Post #15. “Loving Louder”, with Preston Smiles

Hi there 🙂

Really hope this message finds you well.

So, this is a summary of an interview I listened to yesterday as I walked in the lushness of the approaching aliveness of summertime. The sun was shining while I was enjoying this conversation between Andrew Ferebee & Preston Smiles. Stopped several times to write down the golden nuggets.

Here are the key takeaways & ideas that resonated with me:

Lesson #1. “Love will find a way. Everything else will find an excuse.”

This idea seems to be the basic philosophy of Preston Smiles. But what does it mean? And how can we apply it?

Love will find a way… I guess it means that, if the love is strong enough, it will find a way though every obstacle. But if there is not enough love in it, there will only be excuses.

If we turn this backwards… we can see that if we give up on something, it’s because the love is not great enough.

On the other hand, if we persist, it shows that we really love, we really care about it.

But where do we get this love from in the first place? Well, Preston is a large advocate of the idea that: Its impossible to really love others, if we really don’t love ourselves, accept ourselves & seek to understand the depths of our being.

So, start with this… Be kind towards yourself and notice your kindness turning outward.

An analogy: If you will your cup of water first, there will be plenty for others.
Open your heart to love & kindness to yourself, and you can give love & kindness to others.

Lesson #2. Want to change an aspect of your life? Do a 30 day challenge.

This is an idea that I really love… So if you have something that you wish to change, improve or embody in your life… Start with the quality, skill or action that you wish to install and do something small everyday that advances the thing you’re working on.

This is great because you build momentum & character strength by going for small commitments before you go on to the big ones.

You climb the smaller mountains & progressivly build more strenght before you head to the peak of Mt. Everest.

If 30 days seems like a to big of a commitment for you, commit to a 7 day challenge and follow through.

Examples of 30 day challenges I’ve done:
* 30 Day Meditation Challenge – to cultivate focus & self control
* 30 Day Forrest Walk Challenge – to cultivate mindfulness & focus
* 30 Day Cold Shower Challenge

30 day challenges are a phenomenal way to get started on your journey.

Pick a direction, start marching down that path, and see how you like it. Time brings clarity!”
– Gary keller 

Lesson #3. Everything is touching everything.

In other words. If you change one aspect of your life, it effects other areas.

One of the biggest game changers for me has been to install a daily habit of exercising. This has effected a lot of other areas in my life, all from my energy levels, my mood, to my will to make wiser decisions in terms of what I eat.

Also, some deeper stuff that we can work with is for example dealing with shame, low self-esteem, self-esteem, self-respect and so on.

The deeper change, the deeper and more powerful influence it has on other areas of our life. 

Look at the tree… The more closer to the root problems you get, the more lasting & deep the change will be, and the more branches of you life will be effected by the change…

Everything is connected. 

One small change can lead to many others. 

Lesson #4. Our deepest shame is our biggest opportunity for growth.

Do you have anything in your life that you’re ashamed of?

Is it something you’re doing? Is it a habit that you’re not very proud of?  
Is it something you’re avoiding?
Is it something you’ve experienced in the past…?

We all have shame… No one avoids this very common experience of life… Because no one is perfect.

The question is… how are you dealing with your shame?

First of all, if you are acting in ways that bring shame… recognise now, that your life would be much better if you avoided that action…

And if you are avoiding something good, then taking action is the right thing…

No matter which one of these that are the biggest challenge for you, the solution is to be found in a) Self-understanding and b) Cultivating Intense Self-trust.

If the shame is related to something that is completely out of your control zone, then the solution lies in refraining the very thing you’re ashamed of with a focus on spotting opportunities for growth, wisdom, deeper compassion for people in the same situation & service

Lesson #5. The biggest enemy is inside of our own heads.

This makes me think of a lecture I attended to last year held by Prof. Steve Peters called “Optimising the Performance of the Human Mind”

So this guy is really passionate about the brain, and how it works. He’s especially good at explaining how the different parts of the brain can work with or… if not aware, against each other.

