UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 2 – LABELS

 

What are labels and how are they limiting me and others?

All of us have reacted to a label someone else has placed upon us. An inner voice says, “Nah, that’s not me!” We have all also done that very same thing to others. We have introduced people, boxed by a label that is our dominant narrative linked to that person and they, in their turn, are inwardly reacting to our introduction.

In this episode, we will explore the various types of labels, where they come from and how to grow into the ‘who’ of our lives and not be boxed by the ‘what’.

Labels are those stereotypes that others impose on us or we even impose on ourselves. Invariably the label will be linked to one small facet of our personal story. Labels can limit us both when we ‘self-label’ and from the others when imposed upon us. You know you have been labelled unfairly when you ‘react’ to what is said. When that small inner voice is screaming “No – that is not me!” or “I am much more than that!” Then you know you have been labelled in a way that is not true to your story.

WHERE DO LABELS COME FROM

In many cases, our labels come from our childhood – from our upbringing. As children, others around us affirmed or rejected certain behaviours and attributes and then those things became part of ‘who’ we saw ourselves to be. This element of labelling can be both good and bad. In a positive sense, these interactions could have produced inner scripts that click in when under stress – scripts such as “I can defeat this!”.

Some of our labelling comes from our culture – from elements in the dominant national culture and all the subsets of this. And so we find ourselves the product of our family’s story and then wrapped in the national culture.

Types of Labels:

There are the labels we carry for ourselves. The words “I’m only!” or “I’m just …!” can typify this type of label at its worst.

When we focus on what others are thinking or saying about us we will be trapped into this type of label. The label quickly becomes a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ and we box ourselves into mediocrity. Our self-talk is very important here and will, along with the presence of true mates, be one of the key ways to move beyond our self-labelling. The more we can focus on our ‘who’, on our essence, rather than on our whats we will in time become free of this form of labelling.

There are the labels we give to others.

The labels we give to others will box their ‘who’ and their potential gift to us. Every one of us is infinitely more than any label we place upon people. Some labelling of others comes from a place of fear, some from prejudice, some from jealousy. This labelling does neither us nor them any favours.

There are the labels others give to us

When we march to everybody’s else’s drum we quickly lose any sense of self. Sure there is room for wise counsel when a true friend identifies a personal strength – “you have the courage of your convictions” – which plays an important role in growth. But more often than not if we are focussed on other’s expectations of us, other’s plans for us or other’s boxed view of us. It can be like Chinese water torture and ultimately the true self will rebel. It is one’s own truth that will set you free.

There are the labels we think others give to us.

So many of us torture ourselves and live lives trapped by what we ‘think’ others think or say about us. It is so important to check the assumptions we make out. So often you will discover that this is not the insurmountable cliff that you thought it was. The battle is often being fought inside our heads – when in reality there is no battle ‘out there’ at all.

In all of this, the challenge and the journey is to find your truest self beyond any label. Our aim is to achieve a congruence between my ‘who’ and my ‘what’. Core to this is to focus on the ‘who’ rather than the ‘what’ of our narrative / our story – then the ‘what’ (our achievements etc) will naturally work themselves out. Much labelling will focus on our what; our accomplishments, our family’s reputation, our natural abilities etc. When our ‘what’ become an end in themselves we are in danger of losing our sense of self for “always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself!” [Desiderata] Our ‘who’ is our essence.

A FEW PRACTICES FOR THE UNIVERSAL MAN

  1. Note how you introduce yourself
  2. Be more aware of how you introduce others
  3. Grow in awareness of what labels you unconsciously hold as regards others. Bring this into conscious awareness
  4. While being proud of your accomplishments be more focused and put more energy into ‘who’ you are and are becoming
  5. Choose to celebrate your success and that of others beyond labels – look beyond the ‘what’ of that success to the person behind it and then the labels will fall away and lose their power.

A CHALLENGE FOR YOU ON LABELS:

  1. List the labels you might use within your head for a range of different people in your life
  2. Identify how carrying that label is affecting your paradigm towards that person and if it is limiting both them and you?
  3. Spend a few minutes describing your essence. “Who” you truly are beneath the ‘what’ that most of the world pays attention to

Stay legendary

Pricey & Grego

UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 1 – CROSSROADS

 

A crossroad is a significant juncture in your life where something has to change. This might be a relationship, a job or where you live etc. A crossroad approaches when what has been happening can no longer continue and action must be taken for you to be truly happy. It can often feel like one chapter is closing and another needs to open.

 

SOME THEORY AND PRINCIPLES

If you’re like us then your life has been littered with crossroads. Some are life-defining moments that close a chapter in our lives while others are less significant but can play an equally important role in shaping our lives. What’s undeniably true is that our response to crossroads writes the story of our lives.

We find that there can be three responses to crossroads. Some are blocked by them, are scared by them and hence avoid them – finding a detour around them that ultimately rods you off a vital life lesson. Some are so unaware that they sail through the crossroad not even aware that it exists; their unaware pain, frustration or anger will be projected on to those around you. Others will enter the crossroad ready to listen and learn. These come out the other side wiser and greater men!

Crossroads have much to offer us in wisdom and life lessons but they can be missed if we don’t tap into this. In considering the crossroads in our lives it’s important we quieten our overactive heads and channel our inner strength to rise to the challenge. The first step to nailing crossroad moments is an awareness that you’re at a crossroad and that you’re in the driver’s seat.

One of the big pitfalls at this point is that a lot of blokes will start thinking about a course of action and it scares the hell out of them. The fear spikes and they burrow down and do nothing. We’ve all been there and the same issues come again a little later. And we’ve all seen mates chicken out of a key life decision. Crossroads aren’t easy.

 

STEPS TO FOLLOW IN A CROSSROAD MOMENT

Here are a few steps The Universal Man can follow to help when big things are going down.

  1. AWARENESS: Seek awareness during times of change so you’re present and checked in to the crossroads opportunity – Normally your internal alarm bells will be going off. So stop for a minute. Literally, this may mean having a weekend away, going surfing, build into your day/week some space for ‘nothing’ but sitting and doing some inner listening; but do it YOUR way.
  2. ESSENCE: Once you’ve stopped and checked in the next steps is to do a bit of a deep dive to understand the essence of what’s really going on. A few ways you can do this are:  
    1. Spending some time on your own with a journal and just mapping out the situation. You can do this by writing down your feelings and seeking a deeper understanding of what is driving them. Don’t rush this. The responses you get immediately will often have a deeper wisdom hidden behind them; patiently wait for it.
    2. Connect with a trusted mate: You can go to a trusted mate that brings out the very best in you and ask for their advice. Ask them what they see? Seek their counsel and test their advice against your own internal compass.
    3. Get into nature or the gym and let the mind be free of your problems for a while and the body works hard so you can clear the mind. This might help bring a new perspective to what is going on.
  3. DESIGN: Design a solution that is congruent, reduces risk and is the right path forward. This might be a slight re-direction or something significant. Do not tunnel down and do nothing. Remember, the change doesn’t have to be drastic…it just has to be changed.
  4. COURAGE: Have courage and ensure you’re proud of the way you carry yourself through a crossroad.

 

CROSSROADS CHALLENGE

On your own or with a few mates, answer the following:

  1. What have been the major crossroads in my life? Did I take the right path and am I proud of the way I responded?
  2. What, if anything, is common in my response at a crossroads?
  3. How would you apply and personalise the process for dealing with a crossroad?
  4. Where am I in regards to crossroads in my life at the moment?