Picture of Wayne Andersen

Wayne Andersen

Session 10: Can The Outside World Make Us Happy?

One of the goals of this forum is to build Internal Stability and External Equilibrium. We ponder and answer questions about how the outside world can affect us.

Video Transcript

Dr. A: Welcome everybody to the conscious leaders forum. Very excited. We had a hiatus last month. I was traveling in Africa with my family and that was amazing, and talk about consciousness, being conscious of how the world was before humans kind of took over. The animal kingdom is quite amazing to see and I really enjoyed that time. So, apologize for not being here for the August event, but we’re back! 

It’s September and I want to announce a couple things. We’ve basically created a blog, drwayneandersen.com site, that you can go to. All the sessions we do here on the Conscious Leaders Forum are posted there, so you have access to that and you can use that and watch them several times. You know, one of the great things I love about the forum are the questions because the questions really lead into what real life is. It’s the things that we all deal with. The things that every day are part of our minds, and the personal mind, and how we get ourself in here [gestures to head] kind of messed up and not allow us to be fully flexible and agile enough to deal, and to really thrive in the world we’re in, which is changing so rapidly.

So, excited that you guys are here and so let’s get going. Well, first of all just to review what a forum is, it’s a place, meeting or medium where ideas and views on particular issues can be exchanged so it’s an opportunity— I usually take a general concept and bring it out and then we answer your questions and this is really where we all learn. So, basically today, “Can the Outside World Make Us Happy?” You know, that’s a big question and it’s one of my favorite topics because what I can tell you is the outside world is reality, and reality is an acquired taste, as my friend Robert Fritz once said, and the reality is that, reality isn’t always exactly what we want. But if you understand how to make the adjustments to it, your life can become happy, and it can become happy not because of the outside world, but actually how you manage it inside. Stuff’s gonna happen in our life, good things, bad things. It’s how we respond to them that determines the outcome.

So, with that I’m gonna do just a little review. I wanna talk about consciousness from the standpoint of what it really means. It’s this awake awareness that we have. It’s a state of being aware of everything around you, of your thoughts and of your feelings. All three are important and what we do sometimes is we let our thoughts and our feelings kind of carry us away and they distort reality and make reality not what you would want it to be. So, first just review consciousness of the outside world. It’s just awareness through your five senses of exactly what’s going on. Filter free. No filters, no interpretation, no giving meaning or creating a story with it, but just really what’s happening around us and I can say very, very confidently that less than five percent of us are aware of what’s going on around us most of the time.

In fact, most of us are so caught up inside the voice in our head that we’re sometimes very unaware of what’s going on around us and we’re missing life, we’re missing the opportunity to really grow and explore ourselves and experience things as they truly are but not through our preferences or our comparisons. Consciousness of the inside world, our thoughts and our feelings, these are not tangible things. There’s no machine that can measure these things. There are things that you have inside your mind and they’re things that can’t be measured, at least not today they can’t be measured. We can look at brain flow, blood flow in the brain, and we can see the areas that are more excited like the the areas of the limbic area if we’re feeling emotions or the prefrontal areas if we’re thinking and being cognitive and creative, but as far as what we’re actually thinking, what our thoughts are, and what we’re feeling, only we are fully aware of that.

With that, understand two very important points, most of our life is determined by our motivation, that is the desire to act a certain way and intrinsic motivation, basically are part of creative thoughts. These are thoughts we willfully have that start with auditory, visual— and this is our brilliant mind. This is our ability to create structures, be able to build planes. I mean I went over to Africa on a huge 388 airbus. The thing is five stories high and you look at it, it’s amazing. Can you even get off the ground? And that took a bunch of brilliant minds, really passionate about what they’re doing and intrinsic motivation is the joy we have inside when we’re doing something we’re passionate about. Something that basically we want to get better at, and something we want to share with others, and that brings true joy to us, that creative process, but there’s also other thoughts, there’s the automatic thoughts that we have, the things that are the voice in our head, we’ve been talking about.

[00:04:57] Making up stories, about things and self concepts and basically what happens is our personal mind is developed from stored trauma. There are things that happen during our past that we actually— our negative thoughts, or things we resisted, or things we clung to, things we either really liked or didn’t like and they’re in our minds and they’re there continually, and so they have more weight. So, when the world comes into us, we basically have many times filtered that through that thought process, through that stored trauma, those preferences and those patterns about what we like and what we don’t like, and it doesn’t allow us to see things as they really are. So we’re no longer looking at the world objectively, we’re dealing with our own personal minds and there’s things we like and things we don’t like and that leads to extrinsic motivation. What we do is we desire to get things outside for ourselves, hopefully helping us make us feel better inside. So, if we have, we feel that we don’t have, a nice enough house because our neighbor has a nicer house— by the way, bottom line is, people are always going to have less than we do, and they’re always going to have more than we do, and if we’re looking outside to that outside world to make us happy we’re going to be very disappointed because basically if you look at it, it’s important for us to be here now. Not to say, “Oh, when I will have this or not have that,” and that’s what happens. Like, you know, if we find somebody, we meet somebody, when we’re growing up and we fall in love and they say the right things and say they like us and so we like that then we cling to that and then we’re looking to repeat that.

It’s like going on a vacation, you know you go to this great place, and let’s say there was a beautiful day, you were with your significant other and the sun was going down and it was just fantastic. So then next year you plan on going back to that same place thinking that that outside world is going to make you feel the same, but it’s not going to be the same, because what you’ve done is you’re clinging to a memory of the past, basically, versus actually just experiencing that. Hopefully that makes sense.

So, we trigger our concepts of how things should be and these unfinished patterns stay, and they stay in our mind. They can be something that’s positive or something that’s negative and any of the “stored” is trying to get out. We’re either resisting it or clinging to it, and it wants to be released, and we compare everything to it. So, if you buy a new car, you wanted this new car, you get the new car, and the car is going to age. The car is going to get scratches on it, and then you’re not going to feel as good about the car, if that’s what you wanted was this perfect thing.

