It’s time to relax and rejuvenate your mind to change anything in your life … Open up and allow bright and positive light back into your state of being! …
If you’re older than 20, it’s possible the negative side of life has tarnished the lens or dirtied up the window to the life you dreamed of as a child.
When I think about the joy of getting what you want, there’s no better object to compare it to than the Sun.
Learn to change anything that’s blocking progress so you can move forward today living without stress and the extra weight on your shoulders. Opt in below to receive this quick and to-the-point eBook report that will teach you how in the next ten minutes.
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When was the last time you worried there wasn’t enough sunlight for our gorgeous planet?
Have you ever been afraid the Sun would burn out and leave us all in desolation?
Honestly, in a billion years from now, that could happen. But that’s another topic, so lets stay with the positive here for now.
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” — John Dryden…
That quote by Dryden brings me to thinking about what one of my favorite online businessmen, who has sold tens of millions of solution products online, talks about all the time.
His advice is to Be, to Do, and then to Have.
People who want a new Lamborghini and never develop their habits of whom to be first will almost never get one.
Look at pro athletes in contrast.
Their ‘Be’ is constantly working towards getting better. To constantly stay in the trenches doing the work to perform at a higher level.
Instead of calling them a dominant player, we should call them a great practitioner.
A great systems practitioner, to be more precise. Everything comes after constantly practicing a systematic group of principles.
Being a systems practitioner falls in exact alignment with the quote from Dryden above. In that repetitious state of being and then doing the practicing we then ‘have’ our intentions.
If you’re not getting what you want out of life then you can learn how to change that in the next few minutes right here!
You Can Learn How To Change Anything In Your Life
If you and I want to change our behavior, there is only one effective way to do it.
The secret is that we must link unbearable and immediate feelings of pain to our old behavior, and very strong and direct feelings of pleasure to a new behavior.
Another way to think about it is understanding and admitting we have learned certain patterns of thinking and behaving that move ourselves away of pain and into the state of pleasure.
We all experience emotions like boredom or frustration or anger or feeling overwhelmed, and because these feelings are unpleasant, we develop strategies for ending these feelings.
There are many methods. Some people use shopping, some use food, some use sex, drugs, alcohol, or even yelling at their kids.
They know, consciously or unconsciously, that this action will relieve their pain and take them to some level of pleasure at the moment.
If you and I are expecting to change destructive behavior we have to go through six simple steps.
The outcome of which is to find a more direct way to get out of pain, and that works to produce a tangible and material result in your life as we transfer into pleasure.
Ways That Will Be More Effective and Elegant.
These six steps to relax and rejuvenate your mind to change anything in your life will show you how to create a direct highway out of pain and into pleasure with no disempowering detours. You’ll be performing the art of the systems practitioner. They are:
How To Relax and Rejuvenate Your Mind To Change Anything In Your Life
STEP 1: Decide What You Really Want and What’s Stopping You From Getting It Now.
It’s surprising how many people spend hours talking about what they don’t want, or what they no longer want to experience.
We’ve got to remember that whatever we focus on in life is what we get.
If we keep focusing on what we don’t want, we’ll have more of it.
The first step to creating any change is deciding what you want so you have something to move toward.
The more specific you can be about what you want, the more clarity you’ll have, and the more your self-talk will change toward that direction.
This results in a power within your subconscious that will command it to achieve what you want more of.
We also must learn what’s preventing us from having what we want.
The object that’s preventing us from making the change is we link more pain to making a change than to staying where we are.
We either have a belief like, “If I change, I will have pain,” or we fear the unknown that change might bring.
STEP 2: Get Leverage: Associate Lots Of Pain to Not Changing at the Moment and Lots of Pleasure to the Experience of Changing Now!
Most people know that they really want to change, yet they just can’t get themselves to do it!
Change is usually not lacking the ability to do it, it’s almost always a question of lacking motivation from within.
