Introduction To The Successful Thinker Part One
Your past does not equal your future. In this episode, host Corey Jahnke discusses the “mid-conscious mind” and shares how this undercurrent of thought derails our plans and puts the lid on our potential. Corey shares his five-step plan for thinking spherically, allowing you to transcend yourself into the future and beyond.
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Introduction To The Successful Thinker Part One
Making The Shift From Getting Killed To Killing It!!
This episode is called The Introduction to the Successful Thinker: How to Make the Shift From Getting Killed to Killing It. When I was 23 years old, I graduated from pharmacy school and I stepped out into my first job. By all accounts, I had made it. I was as high as a 23-year-old hotshot could go. I had a great degree. I had garnered a new job. I purchased a new car. I had a new apartment. I had a new life and I was scared to death because at the end of the first day, I realized something that changed my life. I realized that if I wasn’t careful, I was going to stay in there at the pharmacy counter for 40 years saying, “Take with food, take on an empty stomach, don’t take this pill with that pill.” I was going to be bored out of my mind. I had gotten into pharmacy school quite frankly because that’s where the cool girls hung out in my college. I had gone to college as a biology major just like every eighteen years old. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. The cool girls were over here, so I went over here. Five years later, I’m a pharmacist which sounds good, but it was scary because whenever I would get out of class, my friends would say, “We learned about the first time Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. What did you learn about?” I was like, “Beta blockers and alpha-2 adrenergic agonists.” They would go, “Next.”
I was under the impression that pharmacy was boring. I was worried because I didn’t want to spend 40 years being bored for the rest of my life. I decided to play a game with my customers. I decided that whenever my customers would come in, instead of saying, “Take with food, take on an empty stomach,” I will be the guy that says, “What did you do to your leg? That is a cool scarf. Where did you get it? Joe, what do you do for a living? How’s that working out for you? Bob, do you have any advice for me on what to do or not do in my career? You seem like a successful guy. Share with me your life experience.” It’s interesting too because around that time, most of the customers were World War II veterans and they had some amazing stories. World War II was something you learned about in the history books, but it was something altogether different when you talk to the guy who lived it. When I decided that I was going to do with my life is asked those questions, mostly because I wanted to have fun. I wanted to play with the customers. I wanted to just go to work excited and fired up. I was 23 and I had more energy than ten people put together. I started asking people these questions and they started giving me amazing advice on what to do and what not to do.
I would say things like, “Mrs. Miller, when you were here last week, you were on your way to your daughter’s basketball game. How did that come out?” She was like, “You’ve got to hear this. Let me show you the announcement in the paper. She scored this many points.” We had these great conversations. The people that I work with stood around going, “Whatever this is that you’re doing, I don’t know if this is professional. I don’t know that this is appropriate.” All of a sudden, whenever the phone would ring and someone had a question, they were asking for me. They weren’t asking for the pharmacists. They wanted to talk to Corey and I couldn’t figure that out. Here I am, one of four pharmacists. I’m the youngest guy in the room and I’m the one that’s getting all the calls. Around that time, the Chicago Bulls had finally won their first championship in my lifetime. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the boys put it together. They got it with Horace Grant and John Paxson and all of a sudden, they made it happen. I had asked my boss about two to three weeks before they won. If they won, could I go ahead and wear my Bulls sweatshirt to work? He said that I could because he liked it when people got behind the cars like that. The Bulls had won and I came into work wearing a bright red Bulls sweatshirt.If you died today, what would others be saying about you? What would you want them to say? Do your actions mirror what you say your values are? Click To Tweet
Some of my employee friends went right over to my boss and they said, “You make him go home and change. That is unprofessional. That makes me sick.” He said, “I can’t send him home because I told him he could do it.” He just started sheepishly walking away from them. Those poor employees, I felt so bad for them because the rest of the day, other customers will come in and they’d say, “Did you see that game last night? John Paxson was hitting the three-pointers like they were falling out of the sky.” I would say, “Wasn’t it great? Didn’t Jordan do that and Pippen did that. Horace Grant was amazing.” It was that day that I realized people don’t necessarily want to do business with someone who is so professional that they’re unapproachable. People want to do business with people that they know, like, and trust. What I did then is I got a notebook and I started writing down the things that people were telling me.
