top of page

Defining Your External Factors: Living By Design Part Three


Continue uncovering your authentic self with Dr. Phil in part three of his "Living By Design" series.


You can trace who you've become in this life to external factors: 10 defining moments, seven critical choices, and five pivotal people. But first, it's essential to understand what each term means and how to identify each of the factors.


Dr. Phil will then take you through his Five-Step Action Plan that will put you on the right path to creating your life from the inside out!


Living By Design Playbook 2023 with Part 3

DR_PHIL_MCGRAW_LIVING BY DESIGN PLAYBOOK
.pdf
Download PDF • 64.82MB


 

LISTEN NOW

Please help by sharing, rating, reviewing, and adding a comment on: Apple Podcasts or click here for other podcast platforms





TEN DEFINING MOMENTS

Only YOU will know when and in what circumstances the defining moments of your life occurred. Take time to think through the various stages of the life you have lived so far.


"In every person's life, there have been moments, both positive and negative, that have defined and redefined who you are. Those events entered your consciousness with such power that they changed the very core of who and what you thought you were.”

You may want to deal with only one age range in a single sitting. That’s fine as long as you come back to the exercise again and again until you’ve completed it.


Perhaps you will not immediately remember something from your youngest years, but an adolescent memory is uppermost on your mind. Push yourself to access the earlier years, but don’t get hung up if defining childhood moments don’t surface.


Keep going. You can come back to the earlier time after you’ve explored some of the later experiences. The life stories you’re about to tell are important because they have had consequences in your life. They deserve your full concentration and focus.




EXERCISE: DEFINING MOMENTS 1 THROUGH 10

Ask yourself the following questions for all 1-10 Defining Moments:

Defining Moment #1, #2, #3...ect... (Click slideshow to expand)


  • Where are you at this moment?

  • How old are you?

  • Who is there with you, or who is supposed to be there with you?

  • What is happening that makes this moment so significant?

  • What emotions or changes of emotions are you experiencing (e.g., loneliness, anger, fear, confusion, joy, power, helplessness)?

  • How would you change this situation if you could?

  • What is your mental/physical experience?

    • State of mind

    • Smells

    • Tastes

    • Touch

    • Happiness/sadness

    • Strength/weakness

    • If you could speak to someone at this moment, whom would it be? What would you say?

  • What are you saying to yourself?

  • What do you need right now more than anything else?

  • Now bring yourself back to the present and answer the following questions.

    • How do you feel now about this defining moment?

    • What emotions are you having now?

    • What are you telling yourself about these events today?

    • What power and self-determination, if any, did you lose to this event, if it was a negative event? (If it was positive, what did you learn or gain)



SEVEN CRITICAL CHOICES

There are a surprisingly small number of choices that rise to the level of life-changing ones.

"Critical choices are those that have changed your life, positively or negatively, and are major factors in determining who and what you will become."

They are the choices that have affected your life up to today and have set you on a path.


EXERCISE: 7 CRITICAL CHOICES

Ask yourself the following questions for 1-7 Critical Choices

Critical Choice #1, #2, #3...ect...


(Click slideshow to expand)


  • Age bracket in which you made the choice:

  • What was the choice? Write a sentence that describes it.

  • Why did you make it? Describe what prompted this choice. Identify as many factors as you can recall.

  • What alternatives did you give up by making this choice? Describe the “cost” of the choice you made.

  • Ask yourself: “Has my interpretation of this critical choice been accurate? Have I exaggerated or distorted it in some way?”

  • Where were you, in terms of your self-concept, immediately before this choice, and what was your self-concept after this choice?

  • What aspect or dimension of your self-concept was involved in or was affected by the choice? Write your observations down.

  • Write a paragraph to describe the long-term residual effect of this critical choice.

  • Write down how and why you think the critical choice either clarified or distorted your authentic self.

  • Review your interpretation of and reaction to the critical choice. Decide whether or not you believe your interpretation and whether it was and is accurate or inaccurate.


FIVE PIVOTAL PEOPLE

These are the people who have left indelible impressions on your concept of self, and therefore, the life you live.


(Click slideshow to expand)



"They may be family members, friends or co-workers, and their influences can be either positive or negative."

They are people who can determine whether you live consistently with your authentic self, or instead live a counterfeit life controlled by a fictional self that has crowded out who you really are.


EXERCISE: 5 PIVOTAL PEOPLE

The value of this exercise depends upon you giving a voice to connections and consequences that you may never have expressed in words. The cause-and-effect relationship between the behaviors of each of your five people, and the results in your own life and self-concept, demand your closest attention as you write.


Ask yourself the following questions for 1-5 Pivotal People in your life

Pivotal Person #1, #2, #3...ect...


In section one, first identify, with as much detail as you can, that person’s conduct or behavior that you now see as pivotal. You will want to use “action verbs” in order to make it as concrete as possible: for example, Claire, my seminar participant, might begin by writing, “For fourteen years, he thrashed my mother and me with a strap, destroying my sense of self, my sense of value, my sense of dignity.”


