Everything in life you currently have or get to do is a result of the box you created growing up. You have your box to thank for everything you are currently experiencing. Conversely, everything in life you currently want is being kept from you by your box, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The Do Over Guy shows you how to live life outside your box and literally live life to the fullest… the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Everything in life you currently have or get to do is a result of the box you created growing up. You have your box to thank for everything you are currently experiencing. Conversely, everything in life you currently want is being kept from you by your box, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The Do Over Guy shows you how to live life outside your box and literally live life to the fullest… the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Matt: Hey, this is Matt, “The Do Over Guy,” and this is Your Do Over: Episode 26.
Announcer: During an era where countless people, businesses, and organizations are feeling the pinch, running out of time, running out of money, losing confidence, feeling as if life is unfair, praying for another chance and unless something is done, life is going to pass them by. Life is going to pass them by.
Fortunately, in the nick of time, there is now a place where the ignored, underestimated and unknown steps to producing results and making life work are revealed. Save your career. Save your business. Save your health. Save your relationships. Save your life. Get from where you are to where you want to be, faster and with greater ease than you ever thought possible. Say, “Hello!” to Your Do Over.
Matt: Welcome to Your Do Over, coming to you live from downtown Los Angeles. This is the place where I show people who want more out of life, people dissatisfied with their current situation how to start over and begin a new life, setting goals and objectives so they can create wealth and life to the fullest.
You can jumpstart your Do Over and lay a solid foundation for a better life by downloading the Three Pillars of Creating the Ultimate Do Over for free at FreeDoOver.com It’s a 55-minute mp3 audio program that I made just for you with three specific steps on how to get success as you start over.
The Three Pillars of Creating the Ultimate Do Over will put the legs under your table. They will lay the foundation for you to achieve. They will act as your traveling success coach. They are yours for free at FreeDoOver.com.
Before we get into today’s episode, just a quick FYI. This is the last day of the Do Over contest. If you haven’t already, you still have a few hours to login to iTunes and post your rating and comment of the show. As of the recording, you have about 24 hours to be exact. Once you do, send me an email to [email protected] with “I did it” in the subject line for your chance to win a new video camera. They still have the Flip HD cameras available, and I’ve got an assortment of gift cards, and a copy of my book, “Do Over,” both the e-version and audio version. Everybody is going to win something. All you have to do is participate. Just show up. The say 99% of success is just showing up. With this contest, it has to do with 100% of success is just showing up because everybody is going to win.
Julie logged into iTunes just this weekend and wrote, “I can’t get enough of this podcast. I listen to each one as soon as it is available and go back and listen to my favorites again and in between. Matt generously shares a wealth of invaluable insight, tips, and inspiration. He speaks to us, not at us, as if he’s sitting in the same room, and delivers each episode with passion and compassion. I highly recommend this podcast to anyone. Whether seeking a do over or not, listening is time well spent.” Thank you, Julie! Thank you for your nice words. They’re heartwarming to say the least.
She followed it up with an email. “Matt, I was thrilled to hear that you extended the deadline for your audio digital book giveaway. I just finished posting my comments on iTunes. I posted as Julie AJM. You are so generous with your time and talent. Rare quality! Thanks for everything. You are genuinely appreciated. Julie” Julie, you’re absolutely welcome. Thank you for participating. Thank you for your nice words. Thank you for comments. You can certainly look out for your gift very, very soon.
Tanya logged in and she wrote, “You are such a cool down-to-earth guy that I’m waiting for my invitation to your downtown LA loft. You give the simplest advice that makes the greatest impact. I listen to your podcast mostly when I am road cycling. I find myself smiling, thinking, or just pausing after hearing your words of wisdom. I look forward to learning more from you, growing into the plans God set for me, and living life to the fullest without fear of whatever that may bring. Before I go, let me also thank you for the tools you share with us like the recording and must-reads. May God continue to bless and keep you, Matt.” Same to you, Tanya. Thank you.
Then she sent me an email. “Hi, Matt. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us. I’m glad I was led by God to your podcast. Thanks, Tanya.” Again, Tanya, thank you.
So that’s all you have to do. All you’ve got to do to participate is log into iTunes, place your rating, place your review, and then just send me an email saying that you did so. Then tomorrow, I’m going to take all of the names, put them into a hat good old-fashioned style and I’ll start drawing them out one by one. I’ve got Starbucks gift cards to give out. I’ve got iTunes gift cards to give out. I’ve got some Macys cards, a Gap card, a Barnes and Noble card, and, of course, the grand prize: an ultra HD Flip Camera.