So, it’s important to understand that almost all the things that really disturb us are inside of us. They’re really the voice in our head, our thoughts and our feelings. So basically, being conscious of the inner world is so critical because events are going to come in and when they come in they’ll trigger our personal mind and if we have our preferences, rather than just experience them as they are, if we experience them as our personal mind, our preferences of these things that we’ve stored, then basically our automatic thoughts will take over, and what that will do is it’ll create emotions and feelings and that’ll start to cycle in a cognitive emotive loop and we’ll start projecting those outside of us or we’ll resist or cling to those things. So, it’s important— or will suppress those things, and all these things, what they end up doing, is they keep us from being fully aware in the present moment which is the goal that we want.

So, just like that sunset that you saw, when all of a sudden you came around the corner in your car and there was the brilliant sky, I mean it happens a lot of times when I’m sailing and we’ll have— the sun will be going down, it’ll be a storm, it’ll be stormy, and then as the sun setting the beautiful colors coming through the clouds and you’ll have that moment where you’ll just look and you’ll be fully present in that moment and it’s glorious, you can remember those sunsets and you go, “My goodness, this is just gorgeous,” and those are the moments that we could have all the time if we learn how to be able to understand that to appreciate and to be grateful and no longer suppress those thoughts, but instead what we do is we filter it through our preferences, and we create instability.

So, with that one of the goals of doing this forum, and to answer questions, is to build Internal Stability and External Equilibrium. Put you in a place of what we call, “Equanimity,” where things can happen around you, but you, rather than being bothered by them, are able to handle them and be able to take that information and have it not resist and just flow through you. With that, let’s open it up for Q&A. Rachel, we have any questions today?

Rachel: Yes. We have Katrina. Katrina can you come off camera?

Dr. A: Let me take the slides down too.

Rachel: There you go.

Dr. A: Hi, Katrina.

Katrina: Good morning. Hello, hello, wherever you are!

Dr. A: I’m actually in Florida today. Getting ready to go to Oregon tomorrow, but in Florida today. [crosstalk 00:09:50]

Katrina: That’s fantastic. So, my question for you, in order to live our life— in order to live our best lives, what is the best way to be fully conscious in the moment? When we are feeling a certain emotion or feeling. Would you recommend that we just be more aware of what we’re noticing in the moment?

Dr. A: Yeah, the first thing— Yeah, that’s a great question and it’s something that, it’s really as simple as this: what we need to do, the easiest thing to do, is to substitute something positive for whatever’s going on. We know we have preferences, we have this resistance and you know we’re humans and please, I hope everybody understands that I have the same feelings that everybody else has, and it’s through practice that we learn to manage them and we learn to not let them stick in there.

[00:10:44] You know, a cognitive emotive loop is when we have a thought that creates a feeling, and then the feeling creates a thought and it gets inside us. I think we all experience that sometimes. We have something on our mind and we’re trying to go to sleep at night, right? And then we’ll have that thought and we might as well just get up because you’re not going to go to sleep, right? Because you built that loop. So the easiest thing to do is to just make something, take something positive and substitute. 

It’s really easy to do that, and I’m not saying make believe, like you’re living in a fantasy world. I’m just saying— let’s say you’re behind— you’re in a 35 mile an hour zone and the guy in front of you, girl in front, he’s driving 25. So, you could sit there and start building that “stored” and getting upset and trying to pass and getting yourself in trouble, going through a double red, double yellow line, or you could say, “You know what? I’ve got another five minutes, let me listen to… Let me turn on the radio. Let me review where the meeting I’m going to and let me use this time into something positive.” So, that’s the easiest one to do and what it does, it actually changes your brain chemistry. 

You know the neuroplasticity of our brain is designed when we think of something positive— and this is not made up stuff where we’re lying so we’re just saying. We’re taking something positive and substituting it for this thing, this stored trauma that’s irritating us. You know we’re late to the meeting and so we’re already upset. You can’t do anything about that so turn it into something. So, that’s one thing you can do.

The second is just the one I’ve used for years, Stop. Challenge. and Choose. Stop the challenge, why are you feeling it? And knowing that that voice in your head, almost all the time is made up. It’s something— we’re making up a story and we make up the story and we actually almost always make up a negative story because we have negative bias. We’re designed to be able to look for threats and so what were real threats 10,000 years ago, now are mostly perceived threats. So we start feeling that. Just Stop. Challenge. and Choose. You know, “what is the outcome I want here? Do I want to sit here and get myself upset, change my blood chemistry, get my blood pressure up, release cortisol, all these things,” or do I want to basically say, “okay I can change this, this is not real, and I can make a difference.”

So, you know one of the ones that happens all the time is our kids, right? Our kids are— because we’re not controlling as our kids are growing up, especially when they’re in adolescence, teenage years. They’re going to do some bonehead stuff and if we reflect on how it’s reflecting on us, rather than just address the issue and we’re treating them like a fellow human rather than like, you know, up one down one, we can change those things around and actually improve.

So, what I always find is the Stop. Challenge. and Choose., is you take it and kind of release the emotion. The emotion can be gone in 90 seconds. Identify, “What am I feeling?” Usually it’s a— if you’re getting charged about it, it’s gone from a thought to a feeling and you’ve initiated that energy and that energy was designed where emotions were to help keep us from from danger and now they’re mostly perceived and so they’re creating these things inside us that aren’t helpful for us and because they’re not released, you know, ten thousand years ago if you were mad at something you either fought or ran and then you used up those chemicals. But today, in the day and age right now, we sit there and just fume, right? Inside. So, by releasing those, identifying what is the primary emotion, my feeling, “Am I feeling anger. Am I feeling joy? Am I feeling sadness?” And then recognize that and then just let it release from you. Does that make sense?

Katrina: It absolutely makes sense, because thoughts become feelings, as you mentioned, and then feelings oftentimes become actions, right? So when you choose, what’s that action going to be? And I’ll often add with people that I know and love and care for is, pay attention to, where do some thoughts come from? Right? Pay attention to what you’re noticing or what are you paying attention to? Constantly negative news, CNN. What are you reading? What do you— what kind of people are you hanging out with? So, it all kind of circles down, doesn’t it? Just like a waterfall.

