100 Things I wish my Dad Taught Me. Episode 28. “Your motivation miraculously increases once you begin to act on your dreams.”

This episode bought to you by the fifth universal law of nature. The one and the Many. “Your motivation miraculously increases once you begin to act on your dreams.”

Imagine that you are an octopus. You have eight legs. Each of those legs operates from a separate brain. That brain must report to some form of centralised system otherwise each leg will have its own gold. Navigating across the ocean floor to get your next meal would become a great melodrama. This is how it feels to be a human being with confusion about how they schedule their day, prioritise their time, determine what is most important in their life and feels somewhat obligated to a partner to satisfy their definition of the above. Can you see that a person with each area of life given equal priority will end up like that octopus?

Now imagine that you are an octopus with eight legs but one of those legs is huge and demands that all the other seven legs follow it regardless of their needs. Zac one big huge leg commands that everything else be subordinate to it and doesn’t really care if those other legs atrophy. This how it feels to be a human being who has tunnel vision for their work and promises the family and their own health that once they get through this difficult period everything will be back to normal. We all know it never gets back to normal because the abuse that dished out to the health, relationship, personal development and all other matters associated with that human being, become damaged when ignored. There are many people who do this model of single leg octopus deliberately thinking that being a martyr is emulation of some spectacular pathway to success. But this doesn’t work. The one big learning iGod working with international athletes was that great athletes are great people. I met with many world champions and always the people at the top with great people to meet. The secret in their champion status was there holistic realisation that balance in their life was the secret to performance and recovery in training.

I don’t think my dad ever even saw an octopus except maybe in a book. My dad never played sport, never went to the gym, but my dad was the role model of perfect balance. He always woke early, he had a diet that worked for him and rarely changed it, he always washed the cars at the car yard himself and was never afraid to get his hands dirty sweeping the path or polishing a car. At home he was always working on himself in his personal development and he loved being in the garden when time permitted. Ironically, my dad never studied anything to do with life balance or being a good octopus. He came from a long line of Tasmanian devils and grew up in an environment that was incredibly simple. Before I was born and before the second world war my father belonged to the Tasmanian lions club and Rotary. He also attended the lodge. A secret organisation of I suspect predominately men who wore special clothes and spoke in special language about the occult. My dad therefore was a balanced guy. But most importantly all of his octopus legs were given a priority but not an equal priority. If the car yard failed we would all fail and so it received the predominance of his attention even in spite of being married to my lunatic stepmother. It must have been a real juggling act for him. It was made easier by the fact that my sister got out of the house as quickly as she could, I got stuck but was strong enough to do a lot of the menial hard work around the house and the car yard, and my brother behaved himself impeccably and liked to do the shopping and cook.

Up until the age of 15 my commitment to a diverse range of sports and activities in order to achieve stardom was intense but never sustainable. Whether it was training to be a football star to which I gave my everything for two years but failed because of broken ankles, or the pursuit of a girlfriend which I did with absolute dedication until her family moved out of Melbourne and therefore our relationship failed, becoming the head prefect of my high school, whatever I did I did 100% but it was never sustainable. I was like that octopus with a huge leg. When I committed myself to something, nothing else mattered. With this single-minded approach I became a rowing champion, then built a family, then became wealthy, then built a business, and eventually became a monk.

At around 34 years of age, I returned to full-time university to do an MBA. It was the first time in my adult life that I was surrounded by people who had families, careers, financial ambitions, sporting prowess and were all equally seeking this elusive thing called balance. It gave me the chance to reflect on my process of being this single-minded individual who would throw everything to the wind in pursuit of a singular goal. Given that my own family life had ended in a divorce I was humble enough to become a student of what I thought I knew all about. My colleagues during the MBA process were hard-working but happier people than me. But there was a certain melancholy about them that looked to me like mediocrity. I was confused. I was the one who stood up on the social evenings and sang with the rock band, I was the one people talked about behind my back because I did unique things, I was still in this environment learning from people but at the same token recognising something unique about my approach. One of my colleagues said to me, Chris, you do everything at 100 mph and you don’t stop until you crash. It was both a compliment and an insult.

During that MBA I also did a lot of therapy, spent massive times in the Himalayas and studied Zen. I knew the model I was running was wrong, I didn’t want to continue the unsustainable process of giving things my 100% focus the chips success and then dumping it for the next challenge. As much as it was a great demonstration of the ability to let go of the past, it left me living my life as a novice in whatever new pursuit I chose. So I begin to try to accumulate wisdom in rather than go to green fields to apply it, learn ways to iterate and evolve rather than experience perpetual revolutions. This is where it became obvious to me that there is a big difference between evolution and revolution.

