How Much Are You Willing to Tolerate?

*7 minute read.*

How often have you felt frustrated with your current situation, yet not inspired or confident enough to take action to make a positive change?

How often have you watched on as a friend or a loved one has continued to repeat the same mistakes over and over again, or has continued to accept mediocrity when you know they could have it so much better if they only took one step toward making a positive change?

The truth is, we only change when we are not willing to tolerate our current situation any longer.


So, why do we tolerate mediocrity? Why are we so often crippled by inaction?

Firstly, we need to forgive ourselves for our inaction. Our subconscious mind is always working with what it believes are our best interests at heart and in a strange way, inaction serves us.

Inaction protects us from getting hurt.

Inaction prevents us from being seen and being judged.

Inaction gives us an excuse to justify mediocrity and staying small.

But as you might have questioned from those last few statements, are these beliefs really in our best long-term interests?

These kinds of statements are what many refer to as “limiting beliefs”. Limiting beliefs are patterns or behaviours that over time, we come to accept as “truths”. If unquestioned, these limiting beliefs can go on to guide our daily decision-making, limiting our capacity to be all of what we can be.

Part of being an adult and Be(ing) Awesome is recognising our power to choose and live a self-determined life. This means that we have the power to choose a set of beliefs that work in our best interests for both the short and long-term. However, sometimes it’s difficult to see the long-term implications of a limiting belief until we finally reach our tipping point.

We hear these kinds of tipping point stories often; how someone survived a suicide attempt to go on and live an extraordinary life or how a heart-attack scare forced a workaholic to stop and give more attention to his family and loved ones. These big moments of heightened awareness are a gift from the universe, forcing us to stop and say “No, I can’t tolerate this any longer, I need to make a change!”

Tim Ferriss refers to this tipping point phenomenon as the “Harajuku Moment”; as he shares the story of Chad Fowler in the Four Hour Body:

Chad Fowler on stage at RailsConf 2010 in Baltimore MD.

Chad Fowler and his “Harajuku Moment”

“I actually remember the exact moment when I decided to do something. I was in Tokyo with a group of friends. We all went down to Harajuku to see if we could see some artistically dressed youngsters and also shop for some fabulous clothing.

…After walking into several shops and leaving without seriously considering buying anything, one of my friends and I gave up and just waited outside.

…I then found myself saying the following: For me, it doesn’t even matter what I wear; I’m not going to look good anyway.”

For Chad, this phrase (his greatest limiting belief) hit him like a punch in the face. This was his moment to decide whether he was really worth more than this.

I came across another great tipping point example this week reading Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now‘ (for the second time). Eckhart describes his experience:

Eckhart Tolle and his moment of change

Eckhart Tolle and his moment of change

“One night not long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been.

“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought [read: limiting belief] that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”

Eckhart believed that this experience was his consciousness’ way of withdrawing and separating from its intense suffering and fear. At a deeply subconscious level he couldn’t tolerate this suffering any more and he had to change.

Inherently, I believe we are all driven toward hope, optimism, life and survival. I believe at a subconscious level we are programmed to strive, succeed and move forward. However, we don’t often get the opportunity that a crisis or a “Harajuku Moment” provides to give us the inspiration to make a positive change.

So, how might we create this same level of insight around our limiting beliefs without waiting to reach a crisis point? How might we empower ourselves to create powerful change, right now?

If you are ready to make a change, then I want to support you by sharing a process I discovered in 2010 called the “Dickens Pattern” (also known as the Scrooge Technique). This process produces the most powerful results be just diving into it. So, if you can identify a limiting belief in your life that you are ready to challenge then, stop and create space for yourself to create this change right now! This is a powerful exercise and one that had a massive impact on my life at the time. The process will take about 10 minutes and needs to be done in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted.

Congratulations! You’ve gone down the rabbit hole and hopefully you are now ready to make a positive change for your future. The great thing about change is that each time we embrace it, we boost our self-esteem. By making a positive change in our lives we are telling ourselves: “You know what? I’m worth it, I don’t have to tolerate this suffering or mediocrity any longer!” We build emotional “muscle” and change becomes easier to embrace and then suddenly we find ourselves in a perpetual forward motion of positive change and growth. Pretty awesome huh?

Til next week, Stay Awesome!


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One thought on “How Much Are You Willing to Tolerate?

  1. On point, again, Christian. Wasn’t familiar with the Dickens Pattern yet I actively advocate the concept. Still, most are hesitant (many outright fearful) to step in the unknowing, their preference being to prepare, analyze, stick a toe in the water, etc. It is those who choose to just dive in that reap the benefits (as you remarked) and gain newfound confidence. What underpins much of this is one’s courage to choose a specific goal and/or action. It’s always about choice and it’s always ours to make. Thoughtful and inspiring post. Thanks!

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