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Humans tend to make a big deal out of tiny problems. You’ve been trained your entire life — from your first homework assignment to your next job interview — to rely on fear to make decisions.

You think that making the wrong decision means your life will crumble and wither away. And it makes sense — your ancestors needed this level of stress to survive in their times. But it only fills you with anxiety and dread in your modern life.

In this episode, you’ll learn why all decisions are equally important, how to recontextualize every decision you make, and how to live a more unshackled life.

Here Are The Show Highlights:

  • How ancient survival tactics cripple us with anxiety in our modern world (5:17)
  • The sneaky “S-word” that clouds your judgement and shuts down higher levels of reasoning (7:27)
  • The “Inventor’s Secret” for effortlessly finding brilliant, life-altering insights (7:54)
  • The case for procrastinating on making life-changing decisions (9:36)
  • The single greatest oversight you make when trying to solve your problems (10:13)
  • How hiking helps you make dramatically better decisions (13:08)
  • How to improve your life doing nothing more than turning on your blinker (18:47)
  • The trick to instantly dwarf your biggest decisions (18:58)

If you’d like to learn more about Doug’s story I mentioned in today’s episode, head over to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/unshackled.

If you want to radically change how much control you have over your emotions in as little as 20 days, you can go to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and sign up for the Choose Your Own Emotion course.

If you or somebody you know is looking to drop the ‘F’ Bomb of freedom in your life and break free from addiction, depression, anxiety or anything that’s making you feel flat-out stuck, head over to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/ and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

Read Full Transcript

It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F-word here: Freedom. We'll share, straight from the trenches, what we have learned from leaving our own addictions behind, and coaching hundreds of others to do the same—and since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it. [00:27.9]

Bob: All right, welcome back to the “Alive and Free Podcast.” Today, I want to help as many people as possible, fet out of the middle ground and the gray area where all the struggle is, right? So while ago I had a client reach out, he's really struggling, he's a younger fellow, he's not married yet and he's worried about his addictive and compulsive behaviors that he's been struggling with. And a lot of his depression and anxiety that he inherited from his parents becoming a problem inside of his relationships. And so he's like, do I like really focus on a relationship right now, but I don't feel like I should, so I need to go together with my life and I need to get it all together. And maybe I should go to graduate school, or maybe I should just work a little bit more in in, in this area. And he's caught in the middle of what seems to be a big decision. Have you ever been there? Have you ever had a big decision to make? [01:23.93]

And the result of having a big decision to make is that you find yourself creating pros and cons lists and really thinking through things and trying to feel it and trying to figure out whether or not it's the thing to do or not to do. And it feels so big because it feels like all the rest of your future hangs in the balance. And if I do this thing, who's going to get hurt by it. If like there are people that are trying to figure out, should they stay in their faith or their bigger that are trying to figure out if this is the right girl to marry or the right guy to marry. There are people who are trying to figure out if this is the right program to do for their business. There are people who are trying to figure out if, if what they should do in their house is going to be the best thing, longterm. So many big decisions in life. Oh, what career should I have? Which college should I go to? And in the middle of it, there were putting lists together a pros and cons list and there's tons and tons of free information online that would confuse the heck out of you if you're trying to make a decision, because you know, it's at odds with itself. [02:18.0]

And in the end, yes ultimately you've got to figure out the way that works best for you to make decisions and that doesn't mean anyone else on the planet will make decisions that way. And a lot of them might think that there's a stupid way to do it, but what if we could simplify it? So you didn't have so many big decisions to make, or so the things you used to think were big decisions just don't feel like decisions that are any bigger than anything else anymore. Would you like that? Would you like a way of looking at these problems in life, in such a way that it no longer feels like they're of any real significance? Okay, cool. Yeah. I need to make this decision and if it doesn't work out fine, and if it does work out fine and it's not a big deal. Would you like to be able to, confront and encounter your life decisions in that way? If so, keep listening folks, this client of mine, he was trying to figure out, should I go to graduate school and work on investing a lot of money in that environment so that I can get this degree, which I used to want, but I'm not sure if I really want this degree or should I step back and should I focus on relationships right now? Or just go and get a career and work on some other things. [03:22.4]

And in the middle of it, he laid out his entire story about what seemed to be good and what seemed to not be good. And all I did was I stepped back and I said, let's call him Bill. I said, Bill. I said, Bill, hold on a second. Let's step back for a second and let's just look at this from a bigger perspective. Right now, the reason that your heart and mind or your heart is dumping in your mind is racing is because this feels like if I don't make the right choice, if I don't make the right choice here, then it's going to affect my future. And it's going to cause problems down the line and something bad is going to happen. Have you ever felt that way? I mean, think about it and think back to the time when you and I were growing up, we're little kids and we've got to do things and our parents are constantly testing us. And they're trying to figure out if we're going to survive in the world, if we're going to be able to not just continue on the species, but are we capable of continuing on the family name? [04:14.7]

