual center of energy grows. It is one of the most powerful forces in creation from which to draw when you need it most. Those of you who charge ahead with big plans and even bigger dreams will find both dashed to pieces before your true battles really begin.

To those unfamiliar with it, the idea of being still can be a little ephemeral, but it doesn’t need to be. Stillness does not just happen it is a virtue that can be developed over time. It comes from hard work. It comes from sitting in meditation, practicing in order to access the focused calm that is within you. When you train your mind to be still, it is like muscle memory. Your mind remembers how to find the pathway to the stillness that is within you. What follows are some exercises you can perform to bring stillness into your life and to make it easier to access when you need it most.

Write. I am not a fan of the word or idea of journaling, or keeping a diary. The idea of it just reeks of the need to do it every day and if you miss a day you are filled with regret and a sense of failure, just because you missed a day of writing down your thoughts when you had none or when nothing of note happened.

So don’t journal. Simply write when you feel the need to write. Write when something big happens or when you feel the need to express something that upset you when dealing with an issue, or that made you excited or unbelievably happy.

I think it was Anne Frank who wrote “Paper is more patient than people.” It is, because it allows you to watch as your own thoughts unfurl and whatever issues and opportunities roll out in front of you as your pen moves across the paper. Both are a door to your inner spirit and your subconscious mind. They have a way of helping you explore your inner self without it seeming like an intrusion. With each word you become more willing to take the baby steps of self-exploration in writing than through speaking.

See The World As A Monk Does.

Beauty is everywhere, you simply have to slow down to see it. The beauty of the world you pass through is in the details. It is also in the grand design and in the interconnections that become apparent when you slow down to notice them. No two people see the world in the same way. Everyone has a different perspective that is born from their situations and their personal histories. Each has learned to interpret what they see in their own way. Learn to see the world as it appears to you. The important part is not how you see it, but that your slow down to enable you to see it, smell it, hear it and feel it however you want to.
Simply remind yourself to stay in the here and now, in your present moment without the need to follow your ego into the next moment by anticipating what will happen next.

Remind yourself to stay in the moment and observe everything as it arrives to you. Be aware of the raw data that you are receiving before your brain has the time to layer its own issues on top of it.

Every monk translates the raw data, free from interpretation and in their own way. Stop and observe the world around you, as it truly is. Let go of the preconceived notions of how the world should be and accept it as it is. The same things that prevent you from seeing the world as it is prevents you from finding your inner stillness.

Clear your mind and allow your heart to be filled by whatever comes to you. See the details and the vista. Be aware of the colors. Be aware of the aromas from a meal as you savor your way through it. Let your taste buds come alive as to the flavors wash over them. Let your ears follow the individual notes of the music playing, and give your fingers the freedom to explore the textures of a garment or a tapestry.

Reduce Your Inputs.

After ten brain surgeries and six weeks of radiation, I have to be careful with the level of input I allow in. Even if the raw data from those inputs are good, they can still overwhelm me. When that happens my brain gets flooded with information and I go into a seizure. So its very important for me to monitor my brain and mind so that I know when to leave a loud restaurant or a theater performance as both can overload my brain and send me spiraling. It’s just as important that you do the same. You simply have a higher level of tolerance than I do.

We all live in a world that is overloaded with noise and activity. Your brain uses energy to evaluate each of the sights, sounds, smells, and touches you take in. With every step you take, your brain is monitoring the firmness of the ground beneath you, your balance, the risk of danger, and many other factors that go into your ability to maintain your balance and your gait.

While your brain represents just 2% of your body weight, it accounts for 20you’re your body’s energy use. That means during a typical day, your brain uses about 320 calories just to think. Different mental states will affect the way your brain consumes energy.

Napoleon taught his secretary to wait a week before any letters. Churchill refused to look at any idea that had not been reduced down to a single sheet of paper. It was their way of making sure they were not overwhelmed with information.

In both cases they wanted to limit their input so that they would not be overwhelmed. In the contemporary world you live in, it’s important to allow your brain to find its stillness, so that you do not let your energy be drained by meaningless facts and figures that are not relevant to your life.

Enjoy A Long, Slow Walk

I don’t mean take a power-walk or go for a run. I mean take the time to enjoy a slow, leisurely walk. Allow the inner-working of your subconscious come alive as your brain is distracted with the details of balancing your body as you walk and of the world around you as it tries to keep you safe in the world.

