Breakdown 3: Too Many Options
Welcome to Breakdown 3
Breakdown (BD) is where I weekly teach and give away a coach's secret secret sauce: how to dissect a person's problem so you can give them the solution. Think of it a little bit like doing math or creating code - I don't just show you the final answer or end product but the mechanism that got me there.
Learn to copy my coaching skill and you're learning how to coach yourself.
If you'd like to have a problem of yours BD'd please feel free to just hit reply and let me know. It's always a delight to be sent one to BD.
BD posts can get quite (very) long, so if you want to skip the reasoning and just get the answer then scroll past all the words until you reach the solution photo, which evidently has the solution under it.
Estimated full reading time: 12 minutes
Estimated reading time of just solution: 5 minutes
Todays breakdown is a little different, as we don't have to disappear off the abyss of language and micro-analysis to see what's going on here. A lot of the advice this week is based around patterns and concepts that I see in a lot of people that restrict thinking and life. So I'll explain each of these concepts in the problem and then apply them in the solution.
Knowing how to think about reframing guilt, or a faulty belief about options or over analysing are really helpful and so I've gone into detail about them as they are very common. I'll break down the each of these macro then go into full blown go-do-shit-mj-mode (GDSMJM) in the solution.
There are four big things that are jump out to me:
1) A belief in a binary option OR only TWO options available (either with my family or in sydney) and that it's not possible to have both or 'have it all'
I've never been very good at understanding sayings, it's actually a huge weakness of mine. One of the worst of the lot is 'you can't have your cake and eat it too' - why the fuck would I want to EVER have a cake and not be able to eat it?
One thing that we need to be extremely vigilant on in our life is the advice that we take from the people around us. There is so much advice in the world that is rubbish. Very, very few people are actually trained to give advice and an even smaller percentage of them are any good at it. A lot of the things we just have been conditioned to think (You need money to make money! You can't have everything! You should buy a house! You should eat breakfast) actually fall apart under closer scrutiny.
Remember - people are almost always giving you advice not on how to live your best life on your terms, but on how to live life like they do. That's a HUGE distinction. Most people in the world have not designed their life for themselves and so most of the advice in the world is not for people who are trying to design their life.
So, ironically, here is one of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten: Don't take advice from anyone unless they have something that you want. I'm not sure why BD has believed that they can't have both in this life, but there are so many types of life and different ways to think about things that to have already resigned to not being able to both live in Sydney and live in Colombia is just foolish.
BD must recognise that these beliefs we have close off doors of opportunity before we have even investigated to see whether or not it can work. We need to employ what I call 'unrealistic thinking' where we assume every problem that is in our control is something that we can fix if we are committed enough and only once we know all the steps we would need to take do we decide whether or not our plan could work.
2) The sense of guilt that comes from making a decision to either put themselves first or someone else first
This is something that plagues a tremendous amount of people I see and will eventually get a BD all on it's own. There are many, many different forms of guilt and just as many forms of people pleasing to go along with it. Each have their own special way of moving past it but we will focus on this version today.
Let me be clear: guilt serves us to signal that we care about something and once we have identified that thing we care about it no longer serves us and must be cut out of our consciousness. There are few more damaging emotions for a human to feel than guilt and it's equally insidious sibling shame. We feel guilt because we somehow believe that we need to be punished for not doing something that we 'should have done' or that we made a mistake LIKE LITERALLY ALL HUMANS EVER and so then somehow must punish ourselves.
Anyway, before I disappear off the rant-against-stupid-guilt-cliff, for this person the answer is simple. There is guilt being felt because they are focusing on beating themselves up rather than focusing on the fact that they wouldn't be feeling this guilt unless there was a huge amount of love being felt for both their family and whoever is keeping them in Sydney. Instead of focusing on the guilt - which is selfish and self-centered, they could instead focus on the people around them and making them feel full of love as that's all they really want to be doing anyway.
How do they do that? New questions.
3) I get the sense of over-analysis from the way the problem is structured, especially considering the time was taken to link out an article for me.
I won't go into this in too much detail as it'll be covered in future BD's for sure. I spoke about this a lot at the start of my most recent mastermind (here) but a lot of smart IQ driven people struggle to identify and trust their instincts. Your 'instincts' are just all the different parts of your consciousness that don't have access to language (ie EQ, Social Intelligence, Creative Intelligence, Sexual Intelligence) - none of these can 'speak' to your in your mind with thoughts or words.
So instead they use feelings or sensations - it's how as a species we've been thriving for millions of years before our IQ came along. For this person to trust this part of themselves they really need to focus on just pulling the trigger on what 'feels right' by realising that part of themselves is just as powerful as the analytical part of the brain - but it takes a WHOLE LOTTA TRUST to access and fire on it. Funny things start to happen once you trust the deepest parts of your mind.
4) A real lack of commitment and obsession with building an incredible life.
This one is usually the hardest one for people to wrap their head around. Looking at your life and believing that you're going to be one of the tiny percentage of the world's population that have successfully designed their life to love their work, city, relationship and friendships, physical and emotional bodies and financial life is about the most audacious thing you can think of doing... and you absolutely should be thinking that way, because you can categorically do it if you plan and execute in the right way.
Be that as it may, if you want to do audacious things: then you need to both work and commit at an audacious level. There are actually so many ways for this person to have their cake and eat it too.
