Tag: Intrapersonal Communication

New Year, New Story

New Year, New Story

I know a lot of people detest New Year’s Resolutions because so many of them are done on a whim. Most resolutions are handled with wishful thinking and end up with piss poor results.

That’s a sad truth, but I totally support the chance to re-write your life story. The new year is an opportunity start a new narrative. I just wish people would utilize that enthusiasm on a day to day basis instead of waiting until January. But since it’s here, why wouldn’t you make use of it?

I want to remind people: nothing is more important than the story you tell yourself.

The way we reflect on our experiences and memories can empower us or break us down. Once you’re aware of self-communication, you can cut the crap. You’ll strengthen not only your speaking but life as a whole.

My Failure in Self-Communication

Before I made fitness a staple part of my life, here’s the stories I would tell myself:

  1. Finding someone to love me for me is a top priority.
  2. Once I find that person, I’m set for life.

Some of you are reading that and wonder what’s the problem. To some, those stories are perceived as romantic. That’s definitely what I thought at the time.

These days I don’t look back at those words so lovingly. Then again, I’ve been told I’m not that much of a romantic either. If you note the term “hopeless romantic”, are you able to recognize the problem of labeling yourself that way?

It’s the very word “hopeless”. You’re resigning yourself to the idea that things aren’t supposed to work out. These concepts of romance have a lot of problems.

Back then I wasn’t completely pessimistic and self-loathing, but another problem that stems from my story is lack of self-worth. When you tell yourself that someone else is supposed to be the priority in your life– that means you are, by default, incomplete. That way of thinking diminishes any achievements you make on your own as “not really success”.

I became desperate and needy in finding that fulfillment.

If you decide that you need a specific situation to happen in order to be happy, your happiness will become a slave to…

Posted by Kyle Cease on Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In my sophomore year of college, I would find someone who matched the needs of my narrative.

That Reality of That Relationship

When I finally got into that relationship, I actually became more needy, not less. I think when you hype up someone to be your everything, then your brain goes into thinking that person has to always be around.

The logic becomes “without them, I am nothing”.

I definitely didn’t want to be nothing. I wanted to be something grand. I did work hard at some things, but I would just attribute any achievements to the relationship. I still failed to build any self-worth.

Making someone else your everything just isn’t natural. You’ll try too hard to keep up a sense of “happily together”. It’s like going to a movie theater. Yeah, it’s rude to be loud and disruptive by talking to a friend. But, a person who’s trying so hard to police even the slightest sense of disorder can also ruin the experience.

Being uptight is neither cool nor sexy.


The Truth Behind My Words

Lots of problems as you can see, but here are the two major ones.

First, the reality of “finding someone to love me for me” didn’t make me feel fulfilled. It made me lazy and complacent. I used the cover of “having someone appreciate me in the moment” to mean “since I have someone to put with my shit, I don’t have to do anything anymore”. In essence, I stopped taking care of myself. That’s how I gained weight.

Second, thinking I’d be “set for life” didn’t really make me happy. At the time I was kidding myself, but the truth was it made me scared to lose it. Being needy, uptight, and afraid is neither cool nor sexy.

That relationship didn’t work out (for the better, thankfully). And for the immediate aftermath it became too easy to frame the narrative like this:

  • You’re so stupid
  • You should’ve known better
  • What were you thinking?
  • How could you let this happen?

If I kept up with those stories, I’m not sure who or where I’d be today. I had someone who was very adamant in setting me straight: “Isn’t it time you took care of yourself?”

I hope that 2016 can be the year that the sentiment “I’m doing all I can to take care of myself” rings true for you.

Do you or someone you know struggle with this conflict of self-communication? Schedule a free consultation by calling 617-870-3615.

If you need more tips and tricks to get your fitness back on track, be sure to check out the Architects of Aesthetics for more information.

#FullDisclosureFriday the New Year’s in 2010 was a really rough start for me. The super indecisive girl I’d been dating…

Posted by Jonathan Dao on Friday, January 1, 2016

Personal Communication: Self Representation

Personal Communication: Self Representation

Image, identity, and influence over issues. Reputation management. Self-representation. Contrary to popular belief, not all publicity is good publicity. These concepts were drilled into my head over and over thanks to my PR major, but I never really understood the extent of their power until years later in Japan.

I remember one milestone on the trek to building up my self-esteem was at… a club! I was talking to a girl when she cut me off abruptly. “I don’t know if I can trust you. You seem like a player.” [Note: she actually said playboy, but that’s how they use that word over there.]

Wow! Me? A player?!

That was one of the best compliments of my life! If I could take any message and send it to my past self, this would be one of them. “Dude, someday a girl’s going to think you’re a player.”

I would later call and tell my closest friends back home. They would laugh at the ridiculousness of the comment, but I continued to beam with pride. For me to have anything resembling that character type– it’s safe to say any notions of insecurity were becoming more and more distant.

I remember asking her what in the world made her think that. “I see you walking around talking to every girl in the room.”

