2021 November 16: Life reimagined for Baby Boomers and everyone.

Nov 16, 2021

This is Jim Cranston from 7everyminute and 7everyminute.com, a podcast and website by, for, and about Baby Boomers. Thanks for joining us this evening.


Tonight, we have a little bit more in personal development, and it's going to be an anecdotal story based upon a recent trip to Mexico I just took. That brings me first off to an apology for not alerting you all my followers, that I would be traveling for the past two weeks. The trip is why there was an unexpected break in the Lives.


I wasn't really planning to not do broadcasts. As a matter of fact, I was planning to do a lot of things in Mexico, and that's what this is going to be about. It turned out things changed, but I should have done a quick video to keep you informed. So those of you who wrote me, who were concerned, thank you very much. I apologize to everybody. Lesson learned. We're going to try and do things a little more regularly from now on out. 


So tonight I'm going to speak a bit about our own self perceptions and how they affect our reactions to a situation. I'll go into this far more deeply in some coming free handouts that I'm working on, as well as in the course that I'm working on One Minute to Happiness, but to take some information from Dr. Shannon Irvine, who I've studied with and her neuro coaching program.


The beginnings of the very basic building blocks of our perception of the world around us are three things. The situation, the stimulus, which is something that happens within our sphere of attention and we notice it, that's situation or stimulus. Then we have the thought. Our brain at some level perceives and acknowledges that the event happened.


Then we have belief. Eventually, if the same situation keeps happening and we keep having the same thought, our brain goes and automates it and turns it into what we call beliefs. Things like - it can be almost anything. The leaves are rustling at dusk. That means it's going to rain tomorrow. There are lots and lots of beliefs, some of which are very obvious, maybe a belief like religion or something like that; some of which are very subtle.


Maybe things that we just perceived, like every time you hear a creak, like a table creaks or a piece of wood creaks, you think of that good time you had at the camp with the whole family. So beliefs are things where our brain automates things. 


So this is all part of a bigger framework. We'll go through this at some point. That has the acronym STEBDAR. That will be more fully explained in the coming handouts, but the very short version to paraphrase, the whole concept is: each of us pretty much creates our own reality based upon our beliefs. 


So I can hear a sound and you can hear a sound. It could be the same sound, obviously to both of us we’re standing next to each other. To me, it makes me very tense because my belief system has associated it with something negative. But to you, it brings you joy because you heard a similar sound in this situation. Maybe the creak on the step meant your parents were coming home for the evening and you could go see them and hug them.


Beliefs really shape how our whole world appears to us. They're very individual. Some are instilled by society. Some are instilled by our family. But ultimately each person's belief system is unique unto themselves, The outside world has an influence, obviously. But it's up to us in response to each and every input, which is some situation or stimulus, to have a particular thought.


If those thoughts occur enough times over a given period, we have a belief. So if you think about that, we've just defined learning and behavior at a very basic level. Certainly at the level of how different cultures work and different societies work and different regions work, because we're influenced by the beliefs of people around us.


That's part of the way we learn our beliefs when we're little, and as we get older as well. So in a particular region, there's certain beliefs. In another region, they're different. It's exactly the same situation. As I mentioned before, the same stimulus has happened, and each of us perceives it differently and reacts differently.


So what's that have to do with my trip to Mexico? Well, the short version is: I had very high expectations. I’d  planned to interview a number of people for this podcast. I'm on a couple of Facebook groups for Guanajuato and had planned to post some invitations there for people to be interviewed for the podcast.


I planned to work on course development for the upcoming course that I’ve mentioned One Minute to Happiness. I've planned  to tour the Guanajuato area of Mexico. It's just a beautiful area. There's a ton of things to do. I wanted to go hiking. I wanted to look around. All sorts of stuff to do, visit my family that's down there, work remotely for the day job. I wanted to attend to a bunch of little chores and repairs at the family properties, celebrate the Day of the Dead on November 2nd. Then we just had a huge list of things I wanted to do. 


So what really happened? Very little, it turned out. Some of it - a lot of it actually - was because of my own expectations. Day of the Dead is a little difficult to describe. It's kind of a combination of Independence Day, Memorial Day, Christmas and Halloween. It lasts for like three or four consecutive days.


