The Bonfire GPS, or Genetic Positioning System, refers to our genetic “hard-wiring” that is embedded deep in our cells, brain and DNA. Throughout history our Innate drives and behaviors have been developed to insure our survival and reproduction. Today, in modern times, it can actually set us in an unhealthy direction. Let me explain…
Back in the old days, the really old days, when humans were primitive hunter-gatherers, before we lived these relatively safe and food-plentiful lives that we enjoy today, our safety and survival depended on many elements that became essentially instinctive. This included seeking foods and experiences that brought pleasure; however, in those ancestral times, there weren’t pleasurable foods or experiences that led to unhealthy or dangerous life and health consequences. Enjoying something sweet, for example, meant the rare treat of finding honey or the seasonal fruit; if there was a plentiful food supply available, there would be fewer demands for intense activity needed for survival promoting rest and relaxation. Today, because the landscape of our lives is filled with any number of pleasurable foods, activities and experiences that yield unhealthy or dangerous consequences, our innate or genetic drive to seek pleasure and relaxation doesn’t always serve us well.
For example, the desire to eat ice cream or a donut because it tastes sweet does not serve us as well as did the desire to seek out a tree-ripened fruit. Another illustration would be that when we have an abundant food supply, there’s no need to keep moving to hunt and gather more food – we can cross the line from enjoying intermittent rest and relaxation to developing a full-blown sedentary lifestyle.
Critical Concept: The daily choices you make.
The key to finding balance in your life is tied to the choices that you make in the daily management of your limited resources. If you ask ten people to describe what would constitute a State of Wellness in regards to the Spark domain of their life, you’d probably get ten different answers. There is a high likelihood that a common theme in the responses would be experiencing a sense of balance.
There are a multitude of economies operating simultaneously in our lives. We spend, save and invest our resources constantly as we navigate through our daily lives.
You have both Limited Resources and Unlimited Resources. Your Limited Resources include your time, focus, energy and money. There is a finite supply of each of these vital assets at any given moment. The key to finding balance in your life is tied to the choices that you make in their daily management and investment.
When you invest your Limited Resources of time, energy, focus and money in alignment with your Innate Values, you experience a sense of balance and peace of mind. Conversely, if you spend or squander these resources in a way that defies your deepest values, you will inevitably experience uneasiness, worry and imbalance. This disparity is often at the root of most emotional and psychological stress, which will undermine your health in countless ways.
This chronic state of stress in our lives creates hormonal changes in our bodies that affect every facet of our health. The stress hormone cortisol will actually cause our body to store fat in our midsection (the dreaded belly fat). This omentum fat can surround our organs and put compressive pressure on the kidneys, causing elevated high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a key agent in the plaqueing of the arteries leading to heart disease and heart attacks.
The world often places demands on our resources with seemingly no regard for our values. This pull between worldly demands and our inner voice can create a tension that is overwhelming if we don’t recognize it. Being mindful of this dynamic is the first step towards Mindset Mastery.
We must take control of the economy of our limited resources if we wish to experience a sense of balance in our lives.
A Bonfire best practice involves the identification of your Roles and Goals in each of your Life Time Value Accounts. Being clear and specific for each of your lifestyle categories is critical. Consider and identify exactly what is most important to you in each Life Time Value Account. Now audit your spending.
How do you spend your time, energy, focus and money? A Bonfire vital behavior is to align your schedule with your Innate Values. Time is the ultimate equalizer. Regardless of age, gender or income, we all have exactly the same amount of time to invest every day. Create a schedule that accounts for the time that is regularly reserved for serving your roles and goals. Do not over-commit or over-schedule yourself. Do not over-spend and force yourself into a situation that requires you to work to earn a living at the expense of making a life.
In order to achieve the illusive state of balance in our lives, we must reconcile the discrepancy between what we value and how we spend our resources.
Keep an account of each of these four resources and check in habitually. Imagine that you had a check registry for each of these categories and make it a habit to “balance your virtual checkbook” for each of them regularly. Become deliberate in the allocation of each of these assets. Do not leave it to chance or resort to living in response to the world’s beckon call.
Proactive management of these precious gifts is the surest way to enjoying a balanced life in an unbalanced world.
At this point in the program you should be….
Establishing your Peace of Mind Account (PMA) using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
Getting to bed earlier: working toward sleep before 11 p.m.
Getting up earlier: working toward 30 minute morning rituals
Remaining focused on creating the life that you want
Choosing to develop more influence in your life
Recognizing challenges as opportunities to grow
Seeking Alignment between behaviors and Innate Values
Choosing an attitude of Thankfulness and Gratitude
Seeking opportunities to get connected with supportive people
Critical Concept: Hedging your success. Your models and standards are powerful predictors of your success and happiness. The little voice inside your head can often tell you to stay on the couch. We are hard-wired to be lazy. When food was at a premium, your goal for the day was to find enough food to last until tomorrow. For the fortunate majority of us, this is no longer the case.
We are programmed to seek pleasure, move away from pain, and do it all with the greatest economy of energy. In regards to our internal GPS (Bonfire Genetic Positioning System), the suggestion of running a marathon is preposterous. Unless there is food under that dumbbell, you are not programmed to pick it up. If there was a crocodile in the pool with you, it would make sense to swim as fast as you can. Otherwise, expending all of that energy voluntarily is purely ridiculous. Unless you think about it.
The human mind thrives on challenges.
We are comparative animals. We love to compare ourselves to others. In fact, we know ourselves through others. We form our identities, self-image and self-worth by watching and comparing ourselves to others. And we want to be good. In fact, we want to be better.
Psychologists report that our identities are a reflection of how we perceive ourselves relative to others. We have models that set standards for us in every aspect of our lives. Since childhood, we’ve watched our mothers, fathers, siblings and friends, and studied their behavior. We have been shaped by the standards created by our environment. And we continue to be shaped.
Choose your environment wisely, as it will powerfully influence your experience.
Our environment is made up of people, places and things. We should be careful to choose environments that create the type of influence that we wish to experience. It is important to seek out those people and places that inspire you to move towards becoming the person that you want to be.
We have always watched the herd. We take social cues from those around us and we wish to be like them – and be liked by them. “We want to be connected, accepted and respected,” says author Tom Decotiis (Make it Glow).
In fact, influence masters insist that it is easier and more effective to change the environment than change people. Change the environment and you change standards - and, ultimately, performance.
To create the life that you want, create the environment that sets the standards that lead to that outcome.
Who do you spend time with? Where do you spend your time? What do you spend your time doing? Are these all in alignment with what you are trying to create?
Are you are trying to become the healthiest, fittest person that you can be? Does your environment set the right standards for that? Do you have a support system that makes it easier for you to be successful? Are you following a proven system of training that sets clear performance standards for you? Do you know what you’re doing today or where you are going with your fitness tomorrow? Are you measuring your progress?
You don’t get what you want, you get what you measure.
Research has revealed strategies that create greater chances of success in every endeavor – especially fitness. Measuring and recording your performance is a critical step in establishing tangible progress. Comparing your outcomes against a clear standard is vital behavior in progressive training. A Bonfire best practice is to clearly define your goals and objectives, set written goal dates, and use a compelling reward and penalty system. Publicly profess your intentions. Our personal identity is closely tied to our want to behave consistently in the public eye. Identify a person of influence in your life and tell them about your goals and standards. If you truly value their opinion of you, this can be a powerful contributor to your success. Put these clear standards in place and stack the deck in your favor.
In order to stifle that inner couch potato and achieve your ideal fitness and health goals, you must recruit the robust sources of influence that goal setting and clear standards provide. As they say, if you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there?