When I Googled “Walking the Talk” as a possible blog name, my search found very few listings. I could not find even one that takes the format of a blogger attempting to teach and coach by openly sharing examples of his or her own daily walking the talk of what they teach and coach.
In this blog, that is exactly what I will be doing—coaching and teaching about a very specific methodology for living that is extremely clear, has very specific, common sense language and is incredibly effective. And I will be using examples from my own experience to ground this in the reality of daily life where it needs to be applied.
Real vs Pseudo-Adults
The goal of this training is to become and live as what I term a Real Adult–as distinct from a Pseudo-Adult. A Real Adult knows how to manage their feelings in a way that lets them distinguish between “What’s So” and how they feel about what’s so. So, they can then make Conscious Choices that let them deal effectively with reality, not just their feelings.
In contrast, Pseudo-Adults are generally driven to action by unrecognized “knee-jerk” or automatic emotions and reactions formed in childhood based on survival needs at the time. So are Real Adults. Only they know it happens, how to recognize it when it is happening, and how to intervene on it.
Pseudo-Adults neither recognize nor “manage” these automatic reactions and behaviors, and most often can only react rather than respond rationally or effectively to the reality in front of them.
So Pseudo-Adults often “respond” to reality with defensiveness or by counter attacking a perceived threat. They cannot distinguish between what only looks like a threat (based on their childhood experiences), and what is, in fact, a current danger that demands action.
No Conscious Choice
The only reason Real Adults have a choice is that someone has helped them see that a particular reaction or behavior they have is a knee-jerk, not a response based on Real Thinking. And they have practiced being able to recognize them long enough to be useful. And as a note of foreshadowing, the best it can ever get is as an art form.
The point is that until we know that knee-jerks exist and are the “norm”—in everyone– and are able to recognize our own knee-jerks, WE HAVE NO CONSCIOUS CHOICE ABOUT HOW WE FUNCTION. The ONLY point at which we gain choice is AFTER they happen and we recognize we just experienced an emotional knee-jerk. MUCH more on this in later blogs.
The kicker is that we literally cannot see our own knee-jerks without someone else recognizing them and helping us see it. THEN we have Conscious Choice about whether to continue with the knee-jerk or choose something else.
This is complicated and difficult to fully grasp, but further explanation will have to wait for future posts. The final kicker is that we will NEVER stop having knee-jerks. Again, more on this later.
The Second Difference
The other major difference between Real and Pseudo-Adults is that Real Adults understand they will NEVER completely stop “reacting like a child” (i.e., having knee-jerks) at times. So, when they see that they are, they intervene and manage themselves accordingly—e.g. disengage long enough to recover Real Thinking, and not make important choices or take significant actions until they have.
By contrast, Pseudo-Adults may recognize they are “reacting childishly”. But they do not have the flexibility of allowing themselves not to act when it would not be wise. Their internal conversation might go something like this: “After all, (stereotypic) Adults are always decisive, always know what to do, and behave like John Wayne.”
“And god forbid anyone should know—as I do—that inside, I’m just a child wearing an ill-fitting costume called “Adult”. But I must at least look like an Adult, so I always have to act. And if I’m not thinking so clearly about what I do, it’s because everyone else is making me so upset that I can’t think!”
Get the picture?
Six Step Methodology
Living as a Real Adult gives a clear and useful methodology that always works.
- Contain your emotions long enough to do Real Thinking (RT).
- Using RT, distinguish between What’s So and what are only your and others’ feelings about what’s so.
- Make the best and most informed judgment call you can, and act accordingly.
- Let the chips fall where they may.
- If you aren’t killed or maimed by where they fall, use the same methodology for dealing with those chips.
- Repeat and rinse for the rest of your life.
A Brief Example
When someone says something nasty to you, you probably have a lot of strong emotions, all at once–and none of them pleasant. What would your life be like if you could calmly say to yourself, “Gee, air just passed over someone’s vocal cords. That’s all that just happened.”
And then, suppose you Contained how you felt as the sound waves registered in your brain and could therefore consciously choose what importance/relevance/value/urgency you were WILLING to give those words—and respond accordingly.
In short, faced with the overwhelm of upsets available daily, what if you could choose which ones you are willing to give enough importance to deal with?
“Easier Said Than Done”
People often respond with something like, “Well, sure, sounds great” (and it really does, doesn’t it?). “But easier said than done! You make it sound so simple!” As if, therefore, everything just described is somehow irrelevant, meaningless, or otherwise just irritating.
Future posts will build on the important distinction between “simple” and “clear”.
They will give solid training about emotions: What they are, how they work, their relationship to Reality, etc. They will also give clear descriptions of specific “how to” ways of dealing with emotions.
Goal of Mutual Support
One of the primary goals of this website is to generate an ongoing conversation about these things that will provide support, companionship, and guidance in facing the reality that, “No, it ain’t simple.” It’s just easier when you have clarity and guidance about what you’re doing.
With appropriate coaching, the entire process I’ve been describing is trainable and achievable as an ongoing life skill to be developed like another skill. Only probably more useful than most.
I hope you’ll want to stick around and see whether this blogger actually walks his big talk—and whether it can help you achieve what you want to accomplish. Because we sure could use some Real Adults out there!
If you would like to discuss the possibility of an individual coaching contract, please contact me, and I will respond within the same day.