There are three layers of thought:
- The First Layer
- The Second Layer
- The Third
The first layer results in stress and anxiety because it has no certainty of the future. It is purely emotional thinking and even those with the highest levels of EQ, will be stressed and experience anxiety. It is therefore the mission of Innerwealth coaching to help clients navigate their way through the first layer without becoming trapped in rebound, response and reaction.
The second layer is memory. This memory is a composite of learnt, experienced and socially indoctrinated knowledge that, at best, can mimic. Hence, we are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past, be trapped in a tug of war with social stereotypes and ultimately deliver “me too” forms of opinions and solutions. This level is what we at Innerwealth refer to as “mundane.” The beige life of the frustrated. People in the second layer think that they think, but merely repeat.
The third layer is highly conscious. Here we are looking to expand our range of thinking into manifesting what we want. This means following a sequence of thinking in a direction, but, equally, avoiding the distractions of the first and second layers.
In the morning you wake, exercise, shower, towel dry, put on your clean undies and (if you are so inclined) a bra and wrap yourself in your armour for the day. There’s a tension isn’t there? A tension between what you want and what you’ve got. Some days they line up. Some of those periods last longer than days, you say “I feel happy with my life.” But then there are periods of disconnect. You say “I am not happy.” Then, what you’ve got and what you want do not line up.
Maybe you had a dream and it feels like it’s ending. Maybe what’s happening today is way different than you had ever imagined. Whatever it is, this is a time for reconciliation in your mind between what you’ve got and what you want. This is called, Mental Toughness, or Mental Strength.
When reconciliation does not happen, you end up depressed. Not happy with what you’ve got and not feeling the track to what you want is going to happen. Stuck between the past and the future and feeling awful about it. You will find yourself questioning “What will the future be?” Then there is anxiety.
ANXIETY: A FIGHT STUCK BETWEEN THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE
Lost certainty of the future is the anxiety we experience. The most common remedy is a fantasy about the future. This is a form of anti-depressant. A promise of the future, hope that something good will come, a glimmer of a rainbow amongst the rain. We must never lose it.
A good example of this anti-depressant is when we lose out on achieving something and a friend says “better luck next time” or “don’t worry there’s more chances.” This is how we trick the mind into thinking that the future will be ok, even if it isn’t reality. This is a form antidepressant, and important. If you can trick your mind into thinking the future is great, you’ll be in a good place.
When we deal with today’s disappointment with the promise of tomorrow, we set up a showdown between the promise and the reality. If that promise doesn’t make itself into some believable form of evidence we might just start to doubt the future permanently, and then, those broken promises lead to lost hopes. Depression that settles in and makes its home in our thoughts and behaviours.
So fantasy, imagination and love for the promise of a better tomorrow is a vital part of mental health. It is also a key ingredient in in mental toughness.
But before I examine mental toughness, there is a way of enjoying depression free ambition. It’s just another mental trick, but I think it works well with fantasy and imagination.
BE HERE NOW…..
One of the oldest self help books of the modern era, by RAM DAS – “Be Here Now.” Basically it says what everyone has been repeating ever since it bought the East to the West, be thankful for what you’ve got.
The quote is ancient, repeated in so many different ways but the idea is to give you immunity from suffering. In fact, it gives you immunity from disease as well because in the simplest terms it’s the core of gratitude .. proven scientifically to be linked to immune function. Either way, it’s good for you. It allows the fantasies and imagination of the future to operate with impunity. Want what you’ve got prevents all side effects of wanting what you haven’t got. (depression, illness, divorce, emotional breakdown and more).
FANTASY OR REALITY?
In business and politics the person with the greatest certainty leads. That’s easily understood. But what if, like Hitler, their certainty is fantasy. What if, like many Catholic Priest, the fantasy they sell, is not the reality they practice. Certainty can become a disguise for the worst of manipulation. Cigarette companies paid research organisations to falsify research into the cancer effect of smoking, they used this to generate a certainty that claims of cancer were false. Certainty isn’t certain anymore. The line is definitely blurred between fantasy and reality, certainty (which is the promise of leadership) is really hard to trust. This leads to doubt about the valence of any future promise.
When we can’t imagine a future we might achieve or even fantasise about a possibility of a future, we start the process of self-doubt. And self-doubt is the enemy of all humanity. If we catch that virus, we operate without integrity and must do, because self-doubt leads to hell and back.
When we catch the “don’t trust the future” we catch the “self-doubt” bug. It starts to eat away at our soul. It’s a mean partner because it causes itself, like artificial intelligence, AI – learning from itself and evolving toward the only destiny it knows, self-destruction.
When we catch self-doubt we operate desperately. Understandably so, given the destination it predicts is abject failure. We grab, anything, to prevent the fall. We grab children and live vicariously through their hope for the future, we grab a partner in the belief that two people would never sink, we grab money believing we can buy our way out of trouble and we grab addictive satisfactions such as food, alcohol, drugs and more.
Self-doubt is a cruel companion. It forces us into desperation, motivating us to act with insecurity, it over-sensitises us to every little thing and turns the sublime into a stress. Self-doubt is also an aggressive companion. It drives us to control others. To operate out of fear and uncertainty. But worst of all, self-doubt takes us to our nemesis, it takes us to failure.
