Russell Bishop Blog

#3 Introduction to Cycle of Improvement

Thoughts on how to read this information and work with the messages

First of all, let me underscore the idea that there is nothing new contained in what you are about to read! Pretty much everything you will read here has been said before, over many centuries, and by philosopher-writers far more eloquent than me.

I have made numerous attempts at writing this information in the past and have given up each time. Recently, I became aware of something inside of myself, something that comes from a sense of self-doubt, something that caused me to admonish myself by saying something like, “what do you have to say that is unique or new?” And I used that admonition to stop writing.

Part of my recent awareness is that just because something is old, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t bear repeating. The fact that there is nothing new here doesn’t mean that there isn’t something new to learn.

If all you do is read what is written here, you could probably save yourself a lot of time and try something else instead. If, however, you practice or apply what is written here, if you examine each element from the point of view of how it applies to your life, if you actively participate with the information, you may discover incredible insights into your own life. Surprisingly, you may learn lessons that you thought you had learned long ago, only this time the lesson will come at a much higher level, and take you far deeper into your True Self than you ever could have imagined.

The delightful contradiction that I have learned over the years is that just because I know the information it doesn’t mean that I actually know how to apply the information. Reading about something is not the same as actually applying the information to my actual life circumstances. Knowing the information and making the information work are very different things.

How you apply the information to your own life is the Key and I will refer to this Key as: participating with your experience and experiencing your participation. More on this later.

Welcome to “Lessons in the Key(s) of Life”

Or, welcome to “A Chosen Life”

Or, welcome to “From Self-Talk to Soul-Talk”As you can see, I struggle a bit with what to call this work and how to frame it. Perhaps this explains a bit about the frustrations I have experienced trying to get started writing.

Underneath it all, I suspect that there is a part of me that entertains considerable self-doubt about what I might have to say. Indeed, self-doubt and lack of confidence have been companions since early childhood. I don’t recall exactly when I moved from a confident and precocious little boy into the more shy and unconfident person I thought I was later in life.

Perhaps it began when my mother teased me about being small, often referring to me as “possible.” Perhaps it began when I drew a profile of an American Indian Chief in the sixth grad. It was remarkably good, evidencing an ability none thought I possessed – so much so that my teacher told me there was no way I could have drawn it myself.

It could have been anywhere along the line, and probably included many points along the way. The important part to note is that somewhere I lost sight of who I truly am and began to believe that I really don’t have much to offer, let alone much to hope for out of life.

Some contradictory lessons stand out in my mine, lessons I first learned as family sayings, almost family mottoes. “We won’t have much, but we will always have food on the table, clothes on our backs, and shoes on our feet.” “Can’t died in the poor house because he couldn’t.” “You can be anything you want.” “Don’t get your hopes up – nothing good happens to the Bishops.” And a million more.

I have learned to call these “conflicting beliefs.” Conflicting beliefs lead the mind in different directions at the same time and typically result in a form of paralysis of action. If one part of me believes it can be anything it wants, then I may tend to dream big dreams. If another part of me believes it is hopeless because nothing good happens to people like us, then I won’t put much effort into making those dreams come true.

“He’s such a dreamer.” Is that a pejorative phrase or a compliment? I guess that depends on what beliefs a person chose to accept.

Chose to accept? Now there’s a Key concept. We will return to the notion of choice throughout this work. For the moment, I will simply pose a hypothetical question: what if everything we experience in life is a result of a choice or choices we have made, consciously or unconsciously? To make this more personal, and therefore more powerful, what if everything I experience in my life is a function of choices I have made? What if that were true? If that were true, then I would be an incredibly powerful creator? If it all comes down to me and to choices I make, then it would hold that I could create just about anything I want in life. What if that were true?

What if it is not true? What if my life and my life experiences aren’t just up to me and to the choices that I make? What if it’s true some of the time, and not others? Well, if it’s not true, if life and experience in life happen to me, outside of my ability to choose or influence, then that’s just the way it is and it probably won’t cost me too much to explore the “what if” theory about choice.

But, what if it really is true that my life and my life experiences are a function of my choices, and my choices alone? If that were true, wouldn’t it make sense to find out how?

Now, don’t get me wrong here. There are holes in this “logic” big enough to cause real angst in a true philosopher, let alone a true pragmatist.

However, I am proposing that if you can “play along” with the notion of “what if,” with the notion that just possibly each of us is the author of our own experience, the creator of our own life, and that the key to life success is our ability to make choices, then each of us might discover unforeseen capability to transform our experience of life into something truly magical.

So, if you are game, let me lay out a few of the Keys I will explore here, and give you a sense of how you might participate with the information as we go along.

First of all, you will undoubtedly notice that I will slip back and forth between I, we, you, and us. My English teachers will undoubtedly shake their heads in despair. However, some of this mixed use of pronouns is because I am a student of this information as well as a teacher of it and while both student and teacher, I am also a co-worker right along with everyone else.

It is very important to me that I underscore this notion that we are all in the process of continuously learning these lessons. To my knowledge, no one ever gets these lessons the same way as people get the lessons of addition and subtraction. Rather than a straightforward curriculum of rote knowledge or well applied rules to learn, these are the kinds of lessons that require continued practice and application. In almost all circumstances of application, each lesson is unique in greater or lesser ways.

This work will contain four basic Keys in the Cycle of Improvement:

cycle-of-improvement.gif

Result

Each element contains enormous information and powerful implications for you we experience our lives and our selves. How we follow this pathway and what we do with what we learn turns will be of considerable consequence.

Perhaps the simplest advice I could give about how to improve the quality of life can be summed up in three parts:

    1. Do more of what works
    2. Do less of what doesn’t work
    3. Try new things (after you have exhausted 1 and 2 above).

We will explore this basic advice as we go through the Cycle of Improvement. Interwoven will be a number of themes and pieces of the puzzle.

Amongst the themes we will explore:

  • Acceptance
  • Accountability
  • Attitude
  • Authenticity
  • Awareness
  • Based on results
  • Becoming
  • Being
  • Caring
  • Choice
  • Cause and Effect
  • Commitment
  • Communication
  • Complaints
  • Completion
  • Creativity
  • Cycle of Improvement
  • Education
  • Emotion
  • Empowerment
  • Energy follows thought
  • Fear
  • Feedback and Direction
  • Focus
  • Forgiveness
  • Freedom
  • Imagination
  • Important vs. significant
  • Independence
  • Inquiry
  • Judgment
  • Loving
  • Meditation
  • Mirror
  • Perception
  • Power
  • Procrastination
  • Reflection
  • Responsibility
  • Resistance
  • Reticular Activating System
  • Self-Talk
  • Service
  • Simple awareness is often curative
  • Soul-Talk
  • Success
  • Symbols vs. experience
  • Truth
  • Trying
  • Understanding
  • Unintended consequences
  • Victim
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