If someone forcefully said, “You’d better get out of that depressed state and start feeling happy now,” we could change our emotional state of the moment quick.
But the problem, as I’ve said, is that change is often a should and not a must. Or it’s a must, but it’s a must for “someday.”
The only way we will make a change now is if we create a sense of urgency that’s so intense that we’re compelled to follow through.
If we want to create change, then we realize it’s not a question of whether we can do it, but whether we will do it.
Whether we will come down to our level of motivation, which comes down to those two powers that form and mold our lives, pain and pleasure.
Every change you’ve accomplished in your life results from changing your interassociations about what means pain and what means pleasure.
Most of the time we have a challenge getting ourselves to change because we’ve got mixed emotions about changing.
We know we want to change. We don’t want to get cancer from smoking. We don’t want to lose our personal relationships because our temper is out of control.
We don’t want our kids to feel unloved because we’re harsh with them.
We don’t want to feel depressed for the rest of our lives because of something that happened in our past. We don’t want to feel like victims anymore.
We as humans fear change. We think in our self-talk, “What if I stop smoking cigarettes, but I die of cancer anyway and I’ve given up the pleasure that cigarettes used to give me?” Or “What if I let go of this negative feeling about the rape, and it happens to me again?”
We have mixed emotions where both pain and pleasure are linked to changing.
This sadly causes our brain to be uncertain of what to do and keeps us from utilizing our full resources to make the kinds of changes that should happen in a in a few seconds.
That is if we committed every ounce of our being to them.
How do we turn this around? One thing that turns everyone around is reaching a pain threshold.
This means experiencing pain at such an intense level that you know you must change now—a point at which your brain says, “I’ve had it, that’s enough; I can’t spend another day, not another moment, living or feeling this way.”
Have you ever experienced this in a personal relationship, for example? You hung in there; it was painful and you really weren’t happy, but you stayed the course. Why did you stay the course?
Because you justified it would get better and did nothing to make it better. If you were in so much pain, why didn’t you leave?
Even though you were unhappy, your fear of the unknown was a more powerful motivating force. “Yeah, I’m unhappy now,” you may have thought, “but what if I leave this person and then I find no one? At least I know how to deal with the pain I have now.”
This kind of thinking keeps people from making changes. Finally, though, one day the pain of being in that negative relationship became greater than your fear of the unknown, so you hit a wall and made the change.
Maybe you’ve done the same thing with your body, when you finally decided you couldn’t spend another day without doing something about your excess weight.
Maybe the experience that finally pushed you over the edge was your failure to squeeze into your favourite pair of jeans, or the sensations of your thighs rubbing against each other as you walked up a set of stairs!
Or just the sight of the folds of excess flesh hanging from the side of your body and the extra stress it must be causing on your heart to pump blood through all that tissue that had accumulated.
A lever is a device used to lift or move a heavy object that could not otherwise be budged by human hands alone.
Leverage is crucial in creating change, in freeing yourself from negative behavioural forces like smoking, drinking, overeating, cursing, or emotional patterns like feeling depressed, worried, fearful, or inadequate—the list keeps extending.
Change requires more than just establishing the knowledge that you should change. It’s knowing at the deepest emotional and most basic sensory level that you must change.
If you’ve tried many times to make a change and you’ve failed to do so, this means the level of pain for failing to change is not intense enough. You have not reached threshold, which if you had would allow you to apply this ultimate leverage.
It’s imperative we find the point of greatest leverage to help people change in a few minutes, which years of therapy had failed to accomplish.
Many therapists and life coaches charge as much as $3,000 for a session. One thing about an investment of that kind of money is most people think they will absolutely get the result they were committed to get in one session.
Many times these people had flown from all parts of the country and the world. The thought of them returning home without getting their problem handled motivated these clients to spend at least half an hour convincing the therapist or coach that they were definitely committed and would do anything to change immediately.
With this kind of leverage, creating change became the giant elephant in the room. It had to be dealt with.