Dr. A: Yeah, you know it’s like, be here now or be there then, right? In other words, we spend so much time in our past and we compare our past to our present and literally it’s not helpful because most of those things there were emotions and stuff you had and you didn’t have the capability, you weren’t as aware as you are now and part of this process of consciousness is simply becoming aware. Becoming aware that you are not your thoughts. You are not your feelings. See, we so self-identify with these things that we think they’re us. They’re not us. They are actually just like, you know, I’m looking at this glass right here [picks up and puts down a drinking glass], my thoughts are no different than that.

[00:15:25] They’re just something I’m seeing and they’re not us, because if they were us then you wouldn’t be able to be aware of them because they would actually be you. So, so important to realize, and the other part, be here now versus be there then. Yeah, things happen, and one day life was perfect, don’t try to keep creating that because if you try— same thing with our relationships by the way, you know, we like people when they’re how we want them to be. We basically need to like people because we like people, not because of the certain way they’re acting which fits in with our preferences. So important to realize.

You know we all have, we all live on our own planet and everybody’s planet’s different. Our experiences— it’s like snowflakes, everybody has a different set. Some people love cats, some people love dogs, some people love butterflies, some people— my daughters, when they were growing up my oldest one loved snakes, not too many girls like snakes. Bottom line, that was their preference and she enjoyed them. Although when we were in Africa there was a black mamba that we specifically stayed away from, because it can kill!

Katrina: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:16:28]

Dr. A: Yeah, exactly. So, thank you so much.

Katrina: That’s great. 

Dr. A: Great question.

Katrina: Thank you.

Dr. A: All right.

Katrina: You bet. Bye.

Rachel: All right, next up we have Courtney. Courtney, can you come on camera and unmute yourself?

Dr. A: Hi, Courtney.

Courtney: Hi, Dr. A, nice to be talking with you. I appreciate you doing these calls so much. So, the thing that I get stuck in honestly, is I know that when the external stimuli comes in we need to use that for something, and the shift is possible, and the pivot is possible, but I get stuck in just being impacted by something. It kind of stops me in my tracks, honestly, because I’m trying to figure out what’s next, what changes am I gonna make? And it’s hard to get unstuck from that. So, what would you suggest in that?

Dr. A: Yeah, that’s your store trauma. It’s— you have things that happen— well, first of all, let me start off by saying until we’re about five years of age we start to evolve our prefrontal cortex. Before then, we’re really based on belonging, being part of, being cared for, our survival, and we don’t have— we haven’t developed a prefrontal cortex. So, in those periods of time we’re very emotionally based. So, all this stuff happens during that period and, you know, our parents— parents are becoming more aware of many of these things now because of social media and the internet, but most of us grew up in a time when our parents just didn’t know any better. So, they would say something to you and we would take it very personally. Like you would do something, I’m just making this up, but you do something which was not too smart and your parents said, “are you stupid?” Right? Now they say, “that was not a very smart thing to do,” not making it about you.

But, all this stuff gets into our subconscious and it’s all there and it’s all programmed and what we do is when there’s something we don’t— when, it doesn’t matter, like I don’t know the rings on saturn or the lines on the road, that information comes in, we see it, and we don’t even pay attention. It comes in and it leaves. But when something happened that you resisted because— or you could have clung to it, it was something you really liked, like your parents told you something, “you’re really smart,” or “you really did that well,” or “that was a great project,” or “I’m so proud of you,” then you cling to that memory or you resist that because you don’t want to experience it fully and so it’s not equally weighted. It’s actually there and it’s present. 

So, the first thing is literally just self-awareness. It’s basically, Courtney, just becoming aware of what it is that’s happening. So there’s something— if you stop when you feel yourself starting to feel that icky sauce, you know, you feel your jaw clenching, that feeling in your stomach, in your throat, in your chest, it doesn’t— or in your head, it doesn’t really matter but when you start to feel it, that is actually what we were, the last talker was talking about, was you feel that feeling and it creates a behavior, it creates an emotion, and so when you start to feel that reacting, you want to stop, and you want to identify what it is, you know, “what am I feeling right now?” If you can be self-aware of what you’re feeling, that’s how it all starts. You’re not trying to fix it or what the next step is, you want to be fully present in that moment.

Don’t focus on— remember you can’t change your past and you can’t make your future. You can plan your future and then do the behaviors in the present that lead you more in the direction towards the future you want, but you cannot predict what’s going to happen in the future and you certainly can’t change your past. So being fully present in that moment, when you sense and feel that, don’t try to fix it. Just simply become aware of it first and then you’ll start seeing a pattern. You’ll see the pattern, like, okay when someone says something to me that and I think it makes me look stupid or someone says something to me and I feel like they’re saying that I don’t look attractive or, it doesn’t matter what it is, we have a bunch of feelings. We have guilt, we have shame, we have all these, they’re all bonehead feelings by the way, because none of them are real. We’re making them up and we’ll start to feel one of those and then you want to ask yourself, “Okay, I’ve noticed this trend where I’m reacting to this,” okay? Then basically you start with that and then you start removing. You let that energy come up so that rather than resist it, because when we hear something that doesn’t bode well we try to push it back down. It’s like a coiled spring, we’re trying to push that energy back down inside of us, not release it, and what we need to do is to release it.

[00:21:08] The more we can identify and start releasing it, then we’ll start to feel— and it’s just like going to the mental gym. When that happens, and the more it happens, you’ll find pretty soon that it doesn’t bother you anymore because you know what? The voice in your head is making that stuff up. It’s not real. It’s all made up. You know, we— the only thing that’s real is our reality and the reality is, what’s happening in front of us probably is very simple and then what we’re doing is we’re bringing it i, we’re interpreting it and we’re creating a story with it that starts to bother us and so it’s hitting on our stored trauma and what we want to do is no longer allow that to happen and you’ll find— so, pick something small you can desensitize yourself, find out something that bothers you, that triggers you inside, become aware of it and once we’re aware, that’s the first step so start there with awareness. Awareness then allows us to be able to manage it. Does that make sense?

