For a lot of people, finding their why creates their purpose in life. It’s supposed to help you find clarity, meaning, and fulfillment because when you know your purpose in life, you’ll know who you are, what you are, and why you are. On today’s podcast, Paul Blanchard talks about a different side of why – its dark side – as he examines what your brain loves to do with that one single question of why to manipulate you emotionally, chemically, and physically to keep you stuck and to get you spinning in circles.
Welcome to this Power Session. I’m excited to be here with all of you. I hope you’re doing well as we’re going through some interesting changes as a country and as a world. We’ve been in quarantine dealing with a lot of interesting things. It’s been amazing from our perspective to see when there’s this disruption, it’s been fun from the perspective of a lot of people having their noise in their head turned up. The volume magnified and turned up right now. A lot of people are realizing, “I can’t get away with the things that I used to get away with and getting an opportunity to pay a little bit closer attention to.” As we’ve stated many times before the things that have always worked but now people are trusting a little bit more in terms of doing some of the deeper work on themselves, emotionally, and mindset.
Those of you who are new to the show, we don’t approach mindset from an abstract philosophical perspective. That’s how the majority of personal development has addressed mindset because that’s the best they can do with it. Also, from a marketing standpoint, the more abstract, mystical, and philosophical you can make something sound, the more you can create a need for something that people don’t even realize they need which in some cases is great because it turns out to be something they needed. In other cases, it’s not because it can get you to spend a whole lot of money on stuff that you don’t need to be taught things about mindset that are irrelevant on a philosophical level. When it comes down to it, mindset is a set of neural pathways. It’s a set of patterns that your brain depends on to make sense of your life like the people and activities in your life, the way you perceive, and experience those things.
Here on the show, we want to shake that snow globe up. We want to help us realize that our reality is not the reality but that doesn’t mean we toss reality out the window. It means we are always curious, looking in the cracks, in the corners of our lives, the assumptions we’re making, and how we’re experiencing our lives so that we can align our thoughts to be more real, general, authentic. That’s what we do here. My goal in Power Sessions is to shake that snow globe and give you something to carry forward before we come together again to help you improve your life, find more fulfillment in your health, relationships, businesses, and income. We’re going to do that now. Welcome, everybody. Let’s get started.
The Dark Side Of Why
I’m excited to have you here as we are talking about your why. I’ve talked about this particular topic many times that results in a rant but I’m not talking about the same why that we talk about I’m talking about a different why. We’re talking about the dark side of why. We’re talking about what your brain loves to do with that one single question of why to manipulate you, to keep you stuck, to be able to get you spinning in circles. What we’ve understood from studying the brain patterns, the neurochemistry of over 200,000 entrepreneurs and leaders over the years, we’ve learned some interesting things about how the brain works. We’ve learned some different patterns and behaviors that are downstream of what’s going on at its deepest core in the brain.
Anyone who studied parts of the brain, we know that there is a core part of the brain that is there to protect us. It’s where our fight or flight instincts are. It’s referred to as the amygdala. At its core, it has one objective and that’s to keep you safe and alive. Survival is the number one driver of irrational behavior meaning if there’s anything that makes you feel like your survival is in jeopardy, you will take the most irrational action and make the most irrational decisions in those times than anything else. There are two others that are primary drivers of irrational behavior but we will talk about them another day. In survival, fight or flight center, all or nothing, life or death, you can only see life in 1 of 2 ways perspectives when this part of the brain takes over. It’s because it feels like there’s a threat and there’s a lot of things out there that can stimulate us to feel these threats that are not life-threatening but we will have chemical reactions as if they are.
We will have a natural instinctive reaction as if it was thousands of years ago. We’re worried that a saber-tooth tiger is going to eat us if we don’t retreat, isolate, and get inside of a cave. These instincts that have evolved over human history driven primarily by survival have one objective to keep us safe. I’ve talked about many times in stages across the world when it wants to keep us safe the way the syntax, the way that your brain interprets that is keeping you predictable. If your brain can keep you going through a revolving door where you feel like you’re going somewhere because if you were to look down at your Fitbit, you’re getting your steps but you’re not going anywhere. You’re on a treadmill of personal development because you feel like you’re headed somewhere different and then you come back through. The brain is amazing in making it feel like you went somewhere.
Your Brain Manipulates You
When you leave this room, go into a revolving door, and come back into the same room of your life, there are many things about the way we think and the brain can manipulate us emotionally, chemically, physically, all these different ways that can have us feel like we went into a new room but we’re still operating in the same space. This revolving door is crushing, difficult, and it leaves people broke, broken, and angry. We talk about a lot of things that create these revolving doors. There’s not just one thing in your brain. That’s why we have you take a habit finder so that we can diagnose and look at what measurements are creating revolving doors where we seem to be dealing with the same types of things over and over again. We keep running into that same type of argument with our spouse and we figure out how to cope with it better.