To paraphrase the philosopher Nietzsche, he who has a strong enough why can overcome almost any how.
I’ve found 15 percent of any change is knowing how; but 85 percent is knowing why.
If we gather a set of strong enough reasons to change, we can change in a minute something we’ve failed to change for years.
“Give me a lever long enough. And a prop strong enough. I can single-handedly move the world.” — ARCHIMEDES
The greatest leverage you can create for yourself is the pain that comes from inside, not outside.
If you do this exercise, you will eliminate lots of outside pain that would come at you later on in your life.
Knowing that you have failed to live up to your own standards for your life is the ultimate pain.
If we cannot act within our own view of ourselves, if our behaviours are inconsistent with our standards—with the self-image we hold for ourselves—then the crater between our actions and who we are drives us to make a change.
The leverage created by pointing out an inconsistency between someone’s standards and their behaviour can be effective in causing them to change.
It’s not just pressure placed on them by the outside world, but pressure built up by themselves from within. One of the strongest forces in the human personality is the drive to safeguard the virtue of our own identity.
The reason so many of us seem to walk with contradictions is that we never recognize inconsistencies for what they are.
If we want to help somebody, like I want to help you, then you won’t be able to access this kind of leverage if I say you’re wrong by me pointing out that you’re inconsistent.
Yet by asking you aligned questions that cause the realization for your inconsistencies, it will move you.
This is a much more powerful lever than attacking you verbally because if external pressure is placed on you only through firm commands, then most likely you’ll push against it. Yet internal pressure is next to impossible to resist.
This kind of pressure is a valuable tool to use on yourself. Complacency breeds stagnation; unless you’re extremely dissatisfied with your current pattern of behavior, it won’t motivate you to make the changes necessary. Humans respond to pressure.
Why would someone not change when they know deep down they should?
The answer is they associate more pain to making the change than to not changing.
To change we must reverse this so that not changing is deeply painful (to the point beyond tolerance), and that changing is attractive and changing is pleasurable!
To get true leverage instead of putting yourself down, ask yourself pain-inducing questions: “What will this cost me if I don’t change?”
Most of us are too busy estimating the price of change. But what’s the price of not changing? “Truthfully what will I miss out on in my life if I don’t make the shift?
What is it already costing me mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually?”
Make the pain of not changing feel so real, so intense and immediate that you can’t put off taking that action any longer.
If that doesn’t create enough leverage, then focus on how it affects your loved ones, your children, and other people you care about.
Many of us will do more for others than we’ll do for ourselves. So picture in graphic detail how much your failure to change will negatively affect the people who are most important to you.
The second step is to use pleasure-associating questions to help you link those positive physiological sensations to the idea in your mind of changing. “If I change, how will that make me feel about myself?
What kind of momentum could I create if I change this in my life? What other things could I accomplish if I really made this change today? How will my family and friends feel? How much happier will I be now?”
The key is to get lots of reasons, or better yet, strong enough reasons, why the change should take place immediately, not someday.
If you don’t drive yourself by using questions like we just did to make the change now, then you don’t really have leverage.
Now that you’ve linked pain in your nervous system to not changing, and pleasure to making the change, you’re driven to create a change, you can proceed to the third master step.
STEP 3: Interrupt the Pattern That’s Stopping You.
In order for us to feel a certain way consistently, we must develop characteristic patterns of thinking, focusing on the same images and ideas, asking ourselves the same questions.
The challenge is that most people want a new result, but continue to act in the same way.
I once heard it said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.”
There’s nothing wrong with you as a person and you don’t need to be “fixed.” If you take this in that context you will harm your self-image.
That’s definitely not our intent here. You are a one-of-a-kind person. You are extremely valuable like you are now.
And I suggest you avoid anyone who uses these metaphors to describe you negatively.
The resources you need to change anything in your life are within you right now.
It’s just that you have a set of interassociations that habitually causes you to not fully use your capability.
What you must do is reorganize your neural pathways so they consistently guide you toward your desires rather than your frustrations and fears.
