The discomfort zone

seed to expression

If you can get comfortable with the discomfort zone, the place of rapid growth, then you have in large part won life my friend. Anything that you can conceive of in the way of achievement, of becoming, must and does inevitably involve the process of constantly pushing through what were previously boundaries and establishing new and newer comfort zones.

Befriend the discomfort zone.

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Do we really need more rich people?

Get rich or die trying.

… well at least the guy who said this was being flat-out honest unlike the vast majority of people in our “civilised world” who live by this mantra unknowingly.

Over the past few days I’ve been listening to an interview with Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker/coach extraordinaire. It’s a fascinating, two-hour interview that can be found on Tim Ferriss’s blog here: http://fourhourworkweek.com/blog/ One of the main topics is Tony’s new book; The New Money Masters, the first book he’s written in 20 years.

I have a lot of respect for Tony because I believe he is very genuine in his commitment to helping people. However, in the grand scheme of things I cannot help to ask myself, who is really being helped and for what ultimate purpose? Also, what is the real cost involved in terms of the far-reaching consequences, when more and more wealthy people are trained up and created? Who and/or what really benefits and what is the collateral damage involved?

Well, that depends on the point of view or “point of you”, also known as your sense of identity and there are only two: The individual (I am separate and temporary) a.k.a the material, or the all-inclusive, all-encompassing “I am all and always” spiritual viewpoint.

For a limited time, the individual point of view is convincing. It seems to make sense, literally, all five of them in fact! But some of us suspect that there is a lot more to the story than what is experienced on the surface of our everyday existence. So, from the perspective of the undivided whole, when a person begins to succeed which always translates into the acquisition and production of more and more things, who actually benefits and who suffers? Sure, jobs are created, the economy is given a boost and society (the one in question only) prospers.

What about the earth that is exploited? The anonymous “other” societies that pick up the bill in various ways? The trees that are cut down, the rivers that are poisoned, the animals and even people who are killed? Is this also taken into account and acknowledged? What about the ongoing wars that are being waged to feed this beast and the destruction of all that is good and beautiful, the natural environment that was flourishing until our insidious influence made its mark? This needs to be added into the equation also.

If you are reading this on a computer (just as I am writing it) then nearly every single thing we are surrounded by, that we eat, wear and use is tainted with the blood and the grief of the masses; of plants, animals and people who aren’t ever taken into consideration. These are the effects of what is called leverage in financial terms, living preposterously above our means. We are up to our necks in the obsession of consumer-object fetishism and the everyday luxuries we take for granted and consider as vital to our very existence as the air we breathe, are leading to our rapid demise.

I hope not to come across as negative in saying all this. I do realise that to think along these lines isn’t exactly popular let alone encouraged. Why? because to a greater or even greater degree we are all complicit. And besides, thinking about this stuff makes you feel bad and feeling bad about oneself or the state of the world isn’t popular either. Much easier to brush this shit talk off with comforting excuses about how “poor little me” can’t do anything about it anyway and besides, ‘I’m busy so don’t waste my time with this crap. I’ve got a preoccupation to preoccupy myself with’.

Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris and most others like them are genuine in their desire to help others, this I firmly believe. The only trouble is that their idea of success and wishing others well is shaped 100% by their culture. A culture that is fundamentally flawed for all of the reasons stated above. One that says it is not only OK to become rich and successful, but that it is your duty! As a good and respectable citizen, you are to pursue ever-increasing material riches and to surround yourself with more and more things made of matter. This, as the status quo implies, is the most noble and worthwhile achievement to strive towards in life.

Just saying.

Voluntary serfdom; doing something other than what you’d most love to be doing

I often wonder about the percentage of people who can honestly say they are doing what they’d most love to be doing in life. I suspect it isn’t many, probably in the decimal points.

If you think you need this (money) to have that (ideal lifestyle), then what you really want is that and not this?!

I’ve just returned home from intense and inspiring London. I try to make it over there about once a year to visit family and I love the place. For a few days at a time that is. The intensity and contrast to how I normally live is astounding and because of this I can enjoy it to the fullest. Over the years I have identified a part of the capital’s population that I call wealthy serfs. These are people who spend the majority of their lives doing something other than what they’d most like to be doing and what keeps them in this condition is compensation. They are rewarded or compensated in a variety of ways, all of which are illusory in nature meaning that they have no substance and don’t deliver real happiness. The theory they hold onto is that one day they will buy themselves out of this lifestyle, retire early and then, finally, do what they really want to do. Of course this rarely happens mostly because of two things;

1. They get so caught up in the numerous forms of compensation, the comforts and luxuries, that they begin to mistake these for “the” real thing.

2. Over time they lose sight of the original vision. The calling of the heart has been thwarted and neglected until it is practically silenced.

The donkey chasing the carrot analogy comes to mind only I would add to it that in this case, the carrot just keeps on getting bigger and shinier but never actually closer.

This phenomenon is unanimously confirmed by the serfs themselves. My own brother, his friends and colleagues who work for some of the biggest financial institutions in the world, regrettably but without hesitation agree. In making this observation, I don’t mean to judge or hope to correct anyone. In fact, I am quite fascinated by and admire the accomplishments of these people but I cannot help to notice a vital component missing in them.

They lack inner peace and stillness. There is an absence of contentment, fulfilment and a general sense of satisfaction. They, like many of us in fact, do not realise that to acquire and enjoy more of the truly valuable and worthwhile things in life it is subtraction rather than addition that is needed. Removing the self created obstacles that prevent us from living in the fullness of each and every moment is actually far more important than trying to add, in whatever form, anything that we imagine ourselves to be lacking.

Life is far too valuable to spend it doing anything less than what you’d most like to be doing and when one awakens to this realisation a change becomes imminent. The good news is that a change of this magnitude from self-imposed bondage to complete freedom happens in an instant and does not come as the end result of a long and tedious process. When correctly grasped and taken full advantage of, the years of neglecting ones own highest ideals can act as the driving mechanism, providing the energy that ultimately compels one to make this most worthwhile step and finally live into the version of life and being that the true self has yearned for all along.

At the end of the day it is nothing but a choice.