The Life Coach School Podcast is full of free teachings that can help you transform your life. Once in a while, we like to compile some of the best lessons into one episode.
In this new “Best Of ” compilation, you’ll hear to hear some nuggets of wisdom on topics like awareness, discomfort, and other people’s opinions.
Even if you’ve heard these teachings in the original episodes, I encourage you to listen to this compilation with open ears and open minds. I guarantee they will help with many challenges you’re facing now.
Tune in this week to hear some of the best and most mind-blowing clips from this podcast. In this episode, you’ll discover how to make friends with discomfort, what your boredom reveals, and why you have to be selfish before you can be selfless. Find out why even in your most challenging times, there is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Remember, you can’t change the cards you were dealt, but you can decide how you play the game.
Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book. It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast, distilled into only 200 pages. It’s the truest shortcut to self development we have ever created!
What you will discover
- How to ensure you never give from obligation.
- The key to truly having compassion for others.
- How to hold onto your boredom and use it for you instead of against you.
- What happens when you stay with yourself instead of escaping.
- Why the better you get at feeling discomfort, the better you get at everything.
- What false desires are and how they mislead us.
- How to know if your desire is worth pursuing.
Featured on the show
- Learn more about the Self Coaching Scholars program.
- Pavel Amelishko of Digital Freedom Productions
- Ep #195: The Best of The Life Coach School Podcast
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode 371.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Pavel: Hello, my friends. I know, this is not the voice that you expected to hear today. As you may have noticed, I am not Brooke Castillo. But I just wanted to say, “Hello, my friends,” because I really do feel like all of you are my friends.
My name is Pavel Amelishko and I am Brooke’s podcast producer and the CEO of Digital Freedom Productions. And I’ve been working on the Life Coach School Podcast since it first came out in 2014, early 2014. Today, we have something special in store of you all and I can’t wait for you to jump in.
But first, I just wanted to say a few words about my experience working on the show. Following the evolution of this podcast and Brooke’s teachings has really been a mind-blowing experience. And yes, this podcast is full of incredible tools and concepts that really changes people’s lives and I have seen huge changes in my own life by internalizing them.
But what really moved the needle in my own evolution as I was working on this show was witnessing firsthand how Brooke used the Model and the tools that she teaches to become everything that she said that she was going to be, and also do just the most incredible things that she said that she was going to do and become the example of what is possible for all of us in this lifetime.
And as I was following Brooke on this journey, I just couldn’t help but to transform my own life in so many areas, like with my relationships by setting boundaries, and with my money mindset, and the relationships with myself and my future self, that was a big one. And the changes that I’ve been able to make in my business, following in Brooke’s footsteps. And of course, diving into this work deeper in Self-Coaching Scholars just helped expedite this process tremendously, as well.
So, I really want to say a big thank you to Brooke for being a friend and a mentor over these years and for doing this life-changing work and putting it all out there for free for everyone and for being that example of what is possible.
So, Brooke, thank you, thank you, thank you. And with that, let’s move to today’s content.
Today, and actually the next week, I am very excited to present to you the best of The Life Coach School Podcast.
Many of the segments in this episode are actually some of the gems of Brooke’s wisdom from the show that I saved for myself personally when working on the show. And I’ve gone back to them many times to help me get through certain issues and challenges in my life.
Since the last best-of episode was episode 195 and we’re on episode 371, so there’s a lot of ground to cover. So, both of those episodes are going to be quite long, so grab yourself a nice cup of tea or whatever beverage of your choice is and get comfortable.
And by the way, if you haven’t listened to episode 195, I suggest going back and listening to it because it covers many of Brooke’s earlier teachings from earlier episodes.
So, in this first part, I kind of grouped the segments by the common through lines. And today’s overarching theme is awareness. So, you’ll hear Brooke talk about things like the importance of having awareness of your thoughts, labeling things good or bad, other people’s opinions, and thoughts about others.
And after that, you will hear a few segments around the theme of discomfort and pain. And as Brooke teaches discomfort as the currency of our dreams, so I really hope that the second part of this episode will help you make friends with discomfort and kind of cement that idea that, on the other side of discomfort is what we really want out of life.
So yes, very excited for you to jump in and listen. So, without further ado, here we go.
Brooke: The only thing I can be certain about are the decisions that I’m going to make about what I’m going to think. I can’t be certain about what I’m going to be able to do in the future because I don’t know what the rules will be. I can’t be certain about the results that I will necessarily create, depending on the rules changing. But I can be certain that I will always have the ability, the power to decide what I believe.
No one can take that away no matter how many circumstances change. I get to decide what to think and what to believe and therefore what to feel. That is always within my power.
So, I did a podcast called What You Can Control and we talked a lot about, within this environment that we’re currently in, we can control a lot. And we start thinking that we can’t, but I gave a bunch of ways in which we can control.
But no matter what your crisis is, no matter what your situation is – I’ve coached people who are terminally ill. I’ve coached people that are in very dangerous situations. I’ve coached people who are in amazing situations; wonderful, quote unquote, we’re all just defining it that way, situations.
And all of those people have one thing in common. They can control what they believe. They can control what they think. They can’t always control what they’ll do, but they can always control what they believe.
And so, that’s what I want to encourage all of you to do as you’re thinking about the future. You get to choose what you want to believe about your future.
This is what’s so interesting. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen in the future, now or at any time, actually. So, what we choose to believe is really just made up.