We run into the same types of problems in our businesses, in our inability to earn more money, or we figure out how to earn money but now we’re working even harder for it. The ratio of time, freedom, and benefits to what we earn has not changed. We have all these revolving doors that we create. When we find ourselves in one of these perpetual paradoxes, feeling like we’re working against ourselves, or we’re taking one step forward and two steps back, we often go into a similar cycle. We may all do this a little bit differently. I want you to listen to the most common verbiage or dialogue. If you don’t resonate with that but you find yourself going, “There are some revolving doors in my life.”
There are some places that my brain has me taking a lot of steps but not getting anywhere, not making any real progress, not leveling up our lives. You’re going to want to pay attention to this because this is one of your brains go-to defense mechanisms to keep you predictable. One of its go-to ways to have you feel like you’re working harder that you’re growing without anything changing because your brain is incredible. It’s the most powerful thing on planet earth. What our brains are able to do, go, see, visualize, imagine, all these different things and all the variables, it’s incredible. This multidimensional powerhouse, that is the brain but there are multiple levels to understand about it, infinite number of gifts that we experience, infinite levels of genius that we all have some version of that we want to find and be able to optimize.
However, we also a lot of the same coping mechanisms. We apply them and might feel a little bit differently, and we can explain them differently so we want to seek out these revolving doors. When people are typically talking about your why and if you’ve known anybody that talks about their why, they post about their whys and you’ve had conversations about their why, please tag them in this Power Session. They need to hear about this shadow side of our whys so that they can start to break out of some of their revolving doors and move forward. I want you to pay particularly close attention but share this out. Tag people you know that care about their why but as with every productive good thing that has tremendous potential to serve you, it also has tremendous potential to sabotage you.
That’s something you can take to the bank. Every gift you have has a shadow side. Every challenge you experienced is driven by a gift that you have that needs to be recalibrated, explored, shifted, and aligned a little bit different. That’s how we want to be looking at things. That’s why in this show we’re not focused on your weaknesses because on a neurological level, you have no weaknesses. You have strengths that get out of control and finding this why that creates purpose that’s the value of a why. It’s not how detailed it is. Some people have very detailed whys like the ones you could put on a plaque, put up on the wall. You’d be walking through that building and go, “That’s powerful.” Other people have whys but it creates purpose.
Live a Life of Principles
That energy of that purpose is what matters. When that purpose gets shoved into a revolving door and that why becomes something that works against us, that’s where we get in trouble. Here’s how it works. We’re talking about the dark side of why. We’re talking about your why manipulating you. It sounds like this, when life pulls the rug out from under you, when something inevitably goes wrong, nobody figures it all out. It’s why I’ve spoken before about why you want to be careful around experts. Not because experts in and of themselves are dangerous but they’re going to teach you about their variables and their journey. If they get overly into procedures, that’s where I would start to be careful because procedures require nuance. The more nuances something becomes, the more difficult, if not impossible, it will be for you, your variables, and your life to duplicate that.
That’s why we want to be able to live a life of principles. Og talked about procedures when you said they’re like fashion. “What works now, won’t work tomorrow.” That’s why I will live a life of principles. Principles can always manufacture updated, more current, relevant procedures but procedures are set. The procedures are not agile. Principles are agile and we are agile creatures. We are infinite based creatures on a mathematical level. We want to be able to duck and weave. We want to be able to address things we didn’t expect. How does your why manipulate this? If something goes wrong or something in life pulls the rug out from under you, you immediately go into why mode but not why of your vision and your purpose. That’s often something we attached excitement and enthusiasm to which are all good until those things get drained, they’re no longer as stimulating, and similar to drugs, caffeine, or other things. It takes bigger and bigger doses of that excitement to have the same effect.
Three Common Dark Whys
That’s often when the dark side of our why comes in and it sounds like this. Why do I keep doing that? Why can’t I accomplish this? Why does that always end up like that? Those are three of the most common dark whys. Why do I keep messing up? Why can’t I and why does? I want you to hear the three. Why do I? Why can’t I, and why does that? Those three things are some of the darkest, most difficult things to deal with in terms of why. Here is why this dark why is powerful but destructive because the answers feel like they would be liberating. It would be wonderful to know the answers to, “Why do I keep messing up on the weekend in terms of trying to eat better? Why can’t I be able to sustain the momentum that would create a bigger business? Why does it always end up like this and disappointing?”
