Posted by: Edward | June 1, 2014

We All Have Issues

I’ve noticed that when I talk about smaller scale things as mental health issues, I get push back. A lot of people have a very black and white view of mental health, someone is either mentally ill or they are not. I don’t see the world that way. I see those people that everyone agrees are mentally ill as the extreme end of a scale that all of us are on.

Some habits of thought and action are more mentally ill than others. Some, over time, will make you more mentally ill. Just like bad habits such as overeating or smoking can make you physically ill and other like eating vegetables and exercising regularly can help keep you physically healthy.

Part of the process of destigmatizing mental health issues is to realize that they aren’t black and white, all or nothing, and that we all have them. We all have mental health issues exactly like we all have physical health issues, because we are all human.

Posted by: Edward | December 19, 2013

Tell the Rest of the Story

Many people, like me, have difficulty with a voice, a voice that tells a very unflattering story about ourselves. It tells us a story of all our failures, all the ways that we don’t measure up, all the ways we are not good enough. A common name for this is the inner critic. In many ways this voice isn’t fair. It has appointed itself prosecutor and judge. It lays out the evidence against you and condemns you for it. But it only tells half of the story, it only selects experiences that supports its conclusion and it interprets all that in the most negative light.

So, what you need to do is tell the other side of the story. Collect all of your victories, all of your successes, your good experiences, and the times you made good choices. This may be difficult for you, at least at first. This is because, if you are like me, your inner critic has been telling you the bad story over and over again for a very long time. So, it’s going to take you some time to find and collect your victories. And you are going to have to tell yourself that story regularly in order to build up it’s value in comparison to the inner critic’s story.

The next thing you want to do is start making the other case. Like a good defense attorney, you need to yell “Objection!” when your prosecutor is making unfair generalizations or interpretations. If your critic says that you always do something but your victory story includes a counterexample? Then present the evidence and adjust the general statement, the judgment, to be an honest and fair representation. If your critic is making an unfair or overly cruel interpretation or prediction? Challenge it, give an alternative version and support it with evidence, experiences in line with a more positive view of yourself and your possibilities. This too will take time. Be gentle with yourself, if you forget, and look for ways to remind yourself to keep doing it.

This may also feel uncomfortable, unfamiliar, or even fake. That’s understandable, natural even. Learning a new skill often feels uncomfortable and unfamiliar. And as for the feeling of being fake or phoney, you are challenging your established sense of your self. Your sense of who you are is largely based on the story you’ve been telling yourself about who you are. So when you begin telling a new story, it’s going to feel like it isn’t you. But remember this new story is based on things you have done and experienced, things you’ve been forgetting or ignoring. So be fair to yourself… tell the rest of the story.

Posted by: Edward | December 15, 2013

We are all Kintsukuroi

Kintsukuroi is the japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold, and the understanding that the vessel becomes more beautiful for having been broken.


Everyone you meet is kintsukuroi. We all get broken in the jostle of life. Sometimes it can be hard to see past the jumble and sharp edges of a person’s flaws but the way to see the gold is the same thing that puts it in there, compassion.

With compassion, you help a person put themselves back together. With compassion, you help people see the value in themselves. You help a person see that their beauty is in their flaws, their value in their wounds… even when that person is you.

Posted by: Edward | March 19, 2013

The Fleeting and the Lasting

In our culture we have a bias for things that last over things that end. We will even say of a relationship that ends that we wasted our time or that it wasn’t real. But if that’s the case then nothing is real, and life is a waste of time. This bias causes us to hold onto things we are better off letting go of, we stay in relationships that harm us, we stay in jobs that no longer suit us, we engage in activities that we stopped enjoying long ago.

This bias also means we fail to appreciate connections and experiences that are fleeting. We trample the joy of a brief love because we were looking for a spouse. We miss the glorious moment of the sun breaking through the clouds because we focused instead on the rain that covered the rest of the day.

