5 Tenets For Transforming Into Your ‘Best Self’
The following is an excerpt from “Best Self: Be You, Only Better” by Life Coach Mike Bayer
I believe that your journey of life is different than anyone else’s. There are, however, some fundamental tools that have proven time and again to be essential to a successful experience with the Best Self Model. These tools, which I have come to call the five tenets for change, help us prepare ourselves mentally for the process we’ll be undergoing.
Curiosity simply means “a strong desire to know or learn something.” If you’ve stopped being curious, you can’t explore yourself. I know it’s sometimes scary digging deep, peeling back those layers, brushing the dust off something that’s been sitting there, planted in your psyche for decades, insidiously growing roots. But by shining light on the dark corners of your mind and heart, you’ll see that whatever is there isn’t nearly as scary as it seemed, and you’ll start to take your power back in ways you never thought possible.
When we think of the curiosity of children, it conjures images of kids running their hands through sand and gazing as it falls through their fingers or watching with wonder as a flock of birds takes off in flight or squealing in delight as they splash in a bubble bath. This is experiential learning; they are understanding the world around them using all of their senses, and this is the type of curiosity I want you to engage in, as specifically applied to yourself.
Honesty and integrity are one and the same—it’s all about doing the right thing. Without total honesty, you won’t be able to really connect with your Best Self. You may think you will align if you keep secrets, but let me tell you, you will fail. If you’ve been trying to avoid something, it’s time to face it—and I promise that the confession, and fallout, isn’t as bad as you might think it is. We are only as sick as our secrets. Secrets and shame can keep you from achieving positive outcomes in your life by tripping you up on the journey.
Because our brains are hardwired for survival, we aren’t naturally open-minded when it comes to new things or ideas. Our brains recognize that what we’re doing right now is working well enough, so we avoid change. We’re not in any grave danger, so we just maintain the status quo. But we aren’t talking about escaping an immediate danger; instead, we’re talking about upgrading our operating system to go from surviving to thriving.
Openness is fundamental as we tinker and adjust how you live your life. The more open you are to new concepts, the higher your likelihood of success. Being open essentially means being teachable. I can guarantee that your life will improve if you remain open to the idea that you don’t always have the answer, that new information can be added to the answers that you do have, and that you can do things better than you are right now.
You can rest assured that anyone who has made a radical change in their life, from getting sober to losing a lot of weight or making a big career change, has maintained their willingness. Willingness is the action step; being willing to stay in action, not just in thought.
You, too, need to be willing to go to whatever length is necessary in order to better yourself. Yes, it’s possible this may require you to step far out of your comfort zone, so you need to be willing to do that, too. I think you’ll be shocked to find that once you’ve properly visualized your goal, it won’t be such a stretch to do the work that’s necessary to reach it. I believe if you’re willing to do something, that’s when you actually will do it.
A real-life scenario that can demonstrate to you the power of focus is to look at the flip side—thinking of what can hap- pen when we are not fully focused on an important task. Texting and driving is really the ultimate (and most pervasive) example of people trying to split their focus between tasks, and it has deadly results. At least nine people are killed every day because of a distracted driver. We are not capable of being in two places at once, physically or mentally. In order to do the work required to improve our lives, we need to minimize distractions and create a setting that is supportive of the focus required.
What is your unique way of staying the course? I say “unique” because everyone has different ways of focusing. For example, while reading this book you may find that you are better able to focus by reading alone in your quiet bedroom with a cup of tea and a pen. Alternatively, maybe you thrive on energy around you, so it would be better for you to do your reading in a coffee shop with your laptop. If you’re not sure, do a little experiment, try a couple of different environments, and determine which one allows you to stay the most tuned in.
From BEST SELF by Mike Bayer Copyright © 2019 by Mike Bayer. Reprinted by permission of Dey Street Books, an imprint of William Morrow.
This book excerpt was featured in the December 1st edition of The Sunday Paper. The Sunday Paper inspires hearts and minds to rise above the noise. To get The Sunday Paper delivered to your inbox each Sunday morning for free, click here to subscribe.