Do you know the feeling when you read a book and you just go like “oh my, this is so true”, “I relate so much to this!”? Well yeah, that happend to me ALL the time while reading “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” by Vishen Lakhiani.
For those of you who are not familiar with Vishen, he is the founder of Mindvalley, “a company that specializes in learning experience design and creating digital platforms and apps that power the education revolution”. With a background in computer engineering, Vishen is one of the most influential personalities in personal growth today.
I have discovered Mindvalley in my own personal journey, when I needed growth and radical transformation in my life, in my beliefs and in my environment. I resonated with Vishen’s style of thinking and explaining things from the beginning, so it wasn’t much until his books arrived via Amazon Prime at my house.
“The Code of the extraordinary mind” is split into 4 parts:
- Living in the culturescape: how you were shaped by the world around you
- The awakening: the power to choose your version of the world
- Recoding yourself: transforming your inner world
- Becoming extraordinary: changing the world.
From the first pages Vishen spoke to me with what I have learned in the last half a year (at the moment when I am writing this article): finding your path, mission and becoming extraordinary starts with questioning the stories we are being told and that we tell ourselves.
We are born with no agenda, no racism, no preconceptions. As we grow, the environment starts to shape us: our parent’s beliefs, our religion’s beliefs and limits, our society’s Brules (Bullshit Rules – Lakhiani likes to invent words, I love that), the school’s model of “thinking”. By the time we reach the teenage years we are already “poisoned” with everybody’s beliefs except our own.
This is why, Vishen says, we fail to follow through our goals. Because, surprise, they are not really ours. They are what we think it’s the “right way”: study hard, get a REAL job, have a career, get married by the age of 28, have kids by the age of 30 , get into the C level of your career, and so on.
We hardly ever stop to ask ourselves: what do we want? What does our heart wants? What makes us dream? What do we want to bring into the world?
When we learn to question beliefs, we start to realize that perspective can be shifted. That we can SHAPE our realities, that WE CAN escape the models of reality that no longer serve us, that we can get rid of all the “rules” that have driven our lives until this moment.
And this brings us to the chapter of CHOOSING our version of the world.
Vishen says (I tested it myself, my clients also did, and many extraordinary people ) that once you start to questions the Brules, you start to understand that you can “mold the beliefs , habits, and practices that shape your life while you discard old beliefs and systems that you no longer need. The method for doing this is a process I call “consciousness engineering”.
After interviewing hundreds of extraordinary people, Vishen extracted the essence of how exactly you can manage to actively change all of these things, and based on his engineering mind, he built a logical and practical system that can be used by anybody who is willing to take the next step of their transformation.
Letting go of old habits and beliefs can be confusing, and it’s normal to be this way. You have lived all your life in a “bubble”, and after realising that your horizon is far more bigger than what you thought it could be, you will probably have a feeling of “what do I do next?”. Well, sometimes you must destroy everything, even the foundation, in order to build a stronger house. So that is what Vishen explains in his book: after you destroyed the Brules that were pulling you back from growing, you can now start to build yourself from scratch.
This is the beauty of this book: it shows you that it’s never too late to start rebuilding yourself. You just need to be willing to and you need to be honest with yourself. Anyone can do it, because we are meant to live in this way: free and constantly growing, as long as our growth doesn’t hurt the people around us (or “The golden rule”, as the author explains).
From this point on, things start to change very fast. You will live in a better reality, that is aligned with what you feel and what your intuition says to you, and that will give you a sense of “luck” and “things coming together”. Because when align yourself with your heart’s desire and you discover your mission on this world, miracles happen.
This will give you the means of reaching your true goals. Because here is an interesting thing that Vishen states in his books: we often confuse mean goals with end goals. What is an end goal? For example, traveling the world and experience adventure. What is the mean goal to achieve that? Money. So we confuse money with being the end goal. We chase this goal, thinking that when we reach a certain amount, we will be happy, we will be fulfilled. But how many times did you reach a goal you thought it will bring you bliss and self esteem, and you only came to realise that you feel anything but fulfilment?
This is what happens when we confuse end goals with mean goals. This is what happens when our goals aren’t ours. We are in a constant race of following ghosts, we run after things that we think will bring us happiness, only to get burned out, exhausted and out of love with our lives.
In the book you will find a lot of exercises that will enlighten the way in which you can apply all of this principles in your life. They are simple, concise and very, very useful.
One of the things that struck really close to home for me, was the chapter of “Being unfuckwithable”. The definition of “unfuckwithable” is: “when you’re truly at peace and in touch with yourself. Nothing anyone says or does bothers you and no negativity can touch you”. In simple terms, you start to realise that YOU ARE ENOUGH.
We live our lives being in a constant run for perfection, only for feeling in every moment that we are damaged, that we are not enough, that we are terrified of failure because that will mean that, you guessed, we are not enough.
Everything that happens to us, we take it personally. We live everyday like life happens TO US. The surprise is, that as Tony Robbins says, life happens FOR US actually. Everything that we experience can be a lesson if we choose to see it that way.
“My child doesn’t respect me. My husband is often an asshole to me. My boss is such a prick to me”. Everything it’s personal , everything it’s about us. When actually, everybody has their own fights.
When we put our happiness on the shoulders of anybody else, constant invalidation and disappointment will follow. Because we cannot control what other people say and do. We can only do our best for us and towards everyone around us. The rest is a gamble. We can only try to influence the outcomes, but we cannot control them.
When we give up the idea of control, the pressure disappears , and we begin to understand that this is how life is suppose to work. That will bring us the feeling of being enough. And that is when we will begin to take action. When we feel that we are enough, we will not settle for anything less. We will start to see that, for example, if we apply at our dream job and we get rejected, it’s not personal. You are enough, but maybe your skills or your approach can be improved. You will improve them, and because you are enough, you will try again.
I liked very much the pattern that Vishen says you will notice once you go through the stages of development that he built:
“First, life happens TO you.
Then life happens as you CHOOSE.
Then life happens FROM you.
Then life happens THROUGH you”.
As we explored the idea of destroying something before rebuilding, “The Code of the extraordinary mind” comes with a great perspective about the paths to life growth: kensho and satori.
Kensho’s bottom line is “you go through some kind of pain or difficulty through which you learn different ways to feel, think and be. In retrospect, you might even view these painful events as positive forces that pushed you to challenge beliefs and systems that were holding you back”.
Satori are “big insights that happen suddenly and change you forever”. This is how kensho and satori would look like in the life of people overtime:
As I went through the stages of development that Vishen brought me, I slowly started to realise that in my quest for discovering what makes people great, my intuition didn’t fail me.
When we feel unsatisfied in our lives, our basic needs are not fulfilled. Either emotional or physical needs, we must listen to what our intuition says. The “hum” is real, and almost everything else is just overthinking and thinking patterns that were implemented by others.
When we are not well, we must question what are the things that are pulling us back. We must identify how we are getting in the way of ourselves, and also what we must let go in order to make room for something new.
When you are able to free yourself from your own thinking and expand your horizon, that’s when transformation happens.
We are all extraordinary. The human mind is a vast galaxy that waits for us to use it at its true potential. The soul is an infinite universe that we ignore on a daily basis and that we need to discover in order to reach our highest levels of bliss.
All these things lie in each and every one of us. You have it, I have it, she/he/they have it. We are born free of limits and self doubt, and in order to become extraordinary, we must get back to our roots and rebuild from there.