What you’re about to read is what I consider to be the #1 greatest superpower on earth. Most people will read this and think they know what I'm talking about when I describe it.
They probably don’t.
And if you want to get the most out of what you’re about to read, assume you don’t know what I’m talking about until you do. Because when you can truly grasp this superpower and use it to your advantage, here are some of the things you’ll be able to do with it:
- Discover new and novel ways of doing things in life or work that can help you make more money in sales or entrepreneurship, discover new opportunities, or make someone fall in love with you.
- Become respected as a leader and original thinker who follows their own calling in life — instead of following the herd like most people.
- Avoid getting manipulated by toxic people, by the media, politicians, or by someone else’s agenda - and live your life on your OWN terms.
- Literally change your past.
- Get whatever you want in life no matter the situation.
So get ready.
This superpower is at your disposal right now. You can begin to put it into practice right after you finish reading this. And the more you practice it, the better you will get. The benefits just keep building and building the more you do this.
Here’s The Greatest
Superpower I Know:
Outside my window right now, I can see a neighbor walking his dog along our street. This is a daily occurrence and, until now, I haven’t thought much about it.
But, being in an inquisitive mood, I ask myself:
“Besides walking his dog, what else is that guy doing?”
He’s exercising. He’s letting his dog mark its territory. He’s moving in an eastward direction. He’s wearing down his shoes. He’s wasting time he could be using for something else. He’s distracting me from writing.
I could go on. But this is enough to work with to show you how powerful this one principle can be for your entire life, relationships, and happiness.
Let Me Ask You An
Of the possibilities I mentioned, which one is the right one? There isn’t a right one, right? Okay then. Which one of those answers is most right?
Silly question. Of course it is. There isn’t a right answer. They are all equally right.
BUT — they are not all equally useful.
Why did I notice, without effort, “a man walking his dog,” but I had to work to notice other things like “ a man moving in an eastward direction” and “a man wasting time?”
Simply put, because our current thoughts and concerns determine what we see.
If my neighbor’s physician saw the same thing I did, he might say, “It’s nice to see my patient exercising.”
My neighbor’s wife might say, “There he is again, wasting his time when he could be mowing our lawn.”
And a policeman on a stakeout in the neighborhood might say, “There is a man walking in an eastward direction.”
They would unconsciously frame the situation in the way that would be most appropriate, given:
- Who they are,
- Their current thoughts and concerns, and
- The circumstances around them.
Everything you see, hear, smell, and taste in the world is no different. If you want to change who you are — to be richer, healthier, happier, etc?
Change the context.
Every single experience you’ve ever encountered and will ever encounter has a context around it. It can’t NOT have a context around it. And it’s also likely that for every single one of those experiences, there were about 1000 other contexts you could have put around it, but didn’t. For whatever reason, you were blind to them.
But it’s likely that one of them was more useful to you than the one you chose. So…
How Do You Know The Context
You Chose Was The Right One?
Because most of the time we never automatically choose the most useful context to help us reach our goals and have great lives. It’s usually quite the opposite.
Instead, we accept the first one that pops into our heads, and leave it at that. Whether we arrived at it ourselves or someone else gave it to us. Whether it’s a context that makes us happy or causes us tremendous anxiety. Doesn’t matter. The first one just gets accepted.
Though it’s certainly possible for us to think of alternative contexts for situations and peoples’ behavior, we hardly ever do. After all, what difference does it make to us whether someone is exercising, walking his dog or wasting his time?
It doesn’t, unless you want to harness another powerful way of quite literally…
Altering Your Reality
For The Better.
While most people won’t give this idea a second thought, some of us recognize the awesome power this illustrates. The overt, raw data you see is real. Everything else — the way you interpret it — is an illusion.
The context you choose (or haphazardly fall into) will determine which illusion you end up seeing. But when you see through the illusions around you, you no longer have to discover the “correct” context in any given situation, instead, you are FREE to create an effective context in which to ACT.
This is not just wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is the strategy of people who haven’t come to understand this at all while pretending they do. Wishful thinkers find themselves upset about a given situation and try to get out of it by repeating to themselves mantras, like:
“This isn't happening to me…”
Why do they do this?
Because they believe their initial assessment of circumstances is more real than anything they might do to re-frame the situation later on. Which means for them, their only hope to keep their emotions in check is to temporarily override the “truth” by repeating a “lie.” We have an inherent bias where we believe the first context we come to is always the right one.
Knock it off!
Once you break free of this dangerous loop, you start recognizing the absurdity of seeing ONE context as inherently more correct than any other. And you are thus free to accept or create a new context that…
Serves You Instead Of
There's well-known story that’s often used to illustrate the power of context:
Once there were two men working side-by-side at a construction site. One of them was grumbling as he worked, the other one was whistling.
When asked what he was doing, the first man responded, “I’m laying bricks, what does it look like I’m doing?”
When the second man was asked the same question, he replied, “I’m building a cathedral, what does it look like I’m doing?”
Even though their physical actions were identical, their contexts couldn't have been more different. One man’s context was debilitating. While the other’s, invigorating.
This story is encouraging. But it leaves one big question unanswered:
How Do You Change
The Way You See Things?
I have a friend who knows everything I just described to you about context, and how to do everything I just told you about as well. And about three months ago, he found a suspicious-looking mole on his foot. This ordinarily wouldn’t be concerning, but he has a history of skin cancer and the thought of going through the ordeal again terrified him.
For several months, he looked at the mole and convinced himself that maybe it wasn’t so suspicious looking after all. He promptly put it out of his mind. But every day after that, as he stepped out of the shower and saw it on his foot, the thoughts of biopsies and surgeries would return. And so did his panic. He just couldn’t go through that again. It just couldn’t be skin cancer.