I mean, let's be honest. Do you know how to cross the road the right way? Do you look left first or right first? Cause if you don't do it the right way, you might die, right? And then we go through school and we've talked about this before, how every answer seems to have there's a right way to do it and there's a wrong way to do it. And this idea that there is a right answer and if I don't get it something bad will happen. Oh, you get bad grades and then you're not going to be able to get into a good school and then if you don't get into a good college, you're not gonna be able to get a good job. And if you don't get a good job and you're not gonna be able to put food on your table, and if you, don't not going to be able to put food on your table, you're going to struggle in your relationship because financial struggles are hard and you're going to go through your life really, really suffering. And you're not going to be able to get the things that you want. All from like missing a few answers on a math test or flunking one math test, which is the equivalent of about an hour of your life. That all of the cosmos hangs in the balance on these simple little things that we go on. So from the time we're kids, you and me and most of the people on the planet, well, maybe not most, most of the people, at least in first world countries or second world countries are being trained this way. [05:22.3]

Not for nothing, either. It's, it's, it's, they're useful survival strategies, but we tend to make a big deal out of things. And as little kids think about it, little kids have no sense of, of context. We don't have any sense of proportion. Oh, that's about an hour of my life to a kid an hour's a long time, to a 90 year old an hour is not a long time unless they have to go to the bathroom, which is the same for any person on the planet. If you really got to go, man, the clock ticks slow. That's another rhyme, you should cross the Jonah a pill. Anyway. So here we are a little kid, we don't have context. And so it seems like this little bit is going to affect everything. And we tend to make fantasies and imagination stories out of it, way more than our parents really intended. I mean, some parents do intend to make it a big deal because we're trying to scare the kids into doing their homework. Be honest, you've done it. If you're a parent, you're trying to use fear and manipulation tactics, not in a bad way, but in a way to try and get them to move. [06:23.0]

Because if you try and get them to move in with positive reinforcement, they just don't care and would rather play their video game. So we've used these in the past and I use them less and less now, but I bet if I looked at my life on an average day, I might be surprised at just how much I'm using this type of fear of the future tactic in order to motivate a person to behave the way I want them to behave. So you and I grew up being taught that we should be afraid of the future, if we don't do what is expected from another source. If we don't do what our teacher wants, if we don't do what our parents want, if we don't do what the government wants, we don't do what the police want. If we don't do it, our community and homeowners association wants, if we don't do what God wants, if we don't do what the president of the United States wants, we don't do what, what our marriage partner wants. If we don't do what our friend’s group wants, like there's going to be dire situations and some of them more extreme than others. That's the kind of training we've gone through as a system. Is it helpful? Is it helpful to make decisions out of fear? [07:24.7]

Let's step back a second and look at the chemistry of that for a moment when you're in a fear based situation, then your body, by having been told by your thought process is, Oh my gosh, we're going to die. When you're in a fear-based situation what's going to happen is your body's going to produce a different type of chemistry, that's going to shut down higher levels of reasoning. Have you noticed that when you're trying to make these decisions in a stressful state, that you can't think straight, that it's like nothing, two and two don't make four ever. You can't really figure it out. Have you noticed also, or read in any of the literature that people who are making inventions often do it when they're not trying to solve the problem? Like the answer just springs upon them because they've taken a break to get themselves out of their dire situation. So if we're trying to make a decision, a situation that's based on fear and I don't mean entirely based on fear. Well, what, what career should I do? It's not based on like, Oh my gosh, I'm going to die, not that your body knows the difference. You're not thinking, Oh my gosh, I'm going to die. But you are thinking, well, I don't want to mess this up. [08:24.2]

And then behind that is the unnamed and verbalized because if I mess this up, bad things are going to happen. I'm going to miss out on something important and my life is not going to be as good as it could be. And that in many ways feels like death, it feels like failure and it feels like disappointment. And when we are operating from that place, our brain literally doesn't think we put our brain into a situation where it can't make the decision it needs to make. It can't make long-term decisions, it can't predict future outcomes, it can't sit there like Dr. Strange in, in the Infinity War and like check all the millions of possible outcomes. So we can figure out the two or the one that will work. It can't do any of that, they can't do it. So by virtue of us feeling like this is a doomsday situation, however small, we actually make ourselves incapable of rising to the occasion. Isn't that a strange thing? [09:20.4]

