Skip to main content

Evolutionary Blog

Distinctions to accelerate your personal and professional evolution

Facility With Self

meditating-suit-facility-self-woman Facility With Self and The Ultimate Skill

Facility With Self

The title of this piece is one of my favorite ways to sum up what I think is the ultimate capacity and the most valuable skill set in life is. It is also access to being emotionally free, flexible, and generally more happy, regardless of your circumstances.

This is also where I remind you that communication skills - and in this case, you are communicating with yourself - are physical skills. They are awkward at first. They take practice to become proficient in. They take repetition to master.

Gaining Facility With Self is the most challenging and most rewarding guiding principle - as well as a set of capacities - to take on. In addition, I assert that there is nothing in life external to one’s self that cannot be managed, overcome, conquered by having greater Facility with Self.

Many of you have asked me what this thing is. What are its component parts? This is complicated and the answer has been long coming, but this piece is written for the purpose of providing as complete an answer I can muster at my current level of insight and writing ability. 

I trust you will read it generously, knowing that some aspects of the distinctions are beyond these two elements currently - and must be demonstrated and/or experienced as they involve navigating our interiors.

Let me say that none of what I write here is the “truth”; I am not even interested in debating its accuracy—while I think I could. What I am asking you to do is try it on for the purpose of your own personal evolution. Not what is true but what is useful for that outcome and for the outcome of your own happiness via developing ultimate choice with your own emotional and mental experience.

Necessary Operating Assumptions

Most people are not even aware of their operating assumptions. You could also call these beliefs, filters, and presuppositions. One of the necessary first steps to Facility With Self is to acknowledge and take responsibility for the fact that we all have operating assumptions, beliefs, and filters. Most people operate as of the are their “truth”s. Most of them are sweeping generalizations created from moments when they assessed something in their experience and extrapolated from it—often inaccurately. Judgment—a necessary skill for survival—gone awry. Most people have assumptions that do not serve them. For example people are out for themselves; I can not control my emotions; men are a certain way and women are a certain way and that’s that; a leopard can not change its spots, etc.

Anyway, I consider the necessary assumptions | beliefs | filters for Facility with Self to be (at least) the following:

  • Taking responsibility or owning my part is the fastest way to build a healthy sense of self
  • I have assumptions—they are under my control
  • Some (most?) of my filters are out of my awareness; it is possible to bring them into my awareness by paying attention to my subjective experience and my language patterns
  • I am 100% responsible for my emotional experience—it is under control if I develop the necessary capacities said another way:
  • My subjective experience (emotional life) of the world is completely generated by me and is the result of my interpretations, beliefs, perceptions, preconceived notions, distortions, etc.
  • There is always a way - and always an ethical way 
  • Flexibility and variation of approach toward a specified outcome—focus on results and my effectiveness towards such—will provide optimal probabilities of achieving that outcome; a fixed approach leads to less than optimal results
  • I have no inner enemies; I have parts—who are sometimes in conflict, but who have positive purposes. These parts can be honored, understood fully, and integrated to resolve the internal conflict contributing to my congruity with my espoused values.

These items can also be summed up as “attitudes”.

Necessary Skills (imitating the Buddha)

Once the necessary attitudes are in place as operating presuppositions, there are some skills that come into play. The first is some agility in the ability to occupy multiple perceptual positions or to experience the world in “triple description”. Some people have asserted that the ability to move through all three perceptual positions - at will - to be a good operating definition of mental health. 

Additionally, the evidence, as well as the practice of Personal Evolution, is the ability to take on an ever-increasing number of perspectives. but without these foundational three, you will not have any facility at all.

What are these perceptual positions? At least the first three:

  • Self: being in your own body. Seeing out of your own eyes. Knowing what you want.
  • Other: walking in someone else’s shoes. Seeing the world through their eyes with their filters—feeling into them; empathy
  • Observer: the position of director of a play or an interested third party who is observing.

It is important to remember that these are holarchically arranged. They are also known as First, Second, and Third, respectively. Holarchy?  For example, paragraphs contain sentences, but not the reverse. Sentences contain words, but not the reverse. Words contain letters, but not the reverse. In the same way, Second - a second position shift - requires first, but not the other way around. Third A third perceptual shift requires the ability to occupy both first, then second, and then take the perspective of third. It could be said that this is simply a shift in attention. The ability to project your awareness or your consciousness to a space and then perceive the world from a different angle is the beginning of the acquisition of this skill. For instance, what does your head look like from the back? Pretend the floor you are sitting on is plexiglass—what do you look like from beneath? Etc. Why is this a critical skill? […]

"Going Meta"

Going meta to your experience and acquiring what is commonly referred to as “meta-cognition” is the ability to have not only awareness but choice over your own thought processes. This is what Buddha’s vipassana meditation technique teaches. It is a skill and this skill holds the promise of allowing you to liberate yourself from the emotional roller-coasters - the vicissitudes - of life.

Once you can see the process is of your own making, and then master it, you will be truly free.