Courtney: Yeah, that makes sense. It’s after the awareness though. It’s the bit that’s like, “All right, so people are upsetting me because they’re not behaving in the way that I think is going to help them move forward,” and I guess I mean, you’ve answered my question, is look for those trends, identify those trends and then move through that. But how?

Dr. A: Yeah, okay. So, let me just say something you said, what you in essence said was, “the world should be a certain way.” The world’s not any certain way. The world is reality. This world took 14 billion years, this universe, 14 billion years, the Big Bang happened 14 billion years ago, okay? You didn’t have anything to say about it. You’re here for, you know, hopefully you’re living as healthy as you can and working on your well-being and you’re going to live to be 100 plus, but you’re here for a fraction of a second.

Courtney: Okay.

Dr. A: Don’t think you have any influence over the world, you don’t, okay? That’s the first thing. That makes you laugh, right? [Courtney is laughing] Because, you don’t. We somehow think the world should be a certain way and when the world’s that way we’re happy and that’s what my talk was today. When the world’s a certain way we’re happy, but when the world isn’t a certain way, then we’re not happy. It’s kind of like a clock, right? A clock is right, even a broken clock is right two times a day, right?

Courtney: Yep.

Dr. A: Well, the same thing. What we need to do is work on— okay, not the question is, “Why am I unhappy? Why am I letting this bother me? Why am I letting this?” Ask yourself that question, “Why? What good is it serving me?” And you know, what everybody— you can’t change someone’s behavior. You can awaken them, you can facilitate, you can contribute and support, but you’re not responsible for anybody’s behavior but your own. Period. And once you become aware of that and when you feel these feelings inside, Stop. Challenge., “Why am I feeling that?” And then Choose., the outcome.

There were times— when I was in Africa, we watched, literally, a giraffe get taken down by lions and then hyenas and tear this animal apart and you know my girls were a little uncomfortable. It was pretty eye-opening, but there’s nothing we could do about it and if you look at it in the real scheme of things, that’s the way life is. Life is full of these moments, okay? We should be grateful that we’re on this world and we’re able to contribute the way we can, and the biggest contribution we can make is our own personal evolution. Our own personal growth. To grow beyond where we’re letting things bother us, to the point where, you know what? We are aware of things but we’re no longer letting them affect us in a negative way.

I’m not saying, you know, if you lose— your cat dies, I’m not saying you’re not sad, yes you’re sad, but you then don’t carry that on for three months and go into depression about it, okay? And hopefully you don’t have a cat, because— but the point is, life is going to happen to us and it’s how we respond to it, and by the way, our role as parents, as leaders, as community members, we thrive if we learn to be able to handle these situations. That’s what allows us to be better leaders and better coaches in all the things we do.

Courtney: All right, thank you, Dr. A.

Dr. A: You’re welcome.

Rachel: All right, next up we have Laura. Laura, can you come on camera and unmute yourself? There you are.

Laura: Perfect. Good morning, Dr. A. I’m excited to connect with you and actually I get to hang out with you in Oregon in a couple of days [crosstalk 00:25:50]

Dr. A: Awesome. 

Laura: So, yeah looking forward to that, but I had kind of a logistical question. So, we know sleep is super important and you’ve been very vocal about that. You ensure that you make sure that you get your eight hours of sleep and of course the world is busy, I’m busy, all of us are busy, right? And, so how do you prioritize and promote, you know, I’m sure that you have deadlines and all of those kinds of things that you’re always running up against. So, how do you really make sure that you’re caring for yourself and supporting your own like sleep needs and ensuring that you get what you need, even amongst the busy of the world?

Dr. A: Yeah, that’s a great question, and by the way, it is that important fact I honestly feel it’s my secret weapon, that I’ve always paid attention to that, ever since I was little and it makes all the difference because for some reason we think sleep is a luxury and something we have to fit into the spaces in our busy schedule, but you know in the Habits of Health system, I talk about the model morning and the twilight hour. No matter how busy our world is, and how busy our life is, and if we work for someone else you still have sandwiched those two pieces. So, the first thing I do is, it’s not just the quantity of sleep, because sometimes that is impacted, it’s the quality.

So, I find to clear my mind at night, when I lay down, when I go to— when I lay down at night and go to sleep, I’m asleep within 10 minutes every night because I specifically do the things I write about in the Habits of Health. I make sure my room is cold, it’s black out, in fact I’m building a new house and, you know, it was a big deal because it’s got a large glass area over the ocean and, the bottom line is, I insisted, I met with the architects and the builders for three hours saying, “I don’t care how you do it,” and they had to move a wall in order to put the curtains that come around, but specifically engineered to make that room black because, as you know, in the morning sunlight on the East Coast the sun, you know, one little spot, it comes in and it amplifies and I know that’s not healthy. So, first of all, structurally I make sure I have quality sleep by doing all the right things that I talk about.

[00:28:01] The second thing, is I look at my schedules and I clear my mind so that the late, you know, ten thousand— I mirror a lot of things I do with how we were designed ten thousand years ago, and all this work, unconsciousness— by the way, we were fully conscious ten thousand years ago, we didn’t worry about a lot of stuff other than survival, other than that we were gregarious, we were nomadic, we worked together with our clan, we didn’t have worries about work, deadlines and stuff like that, so we slept and we slept well. We slept from the time the sun went to— we’d hang around the fire, tell stories, you know, and eat and then we’d go to sleep. One person would watch to make sure we were safe and then the rest would sleep. All night and sleep probably longer than eight hours because of the sun being down, but the point is that I make sure I clear my mind.

So, before I go to bed I make sure that hour, I turn off the TV, I turn off the computers, I don’t have my phone in the room, I basically make sure that I do all the things necessary so I have nothing mentally going on, so I don’t go to bed with thoughts in my mind and it takes a while. Then the other thing is, I also write down what are the three most critical things I need to get done the next day. So, that when I wake up, I don’t have decision fatigue. I don’t have to start thinking about it, I already know what I’m doing. I know what my schedule is, I know during that day those are the three things I’m going to do and then as far as deadlines I just don’t take, you know, I spend the time, even going internationally, where I don’t spend the time going on flights, where I got to get up at four in the morning, you know, or we have control of those things.

