Monthly : October 2015

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The Everyman’s Superpower (Part 4: The Choice)

(continued from Parts 12, and 3)

Life can be viewed as one long string of micro-choices.

Most of these choices are made unconsciously by the autopilot of habit of course, but they are still choices.

And our conscious choices are often powerless.  Or to put it more politely,  most of us have what psychologists call an “External Locus of Control.”

During the Cold War, I was serving in the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps in the Republic of Korea.  I can’t say what our average day to day duties were (or much about anything my fellow spooks and I did), but I can tell you this:  most of it was not Jason-Bourne-sexy.

Sure, a bit of it may have been movie-worthy but the majority was pure tedium.  When we weren’t breaking the monotony with heroic doses of hilarity, we would philosophize into the wee hours.

One particularly memorable conversation (in Korean – so a bit of the cultural nuance is lost when told in English) began with me finding one of the KATUSAs (Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army) crying at his workstation.

My KATUSA friend believed our lives are governed by some mysterious unseeable force called “fate.” And unfortunately for him, he believed his fate was to suffer.  His (arranged) fiancée cheated on him with his own brother.  His parents demanded he marry her anyway.  

I immediately went into solution-finding mode:  Defy your parents … Make it a marriage of convenience …  Live a secret life …  No.  No.  No.  I just wasn’t getting it.  ”Don’t you see, Joyner?  Because my fate is to suffer none of those things will work.”

I spent the rest of the night trying to break his Confucian conditioning.

His epiphany finally struck when I drew this diagram.

S = stimulus.  R = response.  C = choice.

Years later when I read Man’s Search for Meaning, I was so amused to find precisely the same notion conveyed …

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom. – Viktor Frankl

… and humbled to find it conveyed by a man who battle-tested the notion in the harshest of conditions.

30 Second Sobriety Test

The power of choice is not The Everyman’s Superpower of course, but we won’t even use The Everyman’s Superpower if we are not first sobered up by the staggering importance of choice.

For example …

Step 1.  Remember

Hold in your mind all of the poor choices, bad habits, and toxic beliefs that have vexed you thus far.  (Go ahead … It’s OK.  It’s part of being human.  No one is watching.)

Step 2.  Project yourself 10 years into the future

Where will you be if you continue on that path?  How many pounds of baggage in body fat?  How many more aches and pains?  How much more debt?   How many lost friendships and chances?  How heavy the regret?

Step 3. The wish 

In that moment of realization, you wish someone would give you a time machine.  You wish you could just get the chance to go back in time and make different choices.  You wish you could explain to your past self the staggering importance of these choices.  Even these micro-choices that seemed so unimportant in the moment …

Step 4.  Your wish fulfilled

Guess what?  You were given that time machine.  You are now 10 years in the past.  What are you going to do?

What are you going to do?  Pick any that apply …

Are you going anesthetize yourself with TV and junk food?  Or get out there and move with the rhythm of nature until you become a force of it?

Are you going to let the petty nit-pricks of haters and naysayers slowly bleed your mojo?  Or make the voice of the badass you are becoming the loudest of all?

Are you going to be disheartened by the cowardly schemes of petty thieves and saboteurs?  Or nurture your resolve on a diet of grit and clean living until you discover one day your heart is unbreakable?

Are you going to let society’s guardrails channel you into the frog-boiling pot that is mediocrity?  Or power up your jetpack and go find your tribe?

Are you going to let the name that long gone villain called you rattle around in your head to this day?  Or …  you get the idea.

That’s the magnitude of the choice before you now, since you were so lucky to hitch a ride on the time machine.

What are you going to do?

Mark

P.S.  Speaking of choices … On the next (final) post you will have to choose:  Retreat back to the side of the looking glass you were on before you began this rite of passage.  Or spend $1.   That’s what it will cost ya for a spooky little comic book life manual titled The Everyman’s Superpower.

The superpower … How to use it … everything will be revealed on its pages.

