Not Easy: Just Clear

By Jim Selman | Bio

I was coaching a friend of mine. I was sharing a bit of how important
it is to ‘come from’ your vision for your life. Our future is always a
product of our actions, and our actions are always a correlate of how
we relate to the future. When we act as if the future has already
happened, then it is only a matter of time before that future is
realized or we learn what we need to learn to achieve it. Her response
was, “Well, you make it sound so simple, but it is too abstract and I
need to know ‘how’ to have what I want in the future.” This was my

"I understand. Everything is abstract until we learn it.

don’t think learning a new way of being or a different way of observing
the world is simple. I think it is clear when we can set aside our
conventional wisdom and ‘try on’ a different mindset. Not easy, but

If you are 100% focused on ‘how’ and ‘doing’, then it is impossible to learn a different way of being.

normally try to BE different (or become resigned that we can’t change
the way we are) by trying to change what we DO—we try to modify our
behavior. It doesn’t work that way.

We must separate ‘being’ and ‘doing’ as two separate domains.

way of being is not CAUSED by our behavior any more than a Picasso
painting is caused by the brush. It is CREATED. Moreover, your way of
being doesn’t CAUSE anything, it is the CONTEXT that defines the
boundaries of what can be accomplished, all meaning and whatever is
‘doable’. Once we can keep these domains distinct (by creating the
distinction), then we have a choice about who we are and can move in a
world of commitment and coordination that is not a ‘re-action’ to
whatever our history (our story) about a given situation is telling us.

‘how to’ is simply changing our conversations and having some mastery
of committed speaking and listening. It also helps to have a coach.

we can accept that ‘who we are’ as persons is not separate from ‘who we
are’ as parents, lovers, managers and so forth, then that is a
beginning to the awareness that we CREATE how reality occurs for us
through our interpretations in language. There are many choices and
possibilities beyond merely COPING with our circumstances.
Many of
us are masters at coping with difficult circumstances. But we often
speak of our lives as if they are permanently conflicted in terms of
our balance between home and work, where we live, who we are with, our
private life, and our concerns about the future. This is normal. Most
of us have demonstrated intelligence and talent in getting along and
being reasonably satisfied. But the big question isn’t about what is
reasonable. The big question is:

 Are we TRULY happy and satisfied, empowered and enthusiastic about the future on a day-to-day basis?

so, there is nothing more to say. If not, then the questions are “What
is missing?” and “Can we CREATE what is missing?” If we can’t, then we
are left to cope with what we have.

My worldview is all about
BEING, not DOING. In our conventional worldview, there is no
distinction between ‘being’ and ‘thinking’—there is no BEING. (This is
the Cartesian paradigm: the “I think, therefore I am” worldview.) In
this view, BEING doesn’t exist except as something metaphysical or as
an abstraction or as a ‘thing’ and object.

The key to mastery of
self (and, therefore, happiness) is to be able to tolerate the
discomfort of not understanding (or believing) and to stay connected
and committed to the possibility that:

  1. As beings, we are not objects.
  2. We have choice at every moment regarding our way of being and how we relate to the world.
  3. We
    have the power to ‘have it all’ in terms of maximizing our happiness,
    health, experience of love, being valued and self-expression (our

Another part of mastery is the understanding that
the future has already happened. That is, our actions are always
correlated with how ‘the future’ appears or occurs for us. If we can
change how the future occurs for us, then we can have a different
future than the one that is available to us from the past—from  ‘the
circumstantial (Cartesian) drift’."

© 2009 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.