Saturday, July 4, 2009

Are you an advising couch potato?

I remember six years ago, in the period just before I came to the United States, many people had doubts about my plans. People who loved me expressed their care by being fearful and telling me that I should stay home. I also had emotions about leaving: not from fear but from excitement and anticipation of all the wonderful things I would experience!

When I came back a month later some people were shocked by the changes I had made for myself. I had let go of leading myself with fear, so I was able to quickly make decisions about what I wanted to do in any situation. I began changing my life quickly in many ways. Not all changes were appreciated or understood by those around me. In their eyes I became "unpredictable". They didn't know what I would do next. Neither did I, but I had decided that I would be comfortable with that. I had decided to be happy in the moment and to create a life of happiness; I could make choices at any time leading in this direction.

I went back to the United States that summer I met Mark during a personal development course. When I returned home, I told people that I was going to quit my job and live with Mark in the USA. I was clear and excited by the prospect. But there were people around who thought this was dangerous. I had only known Mark for four weeks. I didn't know what life in the United States was like. I would not have my friends around. Some people even said that I had been brainwashed, that I was too happy, that this was not right.

Now, six years later I look back at it and smile. I created Happy-land! When I moved here, I was less happy and content than I am today. I have become more comfortable with myself and others, and I am really enjoying and loving the moment. Can you imagine what I will have created in six years from now? YEAHHH.

Recently, two friends of mine met through my Facebook friends list. One friend lives in The Netherlands; the other lives in the USA (on the west coast). They started emailing and then calling, and ended up in a relationship in which they have never been together, yet they feel this deep, deep connection and love for each other. Now they have decided to meet later this year at my house and hang out together. And guess what? They're receiving the same kind of feedback I got six years ago! Not from everyone, but from a large group of people.

So, I want to ask you: are you the one who sits on the couch and advises others why it is better not to do things (a couch-potato-advisor)? Or are you the one who jumps in and doesn't listen to that advice?

What are differences between couch potatoes and jumpers? Here some of my thoughts around this:

1. Some people translate every burst of adrenaline in "something bad is going to happen". Adrenaline activates our body to respond to situations: fearful situations and exciting situations! The choice is ours. I can decide, "oh, see my body preparing me for something very exciting!"

2. People advise from their perspective. People who have created a life where everything is set and reliable typically don't take big chances and avoid change. They usually advise others to do the same: create a life that is safe, comfortable and predictable. Please don't misunderstand me. If you like that life, I recommend you to totally indulge yourself in it. But, if you want to take steps into unknown and unexplored directions, I recommend you to look at your fears and change some of them into wonderful opportunities to grow.

3. We often fear uncertainty and the unknown. If we believe we must have answers for every possible challenge before we can act, we will probably never make any substantial changes in our lives. For me the belief "I can make decisions in any instant and those decisions change the direction of where I am going" has helped me not to be fearful but to be excited about upcoming events. When people told me "ohh, but you don't know if it will work out with Mark" my attitude was: "if it doesn't work out I will do something else!"

4. Without action nothing happens! If you say you want to change things, but never take action, then perhaps you don't really want to change!

5. Every action has a consequence. I'm not saying that you should jump into anything without thinking. There are consequences to any action we take. I lost friends by changing my life the way I did, but I also gained many more new friends! I moved away from my family, but now I have chosen family that lives close. There are always consequences. The important thing is that we need not fear them.

6. Very few things are permanent. Even though there are consequence, very few of them are permanent. Once we have made a decision and taken action, we can always make another.

I believe that we can create what we want in life. And I believe that most of us want to create more out of life than to becoming an advising couch potato! So, I hope you become the biggest you that you can be. If you do not know how to do it, don't worry, take one step at the time and give me a call. I promise no couch potato advice!

Have a great weekend,



  1. Belated comment by one week....

    /u,t/u Iris for sharing a fascinating aspect of beliefs, (what it means to some to be a caring friend, to share their untrustingness and fears) and how you demonstrated your learning to lead yourself, and to listen to, a different tune or melody, and be an example and stimuli for 'couch potatoe' syndrome. ...smilingly... Larry

  2. Lieve Iris,

    Ik heb een comment geschreven op je stukje maar ik kan het niet plaatsen, ik doe kennelijk iets verkeerd, wat weet ik niet, want het lukt me niet om het als comment erop te krijgen. Daarom stuur ik het je nu op met het verzoek dit als comment onder jouw stukje waarin je het hebt over Brian en mij, te plaatsen.
    Ik heb met veel liefde en plezier gekeken naar wat je hebt geschreven en ook wat je daarna hebt gechreven en ik herken zo veel.....

    Met veel liefde en respect voor de wijze waarop je bent gegroeid, voel ik me geraakt en dankbaar,



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