We really do, and I’m not saying sometimes, rarely, but I actually, I would say that the majority of the time, I make sure that I wake myself up. I don’t have an alarm on because I specifically got enough sleep, so I wake up naturally because the alarm is like disruptive technology. It’s an abrupt awakening for you and that’s not healthy for you either. So, you know, and there’s, and I’m not saying there’s not exceptions, but basically, almost all the time I pay attention to time zones when I fly. I try to work around those, and assimilate the normal circadian rhythm, and I basically schedule things I look and I say, “no more,” also because my schedule is very busy, I say, “no more” and I say, “yes” to a full body yes, and what a full body yes is, I’m saying yes to something because it’s essential for what leading from the future that I’m looking for in this mission of helping people create health. It’s additive to that and it’s leveraged to that. [crosstalk 00:30:29]

Laura: I like that, I like that, the “essential full body yes,” that’s good. That’s good. Awesome. Thank you. Thank you. I’ll see you on Thursday.

Dr. A: All right. Travel safe.

Laura: Thanks.

Dr. A: Okay, who else?

Rachel: All right, next up we have Becky. Becky, can you come on camera and unmute yourself? There you are.

Becky: oh, hi!

Dr. A: Oh, look at that background! Do I like that or what? Good job man, good job! [referring to the background Becky is using on screen]

Becky: Thank you Dr. A. Thank you, thank you. I love these conscious leadership times with you, it has— at the beginning of it you even said it would affect all areas of our life and darned if you weren’t right, yet again! It helps not just with the coaching, of course, I mean it’s really great with that, but it has helped me at church, and going out and meeting new people, and, you know, you said it would even be— it makes you a better parent and everything like that. So, thank you for that, and thank you, for always doing this and giving us question time. Plenty of question time. It’s so great because everybody asks great questions. The sleep one I loved it, and the others.

So, my question to you is, I have been working on being fully present, you’re right, it is a training, it is a practice. I have learned that much. So when I’m with somebody and I’m meeting people, I’ll give you an example, what I’m trying to do here, my dad stays at a place where it’s an independent living place for older, the older generation, right? These people, Dr. A, are just fantastic and they love to talk to me because guess what? I’m fully present with them and they don’t get a lot of that. I can tell and it breaks my heart, God didn’t know I was gonna [unintelligible 00:32:25].

Okay, so, I know that no one’s better at it than you, of being fully present that I have come across anyway, so I— what I’m struggling with is as I love to talk to the people and I love being right there with them, but then I get back to like a couple of days later, I’ll come back across them again and I can’t remember their name. How shameful is that to me? To me, I’m going, “are you kidding me?” So, anyway, do you have a trick, Dr. A? When you’re fully present with somebody? I can remember their story, and everything I can remember, how many kids they have, I can remember all that but, you know— the name, and that is not right. You are very strong about remembering people’s names. Do you have a trick?

Dr. A: Yeah, it’s— I’m actually terrible at it. So, I have to really be conscious of it. I really need [crosstalk 00:33:12]

Becky: That’s good to know!

Dr. A: And I realized, because I asked myself that same question and I realized when I see somebody, I’m fully looking into their eyes and seeing them as a fellow human and I’m so aware of that presence of just well, you know, first of all eight percent, seven to eight percent, is what we say and the rest is our tone, in our posture, right? So, I’m very aware of that and so sometimes right in the beginning I’m fully seeing them as a human, so I don’t catch their name so I then have to specifically— so that’s something I know that I’m not really, I’m not I’m terrible at it. [crosstalk 00:33:50]

Becky: I’m so glad to hear that.

Dr. A: Yeah. So, I just want to make sure, you know, that— and I’m not saying that’s good, but I just [crosstalk 00:33:55] I’m not the one, I’m not the one to give you expert advice on that, but I will tell you that I make it a point to, then when I realize, five minutes into the conversation, when I’m just meeting them, I’ll say, “I’m sorry, what was your name?” or I’ll say something kind to them and say, “I’m sorry,” and I will actually get their name then, but I’m the same way. I think it’s just really a matter of how we approach people. Before, you know, like Shakespeare said, right? And the name could be, you know, any name, it’s still a rose. [crosstalk 00:34:26]

Becky: A rose is a rose by any name. 

Dr. A: Yeah, right. And so I think that’s probably why, but yeah, it is— and then what I do is, the three ways to remember are basically to, first of all, is to do what we call dissociated with somebody, with something else, associated with something else. Second is space repetition, and the third is recall. To recall it more than once and so what’s nice now is I’ll usually put it— if there’s someone I’m going to be seeing more than just for a second I’ll put it in my phone and then I’ll think about it, and then I’ll say it again. So, if we do that in space repetition, the three things are a recall, space repetition and the other is association, where we associate it with something. Like you know, Rose. Obviously her name was Rose, you’d look at a rose, and those are things that can help us. But yeah, it’s something most of us have to work on.

[00:35:19] Interesting of sales people, and people in business, that it’s transactional for them. You notice that they’re really good at it. They’re very good at it because they immediately associate it with value of what they do. For the empaths, for the people that are more empathetic, we’re more looking at the person as an individual and not thinking about the name because we’re not using it for something. So we have to work harder at it.

Becky: My minister, he can remember everybody’s name in the congregation. It is amazing and I told him that’s a gift from God because I wish I had that gift, but these are really great things. That’s some of the things I’ve been trying to do. Like if I hear a name, I’ll associate it with somebody else with the same name and stuff like that, but I’m glad to know that you struggle with it too.

Dr. A: Yeah, I definitely struggle with it.

Becky: To me it does confirm to someone and even I feel the same way if somebody can remember my name and, you know, that says that they were fully listening and that’s what I want especially the people that are over there with my father. I want them to know that they’re very valuable.

Dr. A: Yeah, no they are and, you know, the bottom line is people— being appreciated is probably the most important gift we can give to someone. Is that we understand, we recognize [crosstalk 00:36:35]

Becky: That sets us apart from the world.

