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A TV show I watched a while ago really stuck with me. They talked about how complex modern day cruise ships are. The control room, or bridge, where the captain and his crew pilot the ship is like a miniature NASA control center full of buttons and knobs. The captain has to understand what all of these controls and displays do. But in this show, they were talking about how it’s not simple. A cruise ship is so large and has such broadsides that it is very susceptible to winds and changing ocean currents.
It is the captain’s job to observe the winds, the currents and changes in the environment and to keep the ship on a course headed to the desired destination. He is constantly readjusting his course. Our lives are very much like cruise ships. We too have destinations or goals that we are sailing towards. Our brains are very much like the bridge and life outside of us resembles the winds and currents. The problem is that most of us don’t know how the brain works or what all the buttons and knobs do. So we end up drifting in life, getting pushed around by the wind and currents trying to stay on course. But since we don’t know how to steer the ship fully, we end up landing in whatever destination the environmental conditions push us to. We then say “oh, well this is kind of okay I guess and sort of has a couple of things I wanted from my goal destination, I must have done okay and I guess I can accept this place instead of what I really wanted.” Or even worse, we end up in a totally different place, not anything like what we wanted and have no idea how we got there or how to get out of it. Sound familiar?
Well, this was my experience to a T. I had tried everything to change the outside conditions around me. In my 20 year quest, I’ve tried everything. I’ve hired life coaches, had energy clearings and sat in front of a vision board every day for years. I’ve chanted success mantras daily while pulling my earlobes. I’ve gone on meditation retreats, yoga retreats and spent over $25,000 on success seminars. I’ve sat captivated taking thousands (yes, thousands) of pages of notes, growing my stack of scribbled-on notebooks over many, many years. I’ve jumped up and down with hundreds of others shouting “I am a money magnet,” and then high-fived the eight other people next to me shouting “you are a money magnet too”. I have jumped through fire. I’ve broken an arrow
I have used every moment I could and I’ve done everything that I could think to do under the sun in an attempt to break through whatever was holding me back. I tried it all and when I say I worked hard, I mean I worked hard at this. But with every new endeavor and every new effort, I’d fall into the same pattern. I would leave a week-long seminar, or turn the last page on a great book, and I’d be fired up. I’d make a few small changes in my life, fight to keep the material present in my head, but I’d feel it slipping after a couple weeks and eventually I’d go back to my old routines.
This would happen over and over. I kept at it because I thought that surely someone had something new that would be the secret to making all this click. I learned from hundreds of successful people, and I thought that at any moment one of them would say something that would flip some success switch inside of me and all of a sudden I would be making millions! All this learning, clearing, talking, high-fiving. Something had to work, right? And let me add I felt pretty damn silly doing some of this crap but, hey, if it was going to make me a millionaire and I would live fat and happy on an island in the Caribbean, you bet I was at the front of the silly train. I kept going back because others have done it. People make this stuff work, I thought. Unfortunately, it wasn’t me. Lasting change was this fabled unicorn that I had yet to experience. So many people talked about how to get it but my brain was fighting me and my subconscious was sabotaging my efforts at every turn.
No matter how many coaches I hired and seminars I attended, I didn’t understand my own brain. I didn’t know how it worked, how it worked against me and, most importantly, no one broke down the steps to beat it. I wanted a scientific understanding of everything. Why, if I knew the steps could I not replicate the results? I was driven, motivated and ready, so where was the disconnection? And that is why this book is different my friends. I found the one and only way to beat the brain, to reprogram it in spite of the efforts of our subconscious to keep us in the same rut. I learned how to do it, and I’m so happy – I’m grateful, even – for the chance to share it with you.
I’ve found the first actionable steps to create ACTUAL change and beat our old habits. I didn’t need to see a psychologist and get to the bottom of my issues, I didn’t need to blame anything or anyone in my past or put a face to my misery. I didn’t even need to really label or discover what it was that was holding me back. That might sound counter-intuitive to some, but I’ll explain further on.
