Today’s story is about Vicky and Serena. It’s a simple story, but one to make you think.

Vicky loved to play pranks on everyone. She couldn’t wait to get out of bed and see who she could play a prank on next. One day, her mom could step out of bed and into a pan of ice cold water! Another day, her brother could be walking through a doorway when a pile of clothes would drop on his head!

After each of these episodes, she would laugh and laugh and laugh. She loved it when everyone laughed, as well. She didn’t mind people playing pranks on her, as long as she was free to get them back! Full of vigor and fun, life was an opportunity to Vicky and she was determined to be a master player.

Serena loved to read books, draw and push herself to the next championship. She had a few close friends, but didn’t want more than that. Friends took her away from what was important to her: learning, growing and winning! Winning was the reward for all the hard work she would put herself through. She loved it! It was that reward that made her spend many nights refining a drawing or working on her favorite martial arts manuever.

Serena and Vicky were unlikely friends. One was a playful prankster and the other was a serious striver. But together they made a great team. Serena inspired Vicky to have more discipline and structure, and Vicky inspired Serena to be much more playful and to have more fun. Together they were quite a pair. In fact, together they seemed like a complete person.

But when you have a serious striver and a playful prankster together trouble can brew just beneath the surface, because some of their values conflict. It all came to head one day after one of Vicky’s pranks went terribly wrong:

Serena: I can’t believe you did that! You’re such a bully. You’re supposed to play pranks on everyone else – not me! That artwork…I had worked on for days and now it’s ruined.

Vicky: I’m sorry I didn’t know it was soooo important. It was just another one of your stupid drawings. You have like 500 of them. You know I love to play pranks. How was I suppose to know that I shouldn’t have drawn mustaches all over that one? What made that one so special? They all look the same.

Serena:  I worked so hard on it and now YOU ruined it!You should have asked. You totally ruin everything!!

Vicky: If I asked you, it wouldn’t have been a prank. You make such a big deal about stuff that doesn’t really matter. It’s just one dumb drawing and you have tons of them…

KEY QUESTIONS

Who’s right?

Could both of them be right?

How do you think Vicky and Serena should resolve this conflict?

Do you have a Vicky and a Serena within you?

How can you balance work and achievement with fun and playfulness and not get burned?

Sometimes, we get so caught up in making our lives happen that we forget to have fun; or sometimes we get so caught up in having fun, we forget that discipline and consistency matter as does being considerate to ourselves and others. We tend to associate play, playfulness and fun with youth and not with the seriousness of life.

Did you know that one of the greatest fears we have has to do with growing old?  When you’re young the world feels open to you, I know I felt that way. You and I have energy to spare, we have time, we have less responsibility and so on.

As we age, we can start to become more and more like a serious striver – all the time — and less and less like a playful prankster. Fear of loss, fear of inability to do what we want, fear of not having enough money – fear, fear, fear starts to creep in.

Like Vicky’s prank gone too far, our thoughts can hijack our intentions, and we can feel at the mercy of circumstances. Yet, isn’t it true that there is a space between stimulus and response? Even though it doesn’t feel that way, at times, there still is a space. In that space is choice and that choice can make all the difference between a life you love or a life you that feels wrong.

It’s obvious that choice is what directs us to do the things we do, think the things we think, and feel the things we feel. But when we’ve automated that sequence, it sometimes takes a lot of will to choose differently. It doesn’t feel so easy in those moments does it?

One hack to take control of your choices is to create reminders for yourself to remember what is important to you so that you can undo the automation. One such reminder could be:

You are not your thoughts — Christine Jeffrey

That bears repeating again. You are not your thoughts. Your thoughts are just a tool you use to feel what you think serves you in any given moment.

What you feel gives you a certain type of energy and that energy triggers you to take some sort of action.

That is, you think the thought, you feel the feeling and then you behave a certain way. Your behavior is the consequence of that feeling.

It’s the feeling you want that drives you to act — Christine Jeffrey

If you’ve automated a certain type of decision, what you choose has already been decided by you a long time ago. To take back control of that process requires awareness, discipline and repeated action.

In the book The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle, he outlines, in detail, how we automate our decisions. Without going into too much detail, repeated actions over time build up the myelin sheath around our nerve fibers which makes the signals fire stronger and faster. The more we “practice,” the more myelin is built up and the more automated that action becomes.

The reason I’m sharing this with you is to offer you the red pill. You can keep taking the blue pill and believe you don’t have any control over the choices you make in your life, or you can take the red pill and know that if you don’t like how you’re living, you can change it with the following recipe.

 

RED PILL PROTOCOL

1. AwarenessIf you want to make the right choices you need to be committed to finding the truth

Not worse than it is truth or better than it is truth, but the unvarnished, light of day truth.What causes you to choose poorly, in the end, are the things that you don’t know that you don’t know. To be aware means to be invested in finding the truth and not in your point of view. A multiple points of view perspective is required to get an accurate understanding of what is true and what isn’t true.  It also means being open to the fact that you may be wrong. If you are, so what? Now you know what doesn’t work. Be committed to finding what does.

2.  Discipline This is the key to freedom

Freedom requires a framework and this framework says that you will find the truth and do what needs to be done. What you do and how long you do it for and with whom you do it with are up to you. You are free to choose. But discipline is required to make the right choices in business and in life.

3. Repeated ActionThis is the key to automation and the key to compounding and exponential success

Do you know what I mean? When a pilot is only 1 degree off course, that small 1 degree difference over time – which was no big deal at the start of the journey — has compounded into hundreds of miles away from the destination! Repeated action over time gives you the life you want to lead. Small changes can equal big results.

That’s it! Three simple things to practice!

Conclusion

These three areas: Awareness, Discipline, and Repeated Action are the foundation you need to make the right choices. Once the right choices are made,  you don’t just have to be a serious striver, nor believe that youth and fun are only for the playful prankster. You can have both in your life.  A time to play and a time to work; a time to enjoy and a time to strive. You got this!

Finding the right balance will not only make your life feel richer, you’ll have a lot more fun, too.

So what are you going to choose? The red pill or the blue pill? Vicky and Serena want equal time!

Thanks so much for reading. Leave a comment. Ask a question. I am here to help!

Until next time,

You are so much more than who you believe yourself to be – at times

Remember it’s about your life!

 

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