Just off the top of my head: you could find the right house to put a deposit on in Sydney (that ain't coming cheap,) move their job to something that can be done remotely either at their company or another company, aim to spend a month in Colombia and then a month in Sydney, set up AirBnB at the house they put the deposit on so that it covers their mortgage while they are away (and hopefully a little more) and boom, in less than 30 seconds we have a plan that could work.
Now one of two things happen - you tell yourself excuses OR you start thinking that's a lot of work. Both are a symptom of not being committed enough.
We all need more obsession not less. Find the things you want to have in your life and be OBSESSED with bringing them into your life. You will never meet any single successful person that has designed their life who will say that obsessing about making that dream a reality is a bad thing - it only comes from those who have given up or never even tried. Remember - most advice in the world is not for you, it's for the projection of the person who gave you the advice THINKS you are.
I'll break this down more in the solution part of the post that follows but I wanted to get you thinking about the core concept in the right way.
Thank you for writing in. There are two broad things the talk about in your answer.
The TLDR is; Firstly: Why not have both?
Secondly: Stop beating yourself up now, thanks.
So, firstly, I want to really challenge you on this inbuilt assumption that you have around the ceiling of the quality of life that you want. This entire problem has been framed from a place that puts you without power - it's either you give up what you like in Sydney 100% or you let your family down and don't be around them 100%. 100 years ago that might have been a real doosy, but in today's world I fail to see why you can't have both.
What would it take for you to feel like you were 'spending enough time with your family?' There with them 365 days a year? Visiting one week out of every month? Seeing them for every major holiday? One month out of every two?
Before you start thinking something is impossible, you should probably at least figure out what you're actually talking about. Let's say that you decided that you wanted to spend every second month in Colombia - so let's make a list of what's stopping you from doing that and then work through them one by one and figure out a way to make them go away.
It really is that simple, but it will take work to make it a reality. You live in a world where you've closed doors without even realising it, I live in a world where every single door that is in my control is open to me if I'm just committed enough to getting through it - and you can train yourself to here.
Just off the top of my head:
1) You could find the right house to put a deposit on in Sydney (that ain't coming cheap,)
2) move your job to something that can be done remotely either at your company or another company,
3) aim to spend a month in Colombia and then a month in Sydney, set up AirBnB at the house they put the deposit on so that it covers their mortgage while you are away (and hopefully a little more)
4) Make sure you book the plane tickets
That's one plan of 1000 that you could implement to make this a reality. You wouldn't even need the house if you threw most of your shit that you don't use anyway out and just used Airbnb or Stayz. The key here is not a lack of resources or probabilities but a lack of commitment and love of excuses. Excuses like this:
-I can't afford a deposit! Then start saving. It may take 3 or 4 or 10 years, but so what is the cost of your dreams to you?
-My job won't let me do anything remotely! Then get another job or move to another company or build your own business.
-I don't have enough time for any of this! Then stop whining as you're not really wanting to solve this you're just complaining.
-I can't leave my job! Actually, yes you can. Job mobility has probably never been higher in the entire history of civilisation. I'm sure if you were committed you could find the right job or start a remote business that makes 100k a year.
-What about X or Y! Fuck X AND fuck Y. It's either your dreams or bust.
This type of thinking is often what people pay me for. Most of the time, your problem is actually just a lack of having a PHD towards your approach. That is PIG HEADED DETERMINATION. BD if I told you that I was going to put a gun to your loved ones head if you didn't figure this out and pull the trigger in 6 months, this would change wouldn't it? It takes YEARS of work to make your dreams come true. There are no quick fixes. It's just you and your life when you're 80 years old and how much regret you're willing to live with.
You need more obsession not less. Find the things you want to have in your life and be OBSESSED with bringing them into your life. You will never meet any single successful person that has designed their life who will say that obsessing about making that dream a reality is a bad thing - it only comes from those who have given up or never even tried. Start trusting your gut, your instincts and your soul and just start doing shit that FEELS right.
So that's part one. Fuck not having your cake and eating it too BD. It's your fucking cake. Eat it. I once ate 7 pieces of ice-cream cake that wasn't even my cake to eat and I got in trouble for eating so much. I was 25 years old at the time. This was last year. So I won't judge you for eating cake at all. I won't even judge you for eating the whole thing. Fat Kids For Life. It's your cake.
Secondly, you need to rewire your brain to see love where in the past you've seen guilt. You've been worried about guilt for too long my friend. Where you see guilt, I see love. You're feeling guilty because you feel like you should be with your family, or you should be being a better son, or you should be more grateful and enjoy Sydney - or whatever else bullshit you've been telling yourself.
You want to be with your family because you love them and don't want to let them down. You want to be grateful because you know how much you have and love that and so don't want to disrespect it. You feel like you should be a good son because you love your parents and want them to be proud.
I'm seeing a pretty clear pattern here - which is your feeling love.... sooooooo why are you focusing on the guilt and just worrying about yourself instead of focusing on how you can most effectively give that love to all the people around you? Stop focusing on what you're telling yourself YOU'RE not getting and instead focus on giving that love to everyone around you.
When you're feeling guilty or shameful you're really being selfish, and I know you're not a selfish person - so why are you acting like one? That's what I thought: it was unconscious.
How do you stop? Better questions.
Instead of asking yourself 'Why am I stuck here, or why aren't I helping them or why are they so far away?' you should instead focus on on 'How can I make the people in my life feel even more love, affection and gratitude? Focus on giving more without an expectation of something in return instead of what you think you're not getting or not giving enough of.
So go do shit BD and stop beating yourself up, you're helping no one in the process.
PS - I know I swear a lot, but I get so fired up writing these especially when I get into GDSMJM.