Someone else, writing about an adult friend, might begin, “She loved and cared about me when I wasn’t very lovable. She was coming in the door, when everyone else was on the way out. She stood by me when it would have been so much easier not to.” Write as long and as detailed a description as you need to and can. You will be amazed at what flows from your pen.

  • Name:

  • Describe the actions of this person that you now see as pivotal in your life.

In the second section, describe the effects that you attribute to that action. What consequences flow from the pivotal person directly to your present-day self?


Examples might begin: “Because I could not bear the humiliation and pain, I ‘checked out’ of life, and withdrew from anything that involved my emotions, even when my husband and kids were yearning for my emotional self.” Or: “Her words of encouragement spontaneously offered and never judgmental, have caused me to believe that I must have something worth loving or else such a fine person wouldn’t have been there for me. She gave me the patience to make it through some of the toughest times I’ve known and I’ve tried to emulate her character in the things that I do today.”

  • What specific effects did this person’s actions have on your life?

  • What consequences flow from the pivotal person directly to your present-day self?


FIVE STEP ACTION PLAN

You can't change what you don't acknowledge. You can stop being passively shaped by the internal and external forces in your life.



"It's time to move your self-concept away from a world-defined, fictional self toward a self-defined, authentic self that is grounded in the here and now."

EXERCISE: The 5 Steps To Help You Deal With The External Circumstances

(Click slideshow to expand)


Step #1: Isolate a Target Event

Decide which of your key external events has turned out to be the most toxic experience of your life. This will be either one of your 10 defining moments, seven critical choices, or five pivotal people. Then write a short description of the target event. When you're done, read it over to make sure you are being honest in your account.


STEP #2: Audit Your Internal Responses to That Triggering Event

Ask yourself the following questions about the event you described in Step 1:

a) Where do you place responsibility or blame for that event, your locus of control? Who was responsible? Did you have any control over the situation? Were you even old enough to have a say?


b) What has been the tone and content of your internal dialogue since that event? Do you find your real-time, "normal speed" conversations in your daily life reflecting the changes that occurred within you and are associated with that event? When you reflect on this event, what do you say to yourself? Even when you're not reflecting directly on the event, but experience feelings of guilt and shame, what do you say to yourself?


c) What labels have you generated for yourself as a result of your event? What have you told yourself about you as a consequence of what happened?


d) What tapes have this event generated or contributed to? Has this event caused you to develop an automatic, unthinking response that "predicts" the outcome of any given situation?


e) What are the fixed beliefs and resulting life scripts that you have constructed as a result of your event? Do you suspect you are living from a "script" that was written as a result of this event?


STEP #3: Test Your Internal Responses for Authenticity

You can test everything you are saying to yourself and find out whether it is fictional or authentic by asking these four questions:

a) Is it a true fact?

b) Does holding onto the thought or attitude serve your best interest?

c) Are your thoughts and attitudes advancing and protecting your health?

d) Do your thoughts and beliefs get you what you want?


STEP #4: Come up with an "Authentically Accurate Alternative" Response

When you test your negative internal dialogue and it fails (as it should because it isn't true), you need to do what Dr. Phil calls "Triple-A Thinking." This means replacing your fictional responses with ones that are Authentically Accurate Alternatives. How do you know your new responses are AAA? Because they meet the authenticity standards outlined in Step 3.


Start by dividing a page into two columns.

On the left, list your present fictional beliefs ("I am worthless").

On the right, list as many alternative beliefs as you can. ("I am a worthy human being with valuable qualities" "I deserve to be treated with respect" "I have things to contribute to the world").


Now it's time to test your alternative beliefs

a) Is the alternative true?

b) Is it in your best interest to hold these beliefs?

c) Do the alternatives advance and protect your health?

d) Do the alternatives get you what you truly want?


Circle all of the alternative beliefs that have passed the test. Now you can choose to adopt as many of these authentic alternative beliefs as you like.


STEP #5: Identify and Execute Your Minimal Effective Response (MER)

The goal of Step 5 is emotional closure. You want to be able to close the book on the life event that caused you so much pain with a minimal amount of effort.


Consider your alternatives for action and ask yourself these four questions:

a) What action can you take to resolve the pain?

b) If you were successful and achieved this action, how would you feel?

c) Does the feeling you will have match the feeling you want to have?

d) Remember the word "minimal." Could there be some other, more emotionally or behaviorally economical action that would give you the emotional resolve you want to feel?


Whatever your MER is, you need to identify it and do it so that you can achieve emotional closure and move on to a more authentic, fulfilling life.


THE TEST OF CONGRUENCY

The profile that follows will help you see the degree to

which your current life experience --

"How you are thinking, feeling, and living -- compares to what your experience would be if you were living an ideal, fully authentic, and fulfilling life. This test takes you through a three-step process."

EXERCISE: The Three Step Test Of Congruency


STEP #1: You will describe your full potential by rating yourself on certain dimensions as you would be at your best.


STEP #2: You'll rate yourself on the same dimensions, this time as those dimensions reflect who and what you believe you really are.