Think about this with your kids. Maybe you have kids and you believe they’ll go to college, you believe they’ll get married, you believe they’ll have kids. You don’t know that that’s true or not. But you choose to believe that because that’s your right to choose to believe that and you can believe whatever you want, or some version of that for the people in your life; that they’ll be okay, that they’ll live to be old-age. We believe that even though we don’t know, we’re just using our imagination.
And we feel a lot of, I think, power to be able to believe that because it seems realistic. It seems like, yeah, we’re allowed to believe that because a lot of people believe that, for their children or for their own lives.
But when we start believing that, “Hey, everything’s going to be okay,” or, “I’m not going to get sick,” or, “The economy is going to bounce right back,” people say, “You don’t know that.” True, but it doesn’t prevent me from believing it right now. And you can’t tell me what I can believe because you don’t know what’s going to happen either.
So, if I have a choice on what I’m going to believe, I’m going to believe the best thing I can believe and I’m going to live into that. And if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. It’s just like you’re going to believe that your kid’s going to be healthy until they have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And you’re going to believe that with all your heart until you don’t. And that’s it. And nobody’s going to begrudge you for that.
But when we start believing the bigger things and the bigger dreams and the more impossible, quote unquote, things, then people say, “Oh no, you’re not allowed to believe that.” But I want to give you permission, you can believe whatever you want about your life.
So, does your purpose and your life, your identity stand up to change? Does it stand up to uncertainty? Does it reflect that it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world, it only matters what’s going on with you?
So, put yourself in any circumstance and here is what you know. Are you fighting reality? Or are you using it to fulfill your purpose? Are you fighting reality or are you using it to fulfil your purpose?
So, I want you to imagine you’re sitting at a table at a casino, and you’re dealt a hand. Now, you don’t know what that hand is. You don’t know what you’ve been dealt. You haven’t looked at your hand yet. But you do have a goal of winning.
Regardless of the hand that you’re dealt, your goal is to win. So, if you study poker player or you study people that are really good at poker, they can’t control the hand that they’re dealt. That’s random. They can’t control it. But they can control what they do with the hand.
And no matter what hand is dealt to them, they are going to be the best poker player they can be at that moment. And they are going to go after winning.
They’re not like, “Oh, this hand is terrible, therefore I give up and I’m not going to win and I’m no longer a good poker player.” They know that being dealt unfortunate hands is part of the game of poker and that you can still win.
So, if we can approach our lives that way, that all of the circumstances are just hands that we’re dealt and we’re still committed to being the best version of ourselves regardless of that hand, we’re still committed to winning the game, then we use those hands for our purpose instead of throwing them away or rejecting them or being mad or upset about them, which oftentimes leads us to go against our purpose. The circumstance doesn’t determine who you are and how you show up.
Let’s say I say to my friend, “I don’t want to come to the bake sale. I don’t want to bake goods and I don’t want to sell baked goods at your son’s bake sale.” Am I being selfish because I’m putting my needs and my desires and my wants ahead of hers?
Some people would say yes. And maybe she would say, “What are you going to do instead?” And I’d say, “I’m going to stay home and read a book.”
“That’s very selfish. You should want to help me versus doing what it is you want to do.” And that’s tricky because you could see how someone could convince you that that’s a valid argument.
But what I want to say, it’s kind of what I want to give permission to all of us to do is to say no when yes is a lie. It’s not selfish to tell the truth. In fact, it’s so much harder to tell the truth sometimes because we want to control what other people think about us.
Why are we so worried about people thinking we’re selfish? Because I thin on some level, we think there’s something wrong with us, there’s something bad about us and that we need to go prove something to the world, that we’re good people, that we’re not bad people.
But I think the truth is, and when we really are able to drop into this, is we can be selfish. We can put our needs first and we can be selfless when it’s true, on a much bigger scale. And people will think what people will think about us based on their belief systems. And when we give into other people’s belief systems, we compound them. And the way that you’ll know that you’re doing this is you’ll feel resentful and exhausted.
In order to give, you have to give to yourself first. You have to learn the skill of giving and filling yourself up so then you can go out in the world and give.
Now, here’s the thing. I spend a lot of my time thinking about other people and how to help them in the way that feels authentic to me. I think about you all a lot of the time and how I can give to you and how I can contribute to you and how I can give you ideas. And I do that by first filling myself up, by first helping myself and looking at my own problems and solving them and then being able to go out and give them.
Now, this comes up a lot when we’re talking about money too, and if you earn a certain amount of money, how much do you give that money away? How much do you use that money to contribute? And how selfish is it when you buy yourself something or how selfish is it when you spend it on like a luxury item and what should you be doing with that money?
And I want to offer – and I think this is really important for you to know – is first of all, it’s your money that you get to decide what you want to do. No one else’s opinion needs to be taken into consideration. It’s your money. So, your opinion is the opinion that matters. But you often may not know what your opinion is because of all those voices going on out there.
And so, one of the things that I like to do when I am spending money or giving money or saving money or any things that we can do with money, is to check in and see, how does this feel and why? And I never give out of obligation. Because that doesn’t feel true to me. And I want to have pure integrity with my money.
And so, I take a pause when someone asks for money or asks for a donation or asks me to contribute to something. I take a pause and check in. Is this a true contribution? Am I doing this because I want to affect how this person is thinking about me? Am I trying to manipulate the way I think about me? Or is this a true honest contribution that energizes me, that fills me with abundance and truth and integrity?