Now it doesn't mean we're incapable of rising dedication in the moment, our body has developed this capacity to handle life and death situations in the moment by making split second decisions that are incredibly intelligent, but they're incredibly intelligent for surviving right now. So what happens? This decision is too hard, I'll think about it later. That's an incredibly intelligent decision for surviving that level of poison in the system right now, meaning thats the poisonous thoughts. This decision is too hard, whatever, I don't care like let's just get it over with. Well, that level of intelligence gets past the poisonous thoughts or the situation and it does move forward, but long-term it doesn't. So how do we make these decisions? We have to get ourselves out of that scenario. And one way to do that is with context. It's no secret that I've mentioned time and time again, and probably in evermore, increasing ways. I will, the too many people are trying to solve their problems with only their mind. Your life is not only mental. Your life is not only emotional. You're life is not only physical. Your life is not only energetic. Your life is not only spiritual. Your life is not only in relationship. [10:26.3]

It's a combination of all of those and if you're only tackling a problem from one point, one perspective, one arena, then it's like trying to have your pinky finger, do the work of the entire hand. It's not that it can't be done, but man, it's a lot of effort, a lot of strain, and you need a lot of rest afterwards. But what if you could train yourself to be in touch with all these different facets of life so that they all work together in harmony? One of the things that we do at our events that are incredible wonderful four day experiences, that even if you are not struggling with depression, anxiety, or stuckness of any kind, if you're just in a space where you're like, you know what, it's time to move to a different arena in life, I'm done kind of feeling and looking this way. I'm no longer curious about what it's like to live this way and I want something more. Come! Because in these four days, we take people through processes that address a lot of those arenas. [11:20.5]

We can't really address the relationship, one because we don't have in a relationship event yet it's coming soon. I'm sure in the next couple of years, we'll probably have one. But many of the other aspects we're addressing in a very, very head-on way so that we can hit them all at once and one of them is physically. We take our clients that come to these events and these people that come that are incredible people through physical processes that give them a capacity to put everything into context. So that the problem that once seemed like a big problem, no longer seem like a big problem. We had one come his name's Doug, and he was totally okay with sharing about this. He came to our event and he had been struggling and you can look at some of his, if you go to thefreedom specialist.com/unshackled, you'll see more of his story and what was going on there. And you can learn more about the event, but he came and he was struggling with a lot of things like deep internal issues and abuse from the time he was a kid and struggles relating to other people, other men, other women, all kinds of other stuff. And his life turned around so far. He hadn't really been in contact with us at all. [12:23.1]

He came to this one event and we did some incredible work and he just turned his life around at that point in time. And so then afterwards, he's like, dude, can I give my family this, this heads up? Can I invest in such a way that now my family doesn't have to grow up and have a midlife crisis before they can experience this level of change? This level of in tuneness, that he started to develop with his body and his emotions and his mind and all this other stuff, because let's put it this way when you've been attacked by a tiger, then suddenly the rest of the decisions you have to make in life, aren't that big. They're just not that big! Let's be honest. Okay, cool. Someone didn't like your Instagram photo, big deal. But if that's all you have your mind and body seem to want to run the entire gamut of emotions with whatever inputs you have. And so if you've been on huge adventures and I'm know many of you have been on massive high adventures and huge hiking trips and things that have really tested you and put you at close to the razor's edge of life and death sometimes. [13:20.2]

Have you noticed that coming back from that? Just like things that you're fine for a little bit, but you just, maybe hadn't learned how to maintain that level of perspective, right? So that's something that we want to do one, one way to make sure that these decisions are not so big and so that you're not in a fight or flight mode with something as simple as well what's the next decision to make, as far as the job choice or anything like that is. You don't want to make that a big decision. You just want to make that a decision that you can make. One way to do that is to start to give yourself physiological, emotional, and energetic context. People do this all the time and I used to hate it in church when I was growing up. And they'd talk about the Mormon pioneers and how they came across the Plains and were with handcarts and, and whatnot, and talk about how their lives were so detrimental and, and so difficult and so hard with so much persecution that our problems are really tiny. And I used to hate it because I think it devalues the situation that we're in. And in many cases, I think it does and it actually makes the person feel it sometimes is disempowering, let me put it that way. [14:23.4]

And because I would sit there in my head and go, well, yeah, but let's stick them in my shoes and see how they do, right? But in one level, right, you're not going through that level of hardship or that level of extremity, so it isn't one way that you can, recontextualize it. I don't think it's the best way, but it is one way some of the physical stuff that we do at these events, that's absolutely incredible. And we use it a variety of different means to do that.