So, he explains that there are 3 main divisions of the brain with 3 separate primary functions:

1. The Pre-Frontal Cortex – a.k.a. “The Executive Brain”

The job of this part is to reason. “What is right? What is wrong?” This is the place where you’r sense of right and wrong is cultivated. Also your identity, your values.
This is the brain that organises stuff and thinks logically.
This is the most “human” faculty of the brain. This is where our self-control is located and our willpower.

2. The Limbic System a.k.a. “The Inner Chimp”

The job of the limbic system is to a) keep us safe b) get food c) get sex d) defend ourselves.

So, this is sort of our more primal functions if you will… It’s a part of human nature that…  if acted upon would make us into immoral &

In other words, if we would only have this part of the brain, we would be overweight & in jail. The world would not be a very pleasant place to live on…

So the limbic System is the place where basic emotions comes from: Fear, greed, lust and so on…

2. The Parietal Lobe – “The Super Computer” or “The Subconscious Mind”

What I’ve understood about this part of the brain is that its sort of like a computer. It’s the place where we subconsciously draw conclusions depending on what data we’re fed with.

This is the part of the brain that draws conclusions from our senses.

So, to the point… our mission is to achieve a healthy balance and use these different faculties of the mind in creative ways, instead of letting them rule us… Simply by being aware of them puts us in the driver’s seat…

Lesson #6. Who’s running the show? What drives you? Who chooses for you?

If you look at your day to day actions, who is making your decisions: Your feelings & impulses or your highest values?

For every choice that you make, it becomes a deeper pattern. It can be changed but you need to know in what direction… Do you know what you value? What you believe to be right? How do you know if you’re making a “good decision” or not?

Consider this pattern: 

a) Acting on raw impulses just to b) feel like crap and c) build a negative identity that reinforces the behaviour.

Now consider this: 

a) Acting in alignment with your true identity/values to b) feel a deep sense of integrity which c) reinforces further behaviour and a strong character.

Which one do you think will help you? Choose to act more in alignment with your values.

Lesson #7. “It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” – C.S. Lewis

What I believe this means is that, it’s not the disasters, pains, failures, mistakes that ultimately breaks us… but it’s the way we handle these conditions that breaks us…

My approach to this is to practice carrying little things well, and you will be a pro at carrying things. And further along the path, you will have learned the tactics and tricks to carry heavier and heavier stuff, more painful experiences.

So, start practicing to carry little things well today. As Howard Ruff said so wisely:
“It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.”

Start now. With the little frustrations, pains and mistakes in your daily life, and this will build the capacities for further challenges.

Plan ahead. Be prepared. Anticipate what might come. Be wise.

Lesson #8. When you say NO, you show what you stand for

Don’t be afraid to say no… Just make sure you have a bigger YES burning in your heart. Show what you really stand for.

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” – Malcolm X

Lesson #9. Are you depending your happiness on external validation?

So, here’s the deal, weather you believe it or not, we all have the needs for: 

  1. Approval 
  2. Control 
  3. Security 

The question is: Where do get these needs filled?

We all work hard on getting these needs met… but we can search in two primary places:

a) External Stuff: this could be seeking others to fill your needs, or cool, nice things to fill these needs.

b) Internal Stuff: how we think about ourselves & communicate with ourselves.

These differ on the very basis that we only have real control over the internal stuff.

If we’re constantly seeking to fill our needs with other peoples opinions of us and by buying cool things to be liked and feel a sense of self-worth, our joy will be threatened when these things are not like we want them to be.

If we on the other hand seek joy in the things that are actually in our locus of control, we can experience joy, peace, gratitude & meaning just by thinking and responding in useful ways to the challenges that are presented to us… In this way we can in a sense become free… We are no longer slaves of what people think of us…

Lets say you loose the thing, the person, the status, Do you also loose your joy?

