Reflect, Revise, Remix your life!
March 15, 2021

The "Why Me" Problem - Mindset Trouble Is A Cycle Of Complexity

The "Why Me" Problem - Mindset Trouble Is A Cycle Of Complexity

Our minds are always deceptive and leaning towards the negative. It's supposed to be this way. Here's how I learned to combat this enemy and rise up from the dirt. 

This is part of a series on getting through the cycles of complexity. If you want more information you can start at episode 10, but each episode will stand on its own two feet, and you’ll get a lot out of each one independently of the others. These are the principles that I’ve been learning, that have been dramatically changing my life for the last few years – and this podcast is for you AND for me. 


Life is full of complexity. Things aren’t always easy. You go to the post office to mail a letter, and too often there’s something wrong and you can’t mail it. You get the flat tire on the way to work. You try to move some furniture in your house and it just doesn’t fit. And these are the easy ones. I used to think it was me. I called myself the anomaly. I’d say “Every time I try to do something that should be simple, some wrench gets dropped in the gears, and life gives me trouble.” Now, it wasn’t really EVERY TIME. And it also wasn’t just me being an anomaly. But these things happen often, and they happen to everyone. Oddly enough, most people think it only happens to them. It happens to us all. 

 

To get through these Cycles of Complexity that life throws at us, it helps to understand this method of forward movement. Ethos, Intention, Efficacy, Agency, Adversity, and Elevation. 

 

I’m focused today on Ethos, which is a good thing because I’ve just had an 8 week struggle with this. 

 

Your Ethos is your compass and your steering wheel. Your character and your operating manual. It defines who you are. 

 

It is determined by several things. 

 

Your mindset, Your character

Your input, what is currently influencing you?

your patience to wait for incremental change (the compound effect)

Your stillness (patience, your relaxed effort – before I found the Cycles of Complexity I was going to call this book Relax and Struggle)

 

Mindset has been in my thoughts recently, because over the last couple of months I began to see that I’ve been letting some poisonous things slip in. I want to begin there. 

 

Over the last couple of years, I have dramatically changed my mindset – I’ve changed most areas of my life. But for the last 8 weeks or so I actually felt like I was on a decline. 

 

Your brain is constantly striving to reach for the negative. It’s an inherited trait that we all have – we’re always looking for danger, looking for the downside. It’s a survival mechanism, built in so that we don’t get eaten by the monster. It’s an incredible tool that we have at our disposal so we can continue as a species. And there is NOTHING wrong with that. 

 

But in the relatively safe society we’re living in, that part of our brain still operates, and we create problems that don’t really exist. We see social conflict as a danger, the new monster, and we’re scared of it. Even if we tell ourselves that the worst that can happen is a bad emotion, we still experience the same fear. This can be detrimental to our mindset, and the whole mechanism goes haywire even in the absence of physical danger. 

 

We live in a normal negative. In the absence of our own effort towards the positive, our mindset will favor the fear of monsters. 

 

All of life is the upward struggle against this downward pull of the normal negative. I’ll be talking about this a lot more when I get to the episodes on adversity, because this is part of the internal and external adversity that we all deal with. 


Transcript

Sm011: Ethos Part 1 - Mindset

Welcome to the Second Mix Podcast where we reflect, revise, and remix our lives. I am Matthew Bennett, thanks for listening today. 

This is part of a series on getting through the cycles of complexity. If you want more information you can start at episode 10, but each episode will stand on its own two feet, and you’ll get a lot out of each one independently of the others. These are the principles that I’ve been learning, that have been dramatically changing my life for the last few years – and this podcast is for you AND for me. 

Life is full of complexity. Things aren’t always easy. You go to the post office to mail a letter, and too often there’s something wrong and you can’t mail it. You get the flat tire on the way to work. You try to move some furniture in your house and it just doesn’t fit. And these are the easy ones. I used to think it was me. I called myself the anomaly. I’d say “Every time I try to do something that should be simple, some wrench gets dropped in the gears, and life gives me trouble.” Now, it wasn’t really EVERY TIME. And it also wasn’t just me being an anomaly. But these things happen often, and they happen to everyone. Oddly enough, most people think it only happens to them. It happens to us all. 

