My son had his wisdom teeth removed last week. That meant the weekend was spent lounging around, keeping him comfortable, and binging our current favorite TV program "Alone."
If you aren't familiar with it, the general premise is 10 people are dropped off in a remote location and have to survive on their own. The last person standing earns $500,000. They are allowed to bring a few survival necessities (sleeping bag, tarp, knife, cooking pot, etc) but other than that they are completely ALONE filming themselves, building shelters, finding food, and avoiding predators. To me, it sounds like a downright miserable ordeal ;).
The show is entertaining for sure, but as someone who helps people manage their minds for a living, I can't help but share my take on how powerful our minds can be in such an experience. I promise not to spoil anything :).
These people know pretty much what they are getting themselves into, but a lot of them say knowing and actually doing it are two very different things. Some of them last a few hours, some a few months.
So what is it that makes the difference? What causes some people to last longer than others? [And in our world, what makes some people more successful than others?]
I believe it is our ability to be what I call "the watcher of our minds." When we can take a step back and see what is going on, we are able to get so much control of it, rather than being at the effect of what is going on.
For example, in the show, the participants are oftentimes quite hungry/starving. If they give in to that sensation and allow thoughts of hopelessness and defeat to enter, they most often give up (they are given a satellite phone to use in case of emergency or when they want to tap out).
But, and this is a big but when they are able to see that this sense of hunger is part of the experience and that they are the only ones who can remedy that, they take back the control - the control of their mind. They don't let their minds wander to how hard the experience is and that with a push of a button they could be eating a warm meal and sleeping in a bed.
This is the difference between letting the brain run wild - like a toddler with a marker in the house, and reigning the brain in and you having control over it.
I believe it is this ability to watch what is going on and consciously take action that gets us the greatest success in life. When I can feel myself getting weighed down by the drama of my brain, I like to visualize an owl sitting above me watching my brain and my thoughts. An owl feels like such an observant creature, so it is from this 'outside' perspective that I can then take appropriate action.
Do you know who is REALLY good at being a watcher of your mind? Me! As a life coach, this is exactly what I do. I help my clients see things from a new, fresh perspective, and this allows them to accomplish all the things they want - it's super fun and empowering.