Fate is the hand of cards we’ve been dealt. Choice is how we play the hand.
Question: how do environmental triggers influence the hand though?
Basically an environmental trigger is any stimulus that reshapes our thoughts and actions. The crazy thing is: Most of us go through life unaware of how these environmental triggers truly define how we act and who we are.
More technically though (for anyone who hasn’t taken psychology 101) a trigger is any thought, smell, or sound, that can either put us on, or in the alternative, take us off the right track.
And by track, I mean our set of goals or objectives that defines who we want to be.
There are a few interesting books out there by Marshall Goldsmith: Mojo, and Triggers, to name a few of his most popular.
Marshall in essence proposes that there is this interesting push/pull reaction between us, and the world around us. And if we don’t control this relationship, then our environment will control us.
I love the line from Triggers: “Fate is the hand of cards we’ve been dealt. Choice is how we play the hand.”
His perspective is interesting because he’s of the opinion that what makes positive, lasting behavioural change so challenging - and causes most of us to give up early in the game - is that we have to do it in this imperfect world, full of “triggers” that are there to push us and/or pull us off course, all the time, and every single day.
There are so many of them…. Even simple things like for example, a snowstorm, a flat tire, and a call from a friend to go for a pint. Every day, we are surround by triggers that can and will attempt to deflect us off course. And simply put: we can choose to accept and deal with them, for example take our time and drive through the snow storm calmly, or allow the triggers to push us away from our real life objectives. And for example, say screw it, I’m not doing that today, because the weather sucks…
Have any of you watched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pumped. This was way back in the day, before Terminator, before Conan the Barbarian even. Anyway, there is one scene in the movie that blew me away.
Basically Arnolds’s dad dies in the middle of his training for the Mr. Olympia competition. His mom subsequently informs Arnold, but he refuses to go home to Austria to the funeral, because he said that it would interrupt his training he would lose the Mr. Olympia title.
The thing is: this tragedy didn’t happen a day before, or even a week before the event. We are talking months here. This may sound cruel, but he knew at the end of the day, that if he disrupted his routine, and flew from Venus California to Austria, that he was screwed: that this disruption would be a game changer and he would lose.
Now I’m not saying that we have to be as discipline as Arnold, particularly in his heyday in the bodybuilding world in the mid-to-late 70s.
But there is something to be said about his discipline and perseverance.
So, if you want change: put away the phones, put away the gadgets, put away the Netflix; and basically be like Arnold, and don’t fu#king kid yourself….
Change is a grind folks. It isn’t going to happen by itself.
Yes we can look at the calendar and say today is a special day, so I can take the day off.
But if we really want to change or reach our goal we have to make peace with the fact that we cannot self-exempt every time the calendar offers us a more attractive alternative.