This focus on the lasting keeps our attention on our memories of the past and our fantasies of the future, because it is in those times of the mind that lasting things exist. Present time is fleeting and you only find the fleeting beauties and joys if you are present now. Only if you are attending the present moment will you notice that something you have been holding onto is no longer right for you. Only in the present can you realize that who you pretend to be, is not who you are now.

Posted by: Edward | November 10, 2012

Living in our own stories

The truth is that the “true” truth doesn’t matter to people. We care about the story truth. If there is a true truth, we don’t know it. Instead of knowledge we have interpretations. We interpret the evidence of our senses and we solidify those decisions as beliefs. Then we use those beliefs to make new interpretations as we have new experiences. These beliefs influence how we act and they begin to filter what evidence our senses show us.

Over time these past interpretations have far more influence over us than the evidence of our senses. Over time these interpretations on top of interpretation come to be increasingly abstract. We go from the evidence that Billy got more ice cream than us to talking about concepts like fairness and favoritism. These are the story truths. And most of our lives are lived for these.

The truly interesting thing is that because we believe in these abstract fictions, we act as if they are real and we create things to concretize them. We build law courts and print money. We build the world in the image of our beliefs. Our interpretations end up changing the world underlying the evidence and interpretation games we play.

The problem is, when our whole world is interpretation built on interpretation upon interpretation… what if our initial and fundamental interpretations just weren’t very good?

One option is to practice a kind of radical uncertainty. The fact is, that whatever it is you think you know you could be mistaken. One way I do this is to attach arbitrary probability values to my assertions. This is to acknowledge that anything i think I know is the result of my interpreting ambiguous and incomplete evidence in terms of my assumptions and believes about reality. The idea is to accept that you are acting on your best guess about what is going on and to be willing to reinterpret the situation as new data comes in.

The second option is to remind yourself that most of what you are striving for or contending with are social fictions. To paraphrase Robert Anton Wilson, guns are real, blue uniforms are real; police are a social fiction. The authority that we grant authorities over us is an implicit agreement we’ve made with each other to act as if it exists. How much else in your life is the same thing? Only by making these agreements explicit can we challenge the ones we that don’t work for us.

The third and perhaps most powerful option is to look for disconfirming evidence. This is very difficult as you’ve spent your entire life looking for evidence that confirms your interpretations without ever realizing that you were doing it.

There are two avenues to go about looking for disconfirming evidence. One is when you find yourself thinking, “that’s just the way it is,” or that some idea is “just common sense” then look for experiences that contradict the underlying belief. The second is when you have an experience that surprises you, that defies your expectations, try to figure out what you are assuming about the world that the experience contradicted. It’s time to revise that particular interpretation. At it’s best this is what science is all about.

Train yourself in the idea that what you know is a provisional interpretation and you will be much more adaptable to the strange new world all around you.

Posted by: Edward | June 16, 2011

The Metaprogramming Game: Habit Change

This is a self change program that I’ve created for myself. I’ll explain what I’m doing and give you some tips for adapting it for yourself.

The first thing you need to do is create the spacetime for programming. You need twenty or more minutes set aside on a regular basis where you can allow yourself to enter a light trance state, alpha brainwaves or deeper.

I’ve set aside an hour ever weekday morning. I listen to the first levels of holosync which purport to guide you through several deep brainwaves and sound like rainfall, very relaxing at the very least. When I’m done I listen to Happy Up Here by Royksopp. I listen to these while doing some simple repetitive tasks. I spent close to a month doing this before moving on to the programming just to set this up as a habit.

Now what you need to do is create the programs. These are a combination of affirmation and imagined practice, like professional athletes use. These need to be positively stated, verb or process focused, and small chunks. An action you take.

For example, the first one I used was, “I hold eye contact with ease and comfort.” Now for the hour I say this affirmation and then imagine myself doing it. You want the imagined practice to be full sensory: see, feel and hear. You just say and imagine and repeat until the time is up.

It is a good idea to vary the imagined practice. Vary how you do it, where you imagine doing it, and who you do it with. I imagine myself doing the behaviour I’m programming in situations where it would have been useful in my past and in future scenarios that I dream up.

