Self-control and priorities

It is a big deal.  Here are three Top Tips from me  –  and read them ALL not just the first one.  They are all fresh and ready for human consumption.

1. Control is a Verb not a Noun.

Self control is something you DO.  It is not something you HAVE.  It is an action, or maybe a non-action. You can’t keep self control in a cupboard and look at it every now and then. You may HAVE driving skills (or talking or eating skills!) but that is not at all the same as driving (and talking or eating). Self control is something you can do whenever you like, outside the realms of torture, a straight jacket, or someone holding a gun to your temple, of course. All of us can control ourselves, give or take.  You can raise your hands or your voice. Both are actions. In the same way NOT  raising your hands or your voice, or food to your mouth is the ABSENCE of an action a deliberate non-action. And NOT acting, doing nothing as an active choice, has consequences too. You decide.

Self control involves the process of putting your desires and longings into some sort of priority and deciding what outcomes you want the most, and acting towards those, and NOT other things.  I recently had a payout for a motorcycle injury and had to decide what my priorities were. It was a big (for me) chunk of money and I had to decide what my priorities were. I acted towards my priorities and phoned Santander to pay off my mortgage instead of Michael Hold to buy that Airstream Bambi! I still want one, but I had another priority. By the way, priority choices usually mean boundary choices. That’s what self-control is all about – living within chosen boundaries.  I can’t spend my money on clearing the mortgage AND get the Bambi right now (it wasn’t that much) though I guess there probably would be a way to do so!

You may want a quiet evening reading a book more than you want a stimulating conversation, so you switch off the phone and sit down with the book and a drink. You may want a fit body more than you want a flabby (or even average) body, so you go to the gym instead the chip-shop. It isn’t rocket science, and doesn’t need a gastric band – or a Bambi parking space.

2. Actions bring consequences.

ALL actions bring consequences – something that won’t happen otherwise. It is not possible to act without your actions resulting in outcomes.  Actions are a deliberate operation into the environment and will change it. It is simple: Act towards your goals and they get nearer. Gallop towards them and they get nearer. Saunter casually towards them and they get nearer. Crawl towards them and they get nearer, though much slower.  The outcome of acting towards what you want is that you get closer to what you want until, all things being equal, you arrive at it!

3. You’re free to choose. 

So what are you not controlling right now? What little contorted conversations do you have with yourself to explain how it is not your fault, there is nothing you can do and another person is to blame? Yes there are all sorts of different pressures on us, seeking to persuade you and me to hand over the control of our minds and bodies to another person. (It usually results in money coming out of our bank account and going into someone else’s) but it is worth remembering that those people have no more power than you – and much less power over you than you have. You really are free to choose. No need to surrender or fight. Just fill your screen (or your thinking) with what is important to you. What you want to be like as a person. What you want in your life. How you want to be in old age.

Then act towards it.

In the interests of self control I’m going to resist the temptation to write another paragraph and STOP.

Except to say … (tempting, isn’t it?)

An Airstream – outside my house!

You’re not going to believe this, but this morning when I woke up there was an Airstream travel trailer – not a caravan, remember – PARKED OUTSIDE MY HOUSE! Here’s the picture to prove it.

A dream coming true?

If you haven’t read my previous blog about wanting an Airstream Bambi really badly, you probably won’t appreciate the significance of this. Just to catch you up with the story, the Airstream man, Mr Michael Hold (he’s not actually called ‘Something-or-other’), read my last blog and was impressed. Important people read my blog, you know. (You are one of them of course.) And we chatted on the phone. Within a few days he had called to say he was coming down to the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed and could he come and visit? Well of course. He brought his son Robin, and I’m please to report, they are VERY nice people. They came in for a barbecue, stayed with us for the Festival and we had the unquestionable honour of having his Airstream stay too.

The sad truth is, its not the little Bambi.  His is posher and bigger than that, but it hasn’t stolen my affections, despite its beauty.  I like its little sister best, with her little red awning, and pretty proportions. Bambi is SO CUTE.

I was just thinking – would you like to see an Airstream for yourself?  What would it be like if one turned up outside  your house and stayed the night? How inspiring would that be for you?   In Powerchange (that’s our personal coaching company) we have learnt that visual impact really matters when you’re after something. Being able to ‘see’ it, even with your mind’s eye, can make imagination become reality. That is what having a ‘vision’ is all about: something you’ve ‘seen’. We know that what you look at gets bigger the closer you get.  Whether that is winning a Wimbledon Final – the second most important thing that happened yesterday – or an Airstream turning up.

There are other things you can do too. Remember the classic film The Shawshank Redemption?