Hemmingway was famous for getting through hi write’s block by taking long walks along the rivers of Paris. Nietzsche said that his best ideas came to him on his a long walks. Nikola Tesla developed his idea for his rotating magnetic field, not in his laboratory, but on a walk through a park in Budapest. It is arguably one of the most important inventions of all time, and this was in 1882.

Remove Yourself From Outcomes.
My best martial arts master was Grand Master Bong Soo Han taught me that when trying to break a board, do not stop at the board, but punch through the board, at a spot several inches beyond it. “Do not think about the outcome, simply punch beyond it. The broken board is simply proof of where your fist had been.”

You must not focus only on the what is in front of you. You must learn to let go and focus on what will be.

Weekly News Is Enough.

The news-cycle just doesn’t move that quickly. I know some people think it’s a 24 hour cycle, but when is the last time you saw something completely new and unexpected happen in a 24 hour time period?

Nightly news just isn’t news. Take a break. Give your mind and body a break from it. Read a book, enjoy a dinner out. Dive into a conversation with abandon. Don’t worry the news will still be there for you when you’re ready for it.

You can still be informed by the news without being saturated with it. Besides if you spend all your time and energy watching the news, you will never have enough to process it and to create real change in your world because of it.

Life doesn’t always schedule itself at your convenience.

So, when you find yourself in the middle of one of life’s transitions, learn to break free of the fear you may be feeling so that you can find a safe place to land and begin to plan your next chapter.

There are two core fears that will keep you frozen in time; the thoughts of a) losing what you have, and b) not getting what you want.

The key to breaking free of your fears is not to fight them but to acknowledge them so that you can let them go as you learn to enjoy the life you have always wanted to live.

I know it’s not always easy to practice this in the real world. Your mind is using logic to find a  safe place for yourself to land while your primordial brain is screaming to find the safety of solid ground as quickly as possible.

Guess which one wins every time. That’s right, your primordial brain. Your mind and brain will always give your primordial brain the room it demands because it is there for one reason only – it is there to keep you alive, and your life is far more important than any amount of logic ever could be.

Don’t worry though, there is something you can do to break out of the loop you feel trapped in. You can do what you do when you sit in meditation. You can breathe slowly and deeply to quiet the noise of your primordial brain. You can acknowledge that you are in the middle of a transition, and even label your discomfort as just that, discomfort, then you can let it your panic go as you press on.

Allow yourself to find comfort in your discomfort, because until you do, you will never find that space for a soft landing so that you can begin to write the next chapter in your post-transition life.

It may not be as easy as it sounds if you don’t already have a meditation practice. Which is why I encourage everyone to start a meditation practice that works for you before you actually need it. Don’t get caught up in what lineage to follow. Build your own that works on your terms. Whether it’s a ten minute here and there practice or a deep seated practice that runs over an hour, it is a way to train your mind and brain to see beyond the here and now, to find a place of calm, and to focus yourself for the space and time ahead of you.

If you want to learn more click here to my new mindful life coaching website at jeff-cannon.com.

Just remember, do not wait for your panic to set in before you create a small practice for yourself. In the end, this is your life. So why not start living it your way?

I hope this helps

The Covert Aggressives In Your Life

You probably know a few Passive Aggressive people, but do you know what a Covert Aggressive is?

Somewhere between a passive aggressive and an outright aggressive person are countless layers of aggressive behavior. You will interact with each at some point in your life, possibly some at the same time. But if you don’t know how to respond to each in the right way you will be forever caught in and endless cycle without ever being able to live your life in the way you want to live it.

You’ve probably met a Covert Aggressive person at work. You may even have a few in your family without even knowing it. You may have thought they were being passive aggressive, only a bit more active in their actions, leaving you to think you were the crazy one or just being paranoid. Well, you’re not crazy and you’re not paranoid. You probably just ran into a Covert Aggressive.

Covert Aggression is a relatively new term coined by Dr. George Simon. Dr Ssimon was the Supervising Psychologist for the Arkansas Department of Corrections. He just published a book titled In Sheeps Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People, and it’s a must read if you want to find out more about what a CA is and what to do about them.