And because someone else doesn’t see that is okay, I’m the one that needs to see it. It’s not selfish to live from your truth, even if someone else thinks you should be doing something else for them or for their cause. And a lot of people who are self-sacrificing get upset when other people aren’t.
So, there’s two ways you can approach this. You can decide that the word selfish is actually not a negative thing. It’s the first step in being selfless. We have to be selfish and take care of ourselves and put our needs first, then we can be selfless in a much bigger way.
Or we need to eliminate that word and preplace it with self-care. Instead of calling ourselves selfish, if that doesn’t feel good to you, you can call it your own self-care and make that the priority. And we don’t give until we’ve filled ourselves up. We don’t give until we’ve told ourselves the truth and made that happen.
And when people come to us and say, “You’re spending all this time working on yourself,” you can say, “Yes, I am. I’m thinking about myself. I’m finding out what I want. I’m figuring all of that out because I know that within me there is a desire to give and I can’t give if I don’t have anything to give.”
People are going to look at you and judge you. People are going to judge you because of the way you look, because of your hair color, because of your eye color, because of your weight, because of the color of your skin, because of the clothes you wear, because of the car you drive, the stories you tell, the lipstick you wear, all of it.
There is nothing that any of anybody can do about it. So, if you let it go and then you just ask you if you’re all in with your own opinion of you, do you like the car you drive, the clothes you wear, what you do? What is your opinion of you? And if you like it, that’s all you need. Have your own back.
I often coach people who have really low self-esteem and really low opinions of themselves who are terrified of somebody judging them an having an opinion of them, so they hide all the time and they don’t show up and they don’t express their opinion, because what if someone disagrees with it?
I’ve had a lot of clients like this, who feel this way about themselves, but they have someone in their life that they adore. Maybe it’s their husband. Maybe it’s their kid. Maybe it’s their mother.
I was coaching a woman one time who kept talking about how much she loved her husband, how great he was and how terrible she was and all her own self-doubt. And I said to her, “Why are you so worried what everyone thinks of you?” And she goes, “I want everyone to like me.”
And I said, “But what if somebody told you that they didn’t like your husband?” She’d be like, “Well, they’re an idiot.” I said, “Oh really?” She’s like, “They don’t know what they’re talking about if they don’t like my husband. My husband’s amazing.”
I said, “Yeah. Now, you really love your husband and you really believe he’s amazing, so other people’s opinions don’t matter about him. When you can feel that way about yourself, other people’s opinions won’t matter about you.”
And then, my friends, then there’s freedom. Then you get to really be who you are. Then you get to really decide how you want to show up. Then you can really start to dream. Because here’s the thing. When you dream big dreams, you’re afraid of failing because what will people think?
Who cares what they’ll think? Who cares if you fail and people have an opinion about your failure? Wouldn’t that be amazing if you just didn’t care what people thought about you?
Here’s what I have found to be true. The more strongly I opinionate about myself in a positive way, the more people follow my lead. It’s almost like you show them what to think about you. So, if I say, “Hey, you guys, I can’t wait for you to meet my friend Corinne, she’s amazing. I’m so excited, she’s going to be here in a few minutes. You’re going to love her. It’s going to be so great.”
And then, I bring her in. Now, if people don’t like her, people don’t think she’s great, first of all, they’re already biased towards liking her because I’ve already told them that she’s great. But if they don’t, if they don’t like her or whatever, it won’t matter to me at all. Because I have a very strong opinion of her and I’m going to keep it because I want it and it feels good.
So, here’s what I want you guys to do. I want you to ask yourself this question. What is your opinion of you? And how strongly are you willing to commit to it? And are you willing to have your own back when someone else is wrong about you?
Because if you believe – stay with me here. If you believe that your opinion is true, then anyone who doesn’t agree with you is wrong.
What I do in my life does not determine my worth as a human. But it may affect whether people want to spend time with me. And the question becomes, are you going to be who you are or are you going to pretend to be someone for other people?
There’s a shift that I’ve seen as I’ve watched the evolvement of my students and their desire, all of our human desire to be accepted, to be liked. And we’re afraid that we won’t be liked if we don’t suffer enough, if we’re not relatable, if we’re too successful.
I used to have this belief that if I got too big and too successful, I wouldn’t have any friends, that no one would like me, that everyone would think I was too big for my britches. And the truth is, in some cases, that has been true. And that’s okay.
And what I mean when I say that’s okay is that’s okay that they don’t want to be around me or they don’t like me or they don’t want to hear what I have to say. That is absolutely their right.
But I will not change so they will like me. And I watch this happen way too often with people manipulating the truth of who they are for acceptance from other people that they may or may not even care about. It’s the thought error that happens in our brain that we want to be accepted by the tribe.
So, as this relates to money, I have been fascinated by how much people downplay their success, how much people downplay their wealth. How much they hide it, literally. I’ve had so many clients talk to me about how they’re hiding from the people in their life because there’s so much shame associated with being successful and having money and everything that it can buy and what it means that if you’re rich, you’re not a good person or you’re greedy.
I talk a lot about this in my book. I talk about how having money and creating wealth and being a successful businesswoman is a completely separate conversation from being a good person. They aren’t defined by each other.
And listen, if you’re not relatable because you’ve had so much success in your life, it means you’re just not relatable in that one area. It doesn’t mean you’re not relatable as a human. It doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of friendships as a human. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have conversations about life and going to the grocery store and experiencing pain and sadness and frustration.
And when you pretend like it is, you disconnect. And then you become one of those really weird people that doesn’t represent success and wealth very well.
