“Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters.”
-- Bob Dylan
I remember the moment social media changed for me.
A friend who I deeply respected started posting about how those who wore masks, those who trusted the vaccine, and those who believed in the integrity of the Presidential election were “sheep” who needed to “wake up.”
I had seen several posts and comments with the same type of message, using similar terminology, but it hadn’t affected me very deeply.
Most of them I automatically lumped into the bucket of “loon,” “anti-vaxxer,” “MAGA,” “racist,” “alt-right,” or some other category of person I didn’t need to engage with.
But this person I knew.
I knew how kind he was, how caring and empathetic, and how brilliant and capable on so many topics.
I didn’t want to engage, but I also didn’t want to unfriend or unfollow.
So I turned to my mentors for understanding.
One of those mentors is Four Arrows, a hypnotherapist, Indigenous worldview scholar, sports and health psychologist, and performance coach to world champion athletes.
Four Arrows wrote a book back in 1994 called The Bum’s Rush: The Selling of Environmental Backlash.
In this book, Four Arrows analyzes the type of persuasive language Rush Limbaugh uses to “hypnotize” his audience into accepting his “sales pitch.”
Four Arrows is clear that he has nothing against Rush Limbaugh.
To the contrary, Four Arrows states that Rush is “performing a public service by contributing to the public debate,” but only if we “apply the lessons of the book when listening to him or any other persuader.”
The core lesson is that “illogic, fallacies, psycholinguistic strategies, and propaganda” are “intrinsic to the language of people… who influence public opinion.”
These strategies are intrinsic to anyone in any situation who asks you to choose sides.
Four Arrows and I are developing a program together that applies “Metacognitive Trance-based Learning” (MTBL) to support individuals in strengthening their own free will to make choices that benefit themselves, other people and to the community of all beings.
Metacognition is thinking about thinking. It adds a layer of awareness, insight and intuition into the validity of your fears, your authority and the authority of others, the words you hear and speak, and nature as it is expressed in your being and the world around you.
Essentially, MTBL helps people “wake up,” and not be “sheep.”
Another of my mentors is Warren Kahn, a “Master Navigator of love and life,” life and business coach, grammy-nominated producer, composer, and musician, and a Senior Trainer with the More To Life Foundation.
More To Life is also a program for “wakeful living.”
The program teaches students that every experience in life, no matter how unwanted, is leading you towards authenticity, authority, and love.
But only if you’re paying attention.
Not just to what is happening around you, but to what you are feeling and how you are responding.
A co-founder of More To Life, Dr. K Bradford Brown, famously asked “yes, but how?” (YBH) of almost every great book he read.
The margins of his copies of books by philosophers, theologists, sages, and psychologists were filled with “YBH.”
It wasn’t enough to intellectually understand the mind, the world, and the heart.
For Brad Brown the experience was the thing.
He developed processes and courses to support his students in experiencing their lives more profoundly, including all the pain and grief as much as the joy and love.
Brad Brown’s More To Life co-founder, Dr. Roy Whitten, wrote a dissertation with the title, Awake and Aware: Utilizing Split-Attention to Link Mindful Awareness with Everyday Activities.
Split-attention is the application of metacognition in the moment.
Until recently I didn’t have the words to explain how Warren Kahn has had such a significant effect on my life, why I look forward to my conversations with him, and why I experience him as so grounded, comfortable, and loving.
Like Four Arrows, he is continually practicing MTBL, or split-attention.
Warren is aware of his feelings, his responses, my feelings and responses, and both of our words while he is also paying attention to conversation itself.
With mindful awareness, he can then gently and tenderly guide the conversation in a way that is simply healing and supportive of my own development and growth, as well as his.
In the movie The Matrix, Neo is offered the choice between the red pill, which would wake him up to the unpleasant reality of his situation, or the blue pill which would allow him to remain in blissful ignorance.
Anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, followers of Q-Anon, and supporters of Trump consider themselves “red-pilled,” or awake, and consider the rest of us blue-pilled, or asleep.
After some reflection, I see wakefulness and automaticity as a spectrum.
To the extent that you act tribally, meaning that you are automatically following, supporting or amplifying a liberal or conservative leader or platform, a religious doctrine, a sports team, a celebrity, or a business you are blue-pilled.
To the extent to which you are aware of your feelings, the feelings of others, the emotional effect of the signals you are propagating, and the possible outcomes for yourself, other people and the community of all beings from your words and actions, you are red-pilled.
So, I started this note talking about the moment social media changed for me.
In that moment I knew it wasn’t enough for me to change my own experience of social media by changing what I post, how I respond, and who I connect with.
I wanted to change social media itself.
That’s why I’m introducing the Creators Live! series on Scoby Social.
I’ll be inviting the creators, mentors, coaches, executives, professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, and celebrities who have most influenced and inspired me to join me in conversation as featured guests.
And you’re invited too!
On our Scoby Social app, you can join the conversation in full audio and video with the press of a button.
One thing I’ve learned from Four Arrows and Warren Kahn is that you can’t wake other people up.
You can only awaken yourself.
So please join Four Arrows, Warren Kahn, and me for “Peak Performance: Lessons from a Life of Coaching, Training, and Mentorship,” the first ever live, public, open conversation on Scoby Social.