And the winner is…
For many, many of my adult years…most of them to be embarrassingly honest (I’m not really…embarrassed that it is) I, for some reason, would always do the opposite of what I should of done. (sound familiar?)
I was like a decades-long Seinfeld episode, where affectionately known as ‘Lord of the Idiots’ George Costanza decides to do the complete opposite of what he normally would do. Unlike George Costanza, where his outcomes were beneficial, mine tended to further compound the situation I was in…and not in a good way.
watch this 2min clip by clicking here …it’s still pretty funny]
I was incredibly fortunate to have the upbringing I had.
I was an angel of a child…just ask my mother 🙄
We were blessed as children to had everything we needed, we lived for the majority of my childhood in beautiful Denmark WA, and were fed incredibly well which made me into the healthy, strong resilient physical specimen that I am still am today.
I am so grateful to my mother for her love and dedication as to what she prepared for us everyday, as I’m pretty sure my physical constitution would not of otherwise handled my “George Best” capacity for alcohol and drugs (not quite in his premiere league thankfully), if it hadn’t been for the nutritional foundation provided to me as a child…thanks Mom ❤️
“In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol – it was the worst 20 minutes of my life.”
“I used to go missing a lot… Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss World.”
– George Best at his Best
Oddly and very happily, that decision has remained stedfast till this very day…
Was it this infantile decision, way back when I was listening to The Doors and Pink Floyd’s, I have to say very underrated album, ‘Animals’ (no ABBA or the so bad, it’s good…no it’s really awful Kajagoogoo for this soon-to-be metro-sexual, cravat & eye-liner wearing new-romantic…god I was a savage beast back then…go the 1980’s) ultimately the segue to awarding myself with a license to self-destruct?
Was it because I subconsciously thought…
I have no commitments to others so I can do what I want?
I only answer to myself?
Woo-hoo, no parents…I can do what I want…pass the tim-tams…eats entire packet!
Who knows…I still have no idea what lead me to my choices back then, choices that were a complete and utter contrast to my ‘loving’, ‘ideal’, ‘healthy’, ‘stable’ upbringing.
These choices not only fed an undesirable longterm cyclical behaviour pattern, but also successfully, in a bad way, rewired an internal destructive narrative that manifested the accompanying compulsive behaviours, that lasted, in some shape or form, and to varying degrees of cra-cra (that’s crazy for all you oldies out there), till I was probably 40…ish
Though never diagnosed this ‘learning difficulty” was reflected in my monumentally colossal academic failure at school.
I. Just. Could. Not. Concentrate
Failed every exam…bar none…
However in other ways I was very lucky, fortunate and gifted. I never suffered shyness nor lack of self-confidence, nor did I lack prowess in the water, on the field or court, so I successfully kicked-arse socially and on the sporting field, which was exemplified during my last two years at Boarding School…so in the eyes of many of my school chums, my last years at school I were a complete “success.”
I however certainly didn’t walk away feeling ‘successful’…au contraire… with the academic failure albatross firmly around my neck, I left school and spent the subsequent 10-15 years reinforcing, through my own psycho-self-analysis (as we do), that I was a catastrophic dumb-arse…I thought I’d fallen out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down.
Maybe it was due to my undiagnosed learning difficulties, and subsequent self-punishment that triggered and manifested into decades of self-abuse?
Who knows, but one thing is for sure it certainly didn’t impact nor affect either my choice or capacity for intoxicants…I always had a penchant for quality…the expensive wines and champagnes, and I would never, god-forbid, touch speed…oh no…it always had to be ‘good’ cocaine. (I understand the irony…but there was an important difference, OK!?)
Years later and finally sober and fit, but still f***** in the head, my compulsions switched to other quality ‘products’. I became a spend-a-holic…wasting HUGE amounts of money on stupidly expensive clothing, hand-made British boots & shoes, and a redunkulous fascinating for Panerai watches….mmm Panerai(add Homer Simpson mmm voice)
Ahh sobriety…you’ve done it again…
Now, I would be remiss to go any further without mentioning my two uncles, as they both had a fair amount of input and influence during my late teens/early twenties, in both my choices and exposure to the ‘finer points’ of self-indulgent behaviour and ultimately influencing my drugs of choice…”good cocaine.”