“People won’t like me if they know the truth about my success,” is a very common thought. “People won’t like me if they know how much money I have, if they know how wealthy we are.” There is shame on both sides of that equation. And listen, I’ve never seen shame preserved well, and that’s what you’re doing when you lie.
The goal isn’t to be happy all of the time. I don’t want you to be happy about life not being fair. I don’t want you to have to be happy about getting screwed over by your boss or getting fired or someone treating you terribly. That’s that whole toxic positivity where we have to be happy about everything and we just pretend like there’s no negative emotion and everything’s great. That is mental illness. That is not healthy.
We need to acknowledge our feelings. We need to process the parts of our life that we don’t think are fair, where we think we’ve been done wrong and where we’ve certainly been done wrong; the horrific things in the world. And then what? Where do we go? Good and bad?
I often think of my life this way and it’s just a fairytale that I tell myself. it’s just a concept that I made up, but it serves me and you may want to borrow it.
I had a lot of crap happen to me when I was a kid, I was a little kid. Just a lot of not-good stuff. And I often want to rail against that and be mad about that. I especially did when I was younger.
And then I realized, “Wait, oh, good and bad,” right? Now we’ll balance that out. That will change. All of that bad needs to be balanced out with all of the good I’m now about to get and I’m about to do. I’ve got to balance out my life.
And that’s up to me. That’s a choice I get to make. And that worked for me, my friends. That worked. Instead of feeling like I was going to have a great life in spite of what happened to me, it was all part of it. It was all part of the balance of my life. It was all part of the imperfection perfection of my life, the good and the bad of my life.
When you look at yourself and you understand that you’re good and bad and you can love yourself madly and you are 100% worthy within that good and bad, by design, that you don’t need to be virtuous all the time in order to love yourself and feel like you’re worthy, that’s when you start having compassion for other people as well; when you stop writing people off, when you stop looking at people as only bad.
When I’m working with clients, sometimes what I’ll have them do is notice their own prejudice against people. And this is a pre-judgment that they’ve made, “That person’s dumb. That person’s stupid. That person’s bad. That person’s wrong.” It seems like it’s often family members, unfortunately, or politicians that we do this with.
So, what I have you imagine is that person who you think is always wrong and always bad and always stupid, imagine someone you love and respect saying the exact same thing that person just said. Notice how you would hear it differently. Notice how you would make it mean something different. Notice how it’s not actually the circumstance but it’s what you’re bringing to it, the confirmation bias you’re creating based on your prejudgment of that person.
Now, listen, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do that. Of course you can. That is your choice. But if you are seeing people, other humans, as one-dimensional, you are missing half of life. You are missing half of the experience of being alive and appreciating other human beings.
You’re labeling that persona s good or bad. If you label them as good, you’re only going to see the good in them. If you label them as bad, you’re only going to see the bad in them. You’re not going to see the full dimension, the full experience of who they are.
And here’s what’s a shame about that for so many of you is you are afraid to love people if they’ve done something bad because you’ve made them bad.
But I want to give you an invitation to be willing to love humans who are good and bad. They are not the worst thing that they’ve done. You can love them. You can see their goodness, even if they’ve done a horrible thing. And that applies to you too.
So many of you think that you’re so horrible and it means that you’re wrong and that you’re bad and that you need to go away or that you need to hide. No. I agree with you that you have all that horribleness in you. I agree with you and I love you for it. You’re a human being.
So many of you have self-loathing and hate and anger and frustration and you think that means you’re a bad person. It just means that you’re human. But you also have beauty and love and you’re gorgeous and amazing and worthy. You’re all of those things together. Use the and, not the or.
And then right now, think about the person that you just can’t stand, that person that just grates on your nerves, that you can’t even hear a word that they say. Everything that comes out of their mouth you think is stupid and wrong and bad. And out the and there. Find some goodness there. Find what is good.
And if you resist it, if you feel yourself resisting finding the good in other human beings, just notice that. Notice how that feels to you. Notice what you might be missing. What if they are right and wrong and you are right and wrong? It’s not that they’re wrong and you’re right, what if it’s both?
A lot of us are afraid that if we allow ourselves to feel an emotion, that we’ll never be able to get out of it, that it’s such a deep, dark hole, that it’s such a pit that we’ll never be able to pull ourselves away from that emotion and experience life again.
And one of the reasons why that is, first of all, is we haven’t allowed ourself to do that so we don’t really understand how easy that can be. But we’re also, because we’re compounding the drama and indulging in it, everything becomes dark, everything becomes heavy.
And when everything is kind of glommed together, there’s so much unnecessary suffering, and it’s also very challenging to be the witness, very challenging to get into the observer mode. Because everything feels like it’s coming down around you.
And the best way I know of how to stay out of this kind of dramatic compounding is to simply stay with describing the emotion. Until you’re able to describe the emotion in a way that helps you understand how harmless it is, finding the thoughts causing it will not be useful because you’ll start finding thoughts everywhere.
Let me ask you this. What is it like to feel okay about feeling bad? I want to give you some examples. Sometimes, we go workout really hard and the next day we’re sore from it physically. We’re typically okay and understanding and allowing for the soreness.
Sometimes we drink too much and the next day we’re hung over. We allow for it. We understand it. We have an explanation for it. We let it be there.
There are certain things that we do on purpose that cause us discomfort, that we know are going to cause us discomfort, but we allow for it. We feel okay about it not feeling okay. We plan on it hurting a little bit. We’re all in on it being something that frightens us.