While working in the Arkansas prison system he noticed a pattern with some prisoners. He noticed the same pattern in the business world as well. He calls it Covert Aggression. A Covert Aggressive is similar to a passive aggressive in that they do not directly confront the target of their aggression, but they actively work behind the scenes to undermine those they think are undermining their power base. They may not consciously act out in this way, but this is how they instinctively deal with those who threaten them whether real or imagined.

They know how to push the buttons we all inherently have, and if you are the target of their ire they will do so until they find the one that you respond to. Sometimes they will even go so far to create a situation that involves the unwitting help of those around you just to see you suffer.

While a Passive Aggressive person hems and haws or uses delay tactics to interrupt activities they don’t want to be a part of, Covert Aggressive people play mind games to get their way. They reach out to your family and friends, getting them to take actions that undermine your efforts while always having an excuse for what they did leaving you to wonder what just happened or if you’re the paranoid crazy one.

I wrote about Covert Aggressives in my 2010 book The Simple Truth. At that time there was no name for that they were doing so I referred to them as someone who learned to work the loopholes of our social conventions in order to get what they wanted. They know that the majority of people are too polite to call them on their cutting comments and actions as long as they didn’t go too far. In the end they got what they wanted without ever crossing the line of the social norm.

They are the people who make a cutting comment followed by an “I’m just kidding,” or take an action followed by an “I thought I was doing you a favor.” They may enlist an unwitting friend to do a task, convincing that person that it is a good thing only to discover it is anything but. The CA knows most people will never challenge them directly because their aggression is so hard to pin down, leaving their tactics to fall somewhere between passive aggression and out and out aggression.

The CA often gets others to do little things that allow them to stay in their comfort zone out of the conflict while undermining your efforts. Even the unwitting perpetrator may wonder why you reacted the way you did, after all, they were doing you a favor, and aren’t favors what good people do? And there-in lies the beauty beneath the CA’s approach. They know we all want to be good people and that we all want to do good things. They have developed their tactics over time, learning what works and what doesn’t, so all a CA really has to do is convince those around you that what they are doing is a good thing. By the time you catch on and bring attention to the actions of a CA they look around in innocence as if you are the bad one while they remain untouched.

Their manipulations and anglings get them what they want while you look like the bad, unappreciative one, reeling confused and in self-doubt. You know what you experienced yet nobody else seems to understand why you are so upset.

If you are like many of my clients you may think you are dealing with a passive-aggressive person with a difference, their aggression is anything but passive. It’s a subtle difference but it’s an important one, because you can’t resolve an issue if you can’t see the issue for what it is.

In his book Dr Simon defines Passive-Aggression as a “pervasive pattern of negativistic attitudes and resistance to demands for adequate performance without confronting that person directly.”

True Passive-Aggression can take the form of noncompliance, such as getting “sidetracked” when asked to leave, never quite making it to the door. Covert Aggression, on the other hand, often takes the form of “lying or manipulation of someone through tactics unseen by others.”

The CA knows enough about human nature to make someone feel like they’re a part of the team when they’re really undermining the team for their own gain. Unlike “passive-aggression” a Covert Aggressive takes a very active role in your life without ever crossing the socially acceptable line.

Keep in mind that people use covert aggressive tactics from time to time. That does not always mean they are a Covert Aggressive, but it does mean you need to be aware of them if you are to maintain your life on your terms with as little effort as possible.

In general, an aggressive person sees life as a competition that they can’t stand to lose. When they feel their powerbase threatened they fall back on the tactics that have always worked for them, whether that means passive, covert or all out physical aggression. Some people cycle through them until they find which works best for their situation with you. The bottom line to their response is to get you to play on their field and with their rules. The moment you respond is the moment you step onto their field and begin to lose losing yourself to their ends.

What follows is paraphrased from Dr. George K. Simon’s new book called In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People. If you’d like to learn more about covert aggressive people and how to manage them in your life I highly recommend buying a copy.

A covert aggressive person manipulates the world to fit their needs without ever compromising their status. On the light side, they may ask you to decide where to go for dinner. When you pick a place, they will complain that they don’t want to go there. When you suggest another place, they will at best be lukewarm to your suggestion. Recognizing this you may invite them to pick a place at which point they will complain that they’re tired and asked you to decide. It will continue like this leaving you frustrated and unsure of where it’s all going.

A covert aggressive person may not even realize what they are doing. In their mind they are merely responding to the world around them to get what they want. When they feel threatened they respond automatically in the only way they know how – by keeping you off balance and seeking solid ground, which they are only more than happy to provide as long as you ask them nicely.