The next part of this game is to review your progress briefly at the end of your day. Ask yourself, “how has this behaviour improved?” And then think of a few successes from your day. Even if there have been no successes yet, this question sets up the expectation of success. Next ask, “Where else could I have used this?” And then briefly imagine doing the programmed behaviour in any situations that come to mind. If the separate review phase doesn’t work for you, you could always do it at the beginning of each metaprogramming session.

It is a good idea to stick with a given program longer than you might first think to. At some point you will realize that you have begun behaving how you are training yourself to. Stick with it further and it will feel like second nature to you. I suggest you keep doing it a little longer than that so it really sets as a habit.

Once a month or so you could run through a review of the behaviours you’ve used this method for to see how they are sustaining. Simply run through the review questions for each. If any have faded, simply do another round of programming with it. You may also benefit from fine tuning the wording of the affirmation.

Posted by: Edward | January 14, 2010

Building a Visioning and Review Habit

Visioning and Review is, in my opinion, one of the most useful habit structures you could make for yourself. It takes ideas from what is called Well-Formed Outcomes in NLP and from The Law of Attraction. The idea is to habitually create a vision of what you want out of life situations and to review your progress towards that vision. This habit has additional benefits to learning.

Building a Vision

What do you want? What would you see, hear, feel, taste and smell if you had it? What would it look like if you were watching yourself now that you’ve achieved it? What would it look like if you were looking out your own eyes having achieved this for yourself? Who would be there with you? Where would you be? What does this feeling of enjoying what you have already achieved, feel like? What would happen if you made the sounds louder, the vision bigger and brighter and the feelings more intense?

Having built this vision, having been there, is this still what you want? If not make any necessary changes and repeat the above. Stop when you have it perfect. Give this vision a name, and make a gesture to go with the name. This grounds it in a real-time visual, auditory and kinesthetic anchor.

Motivational Structure

So… this is what you want. Now, why do you want it? What does getting this get you? What does getting that get you? What does moving towards the vision above move you away from? Why do you want to move away from that? Repeat these questions as far as you can. Can you see the reasons that you are moving toward pulling you forward and the things you are moving away from pushing you forward? Can you feel both of these forces helping you move in the direction of you vision? What does it sound like to be moved like this?


Thinking back on your vision, how does the version of you who achieved what you want to achieve differ in their behaviour from what you have been doing until now? How are their habits different? How do they look at the world differently than how you have been? If you were the you that achieved what you want, what would they decide needed to be done next? What the smallest, easiest, simplest thing that could start your path towards being that you? Now… dive in! Start doing those things.

Review and Re-Vision

Time has past. You’ve been acting on your vision, working towards it. Maybe it’s been a day, maybe a week, maybe a whole month. Time to review your progress. What has happened in relation to your vision? What has gone well? What hasn’t gone as well? What kinds of actions and styles of action on your part lead to things going well? What lead to things not going as well? Knowing what you know now, how would you change your behaviour? Where and when are you likely to be in a situation where this new understanding is going to be useful? What would happen if you applied this there?

Given your new life experiences, do you need to make any changes to your vision?

Building Habits

There are a variety of ways to build habits. One is to build the strategy of the action and then anchor it to the context where it will be useful. Another way to build a habit is simply… to do simple actions consistently and slowly add more parts later. I’d like you to do both of those with the Visioning and Review Process.

What would happen if every day when you get up you remembered and tweaked your vision? What would happen if every night before you go to bed you did a quick review of your progress? Try it for two weeks and find out.

Posted by: Edward | December 22, 2009

Some people don’t want you to change

This is not the most uplifting of posts perhaps, but if you honestly want to change your life it is important for you to realize that not everyone wants you to change. There are people in your life, even people who care for you deeply, that simply don’t want you to change.

Now… everyone has their own issues with change. Any time the situation changes people have to learn how to deal with it, so there will always be a natural resistance to change from most people.

Beyond that though, there are people who have even stronger motivations to resist your change. These people who don’t want you to change come down to two main categories. People who benefit from who you have been and people who don’t want to change themselves.