Prepare For The Next Phase
One time a young girl came in and was talking to one of my coworkers about how she had lost her job and how there’s no job security in America anymore. The old man named Frank who happened to be watching that conversation looked at me. He said loud enough for this young lady to hear. He’s like, “Corey, there’s never been such a thing as job security. I made a fortune in transistor radios and then some jerk had to come along and invent the television. Even as a boy, I remember the blacksmith sitting on his hands. Here he is, has the biggest house in town. Because someone came along and invented the automobile, he’s out of work. Corey, the moral of the story is no matter what your career is, no matter what your job is, you need to always be thinking about your next career, your next adventure or your next business. You never know who is going to come along and put you out of business. You never know when you’re not going to be able to do what you’re doing anymore because you might have a health crisis. You never know what’s coming down the road. Your job in life is to make sure that you’re ultimately prepared for the next phase. That means working on you. That means reading the books that you need to read. That means talking to the people you need to talk to. That means finding out what you need to find out to make yourself the absolute best at what it is you do because you want to maximize your competitive advantage.”
Develop A Life Plan
I was like, “I had never heard anyone say anything like that.” This man just gave that to me. He freely handed it over to me. What was interesting about the situation is, everyone else in the pharmacy was scared of him. He liked to play the mean old man, the grandpa that likes to play gruff and tough but everybody knows he’s got a heart the size of Texas. I always liked to talk to him but other people were scared of his gruffness. If I could talk to him right now, I’d like to let him know that he totally changed my life. From that day on, I wrote down what he said. I started writing down other things that other people had shared with me and I began to develop a plan for my life. What I learned is this. What successful people do is they find out what other successful people did to get where they wanted to go and they do the same things. They also find out what unsuccessful people do and they try to guard against it. Here we are 30 years later. I have had ups and downs, but the whole of my life has been fantastic because I’ve learned this one key concept. It’s that successful people think long-term. Successful people think about their life in a way that makes them successful. I want to share with you right away that success is what you say it is.
Some people think that success has to do with a bank balance. Some people think that success has to do with how big your house is, how much furniture you own or what car you drive. For some people, it does. Lots of other people define success in terms of their relationships. If they’re someone that they love and that person that they love knows that, then they’re successful and that’s fantastic. What I want for you in your life is to get a strong sense of what makes you feel like the best possible you. I’m going to help you get there. I’m going to give you people in front of you that are doing things that you want to do. With this podcast and with my Successful Thinker Magazine and with Coffee With Corey episodes, we’re going to share a lot of ideas. What I wanted to do was to have the first three episodes of The Successful Thinker share with you what I’ve learned personally over the past 30 years about success. I want to make you aware of the perspective and the paradigms that I operate from. After the third episode, we’re going to bring on powerful guests that have been where you want to be, that has struggled and persevered, and that have fallen on their face and gotten back up.
We’re going to share as many ideas about how does someone become successful in the modern world. I am not a big fan of academic ideas that don’t work. What I want to bring to you are fresh cutting-edge relevant strategies, tactics, tips, thoughts, ideas and wisdom that works in the real world. What you’ll find that you’re going to get from me and from my guests are practical real-world strategies that are working in the world now. How to become the best at what you do? How to avoid the pitfall, struggles and hassles that trip everyone else up so that you can live your dreams, reach your goals, and create the life that you’ve always dreamed up? I know something about you. You have greatness in you. You are so much better than you’ve given yourself credit for and I want you to step into that greatness. I want you to become someone who looks in the mirror and says, “I like you. I want for you to realize that this is the day that you’re able to step out into the world and crush it.”
Your Life Is What You Think It Is
In this episode, we’re going to talk about making the shift because your life is what you think it is. I have been out of money many times in my life. There have been times when I have been broke and there have been times that I have been poor. Neither one of them had anything to do with my actual bank balance. What they had to do with was the way I thought about my financial situation. That’s the way everything works in life. When you look in the mirror, you’re telling yourself a story about who you are. All in our life is made up of stories and many stories. You have a story about who you are as a spouse. You have a story about who you are as an employee that constantly runs the program in your brain. You have middle size stories, you have large size stories, and you have small stories. You even have stories about what kind of food you like to eat. You have stories about who you are in relationship to others. What’s interesting about your stories is, unfortunately, most of them are fictional. Think about it this way. Did you ever overhear a conversation at work and you thought it was about you? You got upset, you got your feelings hurt and you struggled with your confidence and so forth. Then you come to find out they weren’t even talking about you. You had an emotional response to a stimulus. You interpreted it in a certain way and it affected you.What successful people do is they find out what other successful people did to get where they wanted to go, and they do the same things. Click To Tweet
Almost everything in your life works that way. There was a time when a spouse didn’t come home. You had all these images in your mind of a horrible accident and whatever could have possibly happened to this person. You were inventing it. You were hard started picking up. Your stomach started to hurt and your mouth started to get dry. It turned out they had simply been delayed and they left their phone in their locker. You had real life beliefs that were based on a lie about what had happened. I want you to know that everything works like that. When you think about the person that you are and the person that you could become, a lot of things pop into your head. It’s not easy for me because I have this disadvantage and that disadvantage. I’ve got this strike against me and I’ve never been good at that. There’s an easy way to tell that those stories are false. You just have to take a look at the people who have had worse setbacks than you’ll ever have that are more successful than you’ll ever be. Realize then that all of the stories that we tell ourselves are questionable at best.
