How To Get Out Of Your Own Way

Most of us are looking for inspiration because we have some kind of challenge or a problem to solve. We want to improve life or work in some manner. Yet we often get in our own way by spending much time and energy on cranking a handle that is not connected to what we want to change! 

For me, a huge step forwards has been to see that the only way we get to experience life is through our thinking (you can clearly see this in action when two people have different experiences of an identical situation).

Previous posts have touched on this in different ways, so here I’d like to share an analogy that I hope you find helpful. When you see it happening for yourself in real time, it can be life-changing. 

Imagine For A Moment That It Is Nighttime

Buildings always make noises at night – in mine there is the background hum of the refrigerator, the creaking of floorboards as the temperature cools, the breeze blowing around the eaves. Your home will have its own repertoire. 

Sounds as familiar as these don’t bother us; we can sleep peacefully through them. Yet it’s quite different when we hear a sudden sound. Then we wake with a start, instantly alert, listening for what may follow. We may run through a mental checklist to identify the cause. 

If we’re able to work out what caused the noise – perhaps it’s the new letterbox rattling in the wind or a noisy car in the street – we can relax. Because we know the reason for the noise, we can lie back and go to sleep again. 

But if we can’t come up with an explanation, we stay on edge. The noise represents a threat because we don’t know what it is. Most probably we get out of bed and look out of the windows. We listen carefully to see if the noise occurs again. We may tentatively check each room in turn. It’s only after a period of time, if all is quiet, that we allow ourselves to creep back to bed. Even then we do not sleep well. 

So How Does This Apply To Life? 

When you have a good experience, you don’t want to change it – you simply enjoy it! Just like a familiar background noise, you feel no need to trace the cause. You happily carry on with what you’re doing. 

It’s when you are confused, frustrated or unhappy that you want to improve things. This kind of experience is like a sudden noise in the night – you want to know the reason (or what to blame) so you can fix it. If you can’t find the cause, it’s disturbing. It can even feel threatening. 

But when you see that the experience you are having comes from your thinking, it’s like a sudden noise that you recognize. You no longer have to take it so seriously. And there is no work to do because you don’t have to go searching through the house to find the cause. 

Ultimately, the thoughts you think are just thoughts; with different thoughts the same situation looks and feels entirely different. You don’t have to suppress or control your thinking because new thoughts are always flowing. Fresh thoughts will naturally arrive unless you fixate on what you are already thinking

Of course, knowing this does not immediately make the experience go away (any more than a noise goes away just because you know what causes it). Yet you can be sure that as your thinking moves on – which it naturally does – so your experience will change for the better. 

Please don’t take my word for it – prove it for yourself! In your current situation, look for how your experience improves as your thinking changes.


How To Get Out Of Your Own Way — 4 Comments

  1. I can relate to this Trevor. I always struggled with relatioships when I experienced sudden unexpected noises from them and I often would literally lie awake wondering what was happening. Then for me was the finding and understanding of Human Design and a way to understand ourselves and our partner a lot better and understand what the likely causes of these unexpected noises were and this as you say immediately relaxed me and has helped I am sure to give my marriage the longevity I have enjoyed. It has not removed the sudden noises but it has helped me understand the source and then allowed me to carry on.

    Thanks for your continued inspiration.

    • Many thanks Jon – you emphasise the difference it makes when we can relax about the noises. I’m glad that your understanding has made such a difference in your relationships.

  2. Great analogy Trevor and well put. I think one of the most challenging situations is when the ‘noise’ two people here being the same is interpreted differently where one person can investigate and react to it differently to he other. No matter how hard you try to convince the other about the ‘noise’ when they can’t let go of it because they can’t change their thinking the ‘noise’ can keep you awake all night.

    How can one cope with this?



    • Hi Mark – great question!

      The scenario you describe happens all the time – two people in the same situation who experience it very differently. Often this leads to one or both claiming to be right and the other wrong.

      It’s liberating to know that our experience comes from our thinking, and not the external circumstances, precisely because it gets away from right and wrong. It’s just that one person’s thinking is different from the other person’s thinking. So if another person has a different experience to me, it does not make me wrong.

      When I’m awake to the fact that the other person is experiencing their own thinking, I don’t need to be defensive. Instead I’m likely to be more understanding and generous. If the other person can’t let go of their thinking, they are making a choice to hang on to it. The same applies to me. When we make no effort to hang on to our thinking, it automatically changes.

      When two people argue about the right and wrong of a situation they share, each reinforces their position and hence their thinking becomes more entrenched. If instead they realise no one has a monopoly on the truth and they stay open to other perspectives, new thinking will flow and fresh possibilities will blossom.