If you or someone you know is looking to drop the F-bomb of “Freedom” in their life, whether that's from past trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other host of emotional and personal struggles, but they just don't know how or wants some help doing it. Head on over to thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and check out some of the things we've got in store for you or book a call so we can look at your unique situation and get you the help that you're looking for. [15:13.5]

But the second way, and the one that we want to dive into right now is one that I, I hope will give you a way of handling like in the next 10 minutes, suddenly you'll be able to start looking at things from a totally different perspective. You see, the problem that comes from making decisions is, is the, is the assumed the presumption at first, that one of these decisions is more, is more important than the other. Not just that it's a right and wrong thing, that there is a right way to, to live, like to how to eat your food. Even though I was taught that before I went and served a mission for my church, a number of years ago that like, you know, we had to be trained for several hours on how to sit down and how to open the chair and how to hold your fork and all this other stuff that was going on. [15:58.1]

Not just the idea that there is a right one way or that there is something bad that's gonna happen, but the entire tyranny that's come from that has come simply from us being trained that well, people want us to behave a certain way. And if we don't the best way that they could do to train us that way was with punishment. But if you look at life, the problem is we've decided that some things in life are more important than other things. And I want you to consider the possibility that all things in life are equally important, or none of them are. That only in the middle of those two, where you have likes and dislikes and priorities and a priorities or anti priorities that that's where suffering happens. That's where you get caught battling between priorities. But if everything is important, you will treat it all with the utmost care and concern. [16:50.0]

If nothing is important, you will treat it all with the utmost casualness and all of it will have the same feeling to you. And if you can step into that place, and maybe we'll talk about that, that level of paradox and polarity on another episode. But if you can step into that place, you will find that things become exceptionally more clear. I'm not saying you need to stay there all the time, but when it comes to making this let's look at your life, what if every decision you made was a big decision? Think about it. What if you treated what clothes you're going to wear today with as much importance as what words you're going to say to your children with as much important as what food you're going to put into your body and as much important as what career you're going to choose, and as much, much important as what religion you're going to stick with. What if they were all the same? Would that be like, man, wouldn't we pay attention a little bit more? Wouldn't we like feel into our clothing, like Marie Kondo suggests in her Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And if you haven't tried that and been through that book, I highly recommend it. It's a, it's a fascinating experience to go through and really, really empowering. [17:59.4]

But what if, when you grabbed your clothes, you were testing. Is this going to bring me joy right now? I don't mean like fun, although that's fun too. I mean like a deep abiding you does this thing really bring me, make me come alive, right? This whole podcast is about becoming alive and free. What if I'm choosing my clothes based on what's going to make me come alive? And what if I choosing my food based on what's gonna make me come alive? Not necessarily. What's going to make my taste buds happy, but my belly angry. I mean, what's gonna make me come alive at a deep internal level. What's gonna, as Marie Kondo calls it spark joy. And what if, when I was choosing what food I'm going to eat, it's the same way. And what if, when I'm going to choosing what, what a relationship or what words I'm going to share with my kids, I'm going to choose that same way. What if every part of my life I chose, like how I drive? What if I drove in a way that sparked joy? What if I treated, how I turned on my blinker would that level of care and awareness. [18:54.4]

Can you see how that would change every facet of the quality of your life? And you can you see how it would put into perspective, these “Big decisions” that are no longer, really big decisions by the same token, imagine going the opposite direction and imagine realizing what if you realize that there are no decisions that really are big decisions. Oh, but Bob, you know, there are some things that are important in life. Great. If you're of that persuasion make everything important, right? Because if, if you believe in a God that created you, or if you believe it, that the universe is somehow conspiring in your favor and that there are things that wants you to do, have you considered the possibility that every part of your life is as important as the parts that you call important. That if you didn't have a heart, then it would make it really hard for you to experience the rest of your life. That every part of your body is somehow necessary in some way, or an opportunity in some way, fruit to be explored. And even though some of them can be amputated and we can get along without them, have you considered the nature isn't really superfluous that everything is a possibility. [19:59.1]

So if you have the persuasion, that some things are super important by all means, go that direction and make everything important. But if, sometime, if you have the persuasion that like, dude, it's not that important, it's not a big deal, just get on with it. And if that's how you want to be able to handle these decisions where you can just look at them, make a decision, move forward, have a good time and ride the waves in life, then maybe you want to go the opposite direction and consider what's really going on here. We've had people, clients who come to me and they're they're are struggling in their business. They're like, man, I got to do this. And I gotta do this in my business. And I've got to build this in my business. And half the time I'm spending getting them out of their imagination and their fantasy to help them see that all they're actually doing is writing one email. They're not building a business. You're literally writing one email. It's not that big a deal. But if you think that that email is the, the keystone or the cornerstone upon which the entire business rests, you are going to freak out about it. [20:53.1]