Your Life Is A Sphere
In most cases, they are false which means that in a weird way, your life is fictional. That’s cool because what happens is you have the ability to write your own story the way you want it. Most people think that their life is linear like, “I’m 53 years old now. When I’m 54, I’ll be that much older and that much tighter. When I’m 67, I’ll retire.” They have drawn a straight line across your paper and this is where my life is going. For those people, the past equals their future. This is the person I’ve always been, therefore this is the person that I am. This is the person that I’m going to become. Do you know what successful people and successful thinkers do? They realize that their life is spherical. Your life is like a sphere and you’re right in the middle of this sphere. If you look at a basketball, imagine yourself as the center of the basketball and you have to choose how you’re going to exit the basketball. If you realized that there isn’t a left or a right to a basketball, there’s an infinite number of directions you could go to get out.
If you start thinking about your life as an infinite number of directions that you could go, you start to realize that you’re not as powerless as you thought you were. That’s the real difference. The shift that I want you to make is to realize that you’re so strong. You have so much talent and ability that you can write your own ticket. If you’re stuck in a narrative that says that only certain things are possible for you and in so many areas, you’re stuck, then you are stuck. What I learned from one of my customers was this. If someone comes up to you and says, “How are you?” and you say, “Fine,” you begin to believe that. “I’m fine. I’m okay. I’m average. I’m doing all right.” If you were to say, “I’m doing fantastic.” All of a sudden, you’ve got a little squirt of adrenaline. You get a little squirt of energy. It was interesting because I was in a pharmacy that filled 500 prescriptions a day so I would get asked 500 times a day, “How are you?” When I started saying, “I’m fantastic. I’m killing it. I’m doing great,” before long I began to feel that I’m killing it. I’m fantastic. I’m doing great. That had nothing to do with my conditions or circumstances. It had to do with the energy that I was generating towards the world.
From “Going To Take Action” To “Action”
High-performing people don’t waste time on the story about, “I should do this or I should do that, but I guess I’m not sure if I can. I guess I’m not sure if I’m qualified. I don’t know if I’m certified. I don’t know if I’m the person that’s right for this job or this task or this project.” The people that get on in this world, they look for the circumstances that they want and if they don’t find them, they create them. The people that get on in this world and are successful, they just get busy. They don’t get ready to take up running. They just start running. They don’t get ready to go to the gym. They don’t spend hours and hours researching certain gyms and then go shopping and getting the right clothes. When they’re ready to make a change in their body, they just get up and go to the gym and they start working out. Successful people are action-oriented and that’s what I want from you. I want you to say, “I’m tired of making excuses. I’m tired of sitting around. I want to think about myself differently and I want to think about my life differently.” The number one way to do that is to shift your mind from going to take action to action. There are only four things you can do in life. You can start doing something that you’re not already doing. You can do more of something that you’re not doing enough of. You can do less of something that you’re doing too much of, or you can stop doing something altogether and that’s it. Everything comes down to that.
When you look at these stories that you’re telling yourself, what you’ll find is that if you sit down and pay attention to the thoughts that are going on, there’s an undercurrent of thoughts that are running slightly below your conscious level. They’re making up these many stories and these mini-stories. “You can’t work out now because Keith might call at 4:00. What if you weren’t here?” There are stories and the mini stories about, “The left leg hurts. I was hoping to do that.” Make a decision now that you’re going to stop telling yourself those little mini stories that derail your progress. Make a decision now that you’re going to make a shift. What I want you to know is that making the shift between the undercurrent of thoughts that are controlling your life and your conscious awareness is as simple as five steps. In The Successful Thinker, what we’ve done is we’ve said, “Your current circumstances and situation is not who you are. It’s the sum total of who you are.” Everything you’ve done up until now is just the person that you were. It has nothing to do with what you do going forward. Going forward, if you make a shift from a thinking-about-it person to I’m-going-to-do-it person, to never-mind-it’s-already-done person, then your life begins to take on a new trajectory.Your life is what you think it is. Click To Tweet
One of my favorite parts of one of my favorite movies is Men in Black 3. There’s this scene in Men in Black 3 where one of the aliens keeps talking about all of the potential futures. He keeps saying things like, “Unless this is the potential future where the bad guy comes through the door right now, this guy over here gets shot,” and he goes on and on. I began to think about that and what about your future? There’s a potential future where you go to the gym right after you’re done reading this blog. Maybe you’re at the gym reading this blog where you work out just a little bit harder. There’s a potential future where you go and eat a bag of potato chips. There’s a potential future where you go out for pizza and beer. Which future though is going to move you towards the direction of your goal? I don’t pretend to know what your goals are, but I do know that you have them.