An event happens and then ⟹ you interpret it in a certain way, which leads to ⟹ your emotional reaction, and in that reaction, ⟹ you then make it mean something (your generalize) - often creating a limiting belief -  which then ⟹ leads to an emotional atmosphere.

Most people think this is a one-step process:  Something happens and then ⟹ they feel bad.

And most humans then blame the other person or external circumstances for the feeling. And in the process of blaming - lose all of their power.

This is why the most fundamental orientation to all of your experience is one of 100% responsibility - it is your access to choice and power.

Continue reading
0
  1112 Hits

Intentional Relating in Community | Responsible Interpretive Rigor With And To Others

Some years ago I wrote some guidelines for an intentional community and what I felt would create the best convergence of wisdom and having a responsible "immune system" for a community for safety of those participating as well as the most freedom of self-expression possible, all while trying to maintain it as Evolutionary -- with constant upward spirals, part of which would certainly include plateaus in that "constancy".

Blah blah, blah.

Anyway, one of the rules I had [and hold] is that in a community with individuals engaged in personal development, where Evolution is present, it is our duty and responsibility to update our interpretations of others.

This is not so unique, and the need is obvious: people have brief interactions with others. "Snap-shots" of that person if you will. But they are brief and contextual. And yet, people then extrapolate out and assess [or judge] this person as X. They then share this interpretation of this person with others. Perhaps out of genuine concern. Sometimes just to gossip.

And those who are careful and responsible in their sharing may even say "I only interacted whit them in XYZ situation and you may have another experience of them", blah, blah, blah.

They may even check in with the person/interact with them to see if their experience/assessment/interpretation was still valid.

And right there is where we can improve this process.

The Evolutionary would check in to see where their interpretation was *no longer* valid. Observe first where we were (or could be) wrong or out of date--looking for difference rather than for confirmation--of and about their assessment.

It is uncomfortable and against human nature's tendency to go for familiarity, confirmation bias, safety, etc. but it is more rigorous in our own evolution and more useful for true human connection and more aligned with what I consider to be Evolutionary principles.

And we will be relating more accurately with the dynamic being in front of us, rather than the stale and static caricature of them in our heads.

1
  10018 Hits

The Evolution of Evolution | Expanding Your Capacities

Often I am asked just how what I do as an Evolutionary Guide -- assisting others in evolving how they relate to themselves and how they relate to events (ego and emotions) -- has any real practical applications particularly in business. It is a fair question. One that, to me, has an obvious answer: always, daily, in every context. But let me be specific:

What causes people to be less productive and to suffer emotionally and decide to give up on their dreams and desires—to simply not “go for it”? 

Many things, but some of the more salient points would be:

nt

1. Taking things personally

2. Extrapolating out negative futures from limited data

3. Focusing on the problem(s) rather than solutions

4. Staying on course for too long after they know they need to adjust because they are afraid to admit their mistakes

5. Self-doubt

6. Fear

7. A lack of efficacy in communication

8. … 

… the list could go on and on and on. 

Likewise, their opposites--which we could sum up as simply being free and moving with confidence, efficacy and velocity--are all sourced in the same place.

What do they all have in common? The degree to which we experience any of these things is determined by our “stage” of development, which in turn determines how we relate to ourselves and / or how we relate to the events around us. It’s the “place” we react from and interpret through. 

There is no more important “soft” skill that one can develop than their capacity to witness--the capacity to objectively examine a situation, an event, or a thing, or even themselves from outside of themselves which, in turn, is developing the capacity to dis-identify from any thing, situation, person, role, project, opinions …again, the list goes on. And therefore, there is no greater developmental endeavor one can engage in than personal evolution--increasing our capacity to not only witness, but to take on an ever-increasing number of perspectives. 

This will even translate to learning “hard” skills more easily because you can throw yourself into the endeavor with great fervor, and without all of the self-consciousness that stops so many people from trying new things. You will be inclined to take on greater responsibility, ask for what you are worth, be willing and able to understand another’s perspective -- while maintaining your sovereign right to disagree -- communicate with greater ease and skill, employ greater agility and flexibility in your projects, and …well, be happier.

It’s simple: if you judge yourself when you are ineffective at something--experiencing embarrassment and even shame--that’s going to get in your way of trying new things. It will seem “risky”. The more you limit yourself the more you live in the world of saying, “That's just not me”. And the world of me/not me becomes increasingly limited, and it is the world that most people live in.

The nature of evolution is evolving just as our relationship to evolution has been evolving from biological to mental and emotional to spiritual -- to bio-technical.

Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, believes we will be able to upload our entire brains to computers within the next 30 years or so. That will certainly change things, won’t it? But this is not a piece about the coming Singularity--no doubt an “event” that many long for, others fear, and still others will see as a sign of the coming rapture, and many have not even heard of. 

Continue reading
0
  1241 Hits

Relationships: Elegant Navigation, Effective Communication Part 1

Relationships: Effective Communication | Elegant Navigation

Part 1: The Problem (1346 words. Average reading time: 6 minutes)

In the global marketplace of cultures, ideas, relationships, and business strategies, we can no longer say that there is one way to “do relationships” or that there is an “is-ness” to what form they should take.

