A Coaching Power Tool Created by Ram Levin
(Success Coach, Leadership Coach, THAILAND)
There are many approaches to deal with life’s experiences; one method claims that humans can live in two states; Beautiful State or Suffering State. I have found this technique to be useful to address my personal life as well as help my clients gain clarity about their life’s adversities.
The half-full glass or half-empty glass analogy was something that grabbed my attention from an early age. How can the same thing be interpreted differently by two different people? So is your glass half-full or is it half-empty? Is it up to the glass to decide?
What is a Beautiful state?
A beautiful state can mean different things to different people. The beautiful state represents happiness, love, peace, gratitude, curiosity, compassion, optimism, excitement, positivity, etc.
In the beautiful state, you do the right thing, and no one has to tell you, it feels right. You are grateful for what you already have and comfortable with what others have. You also treat yourself and others with compassion and empathy. We are more comfortable connecting with people while they and we are in a beautiful state. Hence, both the coach and client need to be in a beautiful state to achieve the best results of a coaching session.
When we are happy, AKA a beautiful state, our brain increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine. Most pleasurable experiences involve the release of those chemicals, which play a significant role in our motivation and reward. The satisfaction we feel after achieving a goal is partly due to a rush of dopamine.
They are also known to be at high levels when we are in our peak performance. These naturally occurring chemicals in our brain help us stay calm and focused on a task. Their levels can be affected by our lifestyle and thoughts.
What is a Suffering State?
A suffering state represents stress, worry, fear, frustration, anger, jealousy, boredom, impatience, sadness, etc. We tend to disconnect from the people around us and get into our heads and think negative thoughts while in a suffering state.
When we are in a suffering state, the levels of serotonin, and dopamine decrease, we feel unmotivated, and in severe cases, it can lead to depression.
When we make decisions while in a suffering state, it is most likely that the consequences of these decisions will worsen the situation.
Ever got your anger on your kids or loved one just because you had a bad day at work? When our brain is under the suffering regime, it goes into fight or flight mode, the levels of serotonin and dopamine drop, and instead of helping the body, they cause pain and discomfort.
It is known that negative emotional states can affect the physical body. For example, chronic neck pain could be an indication of an inability to recognize different perspectives. Hip pain could indicate a state of fear that hurts the ability to make critical decisions. Lower back pain is associated with financial stress. Our thoughts and emotions become physical sensations. Additionally, we tend to react to things while in a suffering state, whereas we tend to respond while in a beautiful state.
What Controls the State?
As humans, we can choose in which state we want to be. It is a decision rather than circumstances; it is about how we see the world. The two states are a consequence of our thoughts regarding a situation and past experiences, not only the current event.
Long ago, I have heard a story from an unknown source:
A shoe company wanted to expand its market to new countries. They sent two of their top salespersons to India to explore the market opportunities there.
One salesperson reported: “There is no market here; nobody wears shoes.”
The other salesperson reported: “There is a huge market here; nobody wears shoes.”
It is up to us how we see the world.
Tony Robbins says, “If you don’t manage your mind, you can have everything and still be in pain, still be suffering. The mind is not designed to make you happy, it’s designed to make you survive, and it does that by fear.”
Our primitive brain still operates in fight or flight mode. However, in this modern age, we do not need to perform on an emotional base. Our minds can work for us or against us at any given moment; it is a choice we can make.
If You Think You Can Or You Can’t You’re Right. – Henry Ford
Many people choose to be in a suffering state because they don’t believe they it is the only way. They based their thoughts on limiting beliefs. Those limiting beliefs come from previous suffering states and keep them there. If we make those limiting beliefs as our truth, we might end up accepting limitations that are not there.
The problem with limiting beliefs is that they are causing us to feel that we are not going to achieve our goals. When we are not confident in our abilities to succeed, we don’t bother to take enough action to make it happen. Without massive action, we get poor results or no results at all. Those poor results confirm our limiting beliefs, and we stay where we were, thinking that we are not good enough — hence suffering state.
No one needs to tolerate the life that they have if they don’t like it. One should strive for having an outstanding life rather than surviving through life. But in order to make the right decisions, one needs to be in a beautiful state.
