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The Proactive 12 Steps  

Step 5 of the Proactive 12 Steps

I dig deeper into these patterns. I seek to understand the emotional logic that is behind them.

See transcript of video below.

Step 5, above, is part of the Beta version of the 4th edition of the Proactive 12 Steps. A video commentary on each step has been released over the past few months. Now is the time to share with us your feedback on the commentary:
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Transcript of Step 5 video

This is about giving yourself a chance to dig a little deeper. To not just stop at the surface. I'm going to explain what I mean by that. In lots of ways our brain is lazy. It's not something that's bad, but it's actually from wanting to be efficient: The brain is geared to giving us answers that are actionable. So, as soon as we have a sense that an answer seems to be okay, we stop there. It takes an extra effort to go beyond that.

And so, chances are, when you've done your explorations in Step 4 to try and understand better the patterns in your life, you have had that sense of, "Oh, yeah, I get it, I get it, yeah, I get it." You know? And as you feel, "I get it," you are probably stopping. You're not continuing to explore more.

The situation is a little bit... Imagine like you're waking up in the middle of the night... It's one of these nights when you have all kinds of ideas... "Wow, wow, wow, I have all these ideas." In the morning, you wake up and you try to remember all these ideas, and you remember how excited you were, but what comes up to the surface is really nothing so amazing. So, you've lost the substance of it.

Chances are, if you just stay at the surface of what comes up through this process, you probably are not going to go very deep, because you have that felt sense of what it might be like, but you haven't really grasped more what it is. It takes more work to really own it in such a way that it becomes more actionable.

That work is something you do first on your own. As you explore, you have these ideas, these hypotheses about what it's like that gets you stuck, and more moments where you feel less stuck. You just make sure to ask yourself a few questions as you do, in order to stimulate the curiosity, and not to stay just at the surface. Such as: "What do I really mean by that?" Or, you try to articulate it, something like: "Okay, yeah, I think, hmm. Yeah, I think I tend to really, when there is a lot of pressure ... Yeah. So, under pressure ... Let's see what ... What happens to me is under pressure ... Remember that one time? You know, there was this ... Oh, and so, under pressure, what happened is I kind of stopped breathing, everything was tighter, and so I felt more in a straitjacket, and that's how it gave me that experience of being stuck." Okay? So, that's an example of staying with it a little longer.

Once you've done that, it's probably a good idea to talk to people. Friends. People, maybe professional resources, support groups. But talk to people so that you are articulating it to people who don't have the same experiences you have. Maybe, it takes more effort to explain what you're doing. But, with more effort, you actually get to understand it better.

Some of the people you're going to talk to might be critical. Don't talk to people who are too critical. Some might be a little bit, you know, not taking everything at face value. Pushing a little bit is good. Start with people who are just very, very happy to simply give you space and listen. Then, you might want to talk to people who are a little bit more willing to engage in an argument. Not too critical, but something that helps you go farther.

This will help you get more of a handle on what it is that gets you stuck, and what makes you feel less stuck.

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