The manual describes a very specific, clear and highly teachable methodology that enables you to live as a what I call a Real Adult [LINKS] as opposed to a Pseudo-Adult. The manual has a great deal to say about this. For now, I simply want to highlight the power of the difference between Real Adults and Pseudo-Adults.
In essence, Real Adults are a living force to contain and displace drama in life. They displace it with Real Thinking and discernment about What’s So/True versus how we feel about What’s So. They use Real Thinking to determine what the real/actual problem is that’s generating the feelings. And address the real problem by Containing/having the feelings rather than be had by them. And use Real Thinking to assess the real problem, then consciously choose an appropriate action, and act accordingly. The next step can be quite challenging. LET THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY. And if they don’t mangle or kill you, use the same process to address those chips.
As I noted earlier, this is a clear description of a methodology that is NOT simple to implement. The goal of being a Real Adult is to be able to apply this methodology as consistently and effectively as humanly possible. That means they will never be able to apply it all the time. And they understand and accept this.
Their ever improving skill at applying it will at best reach the level of an art form. And that’s not really a problem. After all, Michael Angelo and his kind didn’t do so badly. And even the “lesser” artists are pretty worthwhile in their own right.
What’s unique about Real Adults is that they understand this reality about human functioning in general. And they accept it and relate to others and life from that empathic place as opposed to a place of blame and judgment. And perhaps most importantly, they relate to themselves in exactly the same way.
Also, Real Adults understand that, if you will, in the game of life, we don’t get points for NOT getting knocked off the horse. The basic rule of the game is that we get knocked off the horse.
We only get points based on how rapidly and graciously we get back on–and then keep going.
This perspective of understanding and empathy for the human condition makes possible what is otherwise unavailable. It is an approach to life that fosters using failure and mistakes as just what happens when we practice. And it accepts “doing it for real” as just another instance of practicing for the next time of “doing it for real”.
This paradigm shift in perspective works to displace just blaming and condemning “failures” and mistakes–most importantly in ourselves. It sees living as a work in progress, an effort at perfection that at best can only be an art form. This transforms “failure” into what happened when we went to work out at the gym day. It doesn’t keep us from going back to the gym.
It also makes possible a much more powerful and empowering way to live than living “normally” as a Pseudo-Adult. Because it starts from the premise that ultimately, the only real power we have is power with ourselves. In the long run, the only power we have in the face of what happens or what others do is how we respond. So we can spend our energy where it can be most effective. Rather than trying to change circumstances or manage or others, we focus first on managing ourselves as effectively as we can. So that when we do attempt to change circumstances or manage others, we have the best shot at succeeding we can have.
In exercising this type of power, we may or may not succeed in our goal, immediately or ever. But we maximize the likelihood we can by maximizing our overall resources. Because we can allow ourselves to withdraw and regroup when wisdom dictates. And we constantly monitor and refine the single most powerful tool we have, regardless of circumstance: our attitude.
Of course, this is certainly not a revolutionary version of a desirable way to live. What may be revolutionary is the emphasis on “how-to” in doing what’s desirable. And even this emphasis may not be revolutionary.
What is new is the how-to focus on what is usually the major obstacle to being effective everywhere in life: how to manage our feelings. How to “have” our feelings rather than be had by them. So that we can do what we know is almost always the most effective thing to do (outside of the obvious romantic scenarios). That is, think clearly before acting.
The methodology first establishes a clear vocabulary and basic understanding of how emotions, thinking, and the brain produce behavior. This includes understanding ways the neurophysiology of the brain imposes certain unavoidable constraints on how we function.
And it adds emphasis on a perspective that I do not see discussed or utilized elsewhere. This is viewing our sense of safety as the pivotal influence on our feelings and behavior that it is. By monitoring this sense in ourselves and others, we can often make sense of attitudes and behaviors that are otherwise baffling and confusing.
Coaching efforts to change ineffective behavior within this framework is entirely different from both psychotherapy and traditional Life or Personal Coaching. I have more to say on this elsewhere.
The point is how this framework alters the effectiveness of one’s personal efforts to change. Because it has more to do with learning to work WITH how we work as humans rather than trying to change or fight it.
This allows for developing wisdom about what one can always do no matter what else one can’t do: at least not make things worse. It also trains patience, tolerance, and skill in dealing with two huge obstacles to keeping going: failure, and uncertainty about the future.
The list of differences between Real Adult and Pseudo-Adult goes on. But the best place to learn more about them is by reading the manual. My goal here has been to help you understand why living as a Real Adult is powerful and valuable, and interest you in learning more about it. I hope I have!
If you are interested in understanding more specifically about Pseudo-Adults, Read more here.