Discussion15 Comments

  1. Mark Joyner says:

    rayliverified What if instead of wanting stuff you weren’t comfortable with wanting, you wanted stuff that fit in with your view of the way you want the world to be?  How about wanting to help kids in need?  How about wanting supreme fitness and health?  How about wanting opportunities for your family?  How about wanting a sustainable and inspiring home space?  So many wonderful and positive things to want :-)

  2. Mark Joyner says:

    kayceejaycee Absolutely.  Greatness doesn’t always come packed with celebrity.  Indeed, it rarely does.  Celebrity is just a different skill set to be mastered.

  3. Mark Joyner says:

    GeoffMcNeely Hey Geoff, that’s covered in a single frame but probably not clearly enough haha.  I think it depends on your definition of “fail.”  If you’re bliss in life is to explore and that’s what you’re doing, did anything go wrong? :-)  That said, I think I’m in the same category and sometimes I’ll narrow my focus (temporarily deferring other interests) in spurts based on what do I want to accomplish?  What do you want more?  A single accomplishment or to continue exploring?  We do have to choose at times …

  4. Mark Joyner says:

    WinkJones AnnCampbell1 Hey Wink, I think Anne’s advice is solid.  Both of these things tend to be skills one develops over time so getting in there and regularly clocking time on both is a good idea.   As for correcting your knee pain, I’d find a good Chek practitioner in your area and let them guide you through the process.  There are many advertised quick fixes out there, but it’s a complicated issue tied up with diet, sleep, and everything else that affects overall health.  It’s going to take someone who understands the complexities guiding you through a series of habitual changes (biomechanical, dietary, etc)

  5. Mark Joyner says:

    jdvanbru Hey, Juggernaut Academy is a separate from Elite.  As for Blackbelt, there is one Black Belt training, but it has been sold in different ways depending on what our current offers are.  But Black Belt is Black Belt :-)

  6. Mark Joyner says:

    GeoffMcNeely Mark Joyner KGFrank I think you are very close to cracking it now.  The awareness of how the diffused energy is affecting you is the key.

  7. Mark Joyner says:

    KGFrank GeoffMcNeely Maxwell Maltz talked about how it’s easy to balance a bike if it’s moving forward, but quite difficult when standing still.  It’s a wonderful metaphor, isn’t it?

  8. Mark Joyner says:

    WinkJones Mark Joyner AnnCampbell1 Hey Wink, there are several.  Try here :-)  http://www.chekconnect.com/app/findpractitioner

  9. Nancy Hall says:

    I made a little poster with your questions on it because they are crucial to read each day until they are “in there” and have morphed into virulent action-o-matic daily behaviours. Good stuff, Mark! Thank you!! for sharing your in-signts. May we all be (more) internally locused controlled! :-)

  10. Sebastino says:

    Transform

  11. Helmut W. Karl says:

    Hello Mark,
    I must admit that – being a foreigner speaking a foreign tongue – that I have had “my problems” with “desire”, when I first read Hill’s “Think and grow rich”. Most of the (translated) definition I had found for “desire” didn’t fit my picture of what’s really requried to become successful and to make sense of Hill’s advice.
    I had my own view of what’s required and I replaced (the various definitions in my language for “desire”) with a word I’d translate into english best with “demand” (meaning “make myself demand for”). And I concluded that before I can “make myself demand (the object of my success)” I need to truely decide or resolve to BE the person who demands (the object of their success).
    And in my view, “to decide” or “resolve” means that there simply is nothing else left that could distract (me) from what I demand. (I.e. I don’t allow anything distracting to be present.)
    I fetched your “comic book” and read it carefully again – and I must say I totally agree with everything that is said within — though, in my own language I replaced “desire” with “demand” (of course not the english words, but their equivalents in my language).
    And I’d like to express my gratitude for the immense work that was put into this little book to “condense” the wisdom down to so few pages! Thsi booklet truely is a precious marvel! Kindly, Helmut

  12. Lennie Conger says:

    Moving through to step 5 now, see you there.

  13. Rafael Omar Garcia says:

    Will not miss my prise!

  14. Carl Dickens says:

    Really good posting mark. It is important to remember to pause after the stimulus and to consider our choices and not act impulsively.

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