2023 September 12 Focus on your super-powers!

Sep 12, 2023

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcasting website about reimagining your life. Thanks for joining me today to talk about focusing on your superpowers. If you like what you hear today, please leave a like, tell your friends, and send me a message. 


Yesterday morning, a good high school friend called me around 3:45 am his time. He was calling from California, and he was driving to work. It occurred to me that some people, like he and I, always seem to have a lot of things going on. We were talking about retirement. 


We talked about a lot of things, but retirement was one of the things we talked about a lot. We talked for almost 2 hours at that early hour. The morning is a lot of fun, but the common theme in both our lives was that we were always doing things, often failing and then trying again until we found a way forward that worked.


This is your one life. It's best to make the most of it. That leads us back to what we've talked about a lot over the past few weeks. How do you decide what's the best way to make the most of your life? We talked about that a lot, and we've talked about many ways over the past five years. It's actually been that long that we've been doing this together. We'll talk far more about more specifics in the future. 


Once you have your goals defined and you feel you're working towards your vision, some of the biggest changes you can make are to improve you yourself in every way, but also realize that no one is capable of doing everything at a world class level. Sometimes you just have to be honest with yourself and either avoid doing something or delegate tasks to someone who is amazing at the things you need done. This isn't giving up. This is leveraging your strengths, focusing on your strengths, and then finding someone with strengths in the things you aren't quite as good at.


That's just effective teamwork. That's really all it is. We've talked about that in terms of bartering and making your own courses, things like that. That applies equally to any areas in your life where you aren't as effective as you want to be. You're holding up your own overall progress by trying to force yourself to do everything.


Of course, this doesn't mean that you just end up not doing anything you don't feel like doing. That's something else. You still have to be honest with yourself, as we talked about a few weeks ago. Sometimes there are certain skills that you're really good at, but they just don't really occur together with other things. Some free thinking, wonderfully creative person isn't always a meticulously organized person. The two thought processes really work well together, and they're just very different. They complement each other nicely. So in a case like that, it makes sense to team up with someone who has those complementary skills. 


This is pretty self evident. If you're not good at something, delegate it. It's pretty easy to look at someone else and clearly see how they could benefit from doing that, a sort of symbiotic relationship with a complementary skill set.


But all that wonderful objectivity disappears into thin air when we try and apply it to ourselves, because one of the things we've basically been trained since childhood is that not being able to do something is a weakness or a deficiency. It is, of course, but no one is capable of doing everything they need to do to accomplish everything that they want to do. This is a great example of a thought process learned as a child that was often presented without the proper context. Yes, not being able to do something is a deficiency, but that doesn't mean that not being able to do everything is a deficiency.


Even the core concept of lacking a particular skill as a deficiency is rarely explained as having to be interpreted within a context of relevant life skills. If your career and goals are all strength based, it may not be relevant at all to what you're trying to do. We have to train our mind to filter out these unrelated limitations, because in reality, they aren't a limitation to ourselves and to our goals. That's really the crux of the matter.  Now we have some tools to look at ourselves more objectively, we can start to see how working in unison with a complimentary personality could provide us with significant benefits. This is all good. But what about the other big limitation, how we interpret and react to a situation. It's great to say that we've decided to avoid getting stuck by working with someone else. 


You have these little voices in your head that we have to address. The first is self criticism, and the second is how we react to a situation. Self criticism and his close cousin, self doubt, work hand in hand to undermine our progress by always second guessing ourselves. When we think we have finally decided to get some help completing tasks that just aren't our strength, before we can really move forward, here we are, already criticizing ourselves and starting to doubt that it'll even work.


Part of that is based upon how we react to every situation. If every time a challenge arises, we view it as the worst possible situation, a huge burden that is likely to set us completely back, we start off by biasing our brain towards the negative. Remember, our brain wants to keep us safe and happy, so it will try to avoid any risky situations. Anything that's negative, it will try and avoid doing. We've talked a lot about this in the past, and this is the basis of our envisionment techniques. We're working backwards from the desired outcome to the present, so we can discover ways to solve the potential problems before they really arise and appear immensely unsolvable. I hope it's starting to become clear now that all our early work on goal setting and planning wasn't just for huge life goals, but they apply equally well to day-to-day problems. 


The ways to overcome the obstacles we put up for ourselves are the same for attaining our life goals, just applied at a different level. Remember, we started down this path by trying to focus on our strengths and working with a complementary personality so that we both could leverage our own strengths to maximize what we could do together and minimize our time in areas where we don't excel. Yet even in that simple small step, we're at risk of undermining ourselves by focusing on the negative and overestimating the size of the problem.


Our brain is awesome at keeping us safe, but it sometimes needs some help to take manageable risks in order to advance. The most effective way to help our brain take those small risks is by showing it that you can discover ways to overcome the risk and find a workable, low risk solution.


Once you do that, your brain will be all in, because it will see it as a way to more happiness. That's a huge motivator. Then you find that working with others to maximize your best skills and minimize the work you find distasteful will make your days not only more productive, but a lot more fun, and life is a lot more satisfying.


Today is September 12, 2023. Oprah Winfrey and Arthur C. Brooks just released a book, Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier. There's a copy of it winding its way to me right now, due tomorrow. The Wall Street Journal just did a review on it. They entitled it The Power to Decide. How do you feel? I'm really glad they had the article. It sounds like an excellent book. We've been talking about this for 5 years, but it's still very relevant. It's a topic that never grows old because a lot of us forget it. We get ourselves in this viewpoint that everything is bad, and that just builds upon itself because then you start looking for the bad and you can always find it.


We've talked about the power to decide how you feel. They take a nice measured approach and step you through different techniques. They talk a lot about metacognition, which we've talked about as well. It's deciding how you want to react to a situation.


When you do that, and take an active role when something arises that could potentially be interpreted in many ways, but certainly could be interpreted in a negative way, by controlling your reaction, you must have much more control over how you perceive life's challenges.


Whenever a negative situation arises, you focus on it, internalize it, and look at all the options. You realize that there are some challenges here, but you can have a start on how to get through it. It makes everything much more manageable, much more approachable. And as they say, to some degree, you get to decide how you feel. You can be fearful, you can be pensive, you can be thoughtful, you can be hopeful, you can take control of it and try and move forward. You have a lot of control over how you react.


Remember that you have a lot of control over your life, because you control how you react to the world. It's really something that's very important to keep in mind in all situations.


So, back to how we got on this topic: When you're going through and trying to delegate work, we've been trained in Western culture that there's a negative feel that comes up with that. I should just be able to do that. Yes, you should, but nobody can do everything. For that reason, you're really great at some things, and you're okay at other things. Focus on the really great, and find someone who's really great at the things that aren't really your best thing, because if you focus on the best, then you'll bring out the best in yourself.


That's it for the evening. I hope you discover some things you've been trying to force yourself to do that might just be better done with the help of someone else. Your homework (always optional) is to just take something that you find difficult or boring, and imagine what it would be like if someone else would just do it all for you. Extra points if you also work out the details on how to get started on finding someone, and bonus points If you hear your brain raising objections, identify those objections, and find ways you can work around them. That's it for the evening. 


As always, UKR7.com is a page of links where you can donate to a variety of organizations to help the people of Ukraine. The World Central Kitchen WCK.org is there. We've talked about them a lot. Remember that one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. It moves your thought processes out of your own situation and focuses outside of yourself. That generally then gives you a better perspective and helps you move forward as well. 


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along. If not, please let me know. Hit that like button if you will. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dreamed of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you so much.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.