I think of myself as a person with good morals. I’ve dedicated my life to helping people figure out how to dream bigger dreams and chase them. This makes me feel like a “good person,” but while riding through the middle of Ohio today, I saw something that gave me pause. It was a billboard with the Ten Commandments on it. Regardless of your religion or how you interpret holy scriptures, you’re probably familiar with them and you probably think they have some value (or they wouldn’t be so Uni-versal or have lasted so long, right?). I think they have a lot of merit, but I have been taking them totally for granted. They seem so obvious that I’ve been unconsciously assuming I am following them or at least “my version” of them.
But I’m not. I was especially struck by how much I am breaking the rule “Thou Shalt Not Covet.” Coveting is quite a misdirection of our energy. It’s a version of what we call “feeling bad” and it’s designed to divert your attention from your ability to choose your own fate with your actions and your thoughts. When we covet “our neighbor’s wife,” we are distracted from dealing with making our own marriages great. When we covet someone else’s health or vitality or ability to stay trim, we obscure our own power to impact our health. Lately, I’ve been coveting the success of people in my own company. How twisted is that, especially when our success is so linked together? We know that this is human nature, we can control it once we are aware of it.
Here are some ideas for how:
1) Out it-
The first step is noting and tracking the issue where it shows up. Pick someone to report to every time you catch yourself jealous of someone else or something someone has. Send a report each night in an email and copy yourself so you have a record of all your typical triggers and themes.
2) Flip the context-
Now you know what you covet in general. It’s not everything in every circumstance, but it’s a few things that are probably pretty important. Consider that whenever you are jealous, it’s just because your heart is telling you that it sees what it wants. Thank your inner guide for pointing you in the right direction and know it will soon be time to make plans in that area.
3) Change the thinking-
Some clients use a song or calling a buddy or the mere confession of the jealousy to help them usher out that emotion. Others start early on with paying a consequence every time they catch it (like throwing a dollar out the window or doing ten jumping jacks). It can actually be fun to take down a “trait you hate,” you just have to make it feel like a game. You have to want to root it out; it is sabotaging you after all! One thing I do is try to crowd it out by giving gratitude throughout the day.
4) Give thanks.
That is the very best antidote to coveting, and it shifts perspective immediately. This is a way to instruct your mind on that which you wish it to focus. It is equally capable of focusing on anything, why not tell it what to do? There are so many things to be grateful for, from getting out of bed, to how well your body works, to the wonders of nature and food. I highly recommend getting creative with your gratitude and trying several times a day to be grateful for things you have never even thought about before. Human beings love newness so this should be fun too.
I am grateful that literally everywhere I look I can find a blessing, including out my car window on a billboard on I-270 East.
Never stop looking for signs,
P.S. – If you’re ready to stop coveting and start designing, register today for one of our upcoming Design Your Life Weekends.