What I Have Learnt from Brian Tracy’s Exercise

20th of June every year is the international day of productivity.

Motto:

God, please give me the power to change what I can change, accept what I can’t change, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

 

  

What do you change when something doesn’t fit?

The external reality, or territory, causes certain problems for each of us, problems arising from the missing match between the map (the guide we use to explore reality) and the territory. In response, we have the freedom to try to change our map or territory.

Some try to change the territory when their reality does not suit them. But if they try to modify aspects of reality over which they do not have control, such as the others, or objective facts/situations, they find that this is … impossible.

One of the most accessible ways to change others is to change our behavior towards them. If this doesn’t work, what we need to change … is our map.

The way to not accepting reality leads to insanity. I read somewhere that “madness is the disease of the soul”. The distorted perception of reality occurs when one falls prey to the desire to avoid the suffering of accepting reality by building an acceptable inner reality, which does not need to interact with the external, hostile reality. Instead of adapting their map and learning something from the mismatches, they are stubborn enough to consider that only what they consider to be true is “truly” real. And this is really sad and worthy of compassion.

 

  

Tell them that I am young and beautiful!

There was once a young lawyer who traveled the entire world, over mountains, oceans, seas, and countries, in search of the Truth. At one point, standing on a high mountain, during a storm, he entered a cave to find shelter, and, to his surprise, he found a little old woman who sat and warmed up to the burning fire inside. Our man, surprised, looked at her and said:

Who are you?”

I?” the woman replied in a calm and wise demeanor, with many wrinkles on her face due to her age… “I am the Truth…”

But you can’t be the Truth! It is unacceptable for me to return to all those who knew that I searched for the Truth and tell them that, when I found it, it was in a forgotten place, on a mountain, where no one would have imagined to look for it, embodies by an ugly old woman!”

Then tell them that I am young, beautiful, and you found me on a beach at the sea!”

I once told someone this story and she was very sad. It is regrettable that, beyond the “problems”, people become worried on top of everything.

 

  

Too much time for nerves and worries

Now I wish to tell you about an interesting exercise that I have applied (and still apply, during certain periods), about the article I published in 2010, “What Are You Doing with the Rest of Your 8 hours a day? “. Brian Tracy suggests a challenging exercise to evaluate how we manage our time. I confess, from my own experience, that its first application in 2006, for just a few days, has changed my way of managing my time, as well as my attitude towards problems, and I am convinced that this is valid for many of the readers of this article who will effectively apply it, as well.

The exercise consists of writing, for one day, every half hour, what you have done in the last half hour. My first notes showed something like this:

8.15 I started my computer

8.30-8.45 I had a fit of nerves because of the system errors; I went online

8.45-9.15 I had a fit of nerves because of the internet connection

9.15-9.45 I calmed down

or:

6.30-7.00 I got home and prepared for my meeting with A.

7.-7.30 I found out from A. that he is no longer coming to our meeting. I was preoccupied with this

One thing I noticed after a few days was that, even though I was officially complaining that “I don’t have time”, in fact … I had too much time! I had too much time, because if I did not have so much time available, then how could I have spent so much time on fits of nerves, calming down and worrying?

At one point, a single woman who had 5 children and worked from morning till evening, always at the limit of subsistence, was asked admiringly: “You are one of the persons who are in the most difficult situation that I can imagine. How come you never get depressed?”. “Well, she said, firstly, I don’t have time to get depressed. Secondly, I cannot afford to go into depression, 5 children at home depend on me, even if they do not always understand or appreciate my work”.

 

  

Are you using energy to solve problems or complain about them?

A second thing I found was that I had too much energy that I needed to consume. Many people are starting to complain to me about different situations in their lives because they perceive me as a good listener. They are quite surprised when my response to such difficult situations as the ones they describe to be are so corny: “buy a bike!”. I must admit, there is a variation of this answer, for the situations in which it is about others. This is “Buy her/him a bike!” Why? Because, first of all, whoever has so much need for drama in their life has a lot of energy to consume!

(keep reading ↓)

I am very curious who would still be able to have a fit of nerves or depression after 5 laps of one’s neighborhood on a bicycle. So I got myself a bicycle many years ago. Since then, I no longer spend my time on the phone stressing my friends with my troubles because I need to “unload”. I think that no one is obliged to bear the waste of others’ lives just because that person was not educated to consume their energy related to those emotional discharges in a more useful way.

A third thing I noticed was that I spent, in the examples above alone, two and a half hours to unload emotionally using the pretext of problems, instead of solving them. For example, a phone call to A., before starting to prepare for the meeting, would have exempted me from an hour wasted in vain. Preparing an alternative activity while trying to open the computer and connect to the internet would have been more than welcomed. There are, for example, a lot of people stressed by the “idle time”, such as queuing or public transportation, but not when one takes books or an mp3 player to play personal development audiobooks. It is more preferable to choose to waste that time, hours in a row, hours after hours, to have a justification to themselves for the way they choose to consume themselves emotionally.

If all you have in your hand is a hammer, then everything around you will seem nails to you“

Abraham Maslow

 

  

Seller, fish where there is something to catch!

I do not agree that what you bring into your life using the “law of attraction” is entirely dependent on you. However, I think that people have the responsibility to use their resources in a way that can influence their lives for better or worse, and it is everybody’s right to choose how they use their freedom to either increase or limit their freedom.

If you use your energy to change what is not in your power, then you waste your time and limit your freedom. If instead, you use your energy to solve the problems you encounter or, even better, to prevent them, then you will save time and increase your level of freedom. However, to do this, you must first give up the significance and importance that the status of a helpless victim gives you. Your choice.

Finally, one of the most important and difficult things I learned in this regard, in my experience with people, was to respect everybody’s right to make any of the above choices without trying to “oblige the old woman to cross the street without her wanting to”, as a Romanian proverb says.

How does this translate into business?

Search for clients where they exist!

Or, what Brian Tracy told me when shaking hands with him, I asked him:

What is the best decision that Romanian entrepreneurs can take to develop?”

He answered me in the purest American style, with a wide smile:

Come to the seminar!”

Marcus Victor Grant

Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2011-present Translation by Cristiana Brezeanu of the article “Ce am învăţat din exerciţiul lui Brian Tracy“  previously published by Marcus Victor Grant in Romanian in August 2015 on Economia Online. Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, all rights reserved. Originally written in 2011. Updated in 2020. 

The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.

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