People who benefit from who you have been, may or may not be aware that this is why they are resisting your change. They may not be aware that who you have been has allowed them to take advantage of you in some way. Regardless of whether they are aware of why, these people will work hard to stop you from changing.

People who don’t want to change themselves see your changing of yourself as a statement about their inability to change. The truth is that at some level they have recognized their need to change but don’t feel that they can, or perhaps that they should have to change. “Who do you think you are? You think you’re better than me?” Often these people will surround themselves with people with problems similar to their own.

Change is hard enough without people telling us that we can’t, or otherwise making it any harder. So what can we do to mitigate this extra stress?

First, find people who DO want you to change and believe you can. Find people who will help you, and cheer for you. Any time the people who don’t want you to change, or don’t believe you can change, get you down… talk to one of your change fans.

Limit your exposure to the anti-change signals. This can mean avoiding the persons involved, or if that’s not possible for you at least don’t discuss your change process with people that oppose it. People accept things much easier once they are done. You can always spend more time with these people once you’ve made the changes you want to make.

Optionally, you could make sure that when you talk to the change resistors you make sure to explain it in such a way it doesn’t threaten their reasons for resisting your change. It might be a good idea to frame the discussion this way the first time it comes up but most of the time, avoiding the topic is the better route.


Are you looking to change your life? I’d love to help you any way I can. Direct any and all inquiries to coaching [at] edwardewilson [dot] com.

Posted by: Edward | December 21, 2009

Weakness is Strength… when you learn from it

Every so often I hear about how someone isn’t qualified to help others because they have had personal problems. This doesn’t make any sense. Largely they are qualified to help BECAUSE of their history of problems.

Who has been the most successful at helping alcoholics recover? Other alcoholics.

Have I had personal problems? You bet I have. Chances are if you have a problem, I’ve already had it. I’ve had depression issues, phobia issues, relationship issues, career issues, self-esteem issues, school issues, etc. I’m not hiding these things. My failings are my resume.

Of course merely having problems isn’t ENOUGH to qualify someone to help you. The next thing they need to have done is LEARNED from it. What have they learned about coping with, or solving the problem that you have? Even someone only slightly ahead of you on the recovery curve can help you.

Next, they have to be able to communicate their learnings to you. It doesn’t matter how clever their solution for your problem is, if they are unable to explain it to you in a way you can use.

Last, they have to be willing to help you with your issues. Some people found their issues so traumatic at the time, that even though they have solved them now they aren’t willing to think or talk about them. And I respect that decision, but I don’t expect them to be able to help me.

Everything that I’m good at now, is because I used to be bad at it. Heck, when I was a baby I didn’t know how to talk, walk, or go to the bathroom by myself. Chances are… this is true of you as well.


If you feel that what I’ve learned from my resume of failings could help you, direct any and all inquiries to coaching [at] edwardewilson [dot] com.

Relationship Debugging

Your relationships are some of the most important things in your life and when they are troubled it can affect every other aspect of your life. I help you clean up the channels of communication to get more pleasing and fulfilling relationships for everyone involved.

Creative Process Coaching: From Concept to Draft

Do you have an idea burning to be expressed? A dream project that you just don’t know how to start? I can help you chart the course from concept to draft, help you build a method to create and express that idea.

Captivate your Audience: Build a Community, Tell your story

Social Media has opened up a wide plain of new ways to communicate with your clients and audiences and I can help you find a way to bootstrap that process.

Life Transition Coaching

Going through a major life transformation and feeling bewildered, befuddled and maybe a little afraid? I can help you get a handle on your emotions, survey this new territory and create a vision of the future you want.

Social Confidence Coaching

Do you want to have a more active social life but find yourself getting overwhelmed? I’ll help you build the skills and locate the opportunities you need to meet and connect with new and interesting people.

Custom Solutioning

Got a problem not addressed above? I’ll give you a half hour free session and we’ll see if I can’t come up with a custom plan for working on it.


Direct any and all inquiries to coaching [at] edwardewilson [dot] com.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.