Why an HD flip camera? I just think they’re cool. I use mine all the time. I record my videos with them, my personal and professional videos. The pictures are clear. The sound is good. They’re easy to use. They easily upload onto the computer. They’re just awesome.
I should have the episode announcing the winners up in the next few days, and then we can get on with business as usual here at Your Do Over and focus on what’s really important – your do over, you and your life.
I’ve got a special request podcast today from Jeff S. During my down time in April, I received an email from Jeff and it read, “I can’t wait until iTunes puts your podcast back up. In one of your upcoming podcasts, can you talk more about the box?” That’s Jeff’s request talking about the box.
If you don’t know what the box is, it’s actually a chapter within my book, Do Over, about one of your biggest invisible barriers, and that’s the box. By the time, I’m all done, you’ll know exactly what the box is. So, certainly, Jeff. Coming right up.
I realized actually days just before I received your email that this is a subject from my book that I haven’t discussed on the show yet, and I got to thinking, why not? Well, I don’t really have a good answer other than I think I wanted to get to know you all a little bit first, and I certainly wanted you to get to know a little bit about me as well.
The reason being is the box might be interpreted as a little bit “out there” for people. But the more life I put under my belt, the more I believe it to be true. The box is one of those invisible barriers that if you don’t know it’s there, it can run your life. It can essentially ruin your life, or at least keep you locked into a life of mediocrity. It can create a very predictable and almost certain future, and if you don’t like the life that you’re living right now, or you know you can live more, that’s something that you certainly want to take control of. Albert Einstein even said, “A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”
Now, the box. It’s an invisible barrier, and invisible barriers are common to every human being. I mean if you’re human, you have them. It’s very similar to the blind spot in your car. You can’t see it, but boy if you change that lane too quickly or too suddenly, you’re certainly going to know something is there. If you don’t know what they are and how to deal with them, they’re likely going to keep whatever you’re seeking in life forever beyond your grasp. Today, we discuss one of them, a big one: the box.
Now, as humans, we have one specific system and one specific condition in common. It’s your survival system, or what I like to refer to as your box. Growing up, we all unknowingly created a box that we live within. If you didn’t know that, you did it. Whether you know you did it or not, you created this box as you were growing up.
The purpose of this box is to protect us from everything that exists outside the box. It automatically distinguished for us the difference between right and wrong, and good and bad. The box is so efficient in defending us through these distinctions that most people never know of its existence. But make no mistake, it is there and it’s very powerful. It pretty much governs ever thing you do. No, not pretty much everything…. Everything.
The box is an automated defense system similar to what we refer to as reflexes. Just as you automatically pull your hand away from fire, the box will automatically protect you from responsibility or commitment.
And just as your eyelid will automatically close or blink when something quickly approaches it, the box will automatically protect you from embarrassment or looking bad. The box spends a lot of time protecting your ego, so to speak. Maybe you’re thinking, “What’s wrong with that? That doesn’t sound so bad to me.” Well, here’s the rub. The box that protects your ego also impedes your living a fulfilling life.
In other words, everything you want that you don’t have right now, it exists outside your box, and the box won’t let it in. Now, this idea may be intriguing to some of you right now. It might be confusing to others and outlandish to the rest. It’s not necessarily true though, but it’s just a way to look at life and yourself, whatever category you’re in. We’re going to look at this like trying on a pair of sunglasses.
I’m not asking you to believe in anything. We’re just trying it on like we would try on a pair of sunglasses. If they fit, we’ll keep them. If they don’t, we’re just going to put them back on the rack. It’s just a different angle, a different way to look at life.
Every human has his or her own box, yet each box varies greatly from human to human. In fact, no two boxes are quite the same size or shape, very much like your fingerprints, your eyes, or your personality. No two are the same size or shape. The box gives us each our very own unique identity, our character, and our personality.
With that, come our self-imposed limitations. Get that: self-imposed limitations. Our awareness of how we live with and how we work in and out of the box is what will make the difference in the achievement of your goals. I’ll go into that more a little bit later, but before we can work with the box, we will need to identify how we each created our own unique version. Certainly, you definitely created it.
Although some of you may be following along with no problem, I’m guessing a great number of you can be completely lost. What in the world is this box, right? Well, for those of you with that question, and to clarify for those of you who think you’re right there with me, I’ll give you a real-life example.