It’s like we know, when we go on a rollercoaster, we’re going to be afraid and we allow for that. So, it makes the fear less scary. If we go on a rollercoaster and we’re afraid about getting afraid, we’re going to be a mess. But this is something we can apply to our lives, right? We can feel okay about feeling awful.
It seems like a very simple concept. It seems like something that may even be obvious. But what I want to offer is that most of us are very bad at this. We reject feeling awful. We reject negative emotion. We reject when things in our brain make us feel bad, especially when things outside seem to be going well.
Now, here’s the other thing. Sometimes, we wake up feeling bad and we look for the reasons that we’re feeling bad and we attribute them to the external things in our lives and then we try to fix the external things in our lives so we can feel better.
And although there’s nothing really wrong with this, it just doesn’t develop our skill of emotional resilience. It doesn’t develop the skill of being okay with not being okay. And so, what I want to offer is that instead of trying to control the world to make the world better so we can feel better, regardless of whether what’s going on externally is quote unquote good or bad, always try to come from the inside out.
Always try to start with being okay with feeling bad. Don’t reject it. Be with it. Open up to it. Breathe it in. Let it be there. Allow it. Let it go to every cell in your body, “It’s totally fine that I’m a human being. It’s totally fine that I don’t feel 100% today, physically or mentally. It’s totally part of the experience. I want to be here in the reality of this moment, and the reality of this moment is that I don’t feel happy and that’s a beautiful thing. I don’t feel successful. I don’t feel beautiful, and that’s okay. It’s okay. Where I’m at right now is okay. I’m going to breathe into it, move into it, and allow it to be there, process it through.”
And on the other side of that, you will feel powerful about not feeling good. You will feel good about not feeling good.
I want you to assess yourself and think about what you do when you’re bored. I think being bored is an opportunity. We can either access inside of our own mind, or we can escape out of our mind when we’re bored.
And what I’ve told and been telling people for years is that when you do not have a good relationship with yourself, when you don’t like the content of your own mind, you don’t like hearing your own thoughts, then you most often will want to escape yourself when you’re bored because that’s basically just you being alone with you, and if you don’t like yourself, you’re like, “I’m out of here.”
But when you start using that time when you’re bored to access yourself and listen to your thoughts and get to know yourself, you may come to want to change yourself. And one of the things that I told Christian and it’s something I talk a lot about in my Stop Overdrinking classes that are in Scholars is when you are bored, your mind, its contents, and your life reveal itself to you.
And when your life is revealed to you, you can see whether you like it or not. And if you’re constantly being revealed the contents of your mind and your life that you don’t like, and you take the option of escaping, it never gets better.
But if you take the option of staying and hearing and listening and being, you get to know what it is you don’t like and therefore you can change it. The more present you are with the life you don’t like, the more authority you get over it and the more influence you have over it. The more you escape the life you don’t like, the less power you have within it.
When you access yourself when you’re bored, you find out what you’re capable of, what your desire is, what you like. When you escape, you get to know how to do drugs, TV, food, and false pleasure. That’s what you get good at. It denies the true pleasure.
For example, porn denies intimacy. Drugs deny consciousness. You miss out on the real pleasure of life when you escape into the false pleasures of life.
So, for example, if you are in a life right now where you don’t have a relationship with someone, you feel lonely because of that, and the way you deal with that is porn, in a way that is obsessive and doesn’t serve you, then that’s what you do with that time instead of contemplating maybe finding a mate or going out and meeting people and thinking about who you want to be as a mate.
This all comes down to the skill of feeling, of being, of dreaming with discipline. I love the idea of that, dreaming with discipline. Not dreaming in some la-la unicorn land, but dreaming with legs, dreaming with commitment, dreaming with honoring those dreams.
Can you hold your own boredom? Can you use it for you, or do you use it against you?
Look at the people in your life. Notice what they do when they’re bored. Does what they do when they’re bored serve them? Can they allow themselves to be bored? Some people, they just outrun their boredom, which is the same as escaping; being so busy that they never get bored.
The question is, what can you try to do when you’re bored? And the answer is not busyness, but awareness. Busyness is just another way of escaping. Awareness is you getting to know you, you being alone with you, you being present with what it is that’s in your own mind.
When you spend the time long enough to be bored, underneath the boredom is the foundation on which you can create something unique, that is truly just you. Sometimes, I go on a walk by myself – that’s not true, I usually have my dogs. But I’m not talking to anyone. Sometimes I listen to podcasts. Sometimes I just listen to my own brain.
And I hear things and access things that I normally wouldn’t otherwise know. But on the way to that wisdom, on the way to the ideas, on the way to the unique tools and tactics is boredom. It’s like the moat that you have to go through to get to it.
And there’s a restlessness for me in that boredom. I want someone to entertain me. I want to hear a podcast. I want someone to talk to me. I want to consume. I want to read.
But when I don’t allow any input and I just allow myself to process through the boredom, on the other side of them is all my wisdom, all of my ideas, is all of the space.
When I talk to people who are too busy, they have too much going on, they can’t be creative because they don’t have time to access their own brain. They don’t have time to access and let the dust settle, let the ripples settle so we can see through the clear water to the ideas at the bottom.
When you’re feeding your desire with over-pleasuring, when you’re answering the desire call with buffering instead of with your life, you’re missing out on the opportunity to access the depth of what you truly want. When you don’t access what you truly want and you hack your brain by using pleasures, you miss out on you. You miss out on what you have to offer you.