To get through these Cycles of Complexity that life throws at us, it helps to understand this method of forward movement. Ethos, Intention, Efficacy, Agency, Adversity, and Elevation. 

I’m focused today on Ethos, which is a good thing because I’ve just had an 8-week struggle with this. 

Your Ethos is your compass and your steering wheel. Your character and your operating manual. It defines who you are. 

It is determined by several things. 

Your mindset, Your character

Your input, what is currently influencing you?

your patience to wait for incremental change (the compound effect)

Your stillness (patience, your relaxed effort – before I found the Cycles of Complexity I was going to call this book Relax and Struggle)

Mindset has been in my thoughts recently because over the last couple of months I began to see that I’ve been letting some poisonous things slip in. I want to begin there. 

Over the last couple of years, I have dramatically changed my mindset – I’ve changed most areas of my life. But for the last 8 weeks or so I actually felt like I was on a decline. 

Your brain is constantly striving to reach for the negative. It’s an inherited trait that we all have – we’re always looking for danger, looking for the downside. It’s a survival mechanism, built-in so that we don’t get eaten by the monster. It’s an incredible tool that we have at our disposal so we can continue as a species. And there is NOTHING wrong with that. 

But in the relatively safe society we’re living in, that part of our brain still operates, and we create problems that don’t really exist. We see social conflict as a danger, the new monster, and we’re scared of it. Even if we tell ourselves that the worst that can happen is a bad emotion, we still experience the same fear. This can be detrimental to our mindset, and the whole mechanism goes haywire even in the absence of physical danger. 

We live in a normal negative. In the absence of our own effort towards the positive, our mindset will favor the fear of monsters. 

 

All of life is the upward struggle against this downward pull of the normal negative. I’ll be talking about this a lot more when I get to the episodes on adversity because this is part of the internal and external adversity that we all deal with. 

 

And for 8 weeks, I’ve been letting my own brain trick me. As soon as I got to a point where I wasn’t feeling very happy or upbeat I should have done two things to heal my mindset – both of which I neglected. 

 

First, I should have remembered that it’s not all peaches and cream, and that we all have to go through some winters and some long nights, that’s just a part of being human – I should have reminded myself that upbeat times are coming back and that I have to keep working just as hard. 

 

Second, I should have reflected and asked myself “What am I failing to do that would greatly increase my confidence and my self-esteem? What is it that I’m neglecting? What is it that I’m scared of, or hiding from?”

 

I didn’t do either of those things. Allow me to reveal to you my thought process. I recognize now how tricky our minds are in striving to follow the path of least resistance – how manipulative our own thoughts can be as they reach downward toward the normal negative and pull against our upward climb. 

 

My thought process was this: I am not feeling great about life right now. But I am reading good, positive books. I’m hanging around with good, positive people. I’m doing all the right things. So what is the problem? And then I immediately started looking for something or someone to blame. There are negative people around me – maybe it’s their fault. I’m waiting for the weather to get better – if this weather would just get better I’d feel happy. The people all around me are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. I know I’m doing all the right stuff, but they aren’t. 

 

As I focused outward on all of the things that could be causing my distress, I never looked inward where the distress was actually taking place. 

 

Earl Shoaff, Jim Rohn’s mentor said this, “It’s not what happens to you that determines the greatest part of your future. What happens to you happens to everyone. It’s how you deal with what happens to you that determines what your future is like.”

 

I was looking outward for the solution to an internal problem. I was ignoring the fact that I have to change to make everything change for me. And the tricky part, the manipulative part is that I ALREADY KNEW THIS. I had already gone over it, I’d done the homework on it. I’d seen it change my life. But it still got me. For a limited time. 