That story of the octopus with one big leg and the other seven legs given no priority is still incomplete. Those other seven legs will petrify and eventually need attention. When one of those legs falls off or breaks the one big leg cannot pursue its primary focus because of the distraction of having to fix up that one broken leg. And that was the story of my life up until I begin to understand the true definition of living my dreams. Until this time that one single strong leg had been my dream and I had the capacity to change that dream any time I wanted and I did so. So far there is nothing wrong with being a dreamer and being able to pursue things with 100% commitment and excitement, but, I need it to respect the other aspects of my life and learn how to evolve those rather than wait for a health problem, a relationship problem, a mental problem, a spiritual problem, a financial problem, or even a loss of inspiration in my work to cause me to stop and have to do maintenance which we now call in this article, a revolution. The ongoing maintenance is called evolution.

Through the study of the universal laws we grow at the border of order and chaos. That one big leg octopus is seeking order in only one aspect of it’s focus and becoming blinded to the chaos that is outside the tunnel of its own vision/dream. They’re amazed to describe this but the best of it is lack of respect for anything other than the tunnel of its own vision. By witnessing my colleagues at the MBA and recognising that they were not always dream seekers but they were doing a great job of respect and maintenance of things outside of their dreams I came to appreciate that if I wanted a whole success I would need to learn how to better manage and evolve all the aspects of my life at once. I also became painfully aware that there were more than three aspects of life. Until this time out doing the MBA I had considered relationship, work, and health the three dimensions of my life. The concept of spiritual, social, mental and financial Bing other areas requiring evolution had not crossed my mind. And those were the three legs of my octopus that always called me to slow down and give them attention.

Now I had a broader view of what a total human being looks like and it was radically different to what I experienced in my own life and childhood. Now I had a new problem to deal with.

My skill set in developing spiritual awareness was to exit reality and enter some form of retreat and be there, basically starving myself, depriving myself of human contact for 2 to 3 weeks at a time in order to achieve a level of spiritual awakening. The problem with this model was that in the car on the way home from this 2 to 3 week experience most of the benefit of that experience would evaporate as I tried to negotiate traffic that was travelling at 10 times the speed of my constitution. The mental aspect was equally challenging as my dyslexia had given me the perfect excuse to not develop this aspect of my humanity.

I lacked confidence in this area and therefore avoided it at all cost. But over the course of the next 12 months I met an amazing person who was also dyslexic but who was actually quite a genius. My excuses evaporated and I realised that I had to change the way I learnt and what I learnt in order to develop my mental aspect of my humanity. My excuses for not being balanced and not being evolved as a full total human being were evaporating.

Another confrontation to my self awareness, my personal development, was the social aspect of life. To be honest I don’t like crowds. And social meant to me, hanging out with other people, in claustrophobic places.

So, to challenge myself I went to live in New York while my management consulting business thrived back in Australia and while I was there tried to develop my social aspect of life. I wrote poetry and presented poetry at some small bookshops and sold my little books thinking that this was what was meant by social balance. It wasn’t.

But one day I happened to be in Santa Fe New Mexico and became involved with a group of people who had been hired by Hollywood to develop a model for nonviolence in violent movies. These big hearted spiritually awakened people were working with some of the largest directors on earth including Spielberg, doing something that I thought previously, would be laughed out of business. I ended up working with this group and sitting in their offices at the United Nations in New York working on the concepts of nonviolence and helping youth.

I still didn’t understand how this could be integrated into my commercial career and the business’ that I owned. My colleagues all had environmental and social mandates they were fighting for, an I agreed with them and had done allot of work on this with my engineering company, but I couldn’t find something that was inspiring enough to fill that void I had.

One day while walking in the Himalayas I looked up at a mountain range that I was about to cross and decided that I did not want to put my life in danger crossing this mountain range. The benefits were in adequate. This was a great opportunity because it threw me into the cauldron of personal development to ask myself what would I be willing to die doing? And with that question, I found a purpose in my life greater than myself. When I found the answer to what I would be willing to give my life to make happen, the social aspect of my evolution and life balance fell into place. I found a purpose greater than myself socially.

Now I had all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle in place. Relationship, health, spiritual, social, mental, career and finance. I had developed the skills to do each one of those extremely well but now I had a new problem.