Much to my parents forewarning when I departed for London, aged 18 and with $50 in my pocket (I’m laughing out loud as I write this). My parents cautiously advised me before I took flight… “watch out for (uncle) Terry, he can be a little decadent”
‘Sounds awesome’...I thought to myself…#naughtygrin
They (my uncles) were Grand-Master, Black-Belted MOFO’s when it came to the choices off the wine list, and they were both fine purveyors of, amongst other things, Columbian marching powder, and had suspected direct access to Pablo Escobar’s private stash (I jest 🙄)…how could these two reprobates be related to my Dad I always thought???
(I’m laughing again…are you Dad???)
Anyways…within months of arriving in London, I was introduced to drinking double Negoni’s, (now the hipster cocktail du jour) and ‘enjoying’ seeing the reflection of my nostrils in the toilet cistern…welcome to London neph!
So, like I’ve said, I have yet to glean from my murky grey matter what caused me to head down the proverbial rabbit hole…but I will…I’m both determined and fascinated as to why i did what I did…
I’m not wanting to blame anyone or point the finger, because it was me and me alone that made these choices. My curiosity is fuelled only to find out more about myself, so that I can continue to further weaponise my own self-awareness for however many years I have left.
Well, since my recovery, my physical transformation and then the ongoing mind[re]set, & cognitive upgrade and spiritual refurb that’s been taking place over the past years..and not dying…has amazingly led me to this point right now, that I find my decision making ability and process to be so clear, so void of not only any confusion, but of complete transparency to the potential outcomes, AND the hurdles and obstacles that will and do arise from the everyday decisions I make…totes empowering👊🏻 .
What a momumental f***** 360 in my thinking from not only my early years but really up and until only a couple of years ago…it’s unbelievably freeing.
And the major kicker??
Anything & everything I don’t know…I don’t not only care about it, but I naturally resist furnishing ‘stuff’ outside my focus/intention with assumption or opinion…because a) I got no control over it and b) it’s not in my sphere of choice. (Stoicism 101)
(lets me be perfectly clear, I mess up everyday, I lose my internal rag, i can say and think the wrong thing…however what is now firmly in my ball-court is my ability to witness and observe my thoughts when I start feeling like the above behaviours rise and potentially negative curtail my actions before they have the opportunity to take grip, spiral out of control and dictate my thinking and what comes out of my mouth)
Think of it this way…
If you allow you mind and thinking to be constantly distracted with external stimulus, actions, words, behaviours etc from things, opinion, people, gossip, TV, social media, email, traffic lights, social media ‘likes’ or lack thereof, slow queues, rude people, Crocs (delete that…no one should wear Crocs) etc…all this crap outside your sphere of choice…then your reaction & response to these everyday life occurrences is based on reactive-assumptions.
Wasting brain space and energy to shit that doesn’t matter is modern life’s crazy-pill that we’re all mindlessly swallowing.
These assumptions will dictate your mental and physical wellbeing, it’ll effect your choices, your internal narrative, your habits, shine a spotlight on your compulsive behaviours and severely impact how well we connect with those around us…especially the most important person…YOU!
Just to reiterate…
Being distracted and acting and reacting to assumptions will steal your future and embed you in the past…and will also catastrophically annihilate your ability to make present-minded sober decisions, AND, more than likely motivate your compulsions and impulses…to drink more, eat more, smoke more, talk more, think less, be more of an arsehole, less kind, motivated for flippant anti-self care behaviours…and a propensity for buying Crocs.
In short, We control what problems we have…
Now, for complete transparency I am paraphrasing from Mihaly Csikszentimhalyi’s essential read “Flow, The Psychology of Optimal Experience”
(and apologies in advance if I’m repeating myself)
Living unconsciously, exposed to the endless and unfiltered distractions, notifications, noise and clutter of modern life, will only see the decisions you make, the habits you choose and the subsequent choices replicate that unconscious lifestyle.
Your choices will be made without observation, they’ll be rash, often delivered like an emotional backhand or vomited up as a gag reflex action that serves no purpose to either ourselves or anyone else.
