Tuning OUT For Success
It would be impossible to list all of the things people have
considered crucial to success in life. Honesty, energy, bonding,
modeling, control of fear…all are important. For my whole
life, I've searched for the answers in this arena, and treasured
the gems that have been revealed.
In July of 2005, I went back to Longview, Washington, where
I'd lived for nine years, raising my daughter. When we left,
we packed much of our house into two storage units, planning
to return once we had our roots properly planted in Los Angeles.
Going through the storage units was bittersweet-my wife and
I didn't have a huge amount of time to carefully examine every
item in every box. But one book fell out of one box, almost
as if it intended to jump into my hands, refusing to be junked.
It was called "Mastery" (now out of print), and its author
was an old friend of mine, Tim Piering.
Tim was (and is) one of the best men I've ever known. A husband,
a father, an engineer, a Marine officer, black belt in four
martial arts, Tim is a gentle giant with a gift for teaching
and coaching. During the 80's, it was my honor to be part
of a group with which he shared extremely high-level neurolinguistic
and hypnotic patterns, advanced body-mind work that still,
twenty years later, seems ahead of its time. Hands trembling,
realizing how close I'd come to throwing away one of Tim's
few books, I opened it, and came to page 47. there, it said
that if you only had two tools in the world to help you succeed,
they would be:
1) Well defined WRITTEN goals.
2) The ability to take action despite the "Radio Voice" in
And I was stunned. Never have I heard anyone, anywhere, state
the secret to success more clearly, or succinctly. The impact
of those earlier days flooded back to me in a moment, and
I realized how much of my own accomplishment I owed to just
this simple understanding.
Why are these so important, and what EXACTLY do they mean?
We all understand goal-setting, and most of us are aware that
writing our goals down increases our odds of accomplishing
them by at least 10X. There is a quiet magic in the act of
writing goals, and anyone who has practiced this art will
know exactly what I'm talking about. If you doubt it, just
check around and find out how uncomfortable the average person
is in performing this simple, basic act. They KNOW that a
written goal, unlike a misty dream or hope, is a contract
between your conscious and unconscious mind. A written goal
is half-way between a thought and a reality, marking the way
to the future.
But what is the Radio Voice? It is the voice in your mind
that doubts you, that questions, that offers seductive alternatives
to performing the daily tasks that make up our lives. You
want to write a chapter-it tells you that your work is crap.
You want to exercise-it tells you that it is too late, that
your body is beyond repair, why bother? You want to find a
healthy relationship, and the voice tells you that all the
good men, or women, are gone.
Don't believe you have one? Just sit quietly for two minutes
and listen. Go ahead, use a kitchen timer. Listen.
Did you hear that voice saying "what voice? I don't hear a
That's the voice.
It is imperative to become aware of it, aware of its power,
aware that it lies. Aware that the voice in your head IS NOT
No. You are not the voice. YOU are the one LISTENING to the
voice. And this is so important to understand that I cannot
overstress it. Please go back and read that again. And again.
All over the world, there are literally thousands of meditation
techniques designed to "turn off" or "turn down" the voice
of failure. The voice, composed of the memories of teachers,
parents, friends, and our own past selves, can make us doubt
ourselves even in the midst of victory.
Whatever you do, whatever you desire in life, you MUST find
a way to either quiet or ignore those voices, or your results
One of the most powerful ways to turn the voices off is physical
flow. This is the state reached in Tai Chi or Yoga when your
mental and emotional commitment to the technique becomes intense.
You can find it in jogging, when you reach "runner's high."
In meditation, you can observe a candle flame, the smell of
incense, or even your own breathing or heartbeat for 15-30
minutes at a time, on a daily or thrice-weekly basis. When
you try to do this, believe me the voices will freak out and
try everything in their bag of tricks to get you to stop.
This mental/physical practice is directly applicable to any
other activity in your life. To large degree, your chances
to succeed in life will be in direct proportion to your capacity
to maintain "flow", or relaxed concentration, under mental
or emotional stress. The depths of this trance state vary,
but we've all heard stories of artists, inventers, writers
and poets so absorbed in their work that they didn't hear
the phone ring, or even a tree fall through a window! THAT
is concentration. THAT is the ability to shut up "the voices,"
and that is the state you must approach to find your own greatest
Thank you, Tim, for reminding me of that lesson.
NY Times Bestselling novelist Steven Barnes is also
a trained hypnotherapist and success coach. He created the
Lifewriting whole-mind system for writers and readers.
Get a free daily Lifewriting tip at: www.lifewriting.biz
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