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The news of Dr Wayne Dyer’s passing sent me to Google and it wasn’t long before I bumped into mention of the influence of psychologist Albert Ellis on Dr Dyer’s work.
Ellis was the father of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and is one of my personal heroes. His teachings underpin the core of my Mindset Training** and inform many of the techniques I’m creating, including the PACES™ method of identifying how we disturb ourselves.
One of Ellis’ greatest gifts to the world is the concept of “musturbation”.
And no, that’s not a typo.
At the heart of Ellis’s message was this fact:
We aren’t so much disturbed by the THINGS that happen in life, but by our BELIEFS about the things that happen.
That’s not a new concept – the Stoic Philosophers were talking about it 2000 years ago.
It seems perfectly reasonable that we should strongly want something to happen (or not happen), but for us to demand it is irrational. There’s no law of the universe stating that we’re entitled to get what we’re demanding. This is what Ellis meant by “Musturbation”.
And it’s when we’re faced with not having our demands met that we get agitated. When we don’t get what we believe we MUST HAVE:
So the next time you feel wound up, check to see if musturbation is the root of your problem by asking yourself what I call the world’s most important question:
Then try this subtle change in thinking:
“I really want that thing to happen – but I ACCEPT that the world doesn’t have to give me what I want”
That little amendment about acceptance can have a profound effect on your thinking. When we accept that we might not get something, we tend not to attach our self worth to the outcome in quite the same way we do with a demand. So we can say “I really want xyz, but not getting it doesn’t mean I’m not good enough. It simply means I’m human and normal.”
When we accept that we may not get what we want, we also send ourselves a subliminal reminder that we’re resilient and that we CAN bear the outcome if what we want doesn’t happen.
When you let go of a demand and accept the possibility that the universe doesn’t have to deliver it to you, your mind can start looking for possible solutions to make getting what you want more likely. It enables you to think:
“Given that I really want xyz, what’s the best possible outcome from this particular situation, and what is the first action I can take to make it happen?”
The key is to then take that action.
It signals to your unconscious mind that you’re not helpless or hopeless or stuck. You’re capable. And resilient. And resourceful.
And all of it starts with that simple question, “What am I demanding right now?”
Tuck the worlds’ most useful question in your pocket and wheel it out the next time you become aware of feeling anxious or angry or any of the other big ‘stuck’ emotions. Basically, the next time you bump into musturbation.
Because that’s another of Albert Ellis’ nuggets – we do it to ourselves. Which is actually brilliant news because that means we can also undo it.
If you know you’re capable of more than you’re currently delivering, and you aspire to higher performance and results, get in touch. I look forward to showing you to how to rewire your mindset.
** With forever thanks to my alma mater, the London College of Cognitive Therapies.