 

I’ve since strengthened my resolve to decide once again that I am responsible for my life, responsible for how it goes. I’m responsible for following the disciplines, doing the learning, doing the work. 

 

If you’re experiencing some amazing life change because of a change in your mindset, don’t get into the thought pattern that it’s a one-and-done kind of thing. It is a commitment for life to stay on top of it, to keep growing, and to keep changing. 

 

And in reflection after this whole process, I realized that complaining and blaming are the two most poisonous things we can do to our mindset. Because both of those give up control of our lives to outside conditions. 

 

Motivational legend Brian Tracy speaks often about the locus of control. Do you have an internal locus of control, where you see yourself as responsible for your current life, or do you have an external locus of control, where you blame outside forces for your current circumstances? The government, the weather, taxes, inflation, other people, etc.  – Who do you want to be responsible for your life?

 

I believe that our ability to blame is the single most destructive element to our own progress. If we can rationalize our failure to act by blaming something instead of doing the hard work involved to succeed, we will often take that opportunity. Our minds are striving towards the normal negative. That's why the internal locus of control is so vital to forward movement. Then we can only blame our own past attempts, analyze why they didn't work or what we could have done differently, and carry on. 

 

Mindset has a million parts, a million thoughts, but I believe that a healthy mindset starts with saying this:

 

“I’m responsible. It’s up to me. It’s not going to get better until I make it better or until I get better.”

 

For just one of dozens of examples I could give here, Let’s say you come home every day to your spouse, kids, family and there’s always tension in the air – it’s always uncomfortable, even to the point of not enjoying being at home anymore. If you want things to be better, how can it get better? Do you say, if those people would only change, then things would be better? I’ve got news for you – it isn’t going to change. Don’t wait for it change. You can grab up responsibility. You can do the work. You can say that it will change. And if you will change, everything will change for you. Not changing other people. Not forcing them to do the things that make you happy. But changing your response, changing your thought process, and changing YOUR attitude. Select a new attitude. Even if it feels silly. 

 

Keep that in mind – if you will change, everything will change for you. 

 

My normal negative used to be that I looked for conspiracies against me. I could turn any words spoken to me into harsh accusations against me – I’d read into conversations to look and see how I could be victimized or to take offense. This happened so often that it became a habit. My brain said, “Oh, someone’s talking to me. How can I twist these words so that I can take offense.” Don’t get me wrong, I was still a nice guy, I wasn’t constantly combative. But for some reason I often found myself playing the victim. According to Donald Miller from Business Made Simple University, this might have been because victims get help from heroes. 

 

The big change came for me when I confidently realized that I get to let my brain process information the way I want to. I can look for the best. I can look at those same sentences, and look for compliments instead of offenses. I can look for the positive, instead of trying to twist everything into an attack. And if I’m feeling really on top of things that day, I can twist every sentence and turn it into some kind of a compliment. Once I straightened that out, things began to look a lot brighter for me. But as I have found out in the last couple of months – this habit can fade so I have to stay vigilant and keep filling my mind with the pure, the powerful, and the positive. 

 

Thanks for listening today. These are the means I use to get through the cycles of complexity. They started out as a way to categorize personal development information and became a concise paradigm of how to get through smaller and larger projects and problems, and a machine to elevate my whole life each time I do.

 

If you go to the blog at secondmix.net, you’ll be able to grab the transcript if you want to look these over again and extract everything that is useful to you. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me at matt@secondmix.net, I would love to hear from you!

 

Please give me 5 stars whenever and wherever you can and subscribe to get the most up-to-date episodes. If you know anyone who might find this information useful or helpful, please join my mission and tell them about this show – I’ll be here every Monday and Thursday until pigs fly. 

 

Have an incredible week – take responsibility and make it special I’ll be back on Thursday until then keep reflecting, revising, and remixing your life. I’ll see you soon!