This example is a tactic many people use without even thinking about it because it makes them feel secure, but regardless of what tactic someone uses the key to stopping them is to not respond and to not follow them into their maze. Instead pull back and ground yourself right where you are. Be honest and call them on their words and actions in a straight-forward manner. Be prepared for them to cajole, plead their innocence, or become angry, this is what they do because these reactions have worked for them in the past.

When they stomped their feet as a child, their parents did whatever it took to calm them. As a teen this same pattern grabbed hold when they wanted a new car or a new freedom. When you see these patterns of manipulation arise, think through your interaction with the person employing them and ask them what’s going on. If they respond in one of the following ways you may be dealing with someone using a Covert Aggressive tactic.

 

Know The Signs

Playing Dumb

When someone who is sharp suddenly plays dumb, acts confused or conveniently forgets, it may just be a tactic designed to make you question your judgment. Don’t question your sanity, question theirs.

Diversion and Distraction

When someone refuses to give a straight answer to a straight question or changes the subject chances are they are trying to manipulate you. Attempts to Distract or Divert your attention are just their efforts to redirect your focus from their behavior to promote their agenda. You may confront your manipulator on a very important issue only to find yourself wondering how you got on the topic you’re talking about. Keep bringing them back to your topic and remind yourself to not get side-tracked again.

Lying by Omission

A covert aggressive does not straight-out lie. They omit or distort key facts. They may become vague or leave out key details that make all the difference. You may think you have all the information only to find yourself wondering how you missed the full picture later on.

Charm and Anger

When cornered a Covert Aggressive may respond with flattery or erupt in anger as if surprised by your accusations. It is an involuntary response from them, emotions they switch on and off without good reason. It’s a stall tactic they use to intimidate and put you on the defensive. Don’t feel the need to respond to either. Instead, smile, raise an eyebrow and just keep quiet as you observe what they do next.

Playing the Victim

Covert Aggressive people often make themselves out to be the victim to gain sympathy and compassion. They know that everyone wants to be a good person, they know that when phrases like “good people”, “sympathy” and “compassion” are properly used they can position themselves as the victim and create allies out of otherwise neutral people.

Good People Rationalization & Minimization

We all want to believe people are “good” and “decent”. We all look for a way to excuse someone’s behavior. This is what it is to be human. It is also how a CA manipulates those around them. The CA uses someone’s natural desire to confirm their goodness to act against you.

This rationalization is the excuse an otherwise neutral person is given for engaging in what they know is inappropriate behavior. The sad part is it works, especially when a CA’s explanation makes just enough sense for any reasonably conscientious person to go along with it.

Minimizing an action is insisting that it’s “not that big a deal” or afterwards that “you’re blowing this out of proportion”, in order to maintain their powerbase. Listen for these critical phrases.  If you hear them, pause and look at the actions beyond the words to find their true intentions.

Guilting and Shaming

To the manipulator direct or indirect shaming is a way to put you down to make you feel inadequate so they can maintain their dominance. The more you feel bad about yourself, the more likely you are to defer to them.

They don’t feel bad, but they know if they send you on a guilt trip, you’ll most likely back away from your accusations, which will return the status quo that they have always enjoyed.

Cutting Jokes

Manipulators relax and feel better when you play their game by their rules. They may create a joke about you which they spread. Perhaps they imply that you will think it’s funny or tell others that it’s not “that big of a deal”.

People may think they’re in on a personal joke when they are actually supporting your aggressor who knows you will never speak out against them or their go-between but will enjoy the suffering it causes you all the same.

Cycling

The Covert Aggressor will often cycle from one tactic to the next, waiting to see which one gets a reaction. No matter which they choose the most effective response is to simply not respond. Not responding is not always realistic but minimizing your contact with that person however you can is better than enduring their actions.

 

What To Do

Now that you have a better idea of what you are up against, here’s what can you do about a CA once they have targeted you as a threat to their dominance.