To get new results in our lives, we can’t just know what we want and get leverage on ourselves.
We can be really motivated to change, but if we keep doing the same things, running the same inappropriate patterns, our lives will not change. All we’ll experience is more and more pain and frustration.
Have you ever seen a fly that’s trapped in a room? It immediately searches for the light, so it heads for the window, smacking itself against the glass again and again, sometimes for hours.
Have you ever noticed people do this? They’re highly motivated to change and have intense leverage.
But all the motivation and willpower in the world won’t help if you try to get outside through a closed window.
You’ve got to change your approach. The fly stands a chance if it backs off and looks around for another exit. If you and I run the same old pattern, we will get the same old results.
Music recordings create the same sounds consistently because of their pattern, the continuous encoding in which it projects the sound. If we interrupted that the playback with corrupt data it will never play the same way again.
Likewise, just interrupting someone’s limiting pattern of behavior or emotion can completely change their life because sometimes it also creates leverage, and with these two steps alone, you can change virtually anything.
The additional steps to relax and rejuvenate your mind to change anything in your life are just a way to make sure the changes last and that you develop alternative choices that are enjoyable and that empower you.
I’ve seen a fun pattern interrupt exhibited in seminars and one man claimed he wanted to kick his chocolate habit, yet I realized he received a great deal of pleasure from his identity as a “chocolate addict.”
He was even wearing a T-shirt that proclaimed “I want the world, but I’ll settle for chocolate.” This provided firm evidence that this man, although he may have desired to stop eating chocolate, also had a great deal of “secondary gain” to maintain this habit.
Sometimes people want to create a change because a behavior or emotional pattern creates pain for them. But they may also derive enjoy the very thing they’re trying to change.
If a person becomes injured, for example, and then suddenly everyone waits on them hand and foot, giving them a great deal of attention, they may find that their injuries don’t heal quite as quickly.
While they want to be over the pain, unconsciously they want more of the pleasure of knowing that people care. You can do everything right, but if secondary gain is too strong, you will go back to the old ways.
Someone with secondary gain has mixed emotions about changing. They say they want to change, but often they subconsciously believe that maintaining the old behavior or emotional pattern gives them something they couldn’t get any other way.
Thus they’re not willing to give up feeling depressed, even though it’s painful. Why? Because being depressed gets them external attention and it addicts them to the feeling of depression.
They don’t want to feel depressed, but they desperately want attention. The need for attention wins out, and they stay depressed.
The need for attention is only one form of secondary gain. To resolve this, we have to give the person enough leverage that they must change, but also we must show them a fresh way to get their needs met.
While on some level, I’m sure this man knew he needed to stop his chocolate addiction, and it’s almost certain that he knew he could use this opportunity to get some serious attention.
Any time there is secondary gain involved, step up the leverage, so we decided that a massive pattern interrupt would create the leverage.
“Sir!” the seminar leader exclaimed. “You’re telling me you’re ready to give up chocolate. That’s great. There’s just one thing you need to do before we eliminate that old pattern forever.”
He asked, “What’s that?” the seminar leader said, “To get your body in the right condition. In that case, for the next nine days you must eat nothing but chocolate. Only chocolate can pass your lips.”
People in the audience started giggling, and the man looked uncertain. “Can I drink anything?” he asked. “Yes, you can drink water. Four glasses a day—but that’s all. Everything else must be chocolate.”
He shrugged his shoulders and grinned. “Okay, if that’s what you want. I can do this without changing. I hate to make a fool out of you!”
The seminar leader smiled and continued with the agenda. You should have seen what happened next!
As if by magic, dozens of chocolate bars and candies materialized out of people’s pockets, purses and briefcases and were passed over to him.
By the lunch break, they had inundated him with every morsel of chocolate in that auditorium: Baby Ruths, Butterfingers, Snickers, Milky Ways, M & M’s, Almond Joys, Fanny Farmer fudge.
