We say goodbye to 2023 and hello to 2024! What better way to celebrate the coming of a new year and the end of one than to reflect on what has passed and what lies ahead? In this special solocast, our very own Adam Markel looks back and looks forward to offer insights on the collective experiences shaping the world and what we can do in the midst of it all. From reflections on evolving through the pain to transformative practices called the “Code of Conduct” and the “Mental Diet,” Adam provides a holistic guide to navigate the complexities of life in the year-end and new-year transition. Let this episode serve as a beacon of wisdom, offering practical tools for well-being, personal growth, and positive transformation. Tune in to embrace a new year with resilience, consciousness, and the intention to make each moment count.
- 02:10 – Evolution Through The Pain
- 05:14 – Get This Moment Right
- 07:56 – Code Of Conduct
- 15:30 – Mental Diet
How do we leverage continuous uncertainty to thrive in this unprecedented new world?
The answer is to build the resilience we need to power us through the challenges we face so that we become “Change Proof.” Prepare to tackle the future with confidence by reading Adam’s latest book Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience.
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Get This Moment Right: A SOLOCAST For The Year-End And New-Year Transition
Welcome back to another episode. This is going to be my year-end episode/started the brand-new year episode. If you’re in that mode, thinking about what 2023 was all about and thinking about what lies ahead, then this is the right conversation for you. It’s the right show. I hope it’s a conversation, as always and that you will interact with me and with our guests in the form of your questions, comments, and thoughts. They are valuable to us. They are valuable regardless.
I appreciate you, whether you express them to me personally or your thoughts to others based on what is catalyzed or what is inspired even by what you hear on the show. For that, I always think our impact is what’s most important. It is the ripple effect of this work, the way in which these conversations translate into some meaningful opportunity for growth and change in your life and the lives of the people you care about. Those are the people on your teams, those in your families, and those you collaborate with regularly.
Our world is in some interesting state. It’s almost, on some level, defies description. I’m not going to try to encapsulate what’s going on in our world. In a few trite sentences here, I want to acknowledge the fact that we’re all going through it. We’re all in it. There’s good, there’s not good, and there’s the ugly, but we’re all in it together. That is the one thing that we can say is an absolute objective truth.
The world is experiencing all of these things collectively. Whether we think it or not, we are all impacted by everything that is happening. We may not know how and we may not feel it consciously, but to be sure, everything that’s going on around, whether it’s something you are directly involved in or not, affects us equally in the sense that we are one humanity.
What History Teaches Us
For that, I want to start this episode by acknowledging that there’s a great deal of pain and suffering that is happening. It’s occurring in a variety of different places and in a number of different ways. I want to acknowledge that, hold space, and have a place in my thinking and in my heart for things to evolve. That is the overall and overarching trajectory of our world. It always is.
I’m not a Pollyanna person, but I believe that everything is net positive. We can’t always see that or understand it. We may not live to see it even because so much of evolution takes place over wide timeframes that we are not always around for. That’s what I love about history. In reading history and living history, what we can see is that no matter how dark the times were and how difficult things appeared to be and were, in fact, for groups of people, what emerges always is evolution. What emerges is a growing consciousness, a higher level of human connection, and understanding. I believe that to be true. It’s not always that provable.
We might think that we’re going backward and that we’ve made these past mistakes and are revisiting them or making even greater ones. If you look at the entirety of history, we don’t know how far history extends in the future. That’s an unknown, but we can look back and, with some certainty, know how long we’ve been around as a species. What we can see is that we are better. We are happier. Overall, life on this beautiful blue-green planet of ours is better. I believe that’s what’s going to continue. It may not always seem like that, but that’s what history teaches us. The future is net positive and there are opportunities.
To some degree, what happens so far out into the future is not exactly our business. I want to say that without implying that we don’t have a responsibility to our future generations because I believe that we do. Our responsibility is to do things that will impact people who are yet to be born. The way that we can sometimes worry and obsess even about what the future holds steals something vitally important to us. It takes away the present.The way that we sometimes worry and obsess about what the future holds steals something vitally important to us. It takes away the present. Click To Tweet
I don’t want to get too spiritual in this area. I want to say that, to me, we’re here to live in the present. Our number one responsibility is to experience all the fruits, joy, love, peace, prosperity, connection, and relationships. All of that is what we’re here to experience in the present. The future is not guaranteed. It’s not promised to me. It’s not promised to you or to anyone. The best that we can be thinking about this moment as we move into 2024 is to be as present as we can to experience this moment.