And each time ... the thoughts would go away.
Unfortunately, the mole and terror did not. He had to go see his doctor, but just couldn’t bring himself to do it. As a result, his fears soon worked their way into other areas of his life. He began to have trouble concentrating at work. He even began to have nightmares.
Of course, he didn’t know what was causing any of this until he was describing this very concept of context to me. He needed an example of how suddenly a person can change perspective. And he instantly pointed to his foot, and said:
“It’s like this thing on my foot. It has terrified me because until this very moment, no matter what I’ve tried to tell myself, I've just ‘known’ it’s cancer and I’m not up for that again. Now, as I sit here with you, I realize I don’t ‘know’ any such thing. And just like that, I see it as a ‘thing’ and not ‘cancer.’ And it’s much easier for me to see a doctor about a ‘thing’ than it is about ‘cancer.’”
He had a bit of a breakthrough right there in front of me. The physical action he needed to take — that is, go see a doctor — didn’t change. Only the context did. And when it did, the same action that had been so difficult suddenly became easy.
By simply remembering that one context is never inherently more right than another one.
That's all you need to do. Remember that.
The instant he stopped “knowing” his instinctive, knee-jerk context was true, he was able to choose a more useful one. One that was healthier. It made him calmer. Which allowed him to do what needed to be done.
And he did just that.
It turned out his mole was not malignant, but the lesson it reminded him and me of has been invaluable.
There is nothing to do but remind yourself it’s an illusion. When you do that, you are free to choose how to face the things before you. It also helps to brainstorm the question, “What else could this mean?” And see how many answers you can come up with to help yourself practice thinking of different contexts.
Choosing the right context for yourself in a pivotal moment can make the difference between success and failure. Whether it's in your career or business, whether it’s during a “rock bottom” point in life where you need to get to a better place… even in a relationship, or during your daily workout…
…choose your context VERY carefully. Seriously.
You Can Also Choose
How To Face The Past
Of course, what’s done is done. No matter how much we may wish things were different, we simply cannot change the past. This is no big surprise to most of us as it’s common wisdom, passed down through the ages. The realization that what’s done is done helps us accept the past and face the future.
But what if the past isn’t as fixed as we’ve been led to believe?
Here’s what I’m talking about.
A woman I once knew through mutual friends had what she considered to be an ideal life. She had a loving husband, great kids, and an affluent lifestyle.
She would often share many of her happy memories whenever I saw her at social gatherings. We would hear stories of her fantastic honeymoon. The birth of her children. Her recent wedding anniversary and even the time her husband surprised her with a trip overseas.
No matter what happened in the future, no one could take those memories away from her…
It seems her husband had a secret: There were other lovers in his life, and not all of them were women.
When she discovered this, the very memories she once cherished began to haunt her. Did her husband ever really love her? Or did he marry her to try to cover up his other life?
Did he really have a few hours of work to do when they were on their honeymoon? Or was he seeing someone else? And who was the friend he had to visit when they were overseas?
Suddenly, with her entire past in question, her present became less certain. She struggled with what she should do. And she wasn’t sure anymore what the future might hold.
It Really Did
What’s done is never totally done. Though it’s clear we can never go back in time and change the physical events that took place, the truth is — the physical aspects of the past are only a small part of it.
We provide the context with our interpretations and our narratives. And our interpretations and narratives about the past play a MUCH larger role in our day-to-day lives than the actual physical events that took place.
The context of the past is always capable of being changed. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse:
When I was in college, an elderly lady in the department of my college major…
Insulted Me For
No Apparent Reason.
At that time I had been questioning my major and I explained to her that I might want to take some time off until I knew what I wanted to do with my life.
I remember she laughed and then suggested that maybe I “wasn’t college material.”
I was shocked and appalled. Why would she say that? That topic of conversation ended right then and there. She didn’t explain herself and didn't apologize.
For several years I held this against her. In fact, I hated this lady’s guts. But then I discovered that what’s done is never done…
About five years after this initial insult, I was explaining the story to an acquaintance who happened to be about the same age as the woman who had insulted me. But rather than consoling me, he told me something that changed my life.
He said that back in the 1940s, when he and this woman were young, many people couldn't afford college and as a result, weren’t considered “college material.” He said they didn’t consider it an insult. It was just the way things were.
Then he had the gall to suggest that perhaps this woman never intended to insult me at all. But instead, meant to support me in my decision.
In That Instant,
My Past Changed.
If you struggle with your past, know that there IS a way to change it. By changing the context.
When you choose a healthier context for your past, you can be at peace with it. At peace with people you may have unresolved conflict or trauma with. And at peace with yourself. And that will bring you a richer, happier, more productive present and future.
You can’t change the physical events of your past. But your understanding of those events can change and when they do, the change will ripple through the past, present, and future.
They’ll Give Your Entire Life
A Total Upgrade
But if you unconsciously accept the notion that what’s done is done, you leave the power to change the past solely in the hands of circumstance. You’re making the false assumption that you just-so-happened to arrive at the perfect interpretation and context of your past by pure chance alone. And given the fact that there are hundreds more contexts you can explore — that’s extremely unlikely.
But by accepting the notion that what’s done is never done — reality becomes flexible and you can begin to change the course of your entire life.
Including your past.
But be careful — don’t let anybody else change the context of the past when it doesn’t benefit you, either. Because they’ll try. Sometimes well-intentioned, sometimes not.
Control your OWN past, and control your destiny.
“Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past.”