This is not narcissistic. In fact, the most narcissistic thing we can do is constantly, constantly, constantly indulge in our own pleasure.
When we release the over-pleasure and we access our true desire, the reason why that’s not narcissistic is the human desire is contribution; contribution to ourselves first so we can full up that pitcher, and then contribution to evolvement for the world. That is how we are wired.
Now, we can hack that with pleasure and over-pleasure and a lot of us do. And we waste away our true desire. So, I want you to look at your life and I want you to ask yourself, if you stopped buffering, how would you feel and why?
Is it because you’re not working on your relationship? Is it because you’re not working on your business? Is it because you’re not writing your book? Creating your videos? Going back to school? Changing your job? What is it that the buffering is helping you tolerate that you shouldn’t be tolerating?
When you stop buffering, it’s much harder to ignore your true desires. You’re not drowning them out with alcohol or food or distraction. It’s harder to be around people you don’t enjoy. And I really do believe that who you spend your time with will determine the quality of your thinking, the quality of your inspiration, the quality of how much you expect of yourself.
And when you’re drinking to tolerate the people around you, you’re probably around the wrong people. When I quit drinking, so many of my friends changed. I was drinking with them and to tolerate them. Now, listen, I’m not saying they weren’t drinking to tolerate me. They were. But it wasn’t serving any of us.
It’s harder to ignore the things that you genuinely want to do but don’t feel like doing. When you take out buffering, you’re willing to feel the emotions that you need to feel to fuel your dreams.
The other thing that happens when you stop buffering is you stop tolerating indecision. Indecision created fatigue. Not making decisions, going back and forth and back and forth on your decisions creates fatigue. It created decision debt. It wears you out.
All of our power is generated from decision, whether the decision is a success or a fail, you’re generating power by the act of making a decision. Making a decision is scary for many of us, and so we drink or overeat or go on Facebook instead.
When you buffer, you don’t hear the voices that are within you. You don’t hear the ones that want you to go against the grain. You drown them out with all of your buffering and you don’t hear the wisdom that’s asking you to be different, that’s asking you to be a thought leader, that’s asking you to stand out.
All of us have that within us. Whether we listen to it or not depends on whether we’re paying attention. And we can’t pay attention when we’re buffering.
One of the things that many of us buffer to tolerate is the fact that we’re not normal. Most of you listening to this podcast who are interested in self-help, interested in the ideas that I present and teach here, you’re not normal. And you think that’s a bad thing.
Your brain is wired to belong, to be normal, to connect with others, to be part of a tribe. And when you notice that you’re not normal and you don’t think like normal people think and you think differently and you want different things, it’s very frightening because it separates you from the crowd. Which back in the day meant death. And so, we drown out that voice.
But I want to tell you, I believe in the idea that what is within you, if it’s not realized, can ultimately destroy you because you will have to keep drinking more and more and more to drown out the voice, eating more and more and more, distracting more and more and more.
So, there is the discomfort of no evolving, not pursuing, not growing, not allowing who you are meant to be, who you want to be, the potential of you, not allowing that out. It’s very uncomfortable.
And unfortunately, in this day and age, we can treat, quote unquote, that acute discomfort with false pleasures. It used to be that there was no false pleasures in the way that are artificial now. So, we were much more forced to evolve.
My concern for humanity now is we aren’t forced to evolve because we can stay where we are and feel that nudge of growth and experience that discomfort and not act to change our life in any way because we can just buffer with the false pleasure.
But as soon as we take away that false pleasure, as soon as we stop overdrinking and overeating and over-Facebooking and whatever you’re overing, then you’re left with the reality of your life, which oftentimes, 50% of the time is uncomfortable because it’s the universe nudging you forward. It’s the universe saying, “Let’s move. Let’s do this. Let’s evolve.” That is the point of our existence, is to evolve.
And so, we do because the discomfort of not changing sucks. And so, this is what I say all the time. You’re going to be uncomfortable if you don’t do it, you might as well get paid. You might as well use the discomfort of ding it and get paid. You might as well get the discomfort of doing it and get the room clean, get the weight lost, get off the alcohol. You might as well get the result if you’re going to be uncomfortable either way.
So, there’s that discomfort that is the universe nudging you and you not listening that is most often treated with false pleasure. I love pleasure, just not at the expense of your growth.
Then the alternative discomfort is the one that I’m always talking about discomfort is the currency for your dreams because that discomfort is the discomfort that is required for us to change, to be in unfamiliar situations, to have our identities shifting, to be in a body that’s thinner than we recognize. All of those things, to be at a social event without chardonnay, all of those things are going to be uncomfortable because they’re unfamiliar and they don’t have that added padding of buffering.
So, one of the things that I’ve been teaching a lot lately and trying to encourage all of my clients to do is to look for the discomfort that is paving the way to the place you want to go. Instead of trying to avoid it, instead of trying to bypass it or find the detour around it, you’re actually moving right into it.
And the reason why I want you to do this and I’m encouraging you to do this is the better you get at being uncomfortable, the better you get at everything.
If you can be uncomfortable, you can experience fear and do it anyway. There’s no such thing as being fearless unless you’re a sociopath. There’s no such thing as not being afraid. If your brain is working correctly, you will be afraid a lot of the time, especially if you’re asking a lot of yourself, if you’re asking different things from yourself.
So, how do you get good at discomfort? By being uncomfortable. Now, I get emails all the time where people take a different approach on this and they’re a little bit angry at me for suggesting that they have to live a life of discomfort, as if I’m the one that told them that they had to, as if that isn’t the way life is.
