Since the global success of his 2017 debut book ‘Unf*ck Yourself‘, Gary John Bishop has earned a deserved reputation as one of the most pragmatic and effective personal development experts in the world. He’s now the author of five books, with a sixth on the way, and is a personal coach to high-profile individuals including celebrities and Fortune 500 executives. But much of his proudest work is done helping ordinary folks get over humps in their life. “My approach is always to encourage people to think their own way through things, beyond the bland advice you see over and over again,” he says. Here, to accompany his ‘Who the F*** Are You?’ profile interview, he offers some specific guidance for our Mr Feelgood community on how to change our lives for the better.
CHALLENGE THE FAMILIAR
When it comes to making something new happen in your life, you have to look at where things are not working, and focus on changing that. In any part of your life that’s not working, you’ll see there’s some hesitancy from you to make the change. You have the life you are willing to put up with. I won’t call it a comfort zone because it’s not particularly comfortable, but it is a familiar zone. You have to break up your relationship with the familiar.
We all avoid taking risks, but look back in your life and ask yourself why, because everyone has a track record for overcoming the odds. When you’re really backed into a corner, you’d be amazed by your ability to get yourself out of it. You’ve got to get yourself away from the idea that risk is something you should be trying to stay away from, and remember you are equipped to handle all of that stuff. More risk, less certainty is the way to come at it.
DON’T TRUST THE VOICE IN YOUR HEAD
You’ll have heard people saying, ‘Trust your intuition.’ Well, I don’t trust my intuition at all, it’s too easily messed with. Don’t trust the voice in your head, because your head is wired for safety. Also, remember you are not the voice in your head, you have a voice in your head. There’s a big difference. The more you draw a distinction between those two things, the more power you’ll have to deal with life.
REMEMBER YOUR STRENGTH CAN BE YOUR WEAKNESS
If you are analytical, for example, that can be a big strength – you’re inquisitive, you want to understand things. But on the flipside, your strength can also be what you’re up against. If you’re facing a shit show in your life and your analytical, that can become a very internal state, and lead to overthinking and all that stuff. Or if you’re a hard worker, that can be a big strength in life in many ways, but can also lead to burnout. So use your strengths where they are useful, but look at alternatives when they are not.
Gary John Bishop’s ‘Who the F*** Are You?’ interview
IT’S OFTEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE THING THAT’S THE PROBLEM, NOT THE THING ITSELF
You have a very specific, fundamental relationship with everything: with your finances, your health, your job, your friends. Understanding what that fundamental relationship to something is, more often than not, is the key to unlocking and improving that aspect of your life. Because all your actions are driven by your relationship with the thing, not the thing itself. So if someone thinks they hate their job, they might examine that relationship and figure out it’s because they feel like they are being taken advantage of. So each day they are going into work with that preconceived notion, and constantly finding evidence that it’s accurate. Instead, change that thinking and turn up with a context that works for you, like I’m here to learn something new, or I’m here to make a difference.
ACT WITH PERSONAL INTEGRITY
Treat what you say like it actually matters. People say to themselves, “I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that… Actually, I’ll do it later.” Well, that lacks personal integrity. You said you were going to do something, then you didn’t do it. Imagine if you had a friend who said, “I’ll meet you at 12pm,” then is constantly walking in at 2pm. After a while, you’ll be like, “This person’s full of it.” So what do you think that does to you as a human being if you’re constantly doing that to yourself? If you don’t honor your word to yourself, then your words will have no power.
LET GO OF BLAME
The book I’m working on now goes into the whole dynamic of what a parent is. People find it really challenging to break themselves free from their childhood. They get really stuck there. And the big item that I’m taking on in this book is this thing called blame. Could you live your life with no blame? I’ve discovered that blame is in fact the single biggest anchor that you have to your past. Blaming yourself, blaming somebody else. I want people to know that you have the capacity to free yourself up. Wherever you might find yourself in your life, you’re capable.
HELP OTHERS TO HELP YOURSELF
The more your life is about you, the more f***ing miserable you’ll be. When it’s about something bigger than you, it will call you out of the cave, and you’ll have to come out of the darkness.