Monday, May 03, 2010

Inspiration ... or Desperation?

Why do people choose to change? Or, on the other hand, choose not to?

I learned, in a class not too long ago, that "why" comes in two flavors: inspiration and desperation. And, despite me wishing that all people changed their minds, their attitudes, their business practices, etc. in response to inspiration (toward pleasure), I'm reminded every day how it's really more likely that if anyone changes anything, it's out of desperation (away from pain).

One of the differentiators may be how the stimulus is interpreted (that which causes either pleasure or pain). Is it out of a response or a reaction? To do either involves choice. Reacting means we have given that choice to someone or something outside of ourselves. We find ourselves in reaction mode when we do not have time to create the future because we are so busy handling the present. Heck, in reaction mode, the future can only look a lot like the present because it doesn't require any original thought on our part.

When we respond, we take back control. We anticipate things to come and think about them before saying or doing anything. We get to decide how, and really if, we allow outside forces to affect us, both externally and internally. When we respond instead of react, we actually feel more at ease (or less in dis-ease) and actually have many more opportunities to move toward pleasure instead of away from pain.

Despite the fact that nearly all of us are able to respond to things instead of react to them (that's why it's assumed that when we get to a certain age, we are response-able), it appears that not all of us are willing to do so.

One way to determine whether you are spending more time reacting or responding is to check your results. What's happening in your life? Are you happy, fulfilled, energized, surrounded by great people, feeling pretty fortunate? Or more the opposite - like a victim of your surroundings and upbringing? In other words, when you do make a move in your life, is it away from things or toward them? Think about jobs you've had.

I know for me it took 4 different career moves for me to realize that in each case I was moving away from pain (in desperation) and the cause of that desperation kept following me to the next move. At some point it finally occurred to me that the only thing each of those jobs had in common was me and unless I changed something other than my external circumstance, I was going to keep getting the same result.

Becoming an entrepreneur, albeit an accidental one at first, was the first time I really moved toward something instead of away from it. And that first step in 2003 was taken on really shaky, unsteady and unsure legs. In June of 2005 when I launched Bock's Office, I think I was finally beginning to understand that it is possible - and I was willing - to respond and create something instead of react and wait for something to be created for me.

Where are you in your reaction/response journey? Do you identify more with pleasure or pain? The first step is to become aware of the distinction.

If you're ready to take your future into your own hands, consider joining a Think and Grow Rich study group. We'll be launching several in-person, semi-virtual and virtual groups over the summer to help you determine that for yourself by studying the principles of this classic book, and their application to your own life.

No matter which camp you find yourself in - inspiration or desperation - if you're feeling any restlessness or discontent, this may be the time to act.

A year from now you will wish you had started today! Our next in-person group starts Thursday, May 13 in Fargo. If an 8-week study won't fit into your plans, mark your calendar now for the Genius & Purpose workshops June 23 & 24 in Fargo where Dick Richards will guide us in uncovering, naming, and putting into practice our Genius.

When you're ready to move into response mode, you will be amazed and delighted at all the people and resources at your beck and call. Look for opportunities and they'll be there. Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they'll show up.

Which do you prefer? The time is now!


At 7:41 AM, Anonymous nancy said...

I've been thinking about this and people's finances too. Many people don't pay attention to them until they get into trouble.

At 11:30 PM, Blogger Phaedra said...

I just happened upon your blog very recently, and I am pleasantly surprised. A lot of what you write rings true and has a sweet scent of familiarity. I thank you for sharing and blogging your knowledge and experiences.

At 6:37 AM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...

Great connection, Nancy. It sure does apply to finances, doesn't it? Thanks for finding me, Phaedra! I'm glad there is another kindred spirit out there!!

At 6:44 AM, Anonymous DC Jobs said...

I really like the parts of this post where you talk about acting vs. reacting, and how acting allows us to control the way in which external events affect us.

This kind of thinking is great, because it can be applied at work, in your own business, or even with your interactions with family and friends.

At 6:48 AM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...

Thanks, DC! I'm glad you recognized that this is totally transferable information and knowledge that really shouldn't be limited to one venue. When we change our thinking, it really does permeate every part of our awareness. The thing I've noticed over the years is that changing my thinking may bring me closer to some people, but pull me away from others. Sometimes, until they know better, people are comfortable in their victim-thinking and when someone shifts away from that, they become uncomfortable and would rather not shift their own thinking. So it's not without its own challenges.

But I'd choose awareness any day over ignorance (which I used to believe was bliss).

Thanks for stopping by!

At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Lou Ann Bennett said...

Thanks for sharing this Jodee! I appreciate your willingness to share from your own personal experience too! It's much more meaningful than most blogs!

I really liked your whole blog! Especially the part about "response-ability" = able to respond. So simple.

Every time we experience anything in our lives it's stored in our neural net of our brain. An event in our lives occurs and our brain reacts based upon the stimuli that resembles the closest past experience. Unless we are mindful and or become aware along the process, we tend to react which means we act like we did before on the previous experience. This process of event, brain connection, reaction grooves in behavior and forms quick links for triggers to allow us to react quicker.

Athletes and masters of all kinds have used this as practice for optimum performance at some point.

The key is to be intentional for what we want to groove into our neural net.

I also believe there is a correlation between our personal neural net and a collective neural net. What do you think Jodee? Do you have an article or blog that connects how our personal reactions and responses to a larger scope of collective human consciousness?

At 8:04 AM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...

Lou Ann: Great question about individual or personal responses affect collective consciousness. I am very interested in your findings as well. I am reminded of Lynne McTaggart's work with The Intention Experiment ( in which volunteers meditated on various intentions including peace with measurable results hundreds of miles away. I trust the results others are seeing in the big world; in the meantime, I see the results in my world from my own intentions which gives me my own measurable results. My world changes when I change the way I see my world and that feels fantastic!

Thanks so much for adding your powerful words here. You and all the readers rock my world in a VERY good way! Thank you!

At 2:37 AM, Anonymous Lou Ann Bennett said...

I love Lynne McTaggarts ability to raise awareness and join forces all over the world for experimenting with intention and making a difference AND being able to capture that data scientifically. This is good stuff!

I'm wracking my brain trying to remember the source where I read about how our neighbors are the ones that have the most impact on us. Especially the neighbors on either side of where we live. I believe it was looking at the quantum affect where the most minute aspect ends up having a much greater and dynamic impact in the bigger scheme of things. It could have also been about the tipping point. I'll definitely check it out.

Reference would be helpful and I also have my own experience with this phenomenon. The neighbors on my block have gradually all started doing some of the same things that specific neighbors originated. Sometimes without even realizing others are also doing the same thing. For example, riding bikes more, changing diets whether it's from meat to vegetarian to vegan to raw, also gardening and traveling to name a few.

Overall I think about culture and our thinking in general and how it affects ourselves and others.

Thanks for the continued inspiration! I really enjoy reading you!


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