Go With The Flow
There is a predictable flow to life, one that when understood can mean the difference between pain and confusion, and growth and success. Everyone experiences this flow, from the very prosperous to the poverty stricken, and truth be told, understating and working with this flow can put you on the path to bliss.
In his groundbreaking book “The New Psycho Cybernetics” Maxwell Maltz suggests that it is not our IQ that leads to our success, but rather our AQ. AQ, or Adversity Quotient, is measured by how well we adapt to adversity. You see, someone with a high IQ but low AQ won’t enjoy much success, but someone with average IQ and high AQ can’t be stopped. To have a high AQ it will require you be able to adapt and adjust your view of reality and develop new ways of thinking.
The flow in life looks like this A to B to new A or G. Alpha to Beta to new Alpha or Gamma loop. If that seems like Greek to you, it is. Let’s start with Alpha. In the Alpha phase life is peachy, your coping mechanisms are working fine and for all intents and purposes you are happy. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is your motto. As we all know, this doesn’t last, hence the saying “All good things must come to an end,” but people rarely follow this statement to its real conclusion, “So that something even better can come along.” That is precisely why it does end. Get used to it; the Alpha phase must come to an end, but that is not to say that the Beta phase is painful. It doesn’t have to be. In the Beta phase things start getting hinky. The Beta phase occurs because the previous Alpha phase results in some existential situations that you don’t yet have coping mechanisms for, questions you do not have the thinking needed to answer. You recognise Beta phase because it starts with feeling unbalanced, ill at ease, confused, stuck and things start to go “wrong”. “Life sucks” is your motto in the Beta phase, and until you understand the purpose behind the Beta phase, it will seem that way. The Beta phase serves a specific purpose, that of preparing you for your New Alpha. The reason why Beta phase is so painful is that your old coping mechanisms are no longer working, and new ways of thinking are needed in order to move forward to the New Alpha. How the Beta phase achieves this is simple, it presents you with crisis’ (that you have never had, or have never solved) to solve, and once you have successfully solved them you have developed the new way of thinking that will lead you to the New Alpha phase. A solved crisis is either one that you have successfully dealt with, or that no longer carries any significance for you.
Here is where things often go pear shaped though. Not realising the purpose of the Beta phase, and thus not open to new learnings or personal growth, most people attempt to solve the current crisis using the coping mechanisms and thinking of the previous Alpha phase. This leads them into the Gamma loop, and it is here that life starts self destructing. Stupid decisions get made, finances plummet, relationships break down, drug/alcohol habits kick in, and it gets worse and worse. At best it dumps you into depression. It is mainly once a person hits the Gamma phase that they seek help in the form of therapy. The Gamma loop needs to be broken and the client needs to be taught new ways of thinking. People come for coaching for all kinds of reasons, but it all comes down to finding a New Alpha. The good news is the people who have successfully broken out of a Gamma loop don’t usually ever get stuck in one again.
This is why I first introduced the idea of AQ, a well developed AQ can make Beta phase a breeze. Don’t be fooled though, a Gamma phase is hard to break out of alone, though it isn’t impossible.