Dr. A: Yeah, well that’s certainly the truth. So, all right, well thank you. So, again it’s Elaborative encoding. So, I’ll give you an example just for everybody since we’re here. Elaborative encoding, space repetition, and recall. Those are the three ways we can remember stuff. So, actually Herman Ebbinghaus was the gentleman in the 1850’s, I think, that discovered the hippocampus in our brain which is the area where we have memory. His name was Herman Ebbinghaus. So, the way you can remember his name, and how I remember it today, is that Herman— think of something, so Herman’s hermits. Herman the frog.

Becky: Herman munster.

Dr. A: Herman munster. Yeah, so now, okay, so he got his first name and then the last name, Ebbinghaus. I think of a house sitting on the edge of a beach with ebb and flow, right? So, the ebb and flow. So, ebbing house, and that’s how you remember and then you just simply recall that three or four times now, and then space repetition, over a week. That’s why, by the way, even with my daughter who’s studying to be, she’s not in vet school, but she’s in her senior year for her studying, I have her do space repetitions. So she studies a little bit each day before the test on Friday, versus cramming on Thursday, and that’s, by the way, how I can pretty much remember everything I learned in medical school. Not everything, but a lot of stuff I learned in medical school, because that’s what I did. I would do space repetition and not go until I recalled it, and you could recite it, and it’s lasting for us. So, what’s the guy’s name? 

Becky: Herman Ebbinghaus.

Dr. A: There you go! All right, that’s a good start.

Becky: I’m so glad to hear that about your daughter. Lori would be so happy about that. That’s not surprising to me [crosstalk 00:38:24]

Dr. A: Thank you.

Becky: At all and so, my niece graduated last year from LSU, their vet school.

Dr. A: Awesome. Congratulations.

Becky: Thank you Dr. A. I appreciate it.

Dr A: You’re welcome. All right. Okay, Rach, who have we got?

Rachel: All right, next up we have Tutor. Tutor, can you come off camera and unmute yourself? There you are.

Tutor: All right there I am. Good morning, Dr. Wayne Andersen! Again, good to talk! [crosstalk 00:38:58]

Dr. A: Good morning. How are you?

Tutor: Very good. I got a question for you and I’ve got a comment. The power of our words that come out of our mouth and I’ve been a pretty positive person, pretty much my whole life, and I’m constantly talking with my coaches and explaining to them the power of the words that come out of our mouth and I had an example yesterday with one of my coaches and she kept on saying over and over and over, “every time I do a health assessment they never sign up,” and I said, “okay, let’s change that. Let’s say every time I do a health assessment they’re going to sign up,” and she says, “oh, well that’s a good idea,” and she did it, and what happened? She signed up a client! So, I wanted you to talk about why it’s so powerful that what we say in a positive way, how that impacts the person that we’re talking with and impacts ourselves.

Dr. A: Yeah, no that, I mean that’s a great point. In fact, you know, in the very first person today, we talked about switching from negative to positive and I want to be really clear in that. I’m not a big believer in affirmations, about saying something about herself that’s not true, because we know it’s not true, but basically taking whatever it is and spinning it in a positive way affects our chemistry. It actually affects how we— our mood, our facial expressions, our tone, our limbic system, and our brain. It creates that positivity, makes a big difference, and we live again in a world where, you know, if something negative happens 33 people repeat it and only three people if it’s positive. So, it’s definitely— there’s a negative bias simply to our design.

[00:40:32] It was always there to protect us because the first thing is, you know, if we get hurt, or injured, or killed, then we’re no longer here. So, our limbic system, our emotional part of our brain, our sympathetic, parasympathetic tone, were all designed around that. So when we change that and we actually change our affect, we change the expression of what we believe in the outcome. So, with that, what we’re doing is we’re kind of resetting ourselves, expecting and looking at the positive side of things and it affects relationally, it affects how we talk, our posture, so those things happen when we have the confidence or building the confidence and then actually confidence comes from success.

So, the key word is psychological flexibility and the psychological flexibility means in essence that from our emotional literacy all the way through our emotional stamina, through our flexibility, and thought process, all those things can be rewired. I came from a relatively very poor family, lived in a 10-minute house in New York City and since I was a little kid I always looked at imagining and visioning about the things so when something wasn’t the way I wanted it to do, then visioning it to be the way I wanted it to do, and then expressing that over time and building the confidence, I’m a very confident person but that comes through success, it doesn’t come through just making it up, but yeah you’re absolutely right, our— well first of all, the limbic area in our brain, the emotional area in the brain, has no language. There’s no way you can really express what love is or what fear is. You actually feel those feelings, they’re energy. 

Our language is in our prefrontal cortex and they’re not associated with each other so we can’t express those things but if we change something negative to a positive, we kind of re re-mold our chemistry so our affect is changed by that and, you know, I mean the the famous Saturday Night Live, Debbie Downer, you know, I mean, bottom line, as soon as you even hear that language it changes and we are contagious. We are, our rapport and our interaction with humans, that’s why, and a lot of those things are at the subconscious level. That’s why when you yawn then everybody else around you yawns, right? Or you sigh, everybody else sighs, because we have a tendency to mirror that. So, if you’re doing a health assessment, and bottom line is, you’re expecting to lose and not have them sign up, you’re going to have many telltale things within that discussion that are not going to be positive, and that’ll— the mirror neurons in the person that’s listening to you brain, basically, is picking up on those things with the expectation that she doesn’t really think I’m going to sign up for this. I basically, on the other hand, I can’t sell ice to Eskimo’s cause I’m not a salesperson, but my enthusiasm is contagious and I know that and we have the opportunity by changing it around to be able to influence others.

Tutor: Well, I appreciate that. That’s just confirmation for me and I’ve tried to stay positive every chance I get and I surround myself with people that are positive. I don’t surround myself with people that are negative. I just don’t allow them in my circle, I just stay away from those people.

Dr. A: Yeah, and that’s just like, you know, someone else said this earlier, it’s about you. Don’t watch the news stations. I’m not saying— we need to be aware of what’s going on in the world, but I do that through a minute review of one of the browsers, you know, Yahoo, or something. I can see what’s going on in the world, but I spend no time in that influence because, by the way, those news stations, no matter who they’re for, what side they’re on, they’re always pointing in the drama triangle. Pointing to someone else to blame, right? So they’re typical drama cycle stories and news, it’s drama news. It’s not— and it’s all sensationalism and the same thing is you choose to take anything and spin it from a positive standpoint because that’s how you influence the world around you, you influence the world around you through not responding, and basically it’s all about what we’re talking about.