STEP #3: You will determine the percentage of the difference between the two. The comparison will give you an early benchmark as to the health of your self-concept and the extent to which you are living true to yourself.


STEP #1: Circle all the words that you think describe the ideal person you want to be, the person you believe is the full potential of who you are and will ever be.

pretty attractive beautiful cute nice-looking appealing cool sweet spiritual wise nice friendly faithful leader strong supportive moral ethical principled good honest decent warm loving tender warmhearted demonstrative caring kind affectionate cordial hospitable welcoming amiable cheerful passionate fiery enthusiastic zealous arrogant egocentric altruistic sympathetic humane selfless philanthropic smart dependent free gentle thoughtful domineering submissive autonomous creative compassionate self-sufficient private liberated conventional objective elegant clever stylish intelligent quick charming tidy neat thoughtful attentive careful watchful alert reliable inspired inventive resourceful ingenious productive exciting energetic lively vigorous bouncy active joyful blissful pleased ecstatic cheery sane rational sensible reasonable normal complete capable genuine inspiring proud approachable peaceful honest giving nurturing accomplished whole perfect undivided achiever great confident compassionate content humble unassuming happy satisfied comfortable at ease relaxed able knowledgeable skilled proficient expert adept rich wealthy affluent prosperous full gorgeous valuable abundant fruitful powerful deep prolific understanding dynamic useful helpful constructive beneficial positive functional worthwhile

Now count the number of words you circled in Step #1. This will be called the Total Potential Score.

________ = Total Potential Score



STEP #2: Now circle the words below that describe how you actually are at present.

pretty attractive beautiful cute nice-looking appealing cool sweet spiritual wise nice friendly faithful leader strong supportive moral ethical principled good honest decent warm loving tender warmhearted demonstrative caring kind affectionate cordial hospitable welcoming amiable cheerful passionate fiery enthusiastic zealous arrogant egocentric altruistic sympathetic humane selfless philanthropic smart dependent free gentle thoughtful domineering submissive autonomous creative compassionate self-sufficient private liberated conventional objective elegant clever stylish intelligent quick charming tidy neat thoughtful attentive careful watchful alert reliable inspired inventive resourceful ingenious productive exciting energetic lively vigorous bouncy active joyful blissful pleased ecstatic cheery sane rational sensible reasonable normal complete capable genuine inspiring proud approachable peaceful honest giving nurturing accomplished whole perfect undivided achiever great confident compassionate content humble unassuming happy satisfied comfortable at ease relaxed able knowledgeable skilled proficient expert adept rich wealthy affluent prosperous full gorgeous valuable abundant fruitful powerful deep prolific understanding dynamic useful helpful constructive beneficial positive functional worthwhile


Now count the number of words you circled in Step #2. This will be called the Actual Self Score.

________ = Actual Self Score


STEP #3: The Congruency Score is the percentage of words you circled in Step #2 (Actual Self Score) as compared to the total words scored in Step #1 (Total Potential Score).


For example, if your Total Potential Score was 120 and your Actual Self Score was 90, then your Congruency Score would be:

90 /120 = .75 x 100 = 75%



If you are uncomfortable figuring out your score mathematically, you can use the table here to get an estimate, which you can fill in above.



SCORING

If your score is 90 to 100 percent: You are operating in your full potential range most of the time, finding happiness and joy from within. You are fulfilling your mission as you see it and probably have good mental health.


If your score is 75 to 89 percent: You are in the positive range of living consistently with your authentic self. You have escaped serious damage to your personal truth. You have good self-esteem that will help you be successful.


If your score is 50 to 74 percent: You are in the positive range and have realized some good aspects of who you are. However, you are missing some important aspects, powerful strengths, and goals that are true to your authentic self. You very likely have some self-doubt and lack of self-confidence in truly appreciating your potential.


If your score is 35 to 49 percent: You are limiting yourself and using only a small part of who you really are, because you have listened to the world telling you who you are instead of being guided by an undistorted personal truth and self-concept. Much work is needed.


If your score is 1 to 34 percent: You are living in your fictional self. Your personal truth and self-concept have been seriously damaged and distorted. You are wasting precious life energy. Your power is infected with fictional concepts and your efforts are misdirected to goals that are not your own.




 

Get Connected & Let Dr. Phil Know What You Thought About The Episode:


Instagram:


Twitter:


Facebook:

Podcast Page: DrPhilintheBlanks





Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment


Unknown member
Jun 05, 2023

Hello. Thanks for such informative acticle. This was very useful for me. I want to recommend the website which is a treasure trove of captivating life images that beautifully capture the essence of the human experience. From candid moments of everyday life to awe-inspiring landscapes, this platform offers a diverse collection that appeals to a wide range of interests and purposes. Whether you're a designer, blogger, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of life, you'll find an abundance of visually stunning and thought-provoking images to choose from. The website's user-friendly interface and extensive categorization make it effortless to navigate and discover the perfect life image that resonates with your vision or storytelling. With its vast collection and high-quality visua…

Like
bottom of page