“We always have a choice about the contents and character of our inner lives.” 
– Epictetus  

Lesson #10. Want to change? Start with awareness.

Lack of awareness is very often at the very roots of our biggest challenges in life…

It’s impossible to change what we cannot see…

What doe’s the fish know about the water in which it swim?

Most people try to change the leaves instead of the roots… Doesn’t really work.

Most people try to copy other people’s behaviours and actions instead of really getting deep into installing the right beliefs & the right mindset…

The number one strategy to cultivate Awareness?
—> Journaling… Every single day: See where you fall short, ask yourself big questions and really get to know yourself.

Lesson #11. Consistent action over time is the key to success in any endeavour. 

Begin today to embody the qualities that you most look up to… Focus on them daily, set the intentions. One day, the quality will have become your second nature… 

Longterm practice creates a new normal. 

Lesson #12. Be You

Don’t try to mimic others. Yes, you can get ideas and be inspired. But be your own person. Do your own thing. Be an original. Speak your truth. Live your truth. 

Lesson #13. Question everything. 

Ask yourself: Does this really bring me lasting joy? 

Lesson #14. Success is cultivating inner riches of peace, joy, harmony, a great attitude, love & curiosity. 

It makes sense. If you have all the money and shiny toys in the world, but lack these inner qualities, you will feel poor on the inside.

“I know millionaires who are broke as hell.”
– Preston Smiles

Learn to love & enjoy everything. This is what the Stoics call: “Amor Fati” – Love Of Fate. 

Lesson #15. Are your habits serving you?

What kind of value are your daily actions adding to your life? These are some of the habits that Preston advocates for: 

  1. Being outside in nature every single day! GET INTO MICRO ADVENTURES.
  2. Meditating everyday
  3. Playing and being playful – act like a kid every now and then. “Be childlike, not childish.”

Lesson #16. “Figure out what makes your heart smile, and just do that more often.

This explains itself… Sit down with a piece of paper and write down the things that really make you come alive? What makes your soul dance a happy dance?

Schedule these things to do them more often.

Lesson #17. Choose love. 

When unsure, ask yourself: What would love do? Heed the answer & get to work.
Most likely love would be a bit more understanding & present.

Ask: what would love do now? 

Lesson #18 Its not what happens that matter, but what we do with what happens.

To act calmly in differcult situations, do this: breathe 3-5 centred, deep belly breaths. It will change your life. 

Know what triggers your unhelpful responses in life and make an agreement with yourself to simply breathe, instead of reacting in raw impulse.

This takes a ton of practice. But one day sooner than you think, you’ll notice… “Wow… This kind of thing would make me totally frustrated… Now I just… Coped really well.”

Lesson #19. Don’t take yourself so seriously all the time. Be silly every now and then.

Loosen up, play, dance, sing.

“A day when you haven’t danced, you haven’t lived.” 
– Fredrich Nietzsche

Lesson #20 “Everything will be ok, and if it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”

There is always hope. If you are alive – there is hope… If you’re going through something that seems to be killing you – know that there are other people on the other side, who made it.

Hold on to this truth: “What one man can do, another man can do.”

Lesson #21 “Slow down. No need to rush. It’s all good. It’s ok for things not to be ok.
Experience the pain and make a new choice.”

This is a really key idea for me… I tend to rush and be impatient.

But to really be present and enjoy the process… That’s something to work on.

Lesson #22 Vulnerability is power.

Vulnerability, being open about your shortcomings and insecurities is the greatest catalyst for growth and strenght.

“What happens when people open their hearts? They get better.” 
– Haruki Murakami 

Lesson #23 Through the awareness of darkness, we will understand the importance of bringing forth our own light.

This is a great idea for someone afraid of getting out there to shine bright… We need heroes to own their greatness & be of beacon of hope to others.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.


***

This came to be a longer post than I set out to write… 

Hope you got as much value as I did from it. 

Peace and all good, 

Daniel J. Galovan

 

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