Self sabotage, generally feeling tired, lack of motivation or having a sense of your goals not being achievable are just a few of the niggles which get in the way of us being our best selves.
I will be completely honest, three times in the night I was woken first by my noisy neighbor at 2:30am who lives above me. At 5:30am with someone’s car or house alarm ringing for over 20 mins, at 6am the builders started coming in to collect equipment from their garage 2 doors down.
If ever there was a time to give in to self-sabotage, put my head back under the pillow until noon or give up on the tasks I have set myself for today, this is a classic example of letting externals get in the way.
It’s fair to say you can’t bank time, trade time or claw back those hours of interrupted sleep and it’s even truer to say I could let my tiredness put me in a bad mood, not write my weekly blog, give up on the list of things I have set myself to do, maybe even take out my lack of sleep on my clients, friends or family.
You see sleep, time, irritations and getting things done (or not) is all about perception.
The meaning we place on our experiences
Many years ago I studied NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) an approach to communication, personal development and psychotherapy which was created by Richard Bandler and John Grindler. Studying NLP helped me understand the way the mind works, how we store and retrieve information and how we communicate.
The mind is amazing, it’s a storehouse of information that we filter through, judging new experiences through an old lens. We distort, delete and generalise experiences based on what’s happened in previous ‘movies’. We often predict how something will end even when we have no evidence, we just go back to an old movie that’s similar in some way to the new experience and evaluate it through comparison with the record we already have.
Our past experiences influence how we react to others and the world around us
We often get things totally confused and what is actually happening may not even be recognised, as we have jumped back into default mode where we are basing current experiences that compare to similar ones that we have experienced in the past.
Our past experiences influence how we react to others and the world at large and also determine how we act and behave. An external event will be experienced through our senses and before we make an internal representation of the event we filter the event. We literally go inside that storehouse of information deleting, distorting and generalising the information through our five senses.
Our storehouse of sensory information
- Visual (what we see outwardly, including how someone may look at us)
- Auditory (what we hear, including sounds, the words that we hear and the way words are spoken by others including tone and pitch)
- Kinaesthetic (what we feel internally inside our bodies or externally via touch, including the texture of something and level of pressure felt physically)
- Gustatory (taste)
- Olfactory (smell)
Deletion: When we delete information, we may be paying attention only to certain aspects of a situation and delete other aspects overlooking, ignoring and omitting sensory information coming into us. We delete in this way as there is so much information coming into us, that if we didn’t delete we would experience too much sensory stimulation (information overload).
Distortion: It’s easy to misrepresent reality. What is actually happening in an experience can be distorted and we can perceive things incorrectly. We distort, creating imaginary futures often in a negative way.
Generalisation: We can make up and form our beliefs based solely on one or two experiences. We absorb information and make assumptions about what the information means, comparing it to the information that we have already stored. Sometimes our assumptions are incorrect.
Use these questions to reveal what you may be distorting, generalising and deleting as you process information
- What positive aspects aspects of your life, career, relationships etc do you delete?
- How do you distort information to avoid taking risks, protect yourself and keep yourself playing small?
- When do you generalise negatively about what is achievable for you and what you can or can’t do based on external events, situations or people?
It’s true I was woken several times last night but even truer than that I actually had a total of nearly seven hours sleep, not bad eh….
So instead of focusing on missing sleep, the missing event of what I would have liked (sleeping a solid 8-9 hours) I’m re-framing my experiences and focusing on how great it feels to be up, washed, dressed and ready for my day a little earlier and how I have time to write my blog before my first client arrives instead of trying to fit it in, in between other things.
At 5:30am, the sky sure is pretty as are listening to the little birds singing their lungs out in my garden.
I’ve already had my breakfast, put a wash on, crossed off 3 things off my to do list and feeling rather satisfied that with the time i’ve missed sleeping, i’ve gained time and used it to my best advantage.
As you go through your day take a moment to reflect on what you are distorting, deleting or generalising and re-frame your experiences and thoughts to work for you, it will be time well spent to do so.
Last week we talked about Missing Events – Making up for lost time I will continue a little on this theme throughout the month of July.
Time waits for no man, or woman come to that, Carpe Diem, Seize the Day!