Have you ever had a gun held to your head?
At 16, I was at a party when all of a sudden, THUNK! I was shoved against a wall by a .22 calibre, Winchester lever-action rifle. It was loaded and so was Glen who was holding the gun. He shouted, “I’m gonna kill you!” He was high on some mind-bending, drug cocktail. It happened without warning or provocation.
Then BANG! Ange knocked Glen to the ground and extracted the gun from his grip with his other hand. Ange was a short, muscle-bound Italian and with the confidence of the famous actor John Wayne, Ange expelled bullets into the hallway.
Back then, I had no idea what led to that situation. Thankfully today I am much wiser.
I believe that nothing happens by chance. Life happens by choice. The gun incident was the result of my poor choices. Growing up in the "Wild West" of Melbourne, my role models were tough and rough rebels. In no time at all, I was one of them.
Your life is the result of your choices, not chance
Our gang bonded because of our similarities. At school, we all got high on trouble and low on marks. We were the teenagers of poor migrant families, at a time when racism swept the country like a malicious meme. You were an Aussie or a "wog". There were no in-betweens. Other than changing what you put in the middle of your school lunch sandwiches, you had no control over the labels you were given.
In our tribe, violence, drugs and alcohol were the gold stars we never got from our teachers. Every binge and battle granted us another star, each ascending us closer to the top of the gang’s hierarchy. The more power we embodied, the safer we became.
As a teenager, I was pretty messed up. If only someone had looked out for me. My mother and father just worked, those father and son talks never happened and our teachers called us ‘bums’ and we lived up to their low expectations.
At seven, I joined my first gang and tasted my first cigarette. I smoked to fit in. I was never given an allowance, so I found creative ways to make money to buy my smokes.
The role models I chose as a child, followed me for the rest of my life. The mindset that I developed, took me from one disaster to another. My rebellious archetype got me into so much trouble that I spent the next thirty years, undoing those first ten years.
We become who we follow as our model ourselves
I knew if I continued along devolutionary drive, that one day, I might just realise my greatest fear and find myself either in prison or dead. After all, many of the people that I chose as role models were imprisoned either by bars or their own mindset. Others prematurely plotted another course to the cemetery.
One day, my family rallied an intervention and I was their guest of dishonour. Threatened with punitive, psychiatric therapy, I had to find a way out of the hell I was living. Something had to change.
Fortuitously, searching for an excuse to get away from the gang and my family, at the age of 17, I found a job marking targets at the local rifle range, which is were I met 70 year old Clarry.
One day, Clarry invited me to his home to met his wife. We enjoyed cups of tea together and watched slides of his worldly adventures. He was a kind, retired Naval engineer who had fought in World War II.
Sitting in the rifle range bunkers, as we waited for our shooters to fire, we spent many idle hours in conversation as our target shooters took aim. As the months passed, my mindset changed. I noticed that I had become kinder and calmer as I followed Clarry’s thinking. Clarry had become my role model. He encouraged me to dream and do everything possible to make my dreams become reality. At first, encouragement without a cane was confusing to me, but I eventually learned to accept help without being hurt. I soon realised that some people are kind just because it makes them feel good to help others.
Your role models shape your mindset
Although this dream realisation business wasn’t easy, the moment I decided I wanted something, an invisible hurdle materialised. “Bastards!” I would say. Clarry would say, “Goals turn ordinary folk into extraordinary.” I was ordinary, but for the first time in my life, I believed there was hope. I followed Clarry’s advice and soon I had a full-time job at an advertising agency. This was a dream come true.
I left the rifle range and my mentor Clarry passed away a few years later, but left me a legacy. He taught me that your past doesn’t equal your future. I embraced his wisdom and craved for more. I sought many role models and mentors and they led me to my greatest turning points.
Your past doesn’t equal your future
Thanks to all of my mentors, I reached the pinnacle of my career. I started my own advertising agency and without any capital, I grew the business into a multi-million-dollar venture. But my mindset was still a problem. I wanted permanent change.
That was when I found a self-development program that claimed it could meet my needs. It was called Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). It was there that I met my next role model. His name is Christopher. We had a similar backgrounds, so we understood each other. Christopher was an example of the person that I wanted to become. A brilliant speaker, Christopher was a transformational genius. He was confident, eloquent and rich. He said to me, “Choose who you want to become and model yourself on someone who’s already there.” I chose to model myself on Christopher.
In 12 months I became the person I wanted to become
While studying with Christopher, he shared a transformational insight with me, “how we believe the world works determines how we’ll experience it.” Like a sweet lolly in a fizzy drink my mind exploded! I decided to see the world in a whole new way. Doors that once blocked my success, magically opened.
Before NLP, I worked in sales and floundered at the bottom of the sales hierarchy. This time, I couldn’t fight my way to the top. Instead, I followed Christopher’s mindset and his every move.
Using NLP, in just three months, I went from the bottom of the sales ladder to the top. No-one in the company I worked for had ever improved so quickly, nor had anyone achieved my sales figures. They were so good the company thought I must be doing something illegal and they asked the sales director to investigate what I was doing. He accepted my psychological acceleration and soon I was earning more money than our then Prime Minister, John Howard. I was now ready to start my own company, Life Beyond Limits because I now could help others to live a life beyond their limits.
I am proof that anyone can change their neural blueprint and achieve. Today Life Beyond Limits, transforms lives and helps many people. Christopher taught me how to do that and I am a firm believer that if we can change, if we can transform, then humanity has a chance to be kinder or the kind of humanity that we have been waiting for.
About the Author
R!k Schnabel, is a is the director and leading teacher of Neuro Linguistic Programming and Life Coaching with www.LifeBeyondLimits.com.au. He teaches people how to untrain their brain and to create their ideal lives and author of “The Secrets of Creating a Life Beyond Limits” and “The Power of Beliefs.
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