I appreciate the opportunity this column provides for sharing principles I’ve come across in my continuing study of human behavior and the human experience.
In this space I would like to share with you what is called living from the inside-out. This is developing an ability to control your emotions, reactions and your relationships by understanding your thoughts and connecting with an overall sense of well-being that is present beyond thought. It is inside all of us; unfortunately, sometimes we get disconnected.
So many of us live our lives from the outside-in. We react to outside events and the words and actions of others. You may be fine with this and perhaps have developed a way to manage and process all the outside events, but for many it’s a real struggle.
It’s a struggle because too often we place too much judgment and meaning to an event. Our personal thoughts can take over and they are not always going in the right direction. These thoughts and reactions come rapidly and often are influenced by past experiences, which are not always your best guide for the present moment.
Certainly working in the yachting industry as a captain or crew member your skill for dealing with others, sometimes in confined spaces, is of utmost importance. We must gain control of our thoughts, which will then control our feelings and reactions; this is a big part of this living from the inside-out.
So, how do we do this?
Let’s start with not placing judgments on events. Let’s say you’re a deckhand and you’ve been cleaning and waxing all day and in your mind, it’s getting around quitting time. The decks still need to be washed down but you decide that can wait till tomorrow.
Then the captain comes along and informs you he would like the whole job done and those decks need to be finished today. Without giving you any detailed explanation of why it must be done now, the captain walks away.
Now, which way do you go here? You could not give it a second “thought” and carry on and get it done, or you could give it lots of “thoughts”, such as “the captain’s got it out for me” or “this is so unfair”. You may focus on why: Why does this have to be done now? Why does this always happen to me?
I think it’s clear which way you want to go there, and you probably would go with the first option if you didn’t place judgments and inaccurate meanings to the task at hand. The experience is not good or bad, but our thoughts make it so.
Now let’s look at reactions and decisions. We all know there can be issues and drama among a yacht crew. Hopefully you are not on a vessel where this is constantly disrupting your environment but you must know you do not have to be a player in the drama game. Controlling your thoughts and consequently your reactions and decisions will enable you to continue to flow around and beyond the issues of others. Sometimes it can be as simple as not reacting right away. Easier said than done, you might say, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Develop that awareness to step away and create some space for new thoughts to come through. This is why, with big decisions, sometimes we want to “sleep on it” or take a day to decide.
This is where understanding the inside-out principle can really be of benefit. When you clear out some of the personal thought clutter, you allow a deeper knowledge to surface. We all have this guiding universal knowledge in us but we bury it under layers of personal thoughts and judgments.
I encourage you to try this for yourself if you haven’t already discovered this incredible tool from within. I feel very fortunate to have come across the inside-out understanding. It is wonderful when I get to work with it when coaching clients.
What I’m sharing with you here is not something I’ve made up (there are books I can recommend) or something only enlightened beings can attain. I hear it and feel it in my work all the time. When someone allows space for fresh new thoughts to emerge, these are insights; sight from within. These insights can be a valuable guide to clarity and comfort with our decisions. We all have access; it all comes from the inside-out.
Rob Gannon is a 25-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach. He offers free sample coaching sessions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments are welcome at email@example.com.