How To Get The Moment Right
Frankly, if I was going to chunk it down to our responsibility and what is feasible for all of us without creating overwhelm and anxiety since we’ve got plenty of that and don’t need any more of it, to simplify it, if you will, our only true duty is to get this moment right. I’m going to repeat that. Our only real responsibility is to get this moment right.
How do you get this moment right? It begs the question. It’s a perfect segue into what I would love to offer to you as a year-end or year-beginning task, if you will, challenge, for sure, or game if you want to gamify it if you want to think of it that way and make it fun in that respect. I’m going to give you this opportunity to do something at the beginning of 2024 that is not easy. It’s quite remarkable. If you are able to do it, it’s something I want to learn. I want to hear from you. I want to understand more about what it was like for you. It is about getting this moment right.
To get this moment right, what does that mean? Find what you’re looking for at this moment. Find gratitude in this moment. Find peace in this moment. Experience what it’s like to feel prosperous, rich even, loving, kind, or empathetic as though you belong in this moment. Find these things that you want that you may be seeking that would serve you in this moment. You can do that. You say, “That’s fine.” It’s easy enough to say it, but it’s so hard to do it. The fact of the matter is that whatever you experience at this moment is your experience of this moment.
I personally believe that at the end of our days, whenever that will be, the only thing that we’ll have to look back on is our felt experience. It’s what it felt like to be alive throughout our lives or what it felt like to be a human being. If we spend so much of our experience living in fear, worry, anger, angst, or anxiety, that’s going to be our felt perception of life when we get to the end of that road.
For me, what I choose to do each day is something I call a code of conduct where I sit quietly in the morning. It’s usually before I’ve done much of anything else. I consider how I wish to experience my life for the day. I consider being the conscious or intentional creator of my own life experience. I do that by simply stringing together some statements that I often sit and say out loud.
I originally created this code of conduct several years ago. It started with thirteen statements that all have the same construction. They’re made up in the same format, but they are different, each of them. The format is the words, “I experienced,” and then I leave space for something that I wish to experience. I fill in the blank by saying what that is.
It could be like, “I experienced feeling more empathy for others and expressing more empathy in my conversations with others today.” The construction of that statement is, “I experienced,” blank, “today.” It could be, “I experienced gratitude and feeling grateful and being grateful today. I experienced feeling loved today. I experienced feeling and being healthy, wealthy, and wise today.” That’s the construction of these statements.
When I first started, I had thirteen of them. I called it my code of conduct. I still call it that. Each day, when I sit down in a quiet spot, I have this list of them that I had written originally back when this code became a thing for me. Often, I don’t even look at them anymore. I sit quietly and think about what it is that will most serve me in this moment in terms of creating a blueprint for the day ahead. That’s why I do it first thing in the morning. It is like an architect who creates a blueprint, a drawing, or an architectural plan for a house, a building, or the construction of something.
People will say when you say things out loud that aren’t true, you’re lying. I’m not into that. They say words to that effect. My response to that is, “Are you saying that an architect is drawing something that is a lie when they create a blueprint for a building that does not yet exist?” They look at me and go, “I feel like you’re tricking me.” The answer to the question is it’s not a lie any more than it is a lie for you or me to sit quietly or say something wherever we are, whether it’s quiet or not, that we intend or would like to manifest as truth that is not yet apparent. That is no more a lie than the architect drawing something that does not yet exist.
Conversely, you would never consider building a house or constructing a building without a plan. You wouldn’t say, “Deliver the wood. Get the nails, the hammers, and people to do that. All show up one day and we’ll build something.” That would be a poor way to go about constructing a beautiful home or something else that you want to fulfill a purpose and last to have longevity.