Imagine someone were to spit in your face. By the very nature of being human, an automatic response would be stimulated, certainly. But what would that response be? Can you agree with me that different people would respond in different ways? Meaning one person may reciprocate and spit back. Another may respond by breaking down and crying in embarrassment, another person may respond with a right hook, and another may turn the other cheek and simply walk away.
This is a rather extreme and crude example, but I like it because it illustrates the point very effectively. All that really happened was—if someone spits in your space—all that happened was you got wet, and then you decided to give getting wet in such a manner a meaning. You (or I should say your box) made getting wet in this manner either humiliating, embarrassing, or initially you thought disgusting. Or your box was insulted.
Or maybe you thought your box was confused. I mean, why did this person just spit in my face? What a terrible thing to do. Your box can respond in several different ways. There are several meanings you could attach to getting wet in the crude manner, but what you want to get is you get to choose what you make it mean to you.
If you don’t consciously choose, your box chooses for you. You see, it’s not what happens to you in life that determines where you end up; it’s how you react to life that does. But if you don’t consciously choose how you react, you’ll live a life of limits, self-imposed limits; a life of mediocrity – an unfulfilling life.
That’s an extreme example. Here’s a more practical example to demonstrate how the box can directly affect your success, how it can directly affect your achievement. Imagine three warehouse employees of a widget manufacturing plant. It doesn’t really matter what they’re manufacturing. Each employee feels they are underpaid and each has overdue bills. They are each dealing with the same stuff in life. All three are unsatisfied with their jobs, and they do nothing but complain during breaks and lunch about their respective situations. So not only are they dissatisfied with their current situation, they complain about it at every chance they get.
One day, the department manager calls the three into a meeting and presents to them an opportunity to participate in a percentage of the company’s monthly profits by making cold calls to solicit new business. Each employee is going to receive a bonus in direct proportion to the new business they generate in addition to their current paycheck.
Employee number one:
Employee number one responds with enthusiasm, making 100 calls resulting in increased business for the company and a generous bonus for himself. Employee number one’s bills are all paid, and she receives a promotion for her outstanding work.
Employee number two:
Employee number two responds with reluctance – makes a few calls and then quits, resulting in a nominal bonus. He’s still behind on his bills and maintains his current position.
Employee number three:
Employee number three is paralyzed by the fear of calling strangers and makes no calls, resulting in nothing. In result, employee number three is now on the short list to be laid off during the next downsizing.
A less enlightened observer might call employee number one ambitious, employee number two your average Joe, and employee number three lazy. I want you to resist taking this common and obvious position and consider it has nothing to do with their ambition or laziness, and everything to do with their respective boxes.
Each employee has been hard-wired to respond. Their survival system is protecting them from being wrong or looking bad. That’s what the box does. To clarify, employee number one’s definition of looking bad was not paying his bills. She felt that was looking bad, so she took advantage of the opportunity she was given and she excelled. Employee number three’s definition of looking bad was imposing on prospective customers via unsolicited calls, so he made no calls. Then employee number two waffled somewhere in between. He gave it a try and likely received a few disgruntled responses from his calls, and then quit.
Each employee was given equal opportunity, yet each responded differently. These three employees had a choice in how to respond to the department manager’s proposal, but rarely do people consciously choose; the box typically chooses for them. It’s automatic. And because it’s automatic, it creates a probable and almost certain future for the employees. It creates a probable and almost certain future for you as well. Now, hopefully, you now have some insight as to how this box may impede your efforts and results.
What I want to draw your attention to right now is how a human gets hard-wired, how this box gets created. Identifying how your box was created is the first step to living outside of it. Now, I’ve been taught about the box from several sources, all of whom have put their own twist on the concept and assigned it their own unique name.
I’ve implemented the lessons I’ve learned and I can first-hand confirm the box’s existence, and I can confirm its power. Based on my lessons and my life experience, however, I have come up with my own theory on how it works. As with a lot of being and a lot of gravity, it’s not as important to understand how it works, but to understand that it exists. Nevertheless, I have a theory on the inner-workings of how we each create our box.
There’s a part of the brain known as the reticular activating system, and it’s responsible for the box’s creation. The reticular activating system is the name given to the part of the brain believed to be the center of awareness, the center of arousal and motivation. The activity of the system is crucial for maintaining a state of consciousness. Its proper function is a prerequisite for consciousness and awareness to occur.
I remember during the summer after I graduated from high school the transmission of my old Nissan 200SX Turbo went kaput. My mom, bless her heart, was there to save the day…again, and ponied up for a new transmission.
