The common link for solving whatever challenge life presents you with contains a challenge of its own. You can overcome any challenge if you centre yourself, but the trick is to know what to centre on. The appropriate centre depends on the challenge. Below are five examples of challenges, with the main one being to quit smoking.
A ballet dancer spins without getting dizzy because she practices centring her gaze on a fixed point for some time during each turn of a pirouette.
A golfer soon learns that thinking, “All I have to do is miss that tree,” almost ensures the ball will hit the tree because his mind is centred on the tree. What he should do is pick a point on the fairway that will give the next shot a clear path to the green.
In dieting, the high failure rate indicates a need for dieters to change what they centre on for success. Instead of choosing a preferred body weight, they should centre on living a lifestyle that will maintain their preferred body weight before and after the body weight is achieved.
Many people do anger management courses because they are coerced into it. These people do well in the course until a marriage is resumed or a court case is over and then slip back into the cycle of violence. These courses should centre on frustration rather than anger because frustration comes before anger. Centring on frustration points to the skills, knowledge, beliefs and values needed to reduce the frustration that leads to anger.
Now for an example from my life of what centring means and what happens when the chosen centre is appropriate to the goal. I was addicted to cigarettes for 39 years and during that time I must have attempted to quit a hundred times. But, when I centred my mind on something other than quitting, quitting became quite easy, so easy that it was weeks before my wife realised I wasn’t smoking.
In previous attempts I centred on being a smoker trying to quit, which was really centring on smoking. This time I centred on being a non-smoker, which means thinking and acting as a non-smoker thinks and acts. By centring on ‘I am a non-smoker,’ I found that the anguish of not smoking was almost non-existent. Other people tell me they had a similar experience when they made the decision to go cold-turkey.
Non-smokers don’t hang around smokers to get smoke in their lungs, and they don’t get irritable from not smoking. How many non-smokers get irritable about not smoking? Non-smokers don’t brag about how long it is since their last fag. A non-smoker doesn’t try to impress all and sundry by announcing that he hasn’t had a smoke for a week, and non-smokers don’t chew on lollies to take their mind off smoking.
I didn’t do any of those things either, and any such thought drifting into my mind was quickly shown the way out. How easily I quit by doing that is an example of what it’s like when the mind is comfortable with both the centre and the goal. There was a complete giving over, or conversion, to being a non-smoker and all of my self-talk reinforced my new identity as a non-smoker.
So, the first and most important step we should take to overcome any challenge is to choose what to centre on to succeed, and then practice positive self-talk every step of the way.