I have been experiencing what I will call “constructive discontent.” This is discontent that motivates me to change something instead of just biting random people. This discontent has motivated me to go to the library and checked out multiple self help books. One of those books is called Prosper: Create the Life You Really Want and another is called Get Out of Your Own Way: 5 Keys to Surpassing Everyone’s Expectations.
The first book, Prosper, talks a great deal about your Polaris Point. By Polaris Point, they mean the desires deep inside you that should be guiding every decision you make to get you where you want to be in life. This is your deepest internalized desire. What you really want out of life. The bad thing…most people can not verbalize it because they have never thought about it.
The authors, Ethan Willis and Randy Garn, define prosperity as:
MONEY + HAPPINESS + SUSTAINABILITY = PROSPERITY
I want prosperity. I think everyone wants prosperity once they figure out they don’t have it. So, I tried to figure out my Polaris Point using the guides in the book, but something just wasn’t right. I did a lot of thinking, but nothing clicked.
I switched to Get Out Of Your Own Way. I liked the title of the book because I have been aware for years that I am the only thing holding me back. I blame money or more specifically, the lack of money, but it’s me. All me. I am consistently making decisions that keep me where I am. Broke and discontent.
The author of Get Out of Your Own Way, Robert K. Cooper, Ph.D., talks about how the human brain is wired and he does it in a way that makes sense to me. Human society has changed dramatically in the past one hundred years, but we are working with the brain that developed back when Ug and Grunt were walking the Earth. Ug and Grunt’s need for survival in a rough and dangerous world wired the human brain in a way that made us very aware of the potential negative outcomes in any situation.
Fortunately for Ug and Grunt, this worked for them. They survived and because they survived, we exist. Unfortunately for us, the brain wiring that worked so well for them has become our biggest liability in the new world we created.
We as a society, and as individuals, focus on the potential worst case scenario and completely miss the potential best case scenario in any situation. This sets us up for failure, discontent, and random biting.
I have been just as guilty of doing this as anyone else. The failure and discontent, not the biting.
The problem is, as with any problem, you have to know you have a problem. You have to know you are letting the worst case scenario rule your world. Cooper talks about what triggers our worst case scenario responses. He also tells us what needs to be done to reprogram the brain to override the system Ug and Grunt created.
The observations clicked with me. I became aware of the way my brain is holding me back. I finally saw the problem in a way that also allowed me to fix it.
We, as poorly wired humans, get so tied up with the short term and solving the little problems of today, that we never give a thought to where we want to be tomorrow. Cooper calls this the “shoe top” perspective. Looking down at the top of your feet will tell you where to place your next step, but if you never look up to figure out where you are and where you are going, you are just moving.
Movement for movement’s sake is pointless. It accomplishes nothing, but we are still exhausted at the end of the day. Modern society has brainwashed us into believing we have to work to exhaustion. We might even take pride in the fact that we are tired. After all, being exhausted means we accomplished something. Or did we?
Did we actually accomplish something lasting or did we just get through the day? Think about your yesterday or even your whole last week. What did you do toward making your next year better?
For most people, the answer is nothing.
Leave a comment below and let me know if you have or are experiencing constructive discontent.