I’ve been doing a great deal of reading as of late. It seems the chilly weather really lends itself to curling up on the couch, wrapped in a blanket with a hot cup of tea, page flipping. I’ve currently got four books in the rotation, but am finding myself completely mesmerized by the insights and wisdom of Tony Robbins’, “Awaken the Giant Within.”  It’s a hefty book at 512 pages, and each page is exploding with knowledge that digs deeper into the soul. Obviously, I’m geeky excited about it.

Personally, I love discovering new ways into the psyche, awakening to a new nuance about how I process life. Awareness seems the key to change and growth, really. You have to know where you’re starting from to determine how far you have to go to reach your desired destination. It can be so easy to daydream your self a good listener, or a thoughtful partner, or a respectful consumer, or a supportive friend, or a conscientious wordsmith – but it can be much more difficult to allow ourselves to notice those when we’re truly not.  When we’ve pushed a situation off onto another, or hidden our behaviors behind an occurrence or event.  Sometimes seeing the whole of who we are can be like an exhilarating and terrifying rollercoaster ride, all in one.

Perspective is obviously essential in developing into the person we see ourselves to be, or are striving to become.  It’s not about routinely torturing our self with: Why did you do that?  Rather, it’s about realizing that the real way of living as our authentic self is through our decisions.  One decision at a time, committed to progressing forward, and praising, our highest selves. It seems so much less complicated when we look at it that way- just one decision at a time.

Two of the concepts beautifully flushed out in the aforementioned Tony Robbins’ book are the idea that a decision is not an “I’d like to,” but rather a full commitment, an unwavering insistence that you will make it happen.  It’s not an “I want to lose ten pounds,” but rather an “I am fully committed to changing my food, exercise, and mindset habits to inhabit the person I see myself to be when I weigh ten pounds less” – and then taking action.  Real, physical action that goes beyond colorful conjuring.  To take this idea one step further, I’d like to add that I also see this as a decision to accept a new identity.  When you commit to, say, shifting your food, exercise, and mindset habits, you are also agreeing that the identity you have currently carved out for yourself is able to be shifted.  You are allowing a flexibility in your spirit – which is what I define as a Balanced Presence.

The second concept that was introduced in the book, that has completely grasped me, is the idea that every choice we make is to avoid pain or gain pleasure, with avoiding pain being the primary motivator of our choices.  An example:  Remember last week when I was sharing about how I recently decided to muzzle my dog?  You see, after reading about this new concept, it dawned on me that I was not muzzling him to avoid the pain of feeling like a bad dog owner, or of being viewed as an owner who had not properly trained their dog, or who had created a vicious dog.  However, after an encounter that my dog had, the pain shifted, and the idea that I could lose my dog if he continued to nip people, that pain made choosing the muzzle an easier decision.  In order to shift my behavior, I had to change my concept of what was painful and what was pleasurable.  Losing ten pounds – perhaps we fear the pain of enduring a diet, or giving up our favorite foods, or being able to still cook the way we enjoy, and the pain of that outweighs, in our mind, the pleasure of being ten pounds lighter, and thus we never make the changes needed to reach that goal.  So, what has to happen for us to make a true change, a decisive decision?  We have to get very clear on what the pleasure is that we will gain by achieving our goals, and the pain we will endure if we don’t.  That new understanding of the pain we will endure, it has to be greater, in our mind, than the pain of making the change in the first place – or we will never do it.

I challenge you to investigate what is really standing in your way?  Hint: It’s you.  The good news is you’re only one decision away from having everything you desire.

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