*not a selfie
I just finished reading a book recommended to me by several people – “I Hope I Screw This Up” by Kyle Cease, American comedian-turned-transformational coach. I hated the style of the first chapter, but it got much better, so stick with it, if you are in any doubts. I will not try to summarise the book here, but I will pick a few points that are relevant to me and my life right now.
The base premise is that it is the WHY of what you do is important, that this WHY should give to others, and that once you know that, then you will easily find the HOW – and the energy to do it. There are various exercises in the book, designed to help you set off your creativity, list what you want in life, identify the fears that are holding you back. These are then used to help you make decisions by recognising which things excite you – as in you can feel it in your body as excitement – and following those. Following your heart.
Or maybe those are the points I see because those are the points I have problems with…
WHY has not yet come to me, but I won’t talk about that here. Not yet. Not again.
Excitement? Physically felt? Don’t make me crack a wry smile. Outside of my sex life, I can’t recall any of that for …. years – and it was never a big feature in my life. I don’t get (or ‘get’) anticipation or celebration. I was never like my Dad, excited to go on holiday, or running round the room in celebration of a goal by his team – or even like my mother, disappointed when a place or event was not as she had imagined it. I never lay awake unable to sleep on Xmas Eve, imagining my presents. I faced the prospect of the biggest rock gig of my life (40,000 crowd at Mathew Street Music Festival, plus BBC3 coverage) with the same “job to be done” attitude as a pub gig. (in the end, the weather cancelled the whole day, and I never had the prospect of so big a crowd ever again…). I very much take things as the are, when they are. I am not good at emotion connected to either past or future. I have my “in the moment ” spikes, but as my experiments with the Bentinho Exercise seem to have shown, triggering excitement through thoughts, or noticing excitement is not a thing I do well (or at all, apparently). I reason, not feel.
Fear – again only an intellectual thing, and I am not prone to anxiety. I can see how both of those can be turned into excitement by a change of view, but they don’t show up to the party either, so I can’t flip them.
So, why don’t I feel excitement? What can I do about it? Because following your heart is the way to go, and all the tools for following your heart need you to be able to identify excitement. And I would dearly love to do this, the results seem amazing. Freedom. Joy. Being unlimited. All that good stuff. So why do I have such a hard time feeling it?
I started to think “what is excitement?”, and I reckon it is
Uncertainty + Confidence + Curiosity = Excitement
Have to have all three. You don’t know what is going to happen, or how, or that it will happen for sure, but you are sure it will be successful/fantastic/educational/useful, and you are curious about the activity/plan and also to see how it all turns out. Ergo – excitement.
Uncertainty + Lack-of-confidence (+ Curiosity?)= Anxiety (I think)
and if there is Curiosity here, it could play the negative role – imagining all the things that could go wrong and all the ways in which it could go wrong – but I am not as sure of that one.
There is either too little Uncertainty or too much Confidence or just very little Curiosity with me right now. I’m playing the mission on the game of Life that I have played before (Job, Boat, Music), just on a harder difficulty setting (German). The things I set out to do are a path well trodden, and I have the confidence born of years and years of evidence (plus a pile of recent evidence), that I manage to do what I plan to do. Yeah sure, being short 100k, or finding out my sailing licence isn’t valid and the roller furler is bust, or bands splitting up, or Brexit, or me picking probably the “wrong” job are just the ups and downs. It will all work out. I am, and always have been, sure of that.
I am not sure what kind of Uncertainty I would need. But maybe even on “Difficulty Level: German”, this mission is fundamentally just too easy for me. Time and application of effort and riding the ups and downs will get me through it. No worries. Yawn.
I could also be lack of Curiosity that is my issue. Which might link back to the missing WHY. Not sure.
A friend with whom I have discussed this issue, thinks that I need to forgive myself for the past and completely let go of the story that I lost something and am now less than I was. No doubt it’s a big part. I do still feel “less”. My emotionally-led decisions destroyed the life I had, and led me to actions that semi-sabotaged the new one I was trying to build. It’s a lot to forgive, and will take somehow getting to the view that I’m in now in a better place with my life. That it was “worth it”.
I can see that could mean I am not going to be as comfortable following my emotional cues – but I am not sure why they would be *absent*… My sister has a medical condition where (if I understand it right) she just does not produce enough cortisol to get anxious or worried or stressed. She takes medication to correct this. Before they got the dose right, and it was too much, she said she got continually “have I left the gas on?” anxious and nervy of things like flying. They had to actually give her extra cortisol when she gave birth, because you are supposed to be stressed then, to get your body to to the job! Maybe I have something like that too? But I was a very emotional child/teenager/young adult … hmmm. Maybe not.
Maybe I just need to do something completely *other*. But what? How do I find the way, when excitement is the guide?