Now, $3500 later, the car soon blew a gasket for something like the sixth time in two years at $300 a pop. It was time to get rid of this maintenance-plagued money pit and get a new car. So my mom and I drove to the Nissan Dealership to have a look around, and when I laid my eyes on the brand new version of my car, the 240SX, I just about lost it. I remember this day. I think I was like 17 or 18 years old. The car was beautiful. I wanted it so badly I couldn’t contain myself. I could vividly imagine myself driving down the street being the first one on the block with this beauty.
The dealer was very generous with my trade-in, a transaction was conducted, and off I went in my brand new 240SX. It was an amazing day. I remember it like it was yesterday. It certainly wasn’t yesterday, though, but I remember it like it was. Not ten minutes on the road with my new wheels, I had pulled up to a stop light right beside another 240SX. That’s odd. I had never seen this car before tonight and within ten minutes, there another one was. Oh well, moving on. Before I had got the car home, I had seen another. Within a week, I had noticed at least another dozen Nissan 240SXs.
What does this story have to do with the reticular activating system? Well, it has everything to do with the reticular activating system and everything to do with the creation of your box. It’s the reticular activating system that had me notice Nissan 240SXs every time I got in the car, every time I drove down the street.
You see, the day before I purchased that new 240SX, I had no awareness of that car. Once I purchased the car and owned it myself, that reticular activating system had been activated. My awareness of the car had been switched on and the car seemed to appear around every single corner. That is how the reticular activating system works, and that is precisely how that system creates your box.
As humans, we are the only creatures on earth that are born into a natural state of disorientation with the world, as opposed to other creatures that are guided by instinct. We have been given the power to create our lives. It is an absolutely blessing. It is God’s blessing.
Whether we are aware of it or not, each and every one of us does exactly that each and every day. We form thoughts. We speak words. We make decision. We take actions on a daily basis that endlessly shape our lives. We come into this world self-expressed and completely absent of inhibitions. That’s how we enter the world. This condition, this self-expressed condition, it lasts until somewhere between the ages of three to five years old. Give or take, but between three to five years old. We are confronted with our first pivotal decision—our first big decision in life.
I refer to these as pivotal decisions because in these moments of decision, they happen in an instant. Your life is hard-wired by these decisions. With this first decision, the first of four pillars of your survival system is put in place. Your box has been placed and it is taking shape. Your reticular activating system has been activated.
This first pillar decision that you’re going to have somewhere between three and five years old is the very first time in your life you recognize something here isn’t quite right. It’s the first time you recognize something is wrong here. It’s the very first time your free and fun-loving life, your fully self-expressed life, a life without a care in the world, the first time it gets rocked, the first time you go, “Whoa! What was that? Something is wrong here.”
It was in that moment, you made your first pivotal decision. You decided who you were going to be and how you would forever adapt and react when faced with a situation of “Something’s wrong here. Something’s not quite right. This doesn’t feel right. Something’s wrong.”
After learning of these pivotal decisions of life, it took almost a year before I was able to uncover mine. I remember I was three or four years old and my mother had just remarried. I don’t remember a whole lot from that time. I can’t even place the house where this happened. What I do remember is the night of the wedding my mother and my new stepfather were fighting like cats and dogs, and it seemed like they fought all night. I was in my bedroom with the door closed, with my head under the pillow, and just waiting for it to end. I couldn’t wait for it to end. It was an unbearable yelling match. I was unable to even discern the content of the argument. All I remember was this loud yelling—lots and lots of yelling.
But that wasn’t when I made my first pivotal decision, however. The decision came early the next morning after peace had seemingly been restored to the household. I opened my bedroom door. I walked out on my way to the stairs. I was on my way downstairs to get breakfast, to get my little bowl of cereal, and I noticed at the head of the stairs on the ground the aftermath of the night before. I saw the hat that my mother had worn at her wedding. It was torn to shreds.
It was in that moment I decided something is wrong here. Something is not quite right. I think I was three or four years old. Just imagine what could go on through a three or four year old’s mind when they see something like that. Well, that was my first pivotal decision, when I recognized that something is wrong here.
In that moment, I could’ve decided to be an abuser, a protector, or a caregiver. There are a number of choices I could’ve made. In that moment, I became an over-accommodating individual who avoids confrontation. The hat that had been torn to shreds represented the hurt feelings of my mother and the affects of loud confrontation. That was the result of loud confrontation, and I didn’t like it. Something’s wrong here.
The reticular activating system, my reticular activating system, had been activated. My box had taken its initial shape. Once this initial shape has been taken, the reticular activating system will from that point forward focus on evidence that proves the box correct, bolstering the strength of the box.
