Have you ever found yourself blaming your lateness on someone's location?
I seriously heard myself say to myself, as I was huffing and puffing to be "not too late" to an appointment, "Does she realize she lives on 10th Avenue? That is far from the subway!" If you follow the internal (defensive, justified, and absurd) logic in my mind at that moment, it implies that it is her fault for where she is located that I am late! When I catch myself in that kind of thinking I have to marvel. My mind's ability to manipulate a situation in order to avoid responsibility for my results is truly remarkable. You, too?
In fact, it is only me that is responsible for me being on time. I did not design being on time to the appointment at all. I had a call until 30 minutes before my appointment and the trip from my house to hers is approximately 35 minutes on a good day. The truth is, I already knew I was going to be late and instead of just owning it, the part of my brain that wants to pretend I'm powerless takes over and starts inventing reasoning to take away the supposed sting of personal responsibility.
If I can do this dance about something as concrete as being on time, which is so clearly in my hands, I wonder how much I try to get away with that kind of thinking about other things, too. The answer is, all the time. We're all explaining all sorts of things with what we at Handel call "bad logic," and it can be very detrimental to our dreams. The problem is, as we are thinking out our excuses, they sound totally logical and true to us. We can't hear them as excuses. With a little training, you can start to question how you think about just about anything. The first step is to assume that you are applying some form of logic to everything and if you aren't getting the result you want, it's probably bad logic.
When we work with people to design their time, we find all sorts of bad logic (besides that it's the location's fault that we're late!). We find that people really believe that they can either succeed in one area and not the other: like they can be great parents or have great careers, but not both. Or they can be great at taking care of themselves but not at dating and taking care of themselves. Instead of dreaming of excellence in both areas and designing from there, the best people come up with is dreaming of this elusive thing called "balance" which really just means, "I want to stop being overwhelmed and feeling ineffective at everything."
Another common bit of bad logic is that what makes you happy or causes the results you want, is a function of time put in. If you step back and think about it for a minute, not all great things happen because you put in X amount of time. I'm not saying dedicating time is useless, it's part of smart designing, but the logic that it's "a must" in order to have what you want is very limiting. Just for today, consider the idea that you can have all of what you want -- a great connection with your kids, your mate, your potential mate, exercise, a productive day at work and time to just chill -- and that none of it is a function of time or has to come at the expense of something else. Just thinking like that makes you feel like you're in the driver's seat, right (not the powerless passenger)? It gets you to start thinking creatively and to be a problem-solver, not an excuse maker.
Back to my original point: What happens when we do assume responsibility? When we say we were late because of our lack of design, period? When we say we can design life to have all the important things in it and we can have many important things unfold without putting in a ton of time? When we assume responsibility for our choices, our actions and our thinking, we assume power. New logic will give you a new reality.
Let me help you design your time and your new reality to be consistent with your most heartfelt dreams.
For more by Laurie Gerber, click here.
For more on emotional intelligence, click here.