And you're going to feel like the entire building is going to fall down on top of you if you just, if you accidentally carved the corner wrong and it doesn't have a perfect fit. Or you going to have a Leaning Tower of Pisa in a few hundred years because you forgot to take into account the geological concerns of the, of that particular area or whatever else it is by the way, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is a pretty cool thing. I didn't get to go in it, nobody's I don't, I don't think anyone's allowed in it right now. Anyway. So if you have that mentality, it's, you're going to paralyze yourself. So how do you make it not so big? Well, make everything just as big. Zoom in on everything or zoom out and recognize that what really matters to life is something that neither you nor I are really in control of. We're not beating our hearts. We're not causing breath to happen. We get some say in our experience of that, but that's about it. And all the rest of it, it's happening by itself. [21:47.0]

The sun is moving across the sky without our aid. Plants are growing, yeah, well there's farmers watering them. But think about it most of us sit here in a city where we go to the supermarket. That means the sun moved the earth, moved, the plants, grew roots and flat fruit and vegetables and all kinds of stuff. Somebody went in and collected it and either made it into something or packaged it as it was. And then there was a trucker who shipped it to a store and drove all that way. And people who loaded it in and people who labeled it and people who can check you out of the store and people who made your car so that you could drive there. And people who, you know, extracted stuff from the ground, so you could have fuel in your car. And there were the people who would find that fuel so that you could finally have a car to go and drive in it. And there were the people employed at the car salesman shops that could do it. And then there's the people who wired the city lights so that there could be electricity and the lights so that you could get there with a little bit more ease and comfort. There were the people who made the roads and the construction workers that were doing that. And there were the people who mind the stuff that was used to make the roads. And there are the people who made the equipment for the mine. Can you see how you and I didn't do any of that? [22:55.8]

It's all happening. And how grateful are we? It's not a big deal. What career am I going to have? Have you considered the possibility that none of us actually knows what's going to go on. I mean, if what's happening now in the world, it's June 08th, Corona virus has been going strong, the whole global pandemic thing for a little bit. If it's shown us anything, it's that the entire world can change really rapidly. So have we considered that all of these plans we're making in the future, that the whole point of planning is simply so that we can figure out what the step for today is. And that the whole purpose for today is that we accomplish what we did accomplish for today. And all the plans that we made were so that we could get that done. That it's really not that big a, that the career you have not a huge deal. Just follow what lights you up and sparks joy, and brings light and life to your life. [23:54.0]

Cause that is going to what's, that's going to be, what if you read all of these people, these success, success stories and whatnot, you'll see that they just follow their nose at a certain point. Something looked them up and all of a sudden, they, they ended up in a spot all of a sudden, after many years of making simple decisions, that focused on their highest values and their highest goods. The thing that, the thing that lit him up, it's not that big a deal. So the big decisions you have in your life recognize that they're all, they're all the same. They're not, they're not important. They're not big decisions. You're not actually deciding anything. You're making a decision in your brain so that you can take one step today, and all you're doing is taking one step. By the flip side, all the tiny little things, what if they're all big decisions? If we can give yourself that context, what I want you to see is the fear starts to disappear because now you're the one moving the toggles and you're the one in control of it. And as you're moving forward, are you going to make a big decision? For instance, clients that come to us, they're like, I don't know, should I take this program? Should I not take this program? It's a big decision constant, go to other places, same thing. [24:56.9]

Or what vacation should we go on as a family? There's all kinds of big decisions you're going to encounter in your life. And if you haven't learned to trust your heart and to take control of the toggles a little bit and stop being controlled by this mentality, that everything is a doomsday thing that you got to figure out and simply look at the situation, feel where you want to go and move that direction. If you haven't figured out how to do that, then the rest of your life, you're going to find yourself waffling on every decision. I would love if the world had stopped having that many like existential meltdowns, over little things, that from an existential level, aren't that big a deal. Most people are not struggling to survive that are listening to this podcast anyway. Most people aren't where people that can make a difference to those that are, but we're often so busy caught, in indecision that we can't find our way out. And the key one key is context. And you can do that physically come to an event if you really want to come, or you want to talk to us on the phone about it and see if it's a good fit for you, where you start doing this, just a little play with context, everything's a big decision and nothing is. [25:59.1]

And that's it for todays “Alive and Free Podcast.” If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom bombs landing in your ear buds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcasts from. And, while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus, it's just nice to be nice. [256:17.5]

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