Not only will the reticular activating system continue to notice evidence confirming the box, it will actually seek out evidence to strengthen the box. Just like my reticular activating system was noticing the 240SX everywhere, now all of a sudden, it was avoiding the result of confrontation everywhere.
That first decision of who I decided to become in the face of something’s wrong here, that first decision and the other three to follow, have pervaded my entire life as your pivotal decisions pervade yours. Make no mistake about it.
Now, whenever I’m faced with confrontation, whether in personal or business matters, my box wants to keep the peace. It doesn’t want a repeat performance. This box has placed a limit on the amount of confrontation it will allow me to endure. Even if persistence in the matter would serve me, my box wants to protect me from confrontation. The box remembers my mother’s hurt feelings and shredded hat. Over the years, it has gathered evidence to support that. The box doesn’t want to re-live that moment or any moment that may cause the same results, literally or figuratively. It’s so powerful in its duty of keeping the peace; it will cause a confrontation adverse person like myself to violently avoid a threat to restore the peace. That’s how important peace is to my box. That’s how important avoiding confrontation is to my box.
I’m an accommodating individual even when not faced with confrontation. This pillar of my box makes me a naturally good host at dinner parties, a chivalrous man to my woman, ne always willing to allow another car the right of way. These characteristics of my life are on auto-pilot. It’s simply how my survival system works, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That part of my box certainly serves me in many arenas. It’s hard-wired and it is what it is. There are ways in which the box serves me, and there are ways in which it doesn’t.
For example, it stifles my self-expression, and it causes me to clam up when speaking my mind would benefit me, would benefit others. Here’s the good news: I’m now aware of how it doesn’t serve me. I am conscious of its existence and I am conscious of its impact. I’m conscious of its impact on me; I’m conscious of its impact on others. It is then and only then that one can begin to take control of this automated response, to take control of this reflex.
Some of you will instantly remember your first moment of something’s not quite right or something’s wrong. Others of you are going to have to enquire for a while before you get it. The rest of you may never remember, and that’s okay. What’s important is that you know what happened and that you have a set way of responding to something’s not quite right, and a set way of responding to something’s wrong. Perhaps you automatically ignore the situation. Perhaps you automatically run from the situation. Perhaps you automatically want to make the situation right. Or you automatically get depressed. Or you automatically get sad. Or you automatically get confused.
There’s an extremely wide array of responses your box could automatically take. And because it does this automatically, it creates a pattern, a response pattern. It creates a pattern of results of which I referred to earlier as your predictable and probable, almost certain future. Notice the word probable. Not definite; it’s probable. It’s your awareness of this response pattern that empowers you to create your future and not leave it up to the box to create your future for you.
We’re not done, though. There are three other pivotal decisions we all make in our lives.
The second pivotal decision reveals itself somewhere in grammar school somewhere between first and sixth grade. It’s the moment in which you decide you just don’t stack up. It’s the first time you feel you’re not good enough. It typically happens the first time you compare yourself to someone else, or your fail to meet expectations. Maybe you fail to meet your own expectations, or maybe you fail to meet someone else’s expectation.
The words that you utter at this moment, they’re not very polite by the way. In this moment, you actually say to yourself something along the lines of, “I suck.” Maybe your exact word isn’t “suck,” but you get the picture. It can be the first time you were picked last for the kickball team, or when you lost the spelling bee, or when you were scolded by a teacher for a bad paper, or when you were laughed at by the kids for the clothes that you word, or the way that you talked, or the way that you look, or for so many people, the first time you’re rejected by the opposite sex. The first time you have that feeling, “I’m not good enough.”
A woman once shared with me that when she was a little girl, she spent a summer vacation with her grandparents. Her parents had sent her off to spend the summer with her grandparents. When she returned home, there was a new baby in the house. Her mother had given birth to a new daughter. The girl first thought after returning home from vacation was, “Who is this? Why do you need another child when you have me? Am I not good enough?” That was her second pivotal decision.
To demonstrate that she was good enough and that she didn’t suck, in an instant, she decided to be an overachiever. “I’ll show you!”—that became her attitude. There’s no doubt in my mind this was the case because at the time she shared this with me, this woman had two PhDs, managed her own practice, chaired board of two different hospitals, was president of her son’s PTA, volunteered for three different non-profits, and competed in triathlons. I’m just tired talking about it.
Again, here’s the rub: her marriage was on the rocks, and her son was constantly in trouble with school and with the law. Her box was working overtime to prove she was good enough. Her box made no time for her family where she rightly felt she was good enough there. She felt she was good enough there because her family likely expressed their love for her.