Don’t let your preferences, your stored trauma get in the way of reality. Most of the things are happening just because they’re happening and that’s real. That’s the reality of the real world. They’re not being specifically set up to put you in a victim space. So, That’s great. Thank you so much for sharing Tutor, that was awesome.

Tutor: All right, take care. See you later, bye.

Dr. A: Okay, who else have we got? We have, what? 14 minutes. [crosstalk 00:45:14]

Rachel: Yes. Next up we have Elizabeth. Elizabeth, can you come on camera and unmute yourself?

Elizabeth: Hi. Hold on, do you see? Oh there it is. Hi! [crosstalk 00:45:29]

Dr. A: Hello!

Elizabeth: Hi Doc. Hey, Dr. A, good morning. Good afternoon. I, you said, you say this all the time and I hear it all the time, but today for some reason it really hit me. Intrinsic motivation, and so I wanted it— I had to write it down so I won’t forget, how can I create a space, a process, to really maximize in that very moment? I always hear, I get a tap on the shoulder, a nudge of something, an idea that it’s the same one that excites me, that compels me, that is asking me to move forward on, and I experience myself as self-sabotaging, you know, is it my fear of success? Is it my fear of failure? I want to know, how can I ride that tide? How can I ride that wave when the inspiration strikes? Instead of me experiencing myself. I mean I’m almost feeling it right now, like I need a glass of water, freezing up, don’t laugh at me! [Dr. A is smiling]

Dr. A: I’m not laughing, I’m just smiling with you. I’m not laughing.

Elizabeth: Okay, you’re with me. [crosstalk 00:46:39]

Dr. A: You’re making that up! You’re making that up! [both are laughing]

Elizabeth: I’m laughing at myself because I’m like I wrote— and there are so much that was shared already that really like, “oh, oh, yeah, that,” but I want to be able to experience myself so that in that moment like I say, “Oh, I’ll do it later,” but I want to write that feeling in that moment and I did something today that I haven’t done before because what gets me is, why don’t I do better when I know better? Why? What is it?

Dr. A: All right. All right, now I have, I heard enough. You’re beating yourself up. [crosstalk 00:47:13]

Elizabeth: I know!

Dr. A: Okay, so stop it. First of all, stop it. In fact, there’s a great, cute thing by Bob Newhart, years and years and years ago and I use it sometimes. He was pretending, well, he was a site in this sitcom, he was a psychiatrist, and this lady came in and she was scared of being in a box. She had claustrophobia and she was scared of, you know, having claustrophobia, so he said, okay, he goes, “There’s two words I’m going to tell you to stop you from doing that,” right? And all of a sudden she goes, “Okay,” and she’s [gesturing writing on paper with his hands], he goes, “you’re not gonna need that,” she’s got her paper and pen out, just like you are, [Elizabeth laughs] and he goes he goes, “Stop it!!” And she goes, “What?” He goes, “Stop it!!” you know, he just tells her to stop it. So, that’s not what I’m saying here. Oh, and then at the very end, he goes, “Then there’s another eight words I use to help reinforce it,” and he goes, “Stop it, or I’ll put you in a box,” that was the whole thing [laughing].

[00:48:16] Anyway, you guys should look it up because it’s really cute, but the point I’m saying is you already self-diagnosed yourself, okay? You feel this emotion, you’re intrinsically motivated to do something. There’s three parts of intrinsic motivation, okay? That make it work. They are that you find something that you’re passionate about, you want, you desire to become. Second of all, you want to be good at it. So that requires a process and work, and then the third is you want to be relatable with it. You want to share it with others, so you clam up and go back into your shell. You don’t work on it and you don’t relate it to others, so those are the two things you need to add. When you have this feeling, this emotion of something you really want to do and you’re really passionate about. You need to write it down, you need to visualize it into the future. You need to visualize what your life will be like when this happens and how the joy it’ll bring you and all that stuff, and then you need to write down a process, not based on emotion. Passion can be actually distractive. Passion is great to get you going but you have to have a process in place. So, you need to write down whatever it is you are passionate about. You need to write down, “what will make this become a reality?”

It’s kind of like when I talk about— you’ve heard me talk about, aim to stay. The aim part is— aim to stay, is necessary to to build any process for success and the first part, aim, is intrinsic motivation. It is actually to become awakened, to acquire, and to basically autonomy supportive of yourself in this motivation of what you want to create, and then the stay part, the strategy, is what the strategy is to get this thing that you want. The tactics are the individual things you’re going to do. The “A” is the action steps you’re going to take daily to acquire and then the why is how you’re going to work with yourself and the others that are necessary to make it successful and, you know what? Obviously, if you really want it and it’s a compelling future you want, then don’t be scared about it. Go make it a reality because you’re frustrating the hell out of yourself.

Elizabeth: Yeah I did this today. I did a whiteboard and anything that pops into my head about that and it keeps getting me reignited. So that’s something [crosstalk 00:50:36]

Dr. A: Wait, wait, wait, wait, inspiration is what starts the process.

Elizabeth: Okay.

Dr. A: Inspiration gets in the way of actually doing it because then you need to be feeling that way to do it.

Elizabeth: Gotcha.

Dr. A: Doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to— basically if this is something that you really want, I mean, I want to change the world. I’ve been doing it for 20 plus years, but the reality is if I don’t go out every day and do the things like what we’re doing here, it’s not going to become a reality and we need more people and it’s got to be something that you’re willing to do and absorb yourself in and it can’t be just something that, “Oh, I got this great idea and I feel all goosey about it,” and then I sabotage myself because, bottom line, if you— what you’re in essence saying is, yeah, you don’t think you can do it. How the hell do you know whether you can do it or not? You got to actually do the other parts. You got to build the process. You got to do the work and you got to put in the time necessary to make it a reality. So, stop. Stop it!