My feeling is that if you want to have the kind of life you want, the kind of relationships, the kind of health, the kind of business, or the kind of success in your career, why not think of it in those terms? Think of it as an architect would think of constructing those things. To me, there’s no better method I have found to construct the life I want than to have this code of conduct that I check in with in the morning. I sit quietly for 5 or 10 minutes to think about what I want to experience that day and what I wish to experience regarding my meetings, calls, interactions, all of it.
If you want to do double duty, which is also a cool thing to do, you can check in at night before you go to bed and think, “How did I experience my day? How did I experience those conversations with others? How did I experience myself? How did I experience the world around me through all of my interactions, through the media, and through the things that we’re consuming?” That will give you a good indication of how that day went for you in comparison to your code potentially. It gives you great insight and great feedback.
Let’s say you sat out in the morning through that statement of, “I experienced living peacefully today,” and found yourself agitated and angry. Maybe you blew up at somebody. You lost your patience with someone on your team, some stranger, somebody in the car, or whatever it might be. That evening, when you are checking in with that statement that you made that was on your blueprint for the day or code of conduct and you said, “I didn’t experience living peacefully today. I lived angrily or anxiously,” what’s good about that is it gives you an opportunity to check in and go, “Why was that?”
For tomorrow, if you’re going to again say, “I experienced living peacefully today,” and having had the feedback from the prior day, maybe you pause before you say something or react to something. Maybe you take a breath in that moment instead of speaking, glaring at someone, or doing something else. It’s a wonderful bookend practice that you can do in the morning, and if you choose, you can do it in the evening, which I call my code of conduct.
I thought I’d share that with you because in my work as a keynote speaker and running an organization called Work Well, where we are committed to working at a deeper level with organizations that wish to create cultures of well-being, in the full sense of what that means, we are helping people at work to be their best. We always want to crush it. That’s the purpose of business, to crush it. Our sense is that we want to crush it without crushing our people in the process. We can be the victor without there being a victim.We can be the victor without there being a victim. Click To Tweet
These are the things that I spend my days doing. I am so moved by what is practical, tangible, and usable in the pursuit of those goals. At an intellectual level, we all get that. We want people to experience well-being in their work, outside of their work, and all that. That all makes sense except for the angels and the details. How do you manifest that? How do you create that? How do you sustain that? How does that become a part of a culture at work and elsewhere? These are the little details.
The Mental Diet
I figured at the year-end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024, I was going to share some of my rituals for well-being with you. That code of conduct is my go-to every single morning. I’m going to challenge you as well with a ritual that is a yearly ritual for me that I borrow from Emmet Fox, who is a metaphysician, metaphysical teacher, speaker, and leader from many years ago. He died in the ‘50s. He was giving lectures to thousands of people in his day. There is great common sense in this individual. I love his writings.
He came up with this concept that I’m going to share with you called the Mental Diet. This is going to be a challenge to those of you who are willing to take this challenge at the beginning of 2024 or the beginning of this year. It is called the Mental Diet. He wrote a little book. It’s like a pamphlet called the called The Seven-Day Mental Diet. The diet is simple, to be sure, but not easy, not buy a long shot.
Here’s the diet in a nutshell. Feel free to look up Emmet Fox and The Seven-Day Mental Diet. The diet is as such. For 7 days or 1 week, you refrain from any form of negative thinking. For an entire week, you simply stop engaging with negative thoughts. That might seem, “That’s not simple. That’s really tough.” Let me be more specific about what it means to refrain from negative thinking because it does not mean that you do not have negative thoughts because that is impossible.
As human beings, this is how our brains work or how our minds work. We will have negative thoughts. They are, in many ways, like our thinking clouds that pass through the sky. They’re temporary. Here’s the thing about them. We dwell on them. We have a negative thought. We have a scary thought. We have an angry thought. We have a resentful thought, an envious thought, a thought of wanting to get back at someone, or whatever it might be. It could be thought about ourselves. It could be insecurity, feeling unworthy, unloved, undeserving, or whatever those thoughts are.
We don’t have that passing thought because that would be normal. Those thoughts come and go. It’s that we dwell on them. We sit with them, ruminate on them, and chew on them. They’re like that unwanted house guest that never leaves or that unwanted house guest that you don’t quite know how to ask them to leave or tell them to go and it’s super uncomfortable. When we say refrain from negative thinking, we’re not saying refrain from having negative thoughts because that’s not possible. What we’re saying is to refrain from dwelling on those thoughts.