In result, she took her family for granted. She didn’t have her attention there. She was so busy on the outside world proving that she was good enough. Here’s what she deserved to start seeing: if your box is controlling your life, it’ll generally leave you unfulfilled. What I mean by that is one person’s box maybe produces poverty, yet fulfilling relationships, another person’s box might produce riches and wealth, yet the inability to relax and an unpeaceful mind. If the box is producing the positive aspects of your life, it’s also producing and creating the negative aspects as well.
Now, we have a box that was originally created by “Something wrong here.” Then it reduced in size after deciding, “I’m not good enough.” It then gets a little smaller after the third pivotal decision. This is the moment in life when you first realize you’re different or you don’t belong. This moment is closely related to the “I suck” moment a few years earlier, but this moment is distinct. The reticular activating system has been able to acquire enough evidence that you’re not good enough that one day comes and it smacks you right upside the head up with, “You flat out just don’t belong.” Typically, and not surprisingly, this happens some time in high school. It can be the moment you’re excluded from the cool crowd or maybe the first time you realize there even is a cool crowd and you’re not in it.
As with the previous pivotal decisions, this moment can occur in a wide variety of situations, but the gist of this one isn’t difficult to get. At this first pivotal decision, “I don’t belong,” we’re old enough that recalling this one is fairly quick, easy, and obvious. Most of us can remember this moment in high school. You’re probably thinking of it right this second. I know exactly when that was when I felt that I didn’t belong. I remember mine vividly.
During my freshman year in high school, the break dancing craze was picking up steam on the west coast. I was fascinated the first time I saw it – the moonwalks, the backspins, the popping, and just the dancing. I loved the dancing, loved the music, and I loved the clothes. Oh, the parachute pants. I loved the parachute pants.
Being a White kid going to school in upper middleclass Irvine, California in 1983, there weren’t too many at my school who shared my newly found passion. Here’s an image for you. Imagine a Southern California high school in 1983 where the girls either look like Madonna, Pat Benatar, Cindy Lauper, or Molly Ringwald. The guys with their feathered hair Risky Business ray bands and stone-washed jeans. The music of The Police, The Talking Heads, The Cure, and The Boss blaring out of the Volkswagen Rabbits, Jettas, and Shirakos. Rubix Cubes, crimped hair, Watches, rubber bracelets, sweaters around the waist, rolled sleeves, leg warmers, spandex. You get the picture. It was the 80s. If you’re too young and these words aren’t bringing up vivid imagery for you, the movies “Sixteen Candles” or “Can’t Buy Me Love” make great reference material.
Imagine a 4’11’’ skinny white kid—yes, I was under 5 ft. my freshman year in high school. Imagine a 4’11” skinny white kid wearing an oversized hooded Nike windbreaker, bright yellow baggy pants with zippers down the side, and his favorite Converse Chuck Taylor high tops with fat red laces.
Imagine that kid walking through the lunch area completely oblivious to how out of place you looked. Yep, that was me, the Do Over Guy. I was into it all: break dancing and rap music. That was my thing. I lived and breathed everything Herbie Hancock, Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash. I lived and breathed everything Hip Hop.
I remember one day in the locker room after PE, I was sliding on my yellow baggy pants and from over my shoulder, I heard a sneering voice that uttered just one word: “Poser.” Laughter erupted inside of the whole locker room, and that’s all it took. In my world, that was the worst thing to be called. Hip hop is all about being authentic, being true to the game, living the culture, surviving adversity, and fighting the man. That’s what hip hop was to me then.
Looking back, it’s hilarious that I was able to create that world for myself. I was able to create that reality for myself in Irvine, California, birth place of the yuppie. But I did. It was very real to me, and I was devastated by the utterance of that one word. Poser.
I had just been informed that I didn’t belong to my school’s crowd, nor did I belong to the hip-hop crowd either. My box shrunk yet again. It was in that moment, I decided I would never be called a poser again. From that day forward, I would go the extra mile in everything I did to appear authentic.
Being authentic now represented belonging to me. The irony is by trying to appear authentic, the exact opposite is produced: Inauthenticity. That is how my box adapts to “I don’t belong.” Study, study, study. Analyze, analyze, analyze. Process, process, process. Make sure you know everything before taking on any endeavor.
