Life Warrior Blog
By John Austin Foster
My message today is about creating mastery. According to the latest research in positive psychology and human motivation, there are three main drivers that create intrinsic motivation for an individual. If any one of these drivers are missing, a person tends to "fail" and then continue searching for the next program, trainer, or method to help them reach their goals. If these three drivers are found, the person becomes intrinsically vs. extrinsically motivated. Meaning that they are much more likely to continue getting healthier, happier, and more awesome at life, even after they have hired a coach or trainer to teach them how to get in shape, lose weight, or whatever other goal they are searching to achieve.
Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose
In order for a person to create intrinsic motivation for him or herself, she must have these three drivers. Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose are like three circles that interconnect. If one cultivates these three things, they will find the "sweet spot" right in the middle, which will be their pathway towards a healthier and happier life.
So What Does Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose Mean?
I'll explain each of these drivers briefly.
Mastery- Mastery is a primary component that drives us as human beings. When we see progress, we become motivated and seek out more ways to achieve this feeling. It is important that we be creative and out of the box when it comes to bench-marking mastery. For instance, in health, if one uses only weight loss to mark their progress, it is likely that it may not come fast enough and therefore, lack of perceived progress will rob them of other joys they could have attained through cultivating mastery. This is why I like to apply as many skills as possible into my coaching. Rather than simply losing weight and adding 5 pounds more onto a bar, in a clients program, my clients will see themselves getting better in any number of ways, such as: improved yoga poses, more endurance in basic skills, better alignment, reduced pain through improved core functioning...and the list goes on.
Autonomy- A person or client must be in charge of creating their own progress. A principle that I hold dear in Life Warrior Coaching is that anytime one feels the problem is "out there" the problem is always "inside". Our reality is a reflection of how we see the world, but our failure to realize this causes us to look for life's answers outside of ourselves. This leaves us dependent on others for our progress and ultimately de-motivated in the end, because we have failed to become empowered within our own being
Purpose- Autonomy and Purpose deeply serve Mastery. Without purpose, achieving our goals will become empty in the end. Without purpose, we are only serving ourselves and have lost out on the primary point of life...TO SERVE OTHERS. Therefore, purpose is one of the greatest aims we can seek as a human being.
WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE?
By John Austin Foster
“A problem cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created it.” -Albert Einstein
The above quote has been one of my favorites for a long time. It also touches on a very real predicament in our world. The nature of mind is one that is evolving into greater complexities of seeing and acting in the world. As founder of Spiral Dynamics, Clare Graves, put it, the human mind has latent capacities for software upgrades. We have been upgrading our minds since the earliest times of our homo-sapien origins, and if we are going survive to the next stage of human history, we have to upgrade our minds, once more, to a higher level of thinking, beyond the limited complexity of mind which caused the problems our world is facing today.
One of my teachers, Rob McNamara wrote a book called The Elegant Self. The Elegant Self is a title in reference to the level of human psychological development Harvard Professor, Robert Kegan, calls Self-Transforming Mind, or 5th Order Consciousness. Elegant Mind is a level of mind that we are in dire need of in today’s world!!!
So what does it mean to grow into greater complexities of mind?
This subject can often be confusing, so stay with me. When you were born, you were born with a mind that existed at a certain level of consciousness, but a mind which also has the capacity to continue to grow into greater and more complex ways of viewing the world. For instance, when you were a child, you were subject to fantasies of thought and projective, magical ways of viewing the world. Christmas was totally about you and Santa Claus bringing you presents. Often, children are afraid that when they think “mean” thoughts about their parents, that somehow they will cause a curse or hurt their parents in some way. This level of mind is equivalent to the magical, animistic, or voodoo cultures which existed somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 years ago.
You also probably remember the day or the person that brought you the news that Santa Claus was not real. Most likely, you found this out around the ages of 7-9 as your mind was growing into greater complexity. A form of mind that operates at what is called Concrete Operational thought. What 10 year old boy doesn’t love to collect things and trade those things for bigger and better things? Concrete Operational mind is a level of mind that allows the child to directly operate on the world in a concrete way. Projective fantasies of consciousness disappear, for the most part, and the child is inducted into a world where he or she must play a part in a family and society (rule/role consciousness). Around the age of 8 is also when a child is introduced to math and other forms of concrete thoughts and ideas.
Now we are going to fast forward to where we, as adults, are at now.
Currently our world is facing a dilemma. We have to grow into a greater complexity of mind which is capable of handling the problems in front of us. We have to become elegant in how we view our problems and how we go about creating solutions. Currently, much of our thought processes are stuck inside our own systems of thinking, inside our own inidividual needs, cultural constructs, and in our own limited ways of viewing the world.
What is needed is a way of viewing the world, in which we can step outside of our own system. We need to step beyond our own concrete and formal operational way of viewing the world. We have to step inside a experiential flux that is unmediated by our past or perceived future and that is open towards solutions which lie beyond our personal need to operate on the world as a fixed rather than a dynamic system. A system that we think we can manipulate and form to our own desires and purposes.
As we grow into greater complexities of mind and being, we begin to realize that we are not really the ones operating on the world anyway. The idea of a separate, existing self, who somehow acts on the world and solves problems is actually an illusion. There is no such separate self. We are part of a co-created reality. You are being formed at this moment by the complexities within and all around you. You are literally not the same person you were yesterday.
So what does this mean?
If I lost you for a second, I’ll bring you back right now. What this means is that you have to GROW INTO THE RICHNESS OF THE PRESENT MOMENT. When you put your small way of thinking down and open your mind to a greater reality that is surrounding you at this moment, you allow your mind the space to grow into higher levels of BEING. At these higher levels of thought, you begin to see situations with more clarity and you also gain access to a greater creativity that HAS YOU and not the other way around! You are the creative act of consciousness that has evolved out of this amazing Cosmos.
Once you can move into Elegant Mind, a mind beyond ego and one that embraces opposites and paradox, you will begin to be able to work with others in solving the complex problems at your place of work, your relationships, or in your political or environmental views, in more creative ways. In actuality, you will learn how to let the problems, you face, solve YOU in more creative ways.
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"The Life Warrior program lives up to its name. The training techniques have made me stronger mentally as well as physically, because they are transferable to so many aspects of life. Mindfulness has given me a new outlook, especially in stressful situations. John is exceptionally knowledgeable, caring, and dedicated to helping others.”
- Karen S., Life Warrior client
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