Episode 15: How to solve any problem: 5 key elements

Dec 30, 2019

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Episode 15

You are listening to the Self-Mastery Podcast, where we break through barriers holding you back from becoming who you wanna be, whether you're struggling with pornography, overeating, social media addiction, or just wanna get better at succeeding at life. This podcast is for you. Now, your host, Zach Spafford.

Good morning and welcome to another Mastery Monday. I'm your host, Zach Spafford, here on the Self Mastery Podcast. Today I'm gonna give you guys a real treat. I'm gonna tell you how to solve any problem with five key elements, and I love, by the way, all the feedback that I'm getting about the podcast.

Thank you very much. Some of you make it the first thing you listen to each Monday morning to start your week out. Somebody reached out to me this week about the podcast from two weeks ago about falling forward and asked how they can get better at that, and said they were, feeling stuck and didn't know how to put that into play in their life.

So let me just take a moment here to remind you that you can hop [email protected] and set up a free mini session. I will help you out. Let me hook you up. There's a link for the Work with Me button, so you can just take advantage of that. I'll also talk to you about the options that you have if you want to keep working with me if that's something you wanna choose to do.

So my spots are filling up pretty fast. I'm thinking about opening a group coaching program as well, so more people can get better. At the self-mastery that we've all been striving to work on, it's gonna be amazing. I'll let you know when that comes out whether you're interested in working with me or not.

I'd still love to do a mini-session with you and help you out, so don't hesitate to go there. So today we're gonna talk about how to solve any problem by understanding five key elements. All of the coaching I do stems from the model which was developed by my mentor, Brooke Castillo, the owner of the Life Coach School.

She's a woman I really respect for her work in helping others work on how to become a better person and be better at being the person that you want to be. I also work with a really amazing coach, Jody Moore, who's my friend and coach who brought me the model before I. Knew anything about being a coach and is now my instructor at the Life Coach School I have yet to find a problem that this model will not work on.

So if you think you have one that the model doesn't apply to, then sign up for a free many session and let's give it a test run. And let's see. The idea of the model is, That everything we deal with in life, pain, suffering, negative emotions, all that comes from something other than our circumstances. The traditional way of thinking is that circumstances make us feel bad.

The model shows us that our feelings come not from our circumstances, but what we think. That our thoughts generate our feelings. So let's start at the beginning of the model, the circumstances of our model. Let's just define that really quick. A circumstance is a fact. It is what we consider the indisputable facts of the case.

They are the things that we don't control and can't change directly, usually. Some examples of this are the weather, other people's behavior are passed. So this is something that's not up to interpretation and something that everyone can agree on. For example, if you said to me, I'm addicted to pornography, that would not be a circumstance, that is a thought.

If you say to me at 2:00 PM I looked at pictures, that's a circumstance. It can essentially be proven, right? It isn't subjective or someone's opinion. Everyone would agree with it. Your car is a circumstance. The weather is a circumstance. Other people's behavior is a circumstance. You can't control them, right?

The second part of the model is your thinking, your thoughts. I wanna define what I mean by your thoughts because I use this in my coaching a lot. This is a pivotal point in your ability to understand not only who you are, but also how you can change what you believe and think to become who you want to be.

Firstly, Thoughts are sentences that are constantly running through our minds. This essentially is the conversation we're having with ourselves. Sometimes we're aware of our thoughts, but often because of how powerful and fast our brains are, we're not really aware of all the thoughts that we have going on in our minds.

For example, if you said to me, I'm addicted to pornography. We've already established that that's a thought and not a circumstance, right? Thoughts are really interesting because they are things that I believe create the world around us. All of the technology, all of the comfort, and all of the things that we spend our time with that aren't other people.

And sometimes other people, like our kids first started out. As thoughts in someone else's, in someone's mind, yours or someone's. This makes our thoughts very powerful. Perhaps the most powerful thing we have the ability to influence in the world. I think you could make an argument that the saying the pen is mightier than the sword is an expression of how powerful our thoughts can be, especially when we write them down.

Some of us have thoughts that build us up and help us create I wanna study to be a doctor, or I know I'm a great dad. Other thoughts we have can reduce our ability to be our best version of who we are Trying to be like, no one will ever know if I do this just one time or I can't stop looking at pornography.

Those thoughts that reduce our abilities are harmful and cause us unnecessary pain and suffering. I have eight kids. That is a circumstance where we live, which is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When I tell people that I have eight kids, they usually say something like, wow, that's a lot of kids. Or You have your hands full.