THE FIRST AND SECOND LAYERS OF MIND AND OVERCOMING THEM
The first layer of mind is revealed when we bounce off people emotionally reacting to them. Anger, jealousy, hate, envy, are just a few of the lowest of low emotions. These all reveal a really ingrained sense of self-doubt. A radio active person, sensitive to everything emotionally, is really naked. They have lost the use of the fantasy future, lost trust of hope for the future, not anchored in wanting what they’ve got. They are in a really tough place and hanging onto being right as a last ditch attempt to survive. Self-doubt has become their partner and worst enemy and all simple cures have failed. This person is hanging onto everything they can, even toxic relationships and bad jobs just to survive. Self-doubt is, without question, what is meant by the terms “devil and hell” in real life. They exist within.
REPAIRING THE DAMAGE of SELF DOUBT
The solution to self-doubt is no different for an astronaut on the space shuttle to a person in deep emotional and addictive crisis. The solution is the same.
Self doubt is a breakdown in the belief of the future, lost certainty through broken trust or simply failure. Either way, the future becomes somewhat hopeless and a person finds themselves in the horrible situation of faking it. Faking confidence, faking happiness, faking certainty but the sad part is that these disguises are both transparent to the observer and the practitioner. It’s a very difficult place draining huge quantities of energy and making their stress even worse. AS a crisis in confidence escalates. so too does the probability of a break in functionality. The likelihood of a domestic breakdown or being fired, or getting ill, increases exponentially. Nature destroys anything that does no fulfil its purpose, and self doubt is, in nature’s language, not fulfilling a purpose.
The solution is simpler than imaginable but, for those in the mire of self-doubt it may be more difficult than it needs to be, only because they make it so.
THREE KEYS to REPAIRING SELF-DOUBT.
- Take the Positive Path
- Create Enthusiasm
- Cultivate Will
- Take the positive path.
The individual who is living in the first layer has put their faith into feelings and emotions. All emotions and feelings are based on perception, how we see, hear and experience things. Such sensory interpretations are very weak levels of understanding. Emotions are imbalanced thoughts, so the more emotional a person is, the more imbalanced their thinking. An amoeba has more brains than an emotionally volatile human. Even a single cell stays in balance. But with free will, a human being can act with less awareness than a frog. This leads to reaction. Either positive if the news seems overwhelming agreeable, or negative if anything is disagreeable. A pig has more brains. But humans have free will, and a pig doesn’t.
The first step In overcoming self doubt is to think for oneself. Not just think that we think. We must think. It is not what a person thinks that renders them driven by self doubt but how they think. An emotional individual is looking for imbalance and focusses on whatever is largest. The self-confident individual will look for the balance in everything and focus on the positive.
This process begins with the past. Looking at the past with imbalanced lenses will certainty find what it’s looking for, right or wrong, good or bad, pleasure or pain. It’s a bad proposition looking for validation. A balanced lens will see everything in the past as balanced, hence, no reaction except to be glad to want what they’ve got.
2. Create Enthusiasm
Remember at school when two captains were appointed to choose their team and we’d jump up and down saying “pick me, pick me.” Enthusiasm. Remember when we were asked what we wanted for our birthday “enthusiasm.” or a new job we’d love. Enthusiasm is a state of mind independent of circumstance, we can be enthusiastic about anything. And that’s called “the power of attraction.”
You want something, you want someone to deal with you, then you better be enthusiastic about it.
In the second layer of the mind enthusiasm is engaged through a memory of some feeling or experience similar to what a person might be wanting. “I remember how it felt” or “I saw how happy they were winning the gold medal and I’m enthusiastic about mine.” Memory is often the source of enthusiasm, but this is a dead enthusiasm, only an enthusiasm that will come if all goes right.
Real enthusiasm is a competitive appetite to achieve something you have no memory of. It has been filtered through the reality that there is pleasure and pain, happy and sad, good and bad in the outcome. Enthusiasm is as much a part of the process of achieving as it is a projected celebration of achievement. Unless the journey is as exciting as the destination, it will not last. For example: if I want to climb Mt Everest and all I;m excited about is being on top sticking a flag in and getting home, the trip up, and putting my life on the line going up and down is going to be a terrible experience and will, in the ways of the mountains, probably kill me. The journey is as important as the destination.
3. Foster Will.
Conflicting goals destroy the human spirit (WILL POWER) … for example I might say I want to be a great Dad, build a successful business, win the world pole vault championship and be a great lover. All, on paper, great. But, they fight each other and each demands its kilo of effort. The will becomes broken because each effort is accompanied by the guilt of not doing right to the other goals. Torn in too many directions.
Instead we are wise to have one goal and many areas of life balance. Each time we do something that reinforces our highest value, our goal, or purpose or vision gains strength and the power of will. As a single intention has no competition we are at peace in our core, the mission is clear, the purpose unquestioned and everything can cycle around it.
We therefore must seek one goal and have many areas of life in which we simply seek moderation and satisfaction, balance.
I have written this article to help those who are wishing to achieve big things and also for those struggling to get out of bed in the morning. I wanted to show that struggle in life, self-doubt and achievement in life require the exact same application and that nobody is immune from the need to find mental toughness in life (mental health, mental strength, confidence, certainty, imagination and fantasy) are all the same.
Do not let others make this more complicated or differentiate between the struggling and the achieving, everyone is on the same page and can apply the same stuff, as long as we don’t make it hard for ourselves.