Basically, it's a celebration of all the people that have passed before you. It's very different than Halloween, and it's even different than All Saints Day, All Souls Day, All Saints Day. They very much spend a lot of time truly connecting with the people who passed before them. The more traditional people actually build a little altar per se, and oftentimes have a little paper mat on it and they'll place the person's favorite meal out, or maybe some of their favorite things.


If they liked candy, they'll put some candy there. If they liked to sew, maybe they put some sewing supplies there, and then they'll have a meal with them. They'll sit and talk about things and remember the person as if they were having a conversation with him about all the good things that happened.


It's a very special day, and a very emotional day. There's nothing like it really in the United States that I'm aware of that matches it in terms of sheer emotion. It's different than Thanksgiving. This is connecting with your whole family, present and past, acknowledging how you got to where you are. It's actually very special.


However it's really very difficult to do anything productive, at least by US standards, other than just spending time with lots of other people engaged in all the festivities, which it turned out was actually very productive by human standards, because not only it was productive, it was actually very a enjoyable time.


Once I adjusted my thoughts and my beliefs and my expectations, I turned what was a tremendous annoyance about not being able to get anything done into celebrating the holiday and thinking about my ancestors and the ancestors of the extended family in a very positive way. So I think it's really important to notice that something that was truly grating on me turned out to be something very positive, only by my adjusting my own thoughts. 


So what else derailed my grandiose plans? There was some family drama going on which, although it didn't directly include me, it was very draining, and more specifically I let it be very draining. That was probably my biggest aha moment during the trip.


There was nothing going on that directly affected me, like I said, but I let it affect my mood and my actions. So I hope I finally learned this lesson once and for al. Once I got past that phase about halfway through my visit and just said, That's somebody else's issue. The only thing I can control is my life and how I respond to it, my visit went considerably better. I had a good time. I started doing more things. My mood was better. 


The situation was the same. The players were the same, just my reaction to the situation and hence my beliefs had changed. It was very dramatic because the first part of the trip was quite stressful and I turned that around completely.


If other people wanted to be stressed by it, that was their decision. That was their reaction. I, however, was able to then enjoy my time there, not ignore the people, but give them the grace and the space and the love to go and deal with it as they had to deal with it. Meanwhile, I would go and live my life as I needed to live it.


And so what else? There was also a real world introduction to the realities of living and working in semi-rural Mexico. Guanajuato has quite a bit of industry nearby. There are auto plants and other manufacturing facilities. So the infrastructure is pretty solid actually. But it's not rock solid.


Here, we all know everyone goes totally berzerk when the internet flakes out for a few seconds. If you have a drop out, there's a couple of things you can do. What I started to do was just adjust my expectations and adjust the technology in use. Do you really need to have live video going so you can watch 16 still images on a zoom call?


No. So you just skip the video. Call in with your phone and listen to the audio because that's the only thing really going on anyway, most of the meetings. So again you know, by changing my thoughts, the rest kind of fell into line. It was very interesting because there were a couple of calls I was on where the audio started to get a little garbled. Instead of immediately trying to see where I could close and everything else, it's kind of like, I can still understand what's going on. What's the stress about? So by changing my thoughts, changing my beliefs, and changing my perceptions, everything else just kind of came together in a nice way.


Then finally (and this one was very difficult for me) the general work ethic in Mexico is quite different than in the US. Pretty much everyone I met was generally a very hard worker. I’ve seen that here too. If you get someone to task, they'll do it. I mean, they'll work really hard. They'll really bust  through and then make it happen, plain and simple. However, if external factors mess up the situation, that's where things really change. Because their response is usually very different than here in the US. For example, say a part for something isn't available. You're trying to fix a stove in my case, then the answer is okay, well, finish it another day, some other day.


Well no problem, except that I was leaving in a few days, oh my gosh, what am I going to do? It took a real purposeful shift in my perception to accept that things will happen in their own time and not when I can force them through. Honestly, that's kind of how I tend to work here in the US, and I'm not saying it's necessarily a good way to live.


But you know, it is how I was. Sjo it was still my beliefs that were causing me problems, and they were the ones causing me the angst and the trouble and the tension. It wasn't the culture, the culture is what it was. So I slowed down and kind of stepped back and said I got a couple of big projects completed.


