[This post is part of a series on The Method to use The Model — my model for the human emotional system designed for use in leadership, self-awareness, and general purpose professional and personal development — which I find the most effective and valuable foundation for understanding yourself and others and improving your life. If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]
Today’s example of using the Method came a year after yesterday’s. That one was my first by-the-book implementation and test of the Method, this one was my first automatic implementation. I had practiced it enough to internalize it enough I did it without thinking about it. Since it happened informally, I won’t describe it as formally as yesterday’s example, which I did do more formally.
I had been out late with friends the night before an 8:30am yoga class at a new studio I wanted to try. Not sure that night if I preferred the class or sleeping in, I turned off my alarm when I went to sleep around 4am and told myself if I woke up on my own I’d go.
Lo and behold I woke up just before 8am, giving just enough time to make it if I hurried. Unfortunately, I realized what woke me up — I had developed a runny nose overnight. On top of that, the temperature outside had dropped fifteen degrees overnight too. I stuck with my plan and rushed to the studio, barely making it on time.
I blustered in to… an empty studio. What was going on?
The receptionist asked if she could help me.
“I’m here for the 8:30 session.”
“Are you sure? Our first session is at 9:45.”
I later learned a bug showed the wrong time on the studio’s web page. The pre-Model, pre-Method me would have found that bug out (by pestering the staff), found a reason to demand the studio make good on the error, which would have been an odd demand from someone who was using a free pass (my friend was an instructor there). The upshot is I would have found a way to be right, but also miserable and argumentative.
Now let’s review the morning so far: four hours sleep, runny nose, and hurried in the cold all for nothing. I could have stayed in bed. The old me would have reacted to each of these occurrences with frustration, indignation, self-righteousness, or some similar emotion, evaluating the situation as bad or negative and myself as a victim deserving restitution. As it was, instead of evaluating them, I simply observed them as occurrences, neither positive nor negative.
So what did I do? I thought to myself, “Here I am. I can’t take the yoga class I wanted to. What can I do?” I remembered they had luxurious showers with those cool natural pebble floors, better than in my home, so I decided to shower. Then I remembered they had saunas there. It dawned on me I had wanted to relax in those saunas, but wouldn’t have had time. Now I could, so I did.
So far, I had maintained my mood at neutral despite a half-dozen things that would have frustrated or annoyed an earlier me, a meaningful life improvement.
Two things then happened, better than neutral.
The first was while relaxing in the sauna, not thinking about anything in particular, the solution to a problem that had been nagging me for weeks popped into my head. Until then I hadn’t even realized how to frame the problem, let alone solve it. Then here, relaxed, the solution popped into my head.
It showed me the Method doesn’t just bring about what emotion you want, like a magic pill. It makes you measurably more productive and able to live your life how you want. Which led to the second thing.
Realizing I could consistently bring about the emotions I want meant I never had to experience an emotion I didn’t want to. Now I realized I had learned to do it without thinking about it. What an amazing realization! Of course, sometimes unrewarding emotions are appropriate to a situation, and I could choose to experience them, but many times life deals you emotions you prefer to change.
Now I knew how to do so, and I could consistently, reliably, and predictably. I could share the technique with others. And this led me a nearly transcendently rewarding feeling – I hope you know this feeling – of feeling so good you wish you could share it with others
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book