Living as consciously (practice daily to be as mindful as you can, or, as least distracted) as possible, prioritising quietude everyday for self-reflect, reducing the amount of distractions and being better-minded, will only see decisions and actions that you make being moulded and made with consideration, thought and with an expected understanding of the potential outcomes.
The obstacles that arise from these conscious actions will be met, by you, with sober-observation. Your reactions and subsequent behaviours and thoughts will be not only measured, but embraced…as it is these obstacles that, when overcome, will teach us something new, improve our grit and resilience and make us a better, a more complex individual…and thus provide us with the confidence and momentum to move forward with our process.
And oddly, it’s these negative feedback loops that become so entrenched in our day to day, so addictive…they’re weirdly comforting and so relied upon…which is also reason they’re terribly difficult to break.
Because it’s taken you years, decades even, to construct them…all unconsciously mind you…because we’ve allowed all the external crap to influence, dictate and rewrite our internal operating system…and that coupled with booze, poor sleep, stress, questionable diet and dire rubber footwear choices etc and you can see why we’re dizzy going round n round in the loopy-loop <—-not a medical term.
Sobriety is a wonderful thing. (now I use the word sobriety to explain not only free from alcohol & drugs, but an attempt to be sober from any all addictive behaviours, all compulsion & impulses and a mind that distract us)
In my case…when I got sober, I got healthier and fitter.
Clarity starting to resume, the brain fog lifted and memory returned…which was a good thing, but like all good things…all choices and decisions, good or bad, comes the hurdle…the obstacle.
And in my case the obstacle (lets call it “Everest”) came, and to use a Bob Dylan album and song title, like a Slow Train Coming.
My ability to think consciously about the new found clarity I was experiencing was profound, but at the same time, all the unconscious actions of my past came rearing back…all those “why the f**** did i do that” thoughts…
It immensely demoralising to be re-haunted by those past actions, behaviours and self-sabotage… to have thought, I have got so far, I’m so much better, healthier, fitter…hotter!!! only realise I was a mental wreck, emotionally retarded and fragile. For one, my passive-aggressive behaviour was off the charts…comically so…it still raises it’s head now and again which makes me laugh…through gritted teeth.😬
This realisation severely punished my moral, my inner-fortitude was pressed hard, because I was again tested, where those oh-so comfortable self-destructive addictive thoughts & behaviours come tapping on my shoulder again…helloooo relapse.
I didn’t though…well maybe a little bit, but nothing too destructive.
What did i do? (Something I weirdly & innately did every time i had to struggle through)
…I DOUBLED DOWN AND STACKED THE DECK IN MY FAVOUR.
(In short) I re-addressed and honed my energies and focus on what was non-negotiable.
The absolute essential behaviours and habits that keep me alert, active, physically and mentally strong – voided everything that corrupted my ability and motivations to not take care of myself.
My sleep, restfulness & recovery.
I work every day to practice having a calmer mind, through quietude, reflection, journaling etc (which is a challenge…remembering I’m a tad hyper…you know…Homer, Butterflies, Hula Hoop etc).
I eat intelligently, which in short means, I have worked out and gleaned, through trial and error and over the years, trying every stupid diet out there, what works for me and doesn’t work for me;
And lastly, I move, train, stretch, cycle, hike, swim…do something everyday…these are my active meditations.
One of the many, many awesome outcomes throughout this disciplined* process is I have become my own best friend…hence the self-partnering 😌
I don’t want and I will not compromise the friendship I have with myself as it’s the most important one I have.
you to focus and foster the macros of life)
Shining the light of experience only through my own life-prism, I’d strongly recommend for everyone to find and master their own non-negotiable life skillsets.
Rediscover and stay close to everything that makes you feel alive
It’s through this dedicated, daily process, I believe, that we are best abled to equip ourselves with the mental fortitude, grit and perseverance to unshackle and unpack our old self, dismantle and demolish old negative, destructive feedback-loops that keep us tired, unmotivated, and unconscious…and a slave to problems we don’t need, avoidable ill health and repeating the same shit day in, day out and expecting a different outcome/life.
Your non-negotiable life-choices are a daily mastery practice…everyday…not just Monday to Friday, or just on the weekend…or when you go on holiday…it’s everyday.
You first ❤️