And although preparation is a strength of mine and it serves me well in many areas, it limits me in others. And as I’m inclined to get ready to get ready, or be stopped by analysis paralysis, I’m wired that way. It’s the third dimension of my box, and it’s okay. It’s okay because I’m aware that it’s there, and I know how it impacts me and those around me. And because of that awareness, I can control it.
For example, the awareness of this dimension is what eventually allowed my book to leave my perpetual editing hands so you could actually acquire it. If I was unaware of this part of my box, I would probably still be editing that book and it would not have been released. I probably wouldn’t have this podcast either. I wouldn’t have my coaching business. I wouldn’t have a blog. That box wanted to make sure that I did it perfectly, that no one could ever call me a poser.
There is amazing power in this awareness of how my box wants to protect me by slowly thinking things through, overpreparing, overanalyzing, and overprocessing. I can look back on my life and clearly see the toll this dimension that my box has taken.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a huge idea guy. I get what I think are ingenious ideas every day. I’ve been that way as far back as I can remember. But by always getting ready to get ready, I was unable to benefit from my active and intuitive imagination most of the time. Now, however, when I recognize this dimension taking over, I consciously implement the ready, fire, aim strategy to achievement. In other words, when I find myself stopped by overanalyzing, I recognize it, I make a decision, and then I proceed. I take action behind that decision.
More often than not, it produces a favorable result. Sometimes, not what I had intended to produce, but favorable nonetheless. It’s ready, fire, aim that has produced this podcast, obviously. I’ve had my challenges and obstacles to deal with, but because I implemented a ready, fire, aim approach to this podcast production, here we are, episode 26, and you and I were able to meet. If I had left it up to this dimension of my box, we never would’ve met.
I’ve nurtured the belief that it’s not necessarily the great idea that’s going to make it a great idea, but rather what you do after you make the decision to act on that idea. That belief produces a very different life than one of getting ready to get ready. If I wasn’t aware of this part of my box, I would be getting ready to get ready for life for the rest of my life. Half of my life is over. Thank God I discovered it. Thank God I’m aware. Thank God you have the opportunity to look for that in your life as well.
The last pivotal decision, the final shaping of your box, it will generally happen to you somewhere in early adulthood. It’s the moment you first realize it’s all up to you. It’s the first time you realize you’re on your own, and you actually say something to effect of, “Oh, I guess I’m on my own now.” At that moment, just like the previous three moments, the previous three pivotal decisions, you make a decision to be a certain way whenever you find yourself faced with “I am own my own.”
A good friend of mine remembers his pivotal decision vividly. It was a few months after he graduated from college and he had decided to remain living near the campus. To help him get on his feet, his dad had moved him into an apartment while he searched for a job. He searched halfheartedly because his father was subsidizing his cost of living with a monthly allowance, and he really felt no sense of urgency to become employed.
A few months passed and reality was setting in. Life after college was turning out to be more challenging then he had expected After about four months of his job searching and living off of Dad’s dime, he called home requesting additional financial assistance. He needed more money. For the first time in his life, for the very first time, his dad declined his request. “It’s time you stood on your own two feet, son.” And he meant it.
Living far from home, it was in that moment he had realized for the very first time he was on his own. He was terrified. In that moment, he forever decided to be resourceful in the face of “I am on my own.”
That doesn’t sound like a bad thing to be, and it’s not. The flip side of the coin, however, is he is extremely controlling. He must do everything himself and he has issues with delegating. It’s this one dimension, as he tells it, that’s responsible for three different business ventures failing. He admits that he is great at getting the business up and running because his box is resourceful. Whenever he feels he’s on his own, he gets really resourceful and produces results. Yet, when it comes time to hire help, he micromanages because his box won’t let him delegate because it’s so resourceful. He micromanages every employee right out the door. He’s controlling. He has to be in control of those resources at all times.
When he finally got down to the source of his failures, once he was able to define the four dimensions of his box, particularly the fourth, he’s now able to recognize it when it gets in the way. He trusts his resourceful box to find the right employees and then lets go and allows them to do what he hired them to do. Sure, it’s a struggle for him.
On occasion, he slips back into his micromanaging ways, but when challenges occur on the jobs, he knows precisely where to look first. “Am I micromanaging?” je asks himself. “Am I over controlling?” If the answer is yes, he lets go. If the answer is no, he inquires within the other three dimensions of the box.
Hopefully, it’s becoming clear how awareness of your box gives you power. Who you are, what you do, and what you have right now resides inside your box. Who you want to be, what you want to do, and what you want to have in life that you don’t currently have resides outside the box.