The Mid-Conscious Mind
Now that you’ve started to read to this blog, I want you to do something for me personally. I want you to decide to raise your goals significantly. Whatever your goals are right now, I want you to know that we’re going to help you raise the standard of expectations as to what’s possible for you. Most of the time, you get out of life what you expect and if you expect more, your life will become more. There are five steps to making a shift in your conscious mind that says, “I’m never going to let this undercurrent of thought control who I am anymore.” This undercurrent of thought is what I would want to call the mid-conscious mind. You’re well aware that scientists and psychologists think that you have a conscious mind and a subconscious mind. You even have a mid-conscious mind. You have this undercurrent. It’s the one you argue with. You know that you want to go to the gym or you want to save money or you want to skip out on this purchase that you don’t need. You know that you don’t need it, but you can always have that little voice in the back of your head going, “Why don’t you get it? It looks cool.” I think you’re well-aware of that little voice. You just don’t know how to tell it to shut up. The way we tell it how to shut up is that we realize that, “I don’t have to listen to you. I’m going to make a plan for my life.”
Structuring Your Life
We’re going to talk a lot about goal-setting in this show. We’re going to talk about structuring your life so that when you end up at a certain goal-setting session, you’re going to find that your goals are far more possible than you ever expected them to be. I wanted you to think about it at New Year’s Eve at the end of 2019. If you and I met for a drink at 5:00 to 12:00 on New Year’s Eve of 2019, what would have to have happened for you to say to me, “Corey, this was my year. I crushed it this year because the following things are true. They weren’t true when I first heard your podcast.” Whatever those things are for you, I want you to keep that in the back of your mind. Those are the things that are going to get you past the undercurrent mind called the mid-conscious mind. I want you to realize that those are the things that are going to make you more resilient towards taking action in reaching your goals.
Step number one in making this shift is what I want to call the absorption step. That’s the recognition that we choose what to allow and whom to allow in our consciousness. In other words, who are you around? What do they have you thinking? What do they have you believing? What do they have you reading? What do they have you paying attention to? Are you choosing actively to surround yourself with people who lift you up and inspire you and make you feel better? Are you choosing to hang around with the same people that drag you down, bully you, intimidate you, talk about your fears, your regrets and all the things you did wrong? If you’re not choosing, then you’re choosing by default. Quite frankly, you’re better than that.
Step number two is what I call the attachment stage. There’s an understanding and I want you to think about this understanding. There are certain things that you are holding onto that are keeping you from making the shift. The way I like to think about those is the guilt and the worry and the fear. We all have them. Everybody is afraid. Everybody is worried about the future. Everybody feels guilty about the past, the things I didn’t do that I could have done, the want that I could have satisfied that I didn’t satisfy. I want to think about my life as a locomotive and these attachments as the caboose. It’s weighing me down and it’s holding me back. I have this mental image of you taking and uncoupling the caboose and riding away without it. The sum total of who you were is your life right now. There’s nothing to feel guilty about.
No matter who you are, 90% of what you try just doesn’t work. 90% of the things that you thought were great ideas at the time, turned out to be wrong in the span of time and that’s okay. That’s called experience. That’s called gaining wisdom. That’s called learning. The trick is not to dwell on that caboose. A lot of people, just because they fail or making a decision that they wish was different, they hold themselves to jump on that. This is not for you. What I want for you to do is to go ahead and realize that when learning experiences happen, address them, review them, resolved to change your mind from happening again, and then let them go. Losers dwell on the past, winners learn from it.