I got some other things started. Now I've learned to take that as just a solid win, right. It's not like, oh, I wish I'd gotten more done. I got some things done that I wanted to, I was really excited about that. The other things, well, we'll finish them some other day. The projects are still waiting, and next time I go down, we'll do them that time.


So it brought a lot of peace and joy to the whole trip to realize - and I mean, I taught this for a while, and I practice it in some ways, but - here I was in a real-world situation that had basically very little control over most of the things. I was in a foreign country. It's a different culture. I speak very poor minimal Spanish, so it's not like I could coerce people to do things by language other than by smiling and, and trying to be a good chum.


So what that left was basically if I wanted the things to be different, than I had to perceive them differently. It was up to me to make my world into what I needed it or wanted it to be, because the world was what it was. I could either be miserable the whole time or I could adapt. So it was really interesting to see what a huge difference it made.


Just in over a course of two weeks. In a lot of little things by just changing my attitude and realizing that it was completely up to me as to which path I could follow. I could be tense and angry, or I could be content and joyous with the things that were accomplished. That isn't to say that I didn't strive to do things that I wouldn't have wanted in ideal situations to get more things done.


But again, it's a matter of setting expectations. So now think about how you're living your life now, right now, every day. Are you like me in Mexico at the beginning? Are you letting every little thing cause you stress and anxiety and annoyance? Are you so wrapped up in all the things that are bothering you, that you don't even notice the huge elephant in the room of all the joyous things going on around. All the good things in your life and all the things that have the potential to be good. Some things that happen, you need to be taken as a negative or positive, and it's up to us to see the good in things and to make it happen. Life isn't perfect, but that's true, no matter where you are and whatever your situation is.


So it's up to each one of us to kind of create the nicest world that we can. We have to start with ourselves and then kind of expand it to our whole current life situation and the people that we work with. It's just the littlest things that we do can have huge positive impacts on other people.


One of the things that I often do, I always try and make it. I have whoever's checking me out to notice something about them or giving them some compliment or thank them or something. Just that itty bitty thing, you can see their face light up, because they've been sitting there for an hour, hour and a half or two hours, whatever, since their last break. people going by treating them like a machine and somebody just says, wow I just noticed your sneakers match your jacketHow cool is that? It's like, wow, that person really recognized me as being a person


It's a very small thing, but it makes a huge change. That's true throughout every aspect of our life. We can make changes to how we perceive the world and how other people perceive the world by sharing our joy and enthusiasm with them.


So with every input we receive, we have a thought. We talked about that earlier, and most of those thoughts actually are handled by our subconscious. We don't really actively think about most things that happen. They just happen. Our subconscious kind of runs them through this special filter that we've created: a filter which shapes our life called our beliefs.


That's our key to happiness or our lack of happiness, by changing how we react to those thoughts, by getting control of our beliefs and expectations. We have the power to reshape our entire world into one in which joy is much more common and contentment is available and attainable. That is the introduction to the One Minute to Happiness course.


It's kind of a self-education and guided instruction course that goes through very specific techniques and methods to help perceive the world in a new and more engaging way, and to learn how to control your beliefs and open up the power within you. 


We all do better when our inner beliefs match up with our heartfelt goals, and there are techniques for doing that. That's what this course will be going over. There will be a lot more coming on that, but the real kind of short look ahead is we have the power. There are techniques we can use that get our brain to believe things that we want to have happen. 


This isn't just, oh, I wish something will happen. It'll happen. This is I wish I could speak more eloquently in public. There are ways to train our brain just to make that so that our brain goes, oh, we want to speak more eloquently in public. So we'll learn ways to do that as opposed to trying to force yourself through which is just willpower.


That's how dieting is - you try and force yourself through and you can do it for a week or two weeks or maybe three weeks, which is the typical limit. Then things collapse. This is a different technique. This is where our brain pulls us along because our brain realizes what our goals are and helps us move towards them.


So stay tuned. There’ll be a lot more in that. I'm actually, it's a lot of fun and it's very satisfying, and we'll have to talk a lot more about it. So that's it for this week. Thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear.


Have a great week. Thanks so much for visiting. Remember to live the life you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everybody, and see you next week on 7everyminute and 7everyminute.com. Thank you.

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