Freeman inspiring a younger inmate

It is about being unjustly imprisoned and being determined to find a way out. If you haven’t seen it yet, get the video for £6.99 from iTunes. Watch it several times. It is so inspiring.  The central character, played by Morgan Freeman escapes to freedom by chipping his way out of his prison cell, chip by chip by chip. It reminds us that there ARE ways to get out of even the most desperate circumstances of life and be free again. You may be thinking how nice it would be for some Airstream travel trailer to turn up on your doorstep and whisk you away to a different world – and that really might happen! But when you are determined to change your life, don’t leave it to chance. It is better to be in control of the process yourself and chip away at the seeming impossible.

If someone had told me a month ago that I’d have an Airstream outside my house this morning, I’m not sure I’d have believed them – not least because they are so in demand and there is a waiting list! But there it is, in the morning sunlight of a English summer’s day.

A reminder that what you think about, the BMW in the drive, the GS motorbike, the Airstream, (and in my case, even the house itself), can become reality.

Can this happen to you too?

Come on, use your imagination.

An Airstream Bambi. Here’s what to do when you want something really badly.

I mean really badly.

Take for example the small matter of a small caravan. Oops, there goes my first mistake, fostered by the blinding desire to have an Airstream Travel Trailer, I’ve gone and called it a caravan. The absolutely wonderful man at Airstream just off the M6 at Tebay, Cumbria, called Michael Something-or-other was so gentle as he reminded my that this was a ‘Travel Trailer’ not a ‘caravan’. He was lovely about it, explaining that Airstream is just coming of age in Europe, with a range specially designed for this side of the Atlantic Ocean (which is not, I hasten to point out, a ‘pond’. We had one of those in the village and it had ducks on it. You could also see the other side.)

Oh, you are gorgeous.

Immediately, in fact before he even mentioned it, I could see the difference.  Not only that, so could my wife. This was no caravan.  This was something completely different.  and I wanted one BADLY, the whole shiny aluminium gorgeous thing, and I had several choices, from a ultra-gigantic version, to be pulled, I would have thought, by one of those tow-trucks you see at fairgrounds, all the way down (or maybe that should read ‘up’) to the sweetest little travel trailer you’ve ever seen.  It is even called ‘Bambi’.

The very nicest thing about it, well there were dozens of nice things about it actually, was that it would easily be towed by my car.  MY car!  Little Bambi was taking on new significance – she wanted to be in our family and come on holiday with us.  With our Airstream Bambi in tow, my wife and I could trundle up to some remote sun-strewn beach in Europe, pull down the beautiful red awning, pull up a couple of red chairs and, hey presto, our very own boutique hotel on wheels, complete with sea view.

Now let me take you inside. No squeezing through some scrappy little door as on a ‘white box caravan’. No, I mean this, A proper door.  I experienced a slight physical (and emotional) shock to realise that I had walked into Bambi and hadn’t banged my head. Nor when I came out again!  That HAS to be a first for me when it comes to carav…  oops. When the children were small we caravanned (yes, the right word this time) most years and the holidays were only marred by the sobbing that issued from their broken father as I hit my head on the top of the doorway … again. And I’m not joking, it reduced me (in my weaker moments, which on holiday … well, you can imagine) to real tears.

But not with Bambi. Room to spare everywhere. Even the shower was a decent size. I swear I could reach all the parts of my body that I wanted to wash in that shower – although of course I was a tad embarrassed to do that in the showroom to check it out. The shower was great. I suspect that my wife AND I could … no, we won’t go there.

And so we come to the living space. Think boutique hotel again. The lighting reflecting throughout the cabin (its made like an aircraft) creates a romantic atmosphere to lull one into the dinner-a-deux mindset, though the single red rose was missing. I noted that the central heating (yes it has central heating for the winter months) was off, but the rich red upholstery begged you to recline in comfort and either watch the telly, which we would never willingly do unless Dad’s Army was on, or read a favourite novel to the subtle tones of Rachmaninov on the sound system.

Needless to say, images of Bambi are now pinned up on my study wall, where my first BMW car was before I owned one, where my R…x watch was before I owned it,  and my 1200GS motorbikes (yes, I’ve had two) were displayed before I owned them – and in fact where the details of the house we now live in were pinned before we bought it.

I think you probably get the point. When you want something REALLY badly, pin it up on the wall in your line of sight where you’ll see it every day, and start to dream. Imagine having it, enjoying it, sharing it, playing with it (in it?) Or just call me on 07771631945. Or email me. Or visit the Powerchange website. Chances are we can help you GET IT.

I want an Airstream Bambi, never mind the fact that it is over £30,000. My car was nearly that price and I didn’t have the money for that either when it first went on the wall. My car will tow it and I want it.

What do you want?