Let’s go back to the cruise ship analogy and how we get blown off course in life. You see “wanting change” is like saying, “if the winds blow just right, and the current stays in this direction, I surely will reach my goal”. But, as we know, conditions rarely stay the same in life. They are constantly changing. And then we experience anger when we don’t reach our desired destination and blame the world. Or, in this analogy, the environmental conditions: “If the damn winds had just stayed west and the currents were calm this week I totally would have reached my goal!.” Any phrase where you state that you could have done it “if,” is a sure sign that you actually are not in control of your ship. You are simply being pushed around the oceans trying so hard and wanting the conditions to be just right. Well, I’m sorry to tell you this, you can want the winds to stop until you are dead, but that won’t stop them.
You can’t control the wind, and you can’t control the external events in your life, no matter how much you learn or how hard you work. Trying to control life is a huge waste of energy and time. Believe me, I spent 10 years trying so hard to do it. Get off the bow of your ship already, stop yelling at the wind, get inside your bridge, take the captain’s seat and start learning to push the right buttons! I promise you, it takes a whole lot less energy to learn the controls than what you were expending yelling at the wind. You landed where you did because of you. Winds and currents are part of life, we cannot blame them for our failures. We can simply roll up our selves and understand the brain. That gives us our control back. Now we can work WITH the winds and waves, navigate calmly and readjust the course when something pushes us off a little. We can learn to readjust slightly as things are happening outside so that we only need to make small changes rather than having to backtrack for days because we realized too late that we were off course.
I tried to control all the environmental conditions almost to the point of death. I studied them, tried to predict and hope my way across the ocean. End of story. There is no room for argument. The sooner we surrender and admit this to ourselves the faster the agony will end. Trust me, I know this very, very well. You can keep trying to control the outside world, but it will never happen. Let go, learn to use your control room with me and we can get you on course. It’s funny, I never in a million years would have thought that surrender would have been a key to my happiness, but it is. And this marked the 180 I pulled in my life, that and learning more about my brain. To gain control of your journey, you must let go of the notion that you can control life, wind, and currents.
You see, neural pathways in the brain get stronger with repetition. And when you want something, you focus on it repeatedly. So if you are constantly focusing on “the wind” then the brain will only see problems with ‘the wind”. You are telling the brain what to focus on and that is what it will highlight in the world. This strengthens those neural pathways. There is proof that by indulging in unsupportive thought patterns we make ourselves weaker. It will suck up our time, take over our lives, restrict our lives and activities, cause us to avoid people, places or events that we enjoy and cause discord in our relationships. That behavior obscures our reality, making us believe things that simply are not true. Indulging in unsupportive thought patterns keeps us trapped and causes us to seek pleasure in things that are unhealthy. It strengthens the cage we have built around ourselves. I will speak about this more in detail in the change section but I want to illustrate that you, like me, have probably spent most of your life on the bow of your ship pointing and yelling at the environmental conditions and going inside only long enough to make excuses or convince people that this is actually where you wanted to go. We have to gain control. We have to wake up to the fact that we actually don’t know how the brain and its buttons work. We must take this moment in life to learn them.
Now, we have the wind and currents of life working outside of us, and we can’t control them. But we also have our subconscious working against us when it comes to matters of change… Think of this as the cruise ship’s auto-pilot. But this auto-pilot was programmed a long time ago, by that I mean thousands of years ago by evolutionary time in some cases, and in others, they’re programs you picked up as a kid. I’m here to tell you that you can win, you can override the autopilot and you can get what you want even if you’re fighting against yourself and your own subconscious. And it isn’t a knock-down drag-out fight every time.
It can be gentle, unemotional, controlled and actually very pleasant. You see, before we are aware of the autopilot we keep fighting against our own ship in life, saying “What the fuck? But I want to go that way! Why isn’t this working, why is this thing fighting me?” Now that we know about it, the moment we feel resistance we can look to see if the autopilot light is on. And if it is, we can learn to consciously turn it off and keep ourselves pointed to where we want to go. Now we have learned about a very important switch in the ship’s bridge. It was always there and it’s not like the switch was hiding from us, we just didn’t know what it did. In the book and my course, I will explain in detail how to take your control back in life and guide your ship to where you want to go!
by: Josh Ritcher
For more on mastering your thoughts, life, and relationships get your free copy of my book: https://yourmentalbest.com/book/