About

Reality is Overrated
Or, Raising Your Mental Game

The weather is. Your cheating partner is. Getting fired from a job is. The coronavirus is. All of these things – and a million other things we can’t control – are observations of reality. They are objective, observable reality. Reality happens. And it’s overrated.

You see, there’s nothing we can do about the weather. It is going to rain or not. Be destructive or not. Be sunny or not. The observable world is just that: a blank canvas onto which we can project our thoughts and feelings. Rain to a golfer is bad. Rain to a farmer is good. It all depends on your interpretation of what is happening, and the importance and meaning we impose onto it.

When we learn to separate our subjective thoughts or reactions about our experiences from the objective experience itself, we gain power and resilience. We get to choose how we feel. But this uncoupling of events from judgement does not come easily. We are judging machines, often confounding judgements of reality with reality itself. And that mix-up can create stress and bad feelings.

To have control over your thoughts and feelings is to have control over your life. This includes the food you eat, how much and what kind of exercise you do, how you approach work, and even the success you have in business.

You may not have control over the fact that your body is aging, but you do have control over how you age and how you feel about it, which will impact your quality of life.

The reason why reality is overrated is because that’s not where the action is: your life is created in the meaning-making you project onto your experiences. That’s where the magic happens.

I didn’t learn these things in high school, college or graduate school. I learned these things by relentlessly pursuing my own freedom. I felt trapped by my own thinking, unable to get out of my own way. Little by little, I’ve become a mental ninja, and you can too. I’ve discovered how to live beyond the limitations of my own mind and embrace the ever-present gifts of soul.

Because my work focuses on behavior change (see below), I have adopted a systems thinking approach to improving health:

“Systems are perfectly designed to get the results they get.”

When you look at results as being integral to the system that created them — whether those are results you want or not — you can then identify and change the elements that are influencing the results. This takes curiosity, courage and a big dose of personal honesty. And, sometimes, it just takes knowing what the good snacks are, or removing the pretzels from the drawer at work. Your habits are part of your system, along with your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, relationships and environment.

Behavior change is the focus of my career, which currently has five components:

  • Public Health Communications. Creating behavior change campaigns and interventions to help improve the health outcomes of targeted populations. I’m also an award-winning video producer.
  • Courses and Programs. Creating online courses to improve health, well being, and personal freedom. Breaking Free from Sugar includes everything I learned while breaking my own sugar/carb addiction.
  • Writing. Power to Change: Unlocking the secrets to improving your health is a current writing project that will also be a course. Sign up for the interest list.
  • Teaching. I teach about behavior change in the Masters of Public Health program at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont.
  • Speaking. People in your organization will learn from research-based information and will be inspired to think differently about their health and take action. Contact me about virtual and in-person presentations.

I often think about mastering life is much like the game of tennis. In tennis, when you’re a novice player, you’re constantly running around the court, just reacting to whatever is thrown at you. But as you get better, and develop keen observation skills, you can see where the ball will be going based on how it hits the opponent’s racquet, and so you can move to the place on the court and be ready for it.  This maturation of “seeing,” or perceiving, enables ease and resilience, and there are many tools to help you learn to develop this mastery. I would be honored to show you how.

Link to a more detailed version of my professional bio.

Link to my story about quitting sugar.

Link to my coaching scheduling calendar for a Discovery Call.

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