The Method: three exercises to transform your life, part 2

Yesterday’s exercise was to list a couple areas in your life you want to improve. Today’s exercise is to view the areas from the perspective of the Model.

Exercise 2

Part 1

Write on a piece of paper in four different lines, the words “Old environment:,” “Old beliefs:,” “Old emotions:,” and “Old behaviors:,” like so:

Old environments:

Old beliefs:

Old emotions:

Old behaviors:

Then for each area on your life you want to improve, fill out each of the four elements of the relevant emotional cycles. The idea is to break up something complex into simpler parts that are easier to understand and show the structure of how those parts interrelate.

Running a marathon

Old environment: Playing other sports, bars, in front of tv

Old beliefs: It’s superhuman, you have to be a born runner

Old emotions: Futility, anxiety

Old behaviors: Making excuses, running short distances or not running

I think you can see how that set of environments, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors would not lead to running a marathon.
Another area to improve might be

Improving public speaking

Old environments: In audience, reading books

Old beliefs: It’s scary, you have to be born with it

Old emotions: Fear, anxiety, pressure

Old behaviors: Watching, thinking, sweating, heart racing

You can also see how this set of environments, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors wouldn’t motivate me to speak in public.

part 2

Next is the issue of what you can and can’t change and what you will and won’t change. This step assures you you won’t do anything against your principles or social norms you follow. It keeps you safe.

Write what you can’t or won’t change about the above elements.

If you see your boss as a problem but for some reason you can’t change your job, you have to factor that constraint in. You probably know your constraints. Clarifying them helps.
You don’t have to worry if you have too many constraints or too few, only that you are aware of and understand them. Trying to change something you can’t or won’t will frustrate you. Not changing something you can may hold you back.
Few constraints prevent you from feeling reward. One way inspirational figures inspire us is by showing us our potential by doing things we wouldn’t think we could despite more external constraints than we have. Frederick Douglass taught himself and others reading, writing, and rhetoric while a slave. Victor Frankl found meaning and purpose while in Auschwitz. Abraham Lincoln became President though born with no material advantages. Mohandas Gandhi led a nation without using violence.
Such people teach us what we are capable of, often not despite their constraints but by using them. Constraints aren’t a problem if you assess them accurately.
Tomorrow will cover what to do with the structure.

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