Elizabeth: Okay! Okay. Yes.

Dr. A: All right, thanks.

Rachel: All right, thank you. Next up we have Kathleen. Kathleen, can you come on camera and unmute yourself? Are you there, Kathleen? There you are.

Kathleen: Oh, hi. Sorry, I clicked you off. I’m gonna try to do this shortly and I was wondering how to get out of a chaotic day when your plan is fine. You start with your morning routine and you’re on schedule but all of a sudden you have too much in your day and your head is just full of it.

Dr. A: Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s important because, you know, consciousness, focus, single-minded consciousness, when we’re focused on one thing, bottom line is important. It’s called, one point focus. In other words, like when you see that beautiful sunset I was talking about, I showed the picture of an unfiltered— where someone was looking at the sunset and having that image in their mind. You’re overwhelmed by one thing happening and it burns an indelible, creates an indelible memory in you. When you have too many things going on you can’t focus and we can’t— the other thing we can’t do is we can’t— there’s no such thing as multitasking, you can selectively switch gears and change but on average it takes about eight, and they say it takes around eight, minutes to get yourself refocused on what you were doing before [crosstalk 00:53:19]

Kathleen: Wow!

Dr. A: So, you’ve got to actually select down specifically only a few things. That’s why I say I plan each day around three major things that I want to have accomplished that day. No more than three and then make sure I focus on those. When we try to do too many things, and I’m not saying you can’t, you know, if you’ve got kids or grandkids, and you got people running around I might say sometimes you have to do multiple things, but you have to remember you want to become the dominant force in your life and you know how much you can handle and so if your day starts right, but you put too much on the table then you need— again I’ll go back to what I said earlier. I want a full body, yes. And the key thing, you know, the first leadership habit that we developed was, leap in the future, act in the now.

[00:54:02] That bottom line is, know what you want for your future, for yourself, your family, your community, the things that are important to you, and then basically let that inform you of what you’re going to do today and stop. Start saying, “no,” to many more things that aren’t critical to that future and the other thing is there’s a great book called, “It’s the Who, Not the How,” is basically focused on if you can delegate things to people that you don’t need to do anymore, do that to take those things off your table. Only do the things that are absolutely essential to your future. Make sense?

Kathleen: Yes, thank you.

Dr. A: You’re welcome. All right. Go get it done, girl!

Kathleen: Thanks very much.

Dr. A: Yeah. Okay, we have time for one last question, Rachel. 

Rachel: All right. Jan, can you come off camera?

Dr. A: There’s my girl!

Jan: Hey, Dr. A. How are you?

Dr. A: I’m great, how are you?

Jan: Great, thank you so much. So, this one might be a little heavy for the last five minutes but I have been really working on— working with [crosstalk 00:55:11]

Dr. A: I like how you change. You were going to say struggling and then you changed that. I like that. So, by the way that makes— that’s important word selection as the other gentleman said, is really important.

Jan: Yes. Yes, I did. I had a conscious thought right there and thought, “I’m working on it,” but yeah, I have adult children that I adore. Some of them are moving forward making great strides in their lives and some of them are battling some things. My question is, I’m trying really hard to stay open to communicating. I’m always there to love them, I’m always there to listen, I’m trying to stay in my lane and let things happen so that they can learn. The challenge comes when I’m seeing their children go through a lot of hard things and I know that it’s not going to be helpful if I step in and try to change anything there, but it’s awfully hard to watch and I just want to, I just wanted to ask your thoughts on that, you know, to just let it be. I’m just trying to let it be. So.

Dr. A: Yeah, that’s a tough one. That is a real tough one and it— and that you’re aware of that, and the ramifications of that in itself are admirable. So don’t beat yourself up too much on it. The influence is more by mirroring the behaviors that you’d like to see, versus telling it, really comes down to if they see— first of all the beautiful thing is, you know, grandma gets to go away, right? The kids go back, but if they’re mirrored and they’re seeing behaviors that are admirable and helpful, they’ll take notice of that and by the work you’re doing, the conscious work you’re doing yourself. So, really the outcome you want is obviously to accomplish so that they become aware and when they’re little like this, remember the key thing again, especially I don’t know how little, how little are the grand— are your grandkids?

Jan: Four and two.

Dr. A: Yeah, so that’s exactly. So they’re in, very much in, actually, all the stuff interrelates. We were talking about that earlier. Until about five there isn’t too much going on in here yet [gestures to head]. It’s all emotional, so the sense of comfort, you know, one of the key things in a young child growing up in a fashion is entanglement of bonding. Attached secure— secure attachment. So, the feeling that they have with you of this secure attachment where they feel comforted, they feel secure, they feel psychologically safe, all those things are really your main job and you can do that all non-verbally, it doesn’t have to be done verbally. It can all be done just through touch, feel, holding, being there, being attentive to their needs. All those things are what will allow them to endure anything that may be off from that and give your maximum input into their development, their growth and development, psychologically, which is the key part. The key as you can tell, because, you know, we deal with so many people that have not been securely attached and have had issues in their lives and obviously once you’re an adult it’s being able to move beyond your past and not, you know, not trying to give yourself a better past, but you can actually give them a better present by those things. So that secure attachment, actually reading, you know, I mean obviously with your profound desire to learn and grow, you know, you could read some of the work done on secure attachment because it’s really profound how different it makes in the ability for a young child to grow up feeling comforted, feeling attached, being part— psychologically because the right side of our brain grows first, right? That’s the part that needs the most work. It’s not the left side. It’s not the cognitive side. It’s really the emotional side.

Jan: Awesome. Okay, that gives me something that I feel like I can do and can work without getting entrenched and start to enable. So, yeah.

Dr. A: Good. Awesome.

Jan: Thank you so much.

Dr. A: All right, see ya. All right everybody this is great. It’s one o’clock. I like to start on time and end on time. Hopefully this is helpful. Again, this is designed for everyone, not just people that are part of our mission, but anyone that would desire to maybe become more conscious of themselves, in their interaction with themselves, with others, with their community, and help us on this mission to create a kinder, gentler, and a more of a transformational world. Thank you guys, bye.

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