Life is about discomfort. Life is about negativity. Life is about, half of the time, all of that stuff. That’s the point of it. If it was meant to be good all of the time, it would be good all of the time. But it’s not.
But somebody told us it should be, we should be happy all of the time, so we try to be happy all the time with false pleasures, which make us ultimately completely dissatisfied because we’re not growing. We’re stagnating.
So, I want to give you some guidelines for how to treat yourself when you mess up, when you behave in a way that’s cringeworthy, when you show up in a way that you wish you hadn’t. I think the first step is to really recognize the judgment of yourself.
Because a lot of times, I think we judge ourselves based on what we think other people would think of our behavior, that we somehow need the approval of other people and permission from other people in order to behave in a way that would be acceptable to them.
So, for example, people think that there’s a certain requirement for a certain level of kindness, a certain level of cheerfulness, a certain level of social awareness. And these are all very subjective rules, subjective expectations that our culture has.
And I think it’s worth it to question all of them. Is it inappropriate for you to not greet someone the way they want to be greeted or return a phone call when somebody calls you or respond when someone asks you for something? Are we getting into people pleasing or are we being kind?
There’s such a spectrum on how we get to decide how we want to behave. And sometimes, you’re going to disappoint other people, but it’s not because you’ve done anything wrong. You are the one who gets to decide and make the judgment call in your own life. You get to decide who you want to be.
So, that’s the first step. Evaluate the judgment. Make sure it’s valid. Make sure that you feel like, “Okay, yes, this is something I want to change.”
The second step is always releasing the argument with it. This is a huge step that we all need to practice and learn how to develop. Because when you argue with yourself, with the past, with something that you’ve done, you’re always in tension. You always feel tense and upset and you’re always rejecting reality and rejecting yourself.
So, let’s say that yesterday you were a little bit short with a loved one. Maybe your mother. So, maybe your mother called you and you were kind of annoyed and so you kind of came across as short and, “Mom, really?” You know, that kind of energy.
And you got off the phone and you just felt like, “I’m such a jerk. Why did I do that? I don’t like it when I treat my mom that way.” And you kind of evaluate how you want to talk to your mom and how you want to be and what really happened there. And you think it’s a valid judgment.
You think, “No, I’m not just living under other people’s expectations about how we should treat our parents. That’s genuinely not how I want to treat my mom and I want to change that.”
So, then the second step is really to just release that anything should have been different than it was because it can’t be. So, the way that I do this is I just tell myself, what’s meant to happen does. That doesn’t let me off the hook. It doesn’t mean I don’t apologize. It doesn’t mean I don’t work on changing that. It just means that what’s done is done. And trying to beat myself up over something that I can’t change now has zero upside.
What’s meant to happen is done. It was always meant to happen that way. And then I take that as a sacred moment, as an opportunity to embrace my humanness, which is full of mistakes and missteps and wrongdoings and I just let it sink in. I embrace it. I allow it. I accept it.
I don’t try to reject something that happened. I don’t try to reject myself. I don’t tense up with defensiveness.
And oftentimes, in that moment when I’m able to acknowledge something like that, I always want to apologize. It just feels good, to apologize. Like, “Hey mom, I was really short with you yesterday. That had nothing to do with you. It was inappropriate and I don’t want to behave that way and I’m sorry.”
And it’s the difference between, “Oh my dog, why did I do that? I’m such a jerk. I shouldn’t do that.” That doesn’t make me want to apologize. That makes me want to beat the crap out of myself. Do you see the difference? So, step one is evaluate the judgment. Did you really do something wrong? Was it really cringeworthy?
Step number two is to release an argument with it, acknowledge that it happened and embrace that it happened and allow it to be what it is. It was always meant to happen that way.
And then the third thing is you decide, do you want to take some action right now that would be appropriate around the situation, like I was talking? Maybe you apologize. Maybe you write in your journal. Maybe you make a different plan for next time, those sorts of things. You may want to take some steps.
I’ve always found that when I treat myself with compassion and love, then whoever I was interacting with, that’s how I want to treat them as well. If I’m trying to reject it, I may think something like, “Well I’m just not going to hang out with that person anymore. I’m just not going to look at them anymore. I’m just not going to acknowledge them anymore because I don’t want to think about this. I just want to put it away. I just want to push it away. I don’t like the way I act around them,” as if it’s their fault for the way I’m acting. It’s always on me, the way that I’m acting.
And then, you just make a plan for the future. You understand and have compassion for yourself when you mess up. You understand that it was meant to happen, that it’s probably going to happen again in the future, and then you decide how you’d like to act instead. And then, you create a plan for it.
The reason why I recommend that you embrace discomfort and growth and see what you can do in this world is because it’s so much more fun than sitting on your ass. Showing yourself what you’re capable of is the biggest thrill in the world.
It is better, my friends – stay with me – way better than Game of Thrones. I know, I’m going to get hate-mail about this. But going out there and being who you want to be in the world is a huge thrill. It’s way more exciting than watching someone else have an amazing life on TV. Amazing.
But there’s a price to pay, of course. You have to pay the price of discomfort. So, it’s just like the workout. You know that run’s going to be hard. You know it’s going to be hard to write that book. You know it’s going to be hard to lift those weights. But you look forward to the discomfort because you love what’s on the other side of that. And that becomes your new thrill in life.