If we could answer those, we would be liberated. It would be amazing. Our brain talks us into this, “The dopamine hit that would come from finding that answer.” Here’s the challenge. It’s a total stinking lie and illusion. The answers to those three questions and any version of them, doesn’t matter. It’s not going to make a difference knowing why you can’t do something, why you keep doing something you wish you didn’t do, and why does things turn out the way that they keep turning out. The answers to that doesn’t matter because then you’re stuck with the same problem, an explanation, and how we’ve become addicted to explanations. Explanations are the total fruitless and hollow payoff of this dark why. This chasm that spins us out of control and has this going deeper and deeper into frivolous, irrelevant, dark directions and rabbit holes, this is the dark side of why.
Create a Vision and Purpose
The same gift that can create vision and purpose from a healthy why is the same gift that can create this dark paradoxical whirlwind that sucks us in to this perpetual meaning never-ending journey of if we can find the right explanation, we will see exceed. Explanations will never get you to where you want to be and it falls into the same category as reasons. We’ve talked a little while ago about the fact that we can either have results or we can have reasons. You’re always going to have both but most people that have fewer results have a lot more reasons. People who have more results have less reasons because the brain wants to be able to balance the scale with something. If we didn’t get a result, “I know what I can control. I can control the manufacturing of the reasons I didn’t get that result and that will make me feel better.”
We don’t do this consciously. This is your brain trying to make sense of disappointment, trying to cope with expectations but it leads to the dark side of why. Why do I keep doing that? Why can’t I do that? Why do other things end up like this? These things will destroy your life. It’s like a dog chasing a car. I’m not here to say any of you are dogs but it’s a simple and direct analogy. It was Joker in Batman who is in the Knight’s Tale, 10 Things I Hate About You, and a couple of movies that I absolutely love. Heath Ledger as Joker says, “I’m like a dog chasing a car. I don’t know what I’d do if I caught it.” That in there lies the answer to the lies of these questions. Even if you were somehow able to find the correct explanation, it wouldn’t do anything for you.
Keep Moving Forward
You could sound smart about why you still suck. You could sound good about why things don’t work out for you. You could sound informed about why you’re not able to grow, why you’re not able to grow other people, or whatever it is, but you’re still in the same spot. You got this nice constellation gift of at least you have an explanation for why you’re down there. Let us start to reject this direction because energy spent on explanation is energy sucked from creation. We want to be able to create. I want to give you one thing that’ll help you do this better moving forward.
Breaking The Cycle
If you were to go to the personal development store and say, “I’d like to trade in my explanation for something that works.”They would give you something back called interpretation. One of the great keys to breaking the cycle is not to lean into explanation but to lean into interpretation. Let me explain. Explanation is passive. It’s about what did happen and need to explain why that did happen, what didn’t happen, why we’re unlucky, why we’re in such a tough position because of so-and-so, because of this, it’s who we are, who we’re not, or whatever it is. This dark side of why is completely driven by victimhood which we all have in us. It all depends how we allow it to play out when we’re pursuing growth and that part of the brain that wants to keep us predictable.
If it can use this against us, this is how it’s going to do it. It’s going to get us to get some dopamine hit from explanation similar to anticipation. They found kids playing video games and other things, got way more of an emotional high and chemical high from their own bodies anticipating a payoff than the actual payoff. Anticipating conquering a level than conquering the level. This is part of the way that the brain manipulates us and the paradox of, what is counterintuitive about personal development? We’re going to no longer feed the desire for explanation because it’s passive although we get an emotional payoff, it doesn’t change anything about our lives. Other than now if someone asks, we’ve got a sound, manufactured, and constructed way to explain why we haven’t gotten to that rank, why we’re not making that much money, why we don’t get more clients, whatever it is.
We are going to surrender explanation and we’re going to challenge our interpretation. Interpretation is active. If I’m an interpreter, I have to have someone talking, writing, and producing things to be able to interpret it so that it can be actively received and applied. We’re no longer going to trying to explain, we’re going to start challenging our interpretation of the disappointment, resistance, and our comfort zones. We were having a profound conversation with Habit Finder coaches. We do a weekly mastermind with all of my coaches. One of them, Doug, brought up this amazing point about a major disruption when we went into quarantine and when people no longer had their normal available to them, whatever normal is. Whatever the brain had grabbed onto normal.
Interpretation Versus Explanation
It was disruptive and challenging for people who were used to go into work that we’re now stuck at home. What we realize and what you’ll want to be aware of as you run into this because this is all about challenging your interpretation which is an active approach versus explanation. This is a passive approach is that our environment changed along with our normal changing but a lot of us are going to be going back to an old environment. We’re going to go back to being able to go places and work where these things are going to be happening but it’s not going to be what it was on March 1st or February 1st of 2020. We can’t go back there. It’s impossible. It’s going to be different in some way even if it’s different in the way it feels.