Where we just moved from St. George, Utah, a family of eight kids is not as rare, and they will often say something like, oh, I'm the seventh of nine, or, My parents had 10 kids or even nice, we wanted to have eight, but had to stop for some reason. So you can see the actual words they're saying are circumstances to me, but they are those people's thoughts and they're sharing what they think and what they're making my eight kids mean is different depending on their thoughts and what they believe.

That brings us to the third part of our model feelings. Our feelings come from our thinking. We don't tend to think about it that way. We usually attribute our feelings to our circumstances. I lost my job, and that's why I feel like a failure is one. Possible thought, right? But the truth is that your lack of a job is not the cause of your feelings.

What you're thinking about your lack of work is the cause of your feelings. There are a lot of people who don't work that feel great about it. Retirees are, one. group of people that we could put in that category thinking that you should have a job or thinking that you don't, didn't work hard enough, or thinking that you didn't deserve this.

Those are the things that bring up feelings of failure or overwhelm or sadness. So let me give you an example of how your thoughts about circumstance create your feelings. We just moved into a new house and I'm doing some of the work. Because I like to work with my hands and it gives me some time to think while I work.

My brother-in-law, who's a professional drywaller came over and was critiquing some of my drywall work. Now, before I knew this model, I might have believed that he was making me feel bad because what he was saying about my drywall that I had just put up.

but now I know what he was saying was just words and that my thoughts about those words are creating my feelings. He wasn't overly critical it, he was just pointing out what I could do better. But before the model and before all of this work that I've done, I might have been sensitive because in the past I've tried really hard to fit into my wife's.

Family and in with her brothers and it isn't always easy. So to hear him be critical of my work might have caused me to think, oh, I'm not good enough, or he's such a jerk. The truth here is that his words are just words, and whether he said them or to me or to someone else without me hearing them, the only thing that created my feelings was what I chose to think about his words and the meaning that I gave them.

It's important to remember here that we are not usually fully conscious of what we're thinking in this example, and before the model, I would certainly have thought that he hurt my feelings and that it was his fault. Just like when our spouse uses pornography or withholds intimacy. We often think that it is their fault that we feel the way we do.

That's a pretty natural and quick process to go through, but what we think, not the circumstances, what creates the negative emotions and positive emotions? W we also like to think that if the circumstances were different, then we would feel better. Like for instance, if my husband wouldn't use pornography, I'd feel sexier.

Or if my wife would meet my needs more, I'd feel happier and wouldn't use pornography. It's easy to be tempted to think that. Way, because changing the circumstance is so obvious, but we can't always change the circumstance. In fact, rarely can we change the circumstance. We can always, however, change our thoughts.

And that, by the way, is the literal definition of repentance. The Greek root of our English word repentance is to have a new mind, which, what's your mind if it's not your thoughts. So while having new circumstances may be hard to achieve, having new thoughts isn't. Which means that feeling differently if that comes from your thoughts is just a matter of choosing thoughts that create feelings you want.

So what is a feeling? I define. , a feeling as a vibration in your body As men, maybe we're not as good at describing our feelings or thinking about them. Some of you listening might think that this is where I lose you because you know you aren't a big feelings person, but just stick with me for a minute.

Knowing what feelings are and how they impact us is key to understanding why we do what we do. The reason I say this is feelings are the reason we do everything we do. . I was in sales for a lot of years. I sold cell phones and then I worked in with insurance agents, and then I was an insurance agent. If you have ever sold something, you know that the way to get someone to buy is to create the right feeling.

Turn that discussion about the latest features of the iPhone, and its many technical aspects into something that makes them feel desire. Maybe the buyer wants to feel cool, maybe the buyer wants to feel more interesting. Maybe they don't want to feel envy that their neighbor has. A better phone, right? Or maybe they don't wanna feel stupid that their phone is old.

People buy and really do everything because of how they feel. That isn't touchy-feely, kumbaya, kind of yada yada. That's just how humans work. So when we think it won't matter, this one time, if I look at pornography, our feeling may be justified. But the long-term effects of that are that we feel guilt or shame, right?

Or when we think, my wife can't find out that I look at pornography, we may feel overwhelmed or scared, and those feelings drive us right. And this is one thing that I teach my clients, you can also just feel the emotion without acting on it. And this is something that we all have done as well, right?

If you have ever felt angry or upset and just sat in the emotion and done nothing, just decided to feel upset rather than yell at your kids or tell your boss off because he was overly critical of your work, right? So you can just sit in your feelings without. Actually doing anything about them, but knowing what your feeling is and knowing how to understand and describe and pinpoint your feeling will clue you into the next piece of the puzzle, which is your actions.