I had the incredible challenge to work out how to do justice to all eight legs of the octopus with only 24 hours a day and seven days in the week to do it all. If you ask any spiritual teacher they will basically say give up everything else and sit on your bum doing meditation for three hours a day. If you ask somebody about health they will say do six hours of health every day and you will be really healthy. And if you say someone about your career they will say a person who doesn’t give their time and energy to their career there all will be fucked up to. And when you get in a relationship with someone if you turn up one hour a week happy they are not going to stick around. So with my new model of balanced living I had around about 100 hours a day and 50 days a week of work to do to stay balanced. And that’s not going to work.

And that’s how Innerwealth was born. I asked the question how can I do all this in and stay balance in the shorter time. Without compromising, without becoming narcissistic while living my life purpose and making a fortune in the process. In other words how can I make a hell of a profit and still go to heaven?

The first thing was mediocrity won’t cut it. You have to follow your dreams just like I’ve done the entirety of my life as I’ve had modelled on my dad and modelled on the idea of a strong leg octopus. So, the way I have been prior to the MBA was not wrong.

The second thing I learnt that you can’t compromise. Compromising the other six areas of life just simply leads to tsunami.

The third thing I learnt was that it doesn’t take us long to manage something as it does to repair it when it goes bad. And that was the greatest awakening. A little bit of good quality attention to all aspects of life on a daily basis prevents massive breakdown in the long term. For example a daily compliment, respect and turning up in a relationship doesn’t take much time at all but if you don’t do it you’ll spend holidays, arguments, affairs and all manner of things trying to find the balance in your relationship aspect of life. That’s just a waste of good living time.

The fourth thing I learnt was that all eight legs of the octopus deserve respect but one of them has to be the highest priority. This is where it becomes complicated. We all have a hierarchy of values and in this hierarchy it’s often a challenge to work out what takes precedence over the other areas of life. This is called a values chain. Values chain is complicated too because we are often trying to please others and live according to their value chain as well as be respectful of our own. This codependency is particularly obvious in relationships where children.

so it came clear that we need a purpose to satisfy the social aspect of life and maybe spiritual at the same time, we need a vision to satisfy the career aspect of life, we need inspiration to satisfy the relationship aspect of life we need discipline to manage the health aspect of our life and we need enthusiasm toward all of the above to trigger the mental aspect of life. We also need skills to evolve these seven areas of life that don’t take all day. That’s the 30 day challenge and the back on track process that has taken me now nearly 30 years to develop and refine.

the 30 day challenge creates a one hour a day process for evolving all seven aspects of life. I call this personal development. One hour a day to make sure that we don’t have a tsunami in one of the seven legs of our octopus. One hour a day to make sure that we don’t develop atrophy in one of our octopus legs that will stop us in our tracks. One hour a day the guarantees the constant and evolving development of each of the seven areas of life so that we don’t fall flat on our face and learn from mistakes. So why is the power hour so hard for people to implement?

the answer to this is quite simple. When things are going well discipline goes down and so many people who know how to maintain balance in all seven areas of life don’t do so because they’re not feeling pain. Pain is a powerful motivator, suffering is even worse, and when we are suffering we will do what is required to evolve and when we are not suffering most people lose the interest and the discipline in the daily routine of maintaining preventative practices in all of the areas of life. But once that person experiences the pain of an atrophied leg of the seven areas of life they will get back on track and commit to their daily practice until such time as they feel comfortable again and relax.

as a great example of this I use a Garman watch to monitor my performance in my health training. Every day I do something physical to engage my body and mind in a process of ever improving health. But this dam Garman watch has a rating on it that describes how much commitment I’m putting in to that training. For the last three weeks my Garman watch has told me that I am D training. It basically says that I’ve been wasting my time doing my training as I’m doing less and less than I should be and therefore getting less and less fit even though I am putting in Moren more effort. What is basically measuring is how hard I train during those training sessions and whether or not I’m just filling in the space and not really really contributing to improving my health. Even if the watch said I was in maintenance mode it would be okay as I don’t have a dream of winning the Olympics. However when it starts to say I am D training what it means is I’ve hit my comfort zone I am like many people who lose the discipline to do their daily personal development cruising for a bruising. Thank goodness for the Garman because it is far better to be told I’m D training long before I hit a wall of illness that is the tsunami that will put me back on track. I respond to these red flags as soon as I see them. My Oura-ring is exactly the same when it comes to my recovery and self management process. It gives me the opportunity to respond and maintain myself without having to have trauma and stress and anxiety as the pushback on the quality of my self leadership.

That’s the finish of this episode. 28.

With Spirit


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