Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Conditioning (and no, nothing to do with shampoo)

Hey there you.
Great to see you back.

So I was lucky enough to be shouted the trip of a lifetime for my last birthday (in September) which came to life in Feb this year – off to see 3 of my top 5 vocalists of all time at the Soundwave 2 day music festival in Brisbane by my lovely fiancĂ© (who was coming along too plus with her sister and her fiancĂ© - both of whom are awesome people, am lucky to call them family now).

Many of you may not know, but I've been lead singer in a few bands down through the years – click HERE and HERE to hear some original tracks (quality is a bit shit) – so I've always appreciated amazing singing ranges.  My favourite bands were all playing with their amazing front-men – Faith No More (Mike Patton), Soundgarden (Chris Cornell), Incubus (Brandon Boyd), Smashing Pumpkins (Billy Corgan), Slash (with Miles Kennedy – now number 3) and Papa Roach, only band missing from this incredible line-up were the Foo Fighters. 
Marilyn Manson was present though – crazy dude that guy is…

Having never been to anything larger than an AC-DC concert up in Auckland prior and only making my first overseas trip across the ditch 2 and a bit years ago, you can imagine how excited I was at the prospect of seeing some of the world's greatest rock bands live and in Brisbane no less!
I was all set to become Brisbane's oldest teenager, my voice warmed up and ready to sing on stage if I got the chance. 

It's even quite possible "Oooo yeah!" might've been mentioned more than once.

But I had another few really unusual emotions going on for me too, ones I really wasn't coping too well with beforehand and all because of something called "conditioning" – namely a person's expectations of what should happen in the present and future based on what has already happened in their pasts.

Since September when Andrea gave me the tickets for my birthday - I had been feeling both nervous and a bit of actual fear.  But not because I'd never been to anything like that before, no. New stuff hasn't really ever scared or freaked me out, I've always been a "yup, I'll give it a go" kinda guy.

These emotions were all because this was well beyond my understanding of what I should expect out of life.

Yeah I know. Stupid right?

My expectations of what I should expect and what I should deserve were WAY out of balance with this gift. 

How could I - a rough around the edges, have lived out of my car, people know not to mess with me, have had to ask my Mum for money to put food on my children's table because my well-crazy ex-partner kept stealing all my money and using it to buy beer, been in a bit of trouble, country town martial arts boy who'd been put down for 8 years solid by that ex whenever my confidence grew but is now 43 and so much more grown up and wiser - ever expect to be shouted to Brisbane for a music festival by a woman who loves him that much to save up and do such a thing????

The Answer?  


Having dealt with some of this conditioning (no, not all, I still have a way to go) and having had an amazing time, here's where I hope I can help you if you're struggling with your own conditioning issues.

I'm betting so many of you reading this have fought to get by so many times so needlessly, even though at the time it's always seemed 100% legit and the fighting to survive etc necessary.  

Many of you may well still be fighting right now, still be struggling against things you might not need to, some of which maybe your conditioning that has created it (or by those around you), just like I had been led to believe too.

Heads up buddy - your conditioning is messing with you.

So what can you do about it if you are dealing with all that, or if you are even unsure?
Let's start with a question, a question designed to see where your heads at.

Are you putting up a front to protect yourself right now? ​​A mask perhaps, that shields you from the outside world? 
If you are, this is your first clue. Your confidence has been affected. 

Extroverted to over compensate or introverted to protect, doesn't matter. 

Maybe your front isn't as aggressive as mine had been (I was surrounded quite often by people looking to be bullies any chance they got) but maybe yours is comedic so you're being seen as the "funny girl/guy" because you learnt years ago people who gets laughs are popular? And you want to be popular.Maybe you dont sing out loud anymore because someone told you a long time ago you weren't very good. 

Or perhaps you're being that cool chick/dude, putting others down or pointing out people's issues, perhaps making them feel insecure and being rude just because that's how the cool kid at school used to do it and he's/she's still cool?
Or maybe you're even stuck living a life you never thought you'd live and you're unhappy but you've just accepted it because every other option toward change is just too hard, or because you just believe this is what you deserve.
Whatever the answer you've come up with, ask these next ones.

Do you deserve to be sad?

Should you be making others feel bad?
No. And grow, you're not in kindergarten/day-care anymore.

Do you deserve to have a hard life?
No to this one too.

Should your life be a constant struggle?
Ah hell no to this little gem as well.

​If you find you keep wanting to answer yes to any of the above, here's your second clue your conditioning is messing with you. It's likely your view of the world has been screwed up based on whatever has happened to you.

In order to work on what you expect out of life, you need to look at right now - your immediate present and work on answering the following questions.  

Each of them is designed to question your environment and help you become more aware so that changes required become more obvious.

  • All of your life circumstances to date have conditioned you to believe a certain way, think a certain way and expect certain things from your life, most of it subconsciously, some of it good, some of it not so good.  And this applies to everyone and no one is exempt.  What do you think would happen, if you stopped thinking that way?
  • Can you drop your front/mask? What's the real you look like?
  • Are you holding yourself back based on your expectations? Or because of someone else's? Or both?
  • When you look around at your circle of friends, are you surrounded by mainly positive people or negative people? You know positivity breeds happiness whereas negativity breeds negativity. Which one are you being most affected by?
  • Do you have a person/people in your life that seems to love being seen as a victim? Are they always bringing drama to your life? What would your life be like without them?
  • Do you like your job? If yes – GREAT! If not – what do you need to change to help you like it? What parts are good? Can you ask for different things to do?
  • What is stopping you believing that you deserve nice things/nice experiences/a nice life?
  • The relationship you're in now, do you keep getting told off or asked why you keep reacting badly to things you're expecting to happen but generally don't?

  • Do you have the right attitude to succeed? Are your expectations realistic and respectful or are you just demanding and to hell with anyone else?

Now I know some of these are rough in-your-face kinda questions, but sometimes these kinds of questions do have to be asked and asked by YOU. It's the called the mirror effect.

Most importantly you have to be honest in your answers and pursue your own changes otherwise you could be risking continuing to live up to your age-old conditioning…and no one wants that, least of all you.

…Especially when you could be just moments away from changing your whole life...

So I'll leave you here, I wish you the best of good luck my friend, remember to feel free to ask questions if you got 'em.

True story.​