The fourth part of the model is action. Actions are simple, right? Actions are what we do. So when I feel lonely, my action might be to look at pornography or when I feel sad, right? That we all have gotten to that point where we start and we. Go down the path. Some of you might say, well, when I feel lonely or sad, I just get up and I just, I distract myself by keeping busy.

So my emotion doesn't affect what I do. I just power through. I wanna offer to you that when you're operating from negative emotions, you are not doing your best work. When you operate from empowered emotions, your actions are more effective than when you're just powering through your sadness or your loneliness or whatever emotions.

You're trying to distract yourself from what you do will always show up in the energy and the tone you bring to your work because of the feelings you're feeling, which come from thoughts that you are thinking. When I make the decision to indulge my sadness by choosing to look at pornography, the long-term effects of that can be seen in how I ultimately feel because of my use.

How I treat my spouse and kids and how I interact with the wider world. Do I withdraw? Do I say mean things? Do I show up as a, as someone other than who I want to be? Yes. All of those and more, right? Recognizing how my feelings impact my actions makes a huge difference in my ability to see how to change and overcome my current patterns and implement new patterns that serve me better.

If what I really want is to be pornography free, understanding my emotions and actions that they drive makes me more effective in changing my thoughts to have feelings that I want to have, right? If what I really want is to feel love when I feel lonely, I can instead choose to think something like. I'm great at taking care of my family.

That creates a different emotion than my wife. Can't find out that I look at pornography, which creates different actions, which brings us to number five, which is results. Results always come from our actions. One thing that you are going to be aware of as you start to see how the model works is that when you see your thought, then discover the feelings that come from that, which creates the actions and the results.

You're gonna want to fix it all right away. I just want to caution you there. There are a couple of things you need to know. First, Y your thought line is the place. Where you have the most control. A lot of us focus on the action line more because we feel like that's where all the problems are, or we try to change the circumstances because they seem to be big and in the way right now as pornography users, we've all done this.

I'm guilty of it. Trying to just not look, even though our thoughts are still something like my wife can't find out that I look at pornography. But if the thought doesn't change, then in the long run, neither will the results. That's the whole, as a man thinketh, so is he idea. So when it comes to pornography use, one of my first thoughts it that started me down the path of being free was, I can look at pornography, but I don't want to.

Right now. That was my way of saying, yes, I have the ability to choose pornography, but right now, in this moment, I don't want to. . That was a thought that I could believe at almost every moment, regardless of my circumstances. That thought makes me feel content so I don't have to fight with myself over whether I'm going to choose pornography in choosing that thought, all the downstream feelings and actions result in net positives to my life.

So when we want to change, focus on the thought line and then be careful that you don't. Just try to change your thought without trying to understand why you chose the previous thought that wasn't serving you or wasn't helping you stop using pornography. When you take the time to look at. That and watch your brain, you will be more likely to make lasting changes to your thoughts and drive permanent change rather than flipping back to old thoughts when it gets tough.

So just be careful as you go through the process that you aren't just jumping into a new thought that you like better, but that maybe you don't believe or that you haven't looked at your current thought closely enough to understand why you're choosing that thought. because you are choosing your thoughts.

By the way, also, when you're trying to figure out what your model is, you can start anywhere in the model and work in both directions. So if you know your action line or your result line, you can start there and work up to define the other parts of the model. Just know that your thoughts always determine your feelings.

Your feelings always determine your actions and your actions. Always determine your results. For me, it's easier to see my actions, so sometimes I start there. For other people, it's easier to see their feelings, so they start there. But no matter where you start in the model, once you have it out on paper and can see what your brain is doing, you're more likely to be able to change it and make the adjustments that you want so you can show up the way that you want to show up in your life.

guys, I really appreciate you listening. Feel free to share this on iTunes or Spotify or wherever you get your podcast. Also, . I really love feedback. If you have any questions or need to know anything about the process that I go through, feel free to sign up either for a free mini session or you can contact me via my website.

I would love to hear from you. I love talking to people about how they can become a better version of themselves. You guys, Merry Christmas. Have a great week. It's New Year's This week it's a great time to start looking at your goals. And thinking about, okay, who am I gonna be? How am I going to show up in my life in the coming weeks and in the coming year?

Take that time. Sit down, do what you gotta do. We'll talk to you next week. Hey, thanks for listening to the Self Mastery Podcast. Every day I get requests from people who are looking to change something in their life. If that is you, if you need help overcoming your addictive behavior like pornography use, sign up for a free mini session at Z

That's Z I'll put a link in show notes for you to follow. Also, it would mean the world to me if you were to leave a review for us. Wherever you get your podcast, it'll go a long way to helping others find us. Thanks again.

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