“Why do I keep on making the same mistakes over and over again? You’d think I would have learned by now,” you say to yourself. And, when you read Autobiography in Five Short Chapters, you find yourself laughing, not because the poem is funny. You are laughing at yourself because you feel a connection to Portia Nelson's words. She is speaking your words.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost .... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit... but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson, 1920 - 2001, There's a Hole in My Sidewalk

I certainly felt a connection to the poet because she clearly articulated what I was feeling. You feel connected to Ms. Nelson because it takes you forever to get it right. But one day you finally get it, perhaps by then the pain is too much for even you to bear. Or perhaps you are now more self-aware. The reason does not matter because you have finally learned from that particular mistake.

The quote attributed to both Einstein and Benjamin Franklin is connected to the poem, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting to get a different result." We are in the same place because we simply have not made any changes. How can we expect a different result if we keep on doing the same things the same way?

Breaking out of the cycle
In Raja Yoga class, we were given a tool, a handout, Remove the Cause for us to study and reflect on. Raja Yoga, the highest form of yoga is connected to the mind. The 10 causes: Change the Awareness, Become a Leader not a Follower, Test Papers, Sportsmanship, Victory and Defeat, Hero Actor, Spider’s Web, Vigilant/Alert, Put a Powerful Brake and Do Not be Absorbed with the Problem is a method to help us to eliminate our weaknesses.

Change the Awareness
You are learning to be the master, and anyone who tests you is your TEACHER. Your enemy is your weakness: ego, greed and so on, which make you blind and deaf.

Become a Leader not a Follower
Do not speak the language of a follower, "If he changes, I will change...If she apologizes, I will apologize...." Many people have come out of bad situations and have changed their lives. The leader is one who takes the initiative.

Test Papers
When your personality, looks or ability have been attacked, do not get upset because they are your Test Papers, so welcome them because they let you know if you are getting better.

Always play a fair game because your peace of mind depends on it. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. When you play a fair game, even if you lose you cannot feel like a loser. Likewise, if you win and did not play a fair game you cannot feel like a winner.

Victory and Defeat
People often feel unworthy because of low self esteem. They are constantly being defeated by their weaknesses: anger, greed, ego, dishonesty or being intolerant. When you become strong, your self esteem, self respect, faith in yourself and so on improves, you start to feel strong and see your life differently.

Hero Actor
Your role is created by the actions you perform. The activity of Hero Actors distinguishes them from the majority: New habits, new characteristics, new self portrait. You no longer play the role of victim, martyr or follower. With self control, discipline, courage and the use of POWER, you are changing into a Hero Actor. These characteristics are the qualities of extraordinary people.

Spider’s Web
Defaming others, gossiping, getting into underhanded things and so on gives you a heavy feeling, and when the tables turn you feel trapped. Do not accept unnecessary favors because there is time to repay.

You are unable to become masters without being alert. If anger is your weakest spot, always be on the lookout.

Put a Powerful Brake
If a car does not have powerful brakes it could cause an accident. Watch where your thoughts take you and watch your tongue.

Do Not be Absorbed with the Problem
Concentrate on the solution because there is always a solution. Like the old cameras, the manual ones that you had to focus, as you focus on one thing, the rest of the picture loses its edge.

We no longer have to walk down that particular road in life because we have options. By simply reading and reflecting daily on Removing the Cause, we can start to change our mindset. We can learn from your mistakes, and we can change if we want to, or not, the choice is entirely ours.

Author's Bio: 

Avil Beckford, Chief Invisible Mentor, writer and researcher with over 15 years of experience is the published author of Tales of People Who Get It and its companion workbook Journey to Getting It. Subscribe to the Invisible Mentor Blog http://theinvisiblementor.com for great information to ignite your hidden genius, and explore the Resources page for free white papers and an e-book.