 There simply is no global—or even local—consensus around relationships—if there ever was.

Whether we are speaking about arranged marriages still common on the other side of the globe in India, gay marriages—legal in some countries and some U.S. States or other alternative forms of relating from polyamory, or other non-traditional, non-monogamous relationship forms, we can certainly say that what is considered an acceptable form of relating is massively expanding in scope.

Whether you agree or disagree with those life-style choices, it is undeniable that the very idea of relationship is in evolution both morally and culturally.  Not to mention in practicality—in form.

And yet … 

And yet, most people still cannot seem to even navigate the waters of traditional relationships with facility and elegance.  Even many friendships are not always fulfilling and conflicts are rarely navigated effectively—if at all. Sadly, many marriages and intimate romantic relationships often hobble along until people are just in a habit, not a relationship. They’re still “together” on the surface, but the reality, truth, intimacy, and dynamism faded—or died—long ago.

They are in a habit, not an actual relationship.

There are certainly exceptions to this.  Both in relationships and in society as a whole. We have individuals and small “intentional” communities who have it as one of their stated values to become facile at navigating the waters of relationships—including  conflicts and misunderstandings that arise, as well as their internal, individual, personal emotional upset or “charge” that comes along with it—with skill, ease, and a good degree of elegance.

But even after more than 40 years of the rise and expansion of the human potential movement, these are exceptions, not rules.  Heck, they are often not even expected standards, let alone the rule.

But it could be so.  

We can all have fulfilling, harmonious relationships. Even in conflict, there are philosophical approaches as well effective communication models that, if take on, can fulfill on this possibility—and make it a reality.

So…what are they?

 First, let’s look at some of the common problems that arise. And then, together, we will examine some simple solutions.

 

The Problems

 

Many of dynamics within inter-personal problems and/or conflicts can be summed up thusly:

  • A belief that relationships are “supposed to take work” or “supposed to be hard”
  • Dishonesty. Dishonesty in at least two ways
    • Deceit—actual lying
    • Hiding the truth—not just of facts, which we will lump in with the above, but of our internal, subjective experience. Our process. And what is going on for us.
  • Blaming others for our circumstances or the situation AND
  • Failing to take responsibility for our part in a conflict or misunderstanding
  • Simply meaning two different things—or interpreting something in two different ways—that are in conflict unknowingly until the it causes a conflict explicitly and openly
  • An egoic need to “be right” put before a search for truth and accuracy
  • A lack of emotional choice or facility [being run by our anger, fear, anxiety, guilt, resentments etc.]
  • A lack of knowledge around how to effectively communicate through a conflict—a lack of a positive, effective, workable model
  • A lack of skillful means with those models
  • A collision of values/world-views that are in conflict

 

Continue reading
0
  11063 Hits

[Webinar] Creating A World-Class You | Advanced Self-Esteem Distinctions

I’ve worked with hundreds of people over the years, and one of the common threads - in every case where they were starting their own business - was some version of self-doubt.

It shows up in many different forms: questioning whether they are good enough, whether they know enough, or have enough training. It shows up on how they set their prices, and in the way they have uncertainty about the future. It can also show up as perfectionism (because nothing is ever really good “enough” - and a half dozen other versions I could list.

One or more of these plague most solo-preneurs just starting out. Each of them are simple enough to resolve (and we can - and will - resolve them for you during the webinar on Thursday). Still others - as laid out below - require mindfulness and practice to let go of.

The most interesting challenge clients face - and the most pervasive dynamic I have witnessed among them - is many degrees more complicated.

The story may be familiar to you: you schedule a small talk - an introduction to your work - and let me assure you, these introductory workshops are the engine of your business. Through them, you provide value to the community and assist in building your following, your brand, and it’s an opportunity for people to see you in person so they get a deeper sense of you.

Someone comes up to you and tells you how amazing the talk was, how touched they were by it, and gets that glazed over look in their eye. It’s boom time, baby!

You pack up and go home and when you get home and check your email and there is a critical email from one of the evening’s participants saying that you needed to change XYZ about your presentation and how some of it was inappropriate. Suddenly all the inflation turns to deflation and you feel dejected and start to wonder - maybe this business isn’t for you.

How you actually performed becomes irrelevant because we are now dealing with a creation of your mind:

1) You collapsed two domains - personal and practical - you made a practical matter personal; you make it mean something about you personally when it is a matter of efficacy with the audience

2) Identification with your business or your material in the workshop causing you to react - you *are* your business in this situation. A case of mistaken identity. What’s more though, is these demonstrate an orientation to external validation.

This distinction Personal/ Practical is foundational in the self-esteem concepts I will lay out for you Thursday. 

Internal vs External orientations to validation will also make a headline appearance. These distinctions will go a long way toward increasing your freedom and choice and assisting you improve more rapidly.

There are a limited number of spots for the Webinar, so go grab your space now:
https://evolve-co.leadpages.net/self-esteem-burgers/

In Your Service,

Jason


Update: here is the video from the webinar. Enjoy!

 

0
  3986 Hits