Adrian’s experience with Dojo4Life

Dojo4Life has been amazing for me and I wish you all to have similarly impactful experiences.
Having had the pleasure of learning and experiencing first hand the patterns of Dojo4Life and collaborating on designing the future sessions, I am convinced of its value and personally advocate this experience for three core reasons:

  1. Dojo4Life is powerful and universal in that it is applicable to all your personal goals you struggle to achieve. Dojo4Life helps you to (a) identify the factors stopping you from achieving your goals, (b) develop a fundamental understanding of and appreciation for these factors and (c) change them if you decide to do so.
  2. Dojo4Life successfully manages to break down the difficult issue of changing beliefs (or belief systems) into single, manageable steps. Any other work I have done before in this regard (e.g. NLP) falls considerably short of this method. This doesn’t mean that it is easy but it is a highly effective way to get a better understanding of yourself and develop further.
  3. Dojo4Life is based on the latest and most highly developed research on adult development (cognitive and socio-emotional) by Otto Laske, Robert Kegan and many others.

Not having found fulfillment in my job with one of the leading international management consulting firms, I am now in London with Graham and Marko to further develop the concept of Dojo4Life and drive it towards market maturity. I became more enthusiastic, due to my increasing confidence about its potential to support people like you and me in reaching their goals and in their personal development. However, while drafting a marketing text I realized that I had trouble connecting with what I was writing on an emotional level. I decided to apply the basic patterns of Dojo4Life to my own life.

The three of us were sitting in Graham’s regular café and Marko and Graham were going through some material. I pulled out my journal and started to apply the pattern. I first thought about what I wanted to work on in my life. I thought about my typical complaints: I spend too much time playing computer games, I watch too many series, I am checking 9gag all the time, I can’t overcome my “Schweinehund”, I am undisciplined and lazy, I have inner barriers to start difficult tasks, I only do things when it has become really urgent, etc. I don’t draw real satisfaction from my distractions (PC games, 9gag, series don’t feel fulfilling) but have no time left to do enough of what makes me really happy, like meeting people or doing sports. This has been accompanying me in my life for quite some time now.

As a next step I thought about what my commitment is that lies behind all these complaints. I defined it the following way: I am committed to spend my time on valuable activities that really have a (sustainable) benefit for me and/or make me happy.

The next step was to think about ways I keep myself from fulfilling my commitment, which basically was a list of the complaints I had noted down earlier: too much PC, 9gag, series, time wasting, laziness, etc. During this process my mental capacity was not fully occupied as I basically was copying my complaints. I simultaneously started thinking about the next step: the hidden commitment I am unconsciously fulfilling by sabotaging my conscious commitment. Suddenly I was overwhelmed by strong feelings of sadness. My nose started to tingle, breathing became more difficult, I felt pressure on my chest and tears started forming in my eyes. I tried to experience this emotional reaction to its full extent without having everyone in the café notice that I had somewhat of a breakdown. After 5 to 10 minutes I started to recover and shared what just happened to me with Graham and Marko, requesting their support in steps 3 and 4 of the process.

On our way back to Graham’s house we started to go through the content I had developed so far. Graham started applying his genius to my case trying to identify the hidden commitment I was fulfilling with my self-sabotage. In the process memories of my past came back:

  • I suffered from strong spasms until I was four years old and therefore was furiously frustrated for not being able to properly play with Duplo and Lego,
  • I impressed my kindergarten teachers by making a pretty good model of the human brain out of dough while the other kids called me “smartie head” due to my over proportionally large head,
  • I was tested for intellectual giftedness at a young age and my IQ result came back as very high,
  • I was the best of my class in primary school but felt alone a lot so in 5th grade I became the class clown and started playing computer a lot.

The process was emotionally very exhausting but I had the feeling pieces were falling into place; my hidden commitment started to form. Social connection has always been extremely important to me, but I was afraid that my intellectual abilities would isolate me from others because they would feel inferior to me. In order to stay emotionally healthy I adopted the role of a class clown, so people would take me less seriously, and I started looking for distractions from school like playing computer. My big assumption behind that was that “If I don’t avoid that others feel inferior, I am incapable of living a happy life and will ultimately die alone.

If this was my fundamental belief then how could I ever do what is really important to me, takes me forward in life and thereby live up to my potential? I felt crushed on the one hand: I sabotage myself because I just assume that it will make me lonely and isolate me from others – but is this really true? I don’t believe in it anymore so it might be time to change something in this regard. On the other hand I felt happiness: This internal protection automatism, my emotional immune system, might not be appropriate anymore, but it got me to where I am today. It made me the social person I am and I feel pretty good about myself these days.

As a next step I will take time observing this big assumption of mine: When does it kick in? Is it appropriate? What experiences diverging from it do I already make? I have the strong feeling that this was an extremely important insight for me and that it is something really worth working on. And I had found the emotional connection I needed to convincingly write the marketing material for Dojo4Life you read in the first paragraph.

The emotional reaction I had sitting in the café was a crucial step in the process. Only through this I managed to get beyond my conscious and into my unconscious sphere where my hidden commitment and deriving big assumption lie. This is the most difficult but also the most critical part of the process and where the environment of Dojo4Life, the support by the other participants and/or the Senseis (the people leading the Dojo) are essential. This is why I now can say with confidence: Dojo4Life is amazing and I wish everyone to have similarly impactful experiences in it.

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