This might be even more difficult than going into quarantine. As my dad said to see the human spirit of how hungry many of us started to break out and get back to work and creation. It’s awesome and inspiring to see that a lot of the world doesn’t want to kick back, chill, and not do anything that we’re hungry to get back into activity. Be careful to not underestimate that it’s going to be more difficult to go back to the environments that used to be normal than it was to be sent home or where it was sent to not be able to get out of your home. As we go back to what used to cue our brain for, we’re back to normal and it’s not going to be normal, that can likely be more difficult than it was to go into quarantine in the first place.
Stop Trying to Explain Everything
That’s not the time to sit back and try to explain it because oftentimes, that’s too late. Explanation is something that happens at the end of what occurs and happening whereas interpretation can be active. Think of an interpreter. They sit there and they get enough dialogue that they don’t forget what’s been said, but they allow the person to share some context, they share, interpret actively, go back and get a little bit more dialogue, and then interpret back the other direction. You never give the entire speech and then the interpreter gives the speech. They’re actively going along with you.
That’s the way we want to partner with our brain. Stop trying to explain everything. Explanations are cheap and oftentimes worthless because they’re passive. Interpretation has everything because it requires you to be on the field, to be an action, to be out there experiencing challenges, disappointments, victories, and everything in between, but constantly challenging. My other favorite term being curious, about how we’re interpreting those signals is what’s going to determine where you’re going to be a month, year, or decade from now.
Learn to Face Resistance
The only difference between what you’re facing now and what you’ll be facing then in terms of getting to a higher level of success is how you interpret it. You will always face resistance to grow. I follow Wim Hof. I’m a huge fan of his breathing and cold immersion. He still feels cold when he gets into a frozen lake or into an ice bath. He still gets that same survival response. He has not eliminated it. He has changed the way he interprets it. A lot of people in life are not willing to do that because they want it to go away. They want to create enough habits so they don’t need the habits anymore.
They want to serve enough people so they don’t have to deal with annoying people anymore. They want to make enough money that they can be careless with their money. They want her to have enough time that they can be careless with their time. They don’t say it that way. We have to flower it up, explain it away, and all this different stuff. It’s time to set the explanation aside, challenge the dark side of our why the why do I keep, why can’t I, why does it always. We’re no longer going to go into that revolving door of becoming a student of the dark side of our why somehow convinced that if we can finally get to the bottom of it, there’s the key. Who wants to get to the bottom of it?
We want to get to the next level. We don’t get to the bottom of anything. We want to change the way we’re interpreting things. That’s what I would invite all of you to do. If you’re curious about what it is you’re interpreting and more importantly how you’re interpreting it, go to HabitFinder.com and take the assessment. If you need some simple tools for being able to shift those interpretations and support how you are interpreting like if you want to learn to interpret Spanish, you got to start learning some basic phrases then get into shift or our online course. It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to challenge these things because this is where it comes from. It’s going to be a simple fork in the road that determines whether ten years from now, you’re in the life that you wanted or you’re still feeling like you’re dealing with the same things and stuck in the same revolving doors.
Easier Said than Done
That’s whether you surrendered explanation and started challenging your interpretation. It sounds simple but that’s because it is, it’s not easy. It will become easier like it’s easier for Wim Hof to jump in a frozen lake, get in an ice bath, and take freezing cold showers every day, multiple times a day because he has found the consistency and the approach to challenging how he interprets that. What are you doing to challenge how you interpret your life? What are you doing to challenge how you’re experiencing things while you are experiencing them? Are you experiencing them and then trying to challenge them after? That’s explanation. You can challenge that all day long like Academicians and Philosophers can challenge things all day without ever making a real change in the world. We can spew ideas all day long but they don’t mean anything until we go and challenge our interpretation as we are challenging the action.
That’s where I’d like to see you excel and change your life for any guidance for that at a deeper level. If you’re ready for it, get in touch with us, reach out to us, and let us know. We’ve got a lot of options to be able to meet you where you are financially, philosophically, physically, and emotionally to be able to serve you. I hope you grabbed one thing. I hope you read those dark destructive revolving doors of those whys that we feel in our gut. If we could answer, get to the bottom of it, and we wants to make a race to the bottom, let’s go out there and challenge our interpretation. Thanks for being here, everybody. As always, it is never lost on me the value of your time the fact that I get to share some of it with you, and hopefully give you some insights to disrupt your own patterns and interpretation that has more than likely got you stuck where you are.
Don’t just attack why you’re stuck where you are also, be grateful about how far you’ve come. The fact that you have an internet or a phone connection and you’ve got the time to be able to spend on here in Power Session speaks volumes as to how much gratitude you should have in your life. Remember, gratitude is a weapon. It’s not a warm fuzzy blanket to feel better about being poor, subpar, and play small. You’re going to want to have yourself armed with it as you challenge your interpretations. Thanks, everybody. Have an awesome day. Love to you all. We’ll see you next time. Take care.