If you are to achieve what you want, what you don’t currently possess, you will need to think outside the box. You will need to act outside the box. You will need to live outside that box. To do that, you must know the size and dimensions of your current box. Awareness gives you control.
Spend some time thinking about your four pivotal decisions you’ve made in life. It’s going to take some effort. It’s going to take some time. Some of you might remember them right away. Some of you, it might take awhile. Some of you might get some of them right away and it takes awhile for the others. But spend some time because your life depends on it.
That box is choosing for you, so spend some time thinking about your four pivotal decisions. The first being, “Something’s wrong here.” It happened between ages three and five years old, I bet the first time you decided, “Something’s wrong here.” How did you respond? How did you react? Look for the patterns of how you acted, how you responded every time you’re faced with “Something’s wrong here.”
Even today if you recognize something’s wrong, what was your instinct? What was your initial reaction? What was your reflex? Those can all be clues on when you first made that decision. The second, “I’m not good enough.” That’s your second pivotal decision. The first time you felt you weren’t good enough, somewhere probably in grammar school. Someone made fun of you, someone didn’t pick you for the basketball team, and you got scolded for a bad paper from the teacher; whatever it may be. Look there.
Then look in your life right now. When you feel you’re not good enough, how do you respond? Do you run away? Do you clam up? Do you get aggressive? Do you get shy? There’s a pattern there, and those patterns are hints and clues to when you first made that pivotal decision. The third pivotal decision – “I don’t belong.” Typically, in high school is when that first decision was made. That’s typically an easy one for people, one that they might not feel comfortable admitting when it happened, but it’s typically easy to remember. The fourth pivotal decision: “I’m on my own.”
Think about how you respond when you’re face with those situations today. When you feel you don’t belong, how do you deal with that? Do you try to belong or do you remove yourself from the situation so you don’t have to experience that feeling?
When you feel you’re on your own, how do you respond? Do you call home to mom? Do you call a friend? Or do you get real resourceful like my friend and start to think how you could make a conscious choice in the face of those situations rather than allowing your box to make the choices for you? How can you do something completely unfamiliar? How can you go against the grain? How can you live outside the box?
When faced with “I don’t belong,” and you back up to become the wallflower at the party because you feel you don’t belong, what is a completely unfamiliar action that you could take? Take it. That’s when you’re living outside the box.
When you experience “Something’s wrong here,” what’s your typical reaction? Do you get angry? Do you get loud? Do you get sad? Do you get depressed? Do you just ignore it? When faced with something wrong today, what is something completely unfamiliar to you that you could do? How could you live outside the box?
I use that word “unfamiliar” on purpose, intentionally. It’s a really important word: Unfamiliar. It doesn’t necessarily mean do the opposite. This means so something unfamiliar. When you’re faced with “I don’t belong,” and when you’re face with “I don’t feel good enough today,” how do you respond? What is an unfamiliar action you could take? That’s when you start living outside your box.
I could go on talking about this forever. Perhaps, I’ll do a part two in the near future, but in its simplest concept; everything you are currently doing or have exists inside your box. Everything you want exists outside of it. In order to get it, you can’t let your wiring, your automated system, or your box to automatically or instinctively make your choices for you. That goes for the small little choices you make every day and it goes to the big life-changing choices you make. They’re all life-changing, by the way. Don’t get that twisted. You should understand what I’m saying, though. Like I said, I can go on about this forever and ever probably, but that’s all I’ve got for you today.
Listen to this episode again. It’s worth it. Repetition is the master of skill, the mother of learning. That’s all I’ve got for you today. Don’t forget the contest is not over. You still have time, about 24 hours from the time of this recording. I’ll have this up in a couple of hours so you’ll still have about 24 hours. I’m ending the contest on May tenth at midnight. Log on to iTunes, search “Your Do Over,” and place your ITunes comment and rating, and send me an email to mattatthedooverguy.com with “I Did It” in the subject line. Be sure to include your ITunes name in the email so I know who you are, so I can send you a copy of Do Over. I can send you all the other prizes you’re likely to win as well. Don’t delay, though. Post your comment and rating before midnight May tenth.
Next episode, I will have all of the results, including a very special guest. I will have all the results of the contest and a very special guest. I’m excited. We haven’t had a guest in a while, and I think you’re going to love this person, especially if you like comeback stories, especially if you like our money conversations. This person is inspiring to say the very least. He’s helped me in multiple ways. But the best part is he’s willing to help you, too, so you don’t want to miss the next episode.
Love you guys! I am Matt, the Do Over Guy, and I will see you next time on Your Do Over.
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