The task for The Seven-Day Mental Diet is for seven days starting at the beginning of 2024 if you take this challenge or whenever you are reading this and wish to take this challenge at any time during 2024. You start the seven-day clock and begin to observe your thinking. Notice when you think something that is a negative thought. We know what it’s like. It’s not a technical definition. You can feel it when something you’re thinking is negative, including when you read something and begin to think about what it means. You start to think about all the things that are wrong and are happening.
What I’m suggesting to you is that you simply choose at that moment for seven days only to not dwell in that place or not dwell in that lowland of negativity, anxiousness, anger, resentment, or fear. All of these thoughts are clearly fear-based thinking thoughts. That’s a simple task. It couldn’t be simpler. You recognize your thoughts and say whatever you have to say to yourself. It could be, “Thank you,” or, “Cancel,” or whatever.
I’ve heard lots of people share different methods for replacing their thoughts at that moment. All you need to do is go, “I’m not going to engage with this thought. I’m not going to dwell on it. I’m going to tell that unwanted house guest that is taking up residency inside my head, not paying rent, and not contributing anything to go.” They will come back. As we know, those thoughts will return. That’s okay. For as many times as they come back, you simply do the same thing. Shoo them away for the moment. That’s all you have to do for seven days.
I also suggest this part of the rules of this campaign or part of the rules of this challenge that you don’t share with anybody that you’re on this diet. This is a private diet. This is not a diet to advertise, put on Facebook, or tell other people, “I’m starting this. I’m doing this.” If you’ve successfully gotten through those seven days, and some people have, for sure, if that happens for you, then you can share the diet with others. That will be your own ripple effect. That will be you helping others to have this experience.
If you choose to pick up your negative thinking after seven days, feel free to. Feel free to go back to dwelling in those areas if dwelling in those areas is what you wish to do and if those things feel good for you. My guess is that once you’ve had this experience, you will not want to go back to that. Moreover, when those moments occur, you don’t even realize that, by default, you’re falling into that way of experiencing those things. You opt out more frequently or maybe not all the time.
We are creatures of habit. Some habits, especially habits of thinking, are very difficult to break. Seven days is quite a challenging period of time, believe it or not, but after that, you will have learned something that is life-changing. It’s transformative. It will help you in every area of your life. It will help you with how you interact with other people, both professionally and personally. It will help you in your mental health at a minimum, but I venture to say it will help in everything that is meaningful and everything that is important to you.
We’re moving into 2024. I am optimistic about it. I am net positive. I try to live in that state of net positive. I certainly think of the future as net positive even if we can’t see how that’s possibly going to become the case. My own way of moving toward that and embracing that opportunity, that possibility, or that potentiality is to use the code of conduct that I shared with you earlier. It is to be thinking about how I wish to experience this day and not thinking much beyond that.
I feel if I can get moment after moment right or I can get this day right because I’ve collected so many moments where I was present and I was experiencing it as I would choose to experience it not as fear would have me experience it, then I’m doing my part. I am doing my part to live my life in the best way I can and have that impact on as many other people as I am around, including you, anyone reading this, and anyone I have the great honor and pleasure to meet along the path.
With that, I want to wish you all of your heart’s desires in 2024. Mostly, I want to wish you health, happiness, and good fortune in that you are experiencing your life in the way that you choose to because you’ve made that conscious choice to do so. With that, I want to say how much we appreciate you being a part of our Change Proof community. Maybe we will run into each other. Maybe we’ve already run into each other on the trail. I do tend to speak all over the world. I get that great honor. It is truly an honor and a privilege. Maybe we’ll meet there. I look forward to that.
I’d love to hear from you. If you’ve got questions for me about any of these practices and rituals or anything to do with the work that you’re up to or the culture that you’re a part of, we can assist in any way there. Those conversations are ones that we welcome. I’m always open to that. Any comment that you leave or any question is going to be answered by me. We use AI for a lot of things, but we’re not using it for those things. It’s going to be a person on the other end of that. Thank you so much. Have a blessed and beautiful new year. For now, ciao.