Hm. Was I talking to every girl in the room? No doubt, probably! But it wasn’t just the girls, I was talking to everybody.

Who tries to have actual conversations with people in a club? This guy!

Whatever she perceived me to be is besides the point. I was in control of the action of rounding the room and being social. I made that image. How true is that towards my actual identity? Eh, I wouldn’t ever call myself a social butterfly. But the fact remains– I helped frame that narrative.

Sometimes we’re just not aware how much power we have in controlling that story. In another instance I touch on in the video below, I built myself up to be a hopeless romantic.Was I or wasn’t I? That doesn’t really matter because my stories for the first couple of years would only re-affirm one things to my students: Jon Dao is a loser when it comes to love.

Back in the day, one of my coaches used to say “If you look like a piece of crap and sound like a piece of crap, you might as well be a piece of crap.”

In this case, I wasn’t a loser because I hadn’t yet hit my stride or achieved any major “success”. No, I was a loser because I shaped myself out to be one.

Girl Talk: Working Hard in a Relationship

When it comes to dating and relationships, it’s not just how you talk to other people, but the ideas that you communicate to yourself that can cause problems. One of the best life lessons in this area I ever got came from the anime Cowboy Bebop.

In the episode 10, Ganymede Elegy, focal character Jet Black “bumps into” an old ex. For years after the split, he never got any closure. He just had no idea how things went sour despite doing all he could to take care and provide for her.

At the end of the episode, she hits him with the truth: he worked hard, but too hard. Putting so much effort into their relationship actually put her off. By focusing so much on doing things “right”, he treated their relationship like a concept instead of something organic.

“I wanted to live my own life. Make my own decisions– even if they were terrible mistakes,” she cries– which caused me to cry too. That notion of trying to do the right thing, yet missing the point entirely, stung.

Despite the lingering impression that’s stayed with me, it’s too bad I really didn’t put into practice the lesson from this episode of Cowboy Bebop. See, at the time, I was in the middle of my first serious relationship, and I was truly in love with the idea of the relationship.

I told myself I wouldn’t be a slacker. I would work hard at it in order not to lose it. And I think that’s a mistake a lot of people make. They think of “hard work” as the antithesis of being lazy.

Let’s be clear, yes, please do give a shit about a partner. Or, at least, if you don’t give a shit about them, make sure they’re on the same page and don’t really give a shit about you either. That seems fair, yeah?

But be aware there is such thing as trying too hard. And if you’re going that route, you’re going to go the way of routine. You’re going to fall into scripted territory. You’re going to find yourself “losing the passion” because you let the relationship become just a thing instead of something you share with another living human being.

Don’t Ask Why – The Hitman Policy

Don’t Ask Why – The Hitman Policy

You’ve probably heard the old saying “Curiosity killed the cat.” Most of us, however, realize curiosity ain’t that bad. In fact, curiosity is a pretty powerful driving force. But that’s only unlocked if we use the right questions– “What if?” being one of the best lead-ins.

“I wonder” is another good way to get the creative juices flowing. Just be careful not to add one more word to that: why.

I’ve seen so many people stall their progress with that three letter word.

Wondering why isn’t a wrong thing to do. You’ll definitely want to have the tools of reason and logic in your arsenal. It’s just, I always thought “why” was more of a philosopher’s reflection instead of strategy that helps you. In my experience, understanding the “why” of something is rarely helpful.

Maybe you’ve heard, “There’s a reason for everything.” I’d totally agree, but that line of thinking sets up a bad cycle. More often than not, the reason behind something can be pretty dissatisfying. In turn, it only causes you to agonize over “why” again. Louis C.K. had a great bit on this:

Sure, the context is a little different, but the message is still the same: you’re hurting yourself and wasting time focusing on “why”.

You know what’s a good model for efficiency? Not a philosopher, but an assassin. Think about it: when a hitman gets a contract, s/he doesn’t bother with the why. Even if s/he understands the reasons for the hit, it wouldn’t really help. Instead, the focus is placed on two things:

  1. What is the task at hand?
  2. How can I accomplish my mission?

“What” and “How” are key. What time should the target be eliminated? What tools can I use? How do I hide the body? You get the picture…

Let’s try to reel it in towards something more applicable.

Let’s say you messed up and need to apologize. You could sweat over why this happened in the first place. Or, you could focus on 1) what needs to be done (the apology) and 2) how you can apologize (ice cream and a marathon of Daredevil on Netflix).

If you’re learning a language, you could stress over the grammar. Why does it work this way? Why can’t I use that word? Eventually, you’ll spiral into the worst why questions:

Or, you could think like an assassin. Narrow your focus. Stay on point. First, identify what is my message? Second, point out the many ways of how can I deliver it? Then, what grammar do I use to execute the tar– I mean, express myself.

Don’t forget, communication is a powerful weapon.

The best communicators aren’t trigger happy, nor do they turn the gun on themselves. They focus on precision and efficiency, and the Hitman Policy is a great reminder of that.