Know Your Vulnerabilities

When you know your vulnerabilities, you can recognize when they try to push your buttons and stuff your need to respond back into its box. If you need to feel good about yourself, as we all do, if you are easily guilted or shamed into doing something you may not want to do then you need to be aware of that and be ready when someone wants to use that against you. A CA rarely knows what is personal and specific to you. They know that everyone has some kind of guilt and a need to belong, they know everyone wants to be a good person, so they can be general at first as they probe around for you to react to one of their tactics until they sense your weakness before they pounce. It’s how they recruit go-betweens who are unaware of the damage they are doing. It’s just what they do. So be prepared and ready to ignore their probing and prying while smiling and being kind in return.

Prepare

Prepare yourself by knowing what you want from your interaction with them and be prepared for consequences. If CA feels like they’re losing they’ll do almost anything to regain their sense of dominance. You need ask yourself what are you willing to give up and what you are not willing to? Tun through a few basic scenarios without killing yourself over them. Simply try to anticipate their first tier responses to your actions without getting lost in your own head games and know what to expect.

Set Boundaries

First thing you need is some boundaries. What will you no longer tolerate? And what will you do if they violate those boundaries? Go no further until you have concrete answers to those two questions.

Don’t Play Nice

Thinking if you playing nice they will do the same is a misconception. It will not. As Dr. Simon puts it “treating a Bengal tiger like a kitty cat is a good way to get mauled.” Simply put, be polite and don’t respond to their actions. You will want to get even but put that thought of your mind. You never will. You will only get their inner aggressive nature to feed ever more deeply on your emotions.

Stay Open

A CA, like anyone, wants to be loved. Somewhere inside them is a child that feels very alone and needing a hug. You don’t have to give them a physical hug, but don’t shy away from giving them an emotional one.

Support Network

Now is a good time to use your support network. Reach out to those around you so that you have someone to help give you a reality check and some emotional support when your CA senses you’re no longer playing their head games. If you don’t have one now is the time to create one with honesty and authenticity. Don’t play games, just tell your trusted friends what’s going on.

Your Behavior

Understand they will never change. This is who they are and who they will always be. They know you will want to change them and they will use that in their favor. Focus on changing the only thing you have power over – your behavior toward them.

Don’t be afraid of stepping away from them completely. You will may feel screwed. You may want to make them pay or just to say they’re sorry. I doubt either will happen because they do not feel as if they have done anything wrong. They simply felt threatened and responded as they always have in the past. Just understand you cannot make them do anything, least of all apologize. What you can do is to control how your respond to them. Instead now may be the time to update your portfolio of responses:

Accept no excuses

If you are willing to accept an excuse, then they’ll just start throwing excuses at you until one sticks. Don’t respond to verbal rationalizations, instead judge them by their actions, not their intentions.

Make direct requests, only accept direct responses.

Be as matter-of-fact as you can about what you want them to do. Do not give them the wiggle room that they love.

Be specific about what it is you expect or want from the person across from you. Use phrases like: “I want you to xxx ” or “I don’t want you to xxx anymore.” If xxx is specific it will give your manipulator little room to distort or “misunderstand” what you want or expect from them.

A yes-or-no question should be answered with a yes or a no response. If they won’t give it, then they’re already leading you into their next maze. Don’t follow them.

Focus on win-win

Covert Aggressive people will often step up if you have something they want. If they have something to lose, they will make sure you do as well. This is why you will want to propose as many win-win solutions as possible.

Concede

Don’t let your ego get in the way of your life. At times it is okay to step back and concede a minor point that may be what your aggressor sees as a major victory. You might be surprised at how important something you don’t care about may be to the person across from you.

Don’t dive too deep

It’s not your job to cure a Covert Aggressive person. Keep everything light and breezy, stay up in the clouds without threatening them. See if you can work around their roadblocks so that you can eventually avoid interacting with them all together.

 

Phrases to Learn:

What you are attempting to do with each of these phrases is not to confront the person who has become fixated with you as someone to defeat, but to define the borders of their maze so that you can exit it as quickly as possible and get on with your life.

Always smile as you use the following phrases when confronting someone who ha it out for you:

  • Address the big picture: “I’m a little confused, but where do you see this going?” or “What do you hope to gain from this?”
  • Accept no excuses: “I’m less concerned with why you did what you did than that you did it in the first place.”
  • Make direct requests, accept only direct responses with a smile: “That’s alright, I’m fine with a simple yes or no.”
  • Focus on win-win: “It’s okay, why don’t we just jump to what you want out of this so we can both get on the same page.” If they can’t get on the same page then what they want is not something you can deliver or want to. Either way, welcome to their maze.