Do you remember the show, Saved by the Bell?
This was one of those I watched all the time growing up. It was a show that my brother and I would regularly watch after school. It was classic teenage humor, with Zack, Slater, and the gang. And the high school principal, Mr. Belding, who was always trying to uncover what no-good scheme those kids were up to. In fact, Mr. Belding had a trademark phrase he would use when he saw something that was out of line: "Hey, hey, hey, what is going on here?!" Mr. Belding would interrupt what was happening in that moment. He would stop it, and get to the bottom of it by asking his favorite question, "What is going on here?" There's a lot of wisdom here that good ol' Mr. Belding has to offer us. When YOU notice something going on inside you that is creating some trouble, use the Mr. Belding method.
Stop, interject, and say, "Hey, hey, hey, what is going on here?" What do I mean by this, and why is this helpful for you? Let's discuss. Last week we looked at would-be barriers in your life that could potentially hinder you from becoming more of the man that you truly desire to become. And these "barriers" are really just difficult emotions that you run up against. You want to be a good husband or significant other, but you get in those moments of anger and bitterness. You want to be a good father, but the kids disobey and you feel frustrated and angry. You want to stop watching porn, but you get that familiar, intense craving to pull up the computer or phone and you feel powerless against it. When you hit one of those "frontiers," the best thing you can do first is to stop in that moment. Interrupt what is unfolding. And then ask and answer the question, "What's going on here?" Put some simple words to what you're experiencing. In other words, perform the pause, and clarify the cause. Do this for any of your "frontiers" that we looked at last week. For example, when you are in that intense moment when the surge of desire floods you, and you feel that strong pull to watch porn, that's your cue to stop. Pause in that moment. Interrupt the pattern. Take a breath. Then, ask yourself what is happening right now, and answer the question. (For example, "I am feeling the strong urge to watch porn right now.") Or, if you find yourself getting frustrated and angry with your kids, and it is hindering your goal and vision of being the dad you want to be, perform the pause and clarify the cause. Stop in that moment, take an intentional breath, and verbalize what's happening ("Hm, I'm feeling upset and angry at my kids right now.") As we looked at a few weeks ago, these two steps actually help give more control back to your thinking, rational part of your brain, and less control to the part of your brain that simply follows what you're feeling with no thought whatsoever. These two steps are easy, quick, and very powerful. This is what you DO in those moments. You may have noticed that these are essentially the first two steps of the P.A.T.H. Plan. If you are feeling the craving to watch porn, you can then move into the third and fourth steps of the P.A.T.H. Plan. Lastly, you may be saying to yourself, "Sure, this makes sense. But when I am in that moment, I'm not thinking straight. It's just too hard to stop and implement this strategy. The feelings are just too strong." There is one daily practice that I have used that has greatly increased the chance that I will actually implement the strategy in that intense moment. What is it? Practice in advance. I've already spelled this out for you, and provided a specific podcast episode that you can simply play, and follow the steps in order to practice in advance. Check it out here: Daily Practice To Start Today The frontiers in your life, those difficult feelings you bump up against, represent the barriers, but also the doorways, to the man you truly want to be. Do you want to make meaningful progress towards your vision? Do you want to experience less of that painful regret? Get a clear, effective plan in place. The above plan is the one I have used in my own life. It's the best one I have found, and I know it can help you too. Let's go! Dan