Now, why is that so challenging for us? We understand that with our prefrontal cortex. We understand that it works that way. And yet, when it comes right down to it, we are really challenged because we still have that primitive brain.
Our primitive brain is a powerhouse between our ears. It is as powerful as our prefrontal cortex. It’s just not as smart. But it’s got a loud voice. So, you have to know who to listen to and when and why.
Sometimes, you really want to listen to that prefrontal. When it’s telling you to run away from the guy with a knife, it’s time to listen. But most of the time, that primal brain is misinformed and scared for no reason.
Our brain loves what’s familiar because what is familiar is safe. We like to rinse and repeat the things that work that are safe. That’s when we feel comfortable. Familiarity feels comfortable to us.
We love the instant gratification. Our brain is wired for reward. It’s wired to avoid pain. So, we have all these pleasures, all these rewards around us all the time. Of course we want them. That’s what we’re wired for. That’s so much more compelling in the moment than the long-term goal.
It’s so much more compelling to lay on the couch right now than it is to go lift a weight. Because lifting that weight is not going to give us anything good until about six weeks from now. And laying on the couch eating bonbons is super-pleasurable to us right now. Our brain has a bias to right now. Let’s take care of what we want, which is comfort and pleasure and avoidance of pain right now.
So, we disempower ourselves by disconnecting from our emotions, by disconnecting from our body, which has us then becoming mini little hedonists who just want to solve pleasure, pleasure, pleasure.
Now, what some of us do is we do all the pleasure, we do all the instant gratification. And then, that’s not enough for us to ruin our lives. Then we beat ourselves up for doing it and feel terrible about it. and that causes us to go seek more pleasure.
So, the 50-50 of our life becomes beating the hell out of ourselves and then seeking false pleasure, beating the hell out of ourselves and seeking false pleasure. That’s our 50-50.
What I’m suggesting is that you change that, even though it’s hard. You change your 50-50 from buffering and beating yourself up to discomfort of growth and achieving your wildest dreams.
It’s still 50-50, it’s just a different flavor of 50-50. The discomfort that you have when you’re growing is different than the discomfort you have from not fulfilling your potential, not doing what you most want to do because you’re in the instant gratification.
Any of those desire that feel compulsive, any of those desires that when you satisfy them make your life worse, those are false desires. Those are tricks of the mind, tricks of your neurochemicals making you think that somehow you are giving yourself pleasure and that you’re moving in the right direction. But really, it’s just your primal programing that has been misaligned now that we’re in a different culture that provides for those things so abundantly.
The way that you know if your desire is one worth acknowledging and pursuing is you play it all the way out into the future. If I pursue this desire, if I satisfy this desire, will I be more of who I want to be afterward? Is this desire, which is a feeling that generates fuel towards an action, is this desire going to lead to the action and the result that I want? It really is as simple as that.
So many of my students come to me and they tell me that they want something, but I can tell it’s a false desire. They want to do it because they don’t feel good enough and they think having money will make them feel better about themselves. They want to do it because they feel inadequate or scarce. And you can’t be driven by false desire and get a good result. You have to be driven by the truest desire.
And I want to tell you how it feels different, it feels so different. It feels peaceful. There is no rush. There is no hurry. There is no anxiety. It is a peaceful unfolding. It is a desire that you enjoy being fueled by so much that you don’t need to get to the end point quicker because the process is so fun.
So many of you have dormant desires, desires inside of you that you don’t even know that you have. You don’t even know that they’re creating that longing, that expression, that unique offer to acknowledge and live into. You can’t hear you because you’re not paying attention.
True dormant desires do not sound like comfort. In fact, they’re very inconvenient, these desires. They require you to be uncomfortable, to grow, to expand. And when you understand the concept of the 50-50, that you’re going to be uncomfortable anyway, whether you’re growing or not, you start to realize that you’d rather be uncomfortable in a way that moves you forward. You’d rather be uncomfortable in a flowing stream versus a stagnant one.
And so, you keep saying yes to all of your desires, to the desires that are dormant, to the desires that maybe you’re afraid to see or how anybody else.
For me, this has been an explosion of desire, for me to acknowledge what I want in my life, to acknowledge what I want for this season in my life.
One of the examples that I’ll give you is I decided that I wanted to have more friends, more in-person friends. I wanted to build a family of in-person friends. And so, I started doing it in a very intentional way. I started honoring that desire in a very intentional way. And what that looked like was asking women for their phone number, asking them if they wanted to be my friend.
I recently sent a text to a woman that I had met and I asked her if she wanted to pursue a friendship with me. That’s a risk, right? It’s my desire, I was showing it to her in a very vulnerable way. And she could have said no. She could have said, “This is weird…” She could have responded like that.
And instead, all I’ve received is yes, yes, yes. I’ve had the most magnificent falling in friendships, falling in love in my friendships, in my new friendships. It’s been such a powerful compounding experience over these past several months to meet new people and literally fall in love with them, to fall in love with the women and the friends that they are and to claim them as my soul sisters.
It’s a nourishing. By acknowledging that desire and not ignoring it and acting on it, I have created and expanded my life in a way that I didn’t even know I could do.
Pavel: Well, there you have it. This concludes the first part of the best of the podcast. Make sure to tune in next week for some of my personal favorite segments from The Life Coach School Podcast, where Brooke shares the tools for leveling-up your life and talks about money and future goals.
Thanks for listening. And if you haven’t yet subscribed or followed this podcast, please make sure to do so in the app of your choice and please leave a rating and a review. Thanks again and see you next week.
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