Step number three is what I called transference. We transfer energy inwardly and outwardly and we receive energy based on what we pay attention to. This is what’s important about that undercurrent or mid-conscious mind. We can train it to think about the things that we want to think about, to take the actions that we want to take. It’s been scientifically proven that your mind only has room for one thought at a time. When that ugly thought monster starts popping into your head saying, “You should have done better. That was rude of you. You are so stupid. You’re such a jerk. You’re ugly. You are way too fat. You are slow. You are out of shape.” All those things that we don’t want to hear. What we can do is replace it with a positive thought called an affirmation. They don’t have to be complicated and long and drawn out. You say something like, “I like myself. I can do it. I learn from my mistakes.” Whatever your mantra is, whatever you want to become, every time you feel that undercurrent thinking coming into your conscious mind, you replace it, “I like myself. I can do it.”Successful Thinkers focus their action on their values and take action in those areas. Click To Tweet
Every situation offers us the opportunity to feel good or the opportunity to feel bad. For instance, the people that I work with are amazingly talented at the pharmacy. Some of the things they come up with are so staggeringly bright they just blow my mind. They sometimes make me feel less of a person and I immediately have to go to work on myself saying, “I have my own strong points. I like myself. I have my own talents. I like myself. I can do this job. I am good with people.” Whatever my strengths are in a given situation, I keep reminding myself, “I can do it.” It drowns out those fears, doubts, and worries that I’m not good enough because they are so good at what they’re good at. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. Smart people and successful thinkers focus on their strengths and they complement themselves with people who are good at what they’re not good at. Surround yourself with people who are good at what you’re not good at and be open about it like, “I am not good at this. I’m so glad you are.” You will find that you will develop more respect and more esteem from your peers than you ever thought possible.
Step number four is called transformation. It is developing the habits and practices designed to focus our attention on what matters most to our value system. If relationships are the biggest thing in your life, is that where you’re putting your attention? If your bank account or your retirement fund is most on your mind, is that what you are putting your efforts in, your study in? Are you letting yourself be drawn away from your most important values? What I recommend people do is to go ahead and write down their top three values. “I value relationships. I value financial stability.” Whatever it is for you, I want you to write down your top three values and then I want you to ask yourself a big question. “If I came across myself, would I think that my actions demonstrate what my values are?” Suppose you invite me into your life to just watch you for a couple of weeks. At the end of those couple of weeks, you’d say to me, “Corey, do you think my actions equal to what I say is important?” You already know the answer to this question. If you are not where you want to be, you need to pay more attention to where you want to be and less attention on where you don’t want to be.
Step number five is the most important of all. It’s called transcendence. When we realize that through the shift nothing is about us, we’re simply just an instrument that the universe is using. What we can do is we can commit to becoming larger than life. We can commit to becoming universal. When we realize that for almost all of us, our value system directly connects to the people in our lives, to the people that we can serve, to the people that our message stands out for, we become timeless. Even if you never wrote a book, even if you never wrote a magazine article, or even if you never did a podcast. If someone remembers something that you said or something that you stood for, you transcendent on the next generation, you transcendent on the world and your energy change the lives of others.
I would ask you to consider this, “Is your energy changing the lives of others for the good or for the bad? Are the stories that you tell yourself productive for your ultimate transcendence?” One of my favorite writers, Stephen Covey, wrote it this way. If you want to make an impact on your life, you’re going to ask yourself a question, “If I were to die now, what would they say at my funeral? What would people be remembering about me? What would people be talking about so that I know that my life essentially made the difference that I wanted to make or that my life represented the values that I say are important?” Your values are totally okay. You don’t need anyone’s permission to live out your value system except yours. Every time you compromise your values on something that doesn’t speak to what’s important to you, you’re shedding your ability to make that difference that you want to make. You’re cheating the world of the chance to know the real you. I want you to step into your greatness by recognizing that up until now, your life has been completely fictional based on stories that aren’t true. You can rewrite the stories to create a movement going forward that represents what you are, who you were meant to be, and the difference that you want to make.
It doesn’t have to be grandiose. It could be, but it can also be like, “I’ve been meaning to reach out to my brother and tell him, ‘We should be closer.” I’ve been meaning to tell that neighbor that I appreciate them always putting flowers on their porch. Many people are living life in someday mode. Someday, I’m going to take better care of myself. Someday, I’m going to take better care of my relationships. As a pharmacist, one of the things I’ve learned is that for a lot of people, someday never comes. For a lot of people, someday represents a diagnosis that they never thought they would get. One of the biggest diseases in the world is the thought that it could never happen to me. I’ve heard that many times behind the pharmacy counter. I thought this was the thing that happened to other people and not to me. Your life happens by default or by decision. I want you to make the decision that your life is amazing. Your life is what you say it is and the decisions that you make are following the five steps. Absorption, attachment, transference, transformation and transcendence will make you the best possible version of yourself. Until next time. I want you to get up, get out there and make your difference because no matter what, I believe in you.