A man is the product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.- Mahatma Gandhi
You are probably familiar with positive thinking, affirmations, and incantations. Our brain seems to be more creative, and we have resourceful thoughts when we are thinking positively about whatever adversity we are facing.
Probably the most critical decision anyone should make in life is deciding to live in a beautiful state. A beautiful state means choosing not to engage in negative thinking. It means being present in the now and recognizing the possibilities in any situation, no matter how bad it may seem at first.
How to Consciously Switch into a Beautiful State?
It is known that our subconscious mind (primitive brain) is mostly in control of our behaviors. However, the subconscious mind is being fed by the conscious thoughts we rapidly think.
One way to influence our subconscious mind is by being grateful. John Templeton, the billionaire investor, said that the secret to a successful life is gratitude, real success is not about money. Take, for example, the late Robin Williams; he had money and fame; people from around the globe loved him. Yet, he took his own life. How can one of the funniest people on the planet be in such a suffering state?
On the other hand, some people have seemingly nothing. And yet, they are grateful for what they do have – life itself. Hence, they are rich beyond compare.
Living in gratitude means taking the time to think about the good in your life and appreciate it.
As coaches, we need to identify the state of the clients and help them distance themselves from any negative or stressful thoughts and bring them back to the positive.
When the clients are grateful, they act with kindness and show appreciation for those around them. Hence, gratitude is a key to being in a beautiful state.
The Impact of Suffering State
A study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology describes the effects of worrying on performing a task. People who reported that they worry 50% of the time or more showed a significant disruption in their ability to perform tasks, notably when the difficulty of the tasks increased.
Researchers were able to show that the disruption was a result of increased levels of negative thoughts. It was concluded that negative thinking hurts people’s ability to process information and think clearly.
As coaches, we try to guide the clients to think creatively about possible solutions to their problems. Being in a suffering state makes it harder for the client to come up with a fertile solution.
Even though traumatic life events are a leading cause of anxiety and depression of people, it is the way a person thinks about the event that raises the stress levels. In other words, it isn’t just what happens to us that matters, but how we think about it that shapes our suffering or beautiful state. Hence, we have the ability to manipulate our state with our thoughts.
A key factor in altering a state is by being aware of it. As soon as we acknowledge that we are in a suffering state, we start to shift toward the beautiful state naturally.
The inner critic voice and self-blame, feed our limiting beliefs. This voice disempowers us, so we give up or exert minimal effort to achieve a goal. Our primitive mind works to keep us “safe” inside a miserable yet familiar feeling.
According to Dr. Rick Hanson, creator of a brain-training program, people can program themselves to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. When they do that, they experience a beautiful state, even though the circumstances stayed the same.
Training the brain to flip negative thoughts with positive ones is like training a dog; you reward yourself when you succeed to create pleasure in your mind.
It is crucial for the success of a coaching session that the clients are in a beautiful state before making any decisions or exploring possibilities that may have an impact on their life.
Making the Flip:
source: Positive Thinking
I’ve never done it before.
It’s an opportunity to learn something new.
It’s too complicated.
I’ll tackle it from a different angle.
I don’t have the resources.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
I’m too lazy to get this done.
I wasn’t able to fit it into my schedule, but I can re-examine some priorities.
There’s no way it will work.
I can try to make it work.
No one bothers to communicate with me.
I’ll see if I can open the channels of communication.
I’m not going to get any better at this.
I’ll give it another try.
It is essential to be aware of our state. Acknowledging that we are in a suffering state will allow us to change it into a beautiful state. While in a beautiful state, dopamine levels increase and bring us to peak performance abilities. Our level of intelligence seems to be significantly higher while we are in a beautiful state. Hence, we can make responsible decisions as compared to when we are in a suffering state.
A client can achieve a goal and be stressful or achieve a goal and feel fulfilled. As coaches, it is our duty to allow the client to achieve the best possible outcome. It is our conscious choice of how to view the adversities that come upon us.
From the beautiful state, we can think more clearly and evaluate our options more effectively to achieve better results.
Make it a habit to show gratitude for things in your life. Acknowledge the fact that you can breathe clean air, see beautiful colors, hear sounds, or have a nice cup of tea in a busy afternoon.
Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook by Tony Robbins, Jeremy Bobb, et al.