Outside the venue, as he unwrapped and popped Hershey’s Kisses into his mouth, he was determined to show that he could beat the attempt to break his habit.
But he failed to realize that he was only competing with himself! The process and others who gave him the chocolate were only enlisting his body as an ally in getting leverage and breaking his pattern.
Do you know how thirsty sugar makes you? By the end of the day this guy’s throat was raw—and he had definitely lost his passion for chocolate as people continued to shovel candy bars into his pockets and press his palms with Hersheys Kisses.
By the second day he’d definitely lost his sense of humor, but he wasn’t yet ready to crumble with his addiction.
By the third morning, as he trailed into that auditorium, he looked like a man who had spent all night kneeling over the toilet bowl.
He admitted weakly breakfast wasn’t. He was offered more chocolate. Feebly he accepted another piece from someone sitting behind him, but he failed to open it or even look at it.
As the morning went on the greener he got. After being offer even more before lunch time he exclaimed, “YOU CANT MAKE ME!”
The audience laughed uproariously as the man realized what he’d said. He ended up throwing the candy away and sitting down.
Later in the day became the conditioning of new associations and helping him replace his old addiction with a ton of healthful behaviors like, power breathing, exercise, water-rich foods, proper food combining, and so on.
He was now creating leverage. If we can give someone pain in their body, that’s undeniable leverage. They’ll do anything to get out of pain and into pleasure.
Simultaneously, the old pattern is broken. Everybody else was trying to get him to stop eating chocolate. In the seminar the opposite happened. He was being remanded to eat it!
That was something he never expected, and it massively interrupted his pattern. He rapidly linked such painful sensations to eating chocolate that a new neural pathway was laid down overnight, and his old “Hershey Highway” was destroyed beyond recognition.
One of the best ways to interrupt someone’s pattern is to do things they don’t expect, things that are different from what they’ve experienced before.
Think of some ways you can interrupt your own patterns. Take a moment to think up some of the most enjoyable and disruptive ways you can interrupt a pattern of being frustrated, worried, or overwhelmed.
Next time you feel depressed, jump up, look at the sky, and yell the biggest thing you can be grateful for.
This little silly move will definitely shift your attention, change your state, and it will definitely change the states of everyone around you as they realize that you’re no longer depressed—just acting a little over excited!
If you overeat regularly and want to stop, take this technique that will definitely work, if you’re willing to commit to it.
The next time you find yourself in a restaurant overeating, jump up in the middle of the room, point at your own chair and scream at the top of your lungs, “PIG!” I guarantee that if you do this three or four times in a public place, you won’t overeat anymore!
You’ll link too much pain to this behavior! Just remember: the more outrageous your approach to breaking a pattern, the more effective it will be.
One of the key distinctions to interrupting a pattern is that you must do it at the moment the pattern is recurring.
Pattern interrupts happen to us every day. When you say, “I just lost my train of thought,” you’re showing that something or someone interrupted your pattern of concentration.
Have you ever been in a conversation with a friend, had someone interrupt you for a moment, then come back wondering, “Where were we?” That’s a classic example of a pattern interrupt.
Just remember, if we want to create change and we’ve learned in the past to get pleasure by taking a roundabout route that includes a series of negative consequences, we need to break that old pattern.
We need to scramble it beyond recognition, find a new pattern (that’s the next step), and condition it again and again until it becomes our consistent approach.
Break Patterns That Limit Your Feelings And Inhibit Action
Again, often it’s true that interrupting a pattern enough times can change almost anyone. A simple way of breaking a pattern is by scrambling the what we link to our memories.
The only reason we’re upset is we’re representing things in a certain way in our minds.
For example, if your boss yells at you, and you mentally rerun that experience the rest of the day, picturing him or her yelling at you, then you’ll feel worse as the day moves on.
Why let the experience continue to affect you? Why not just take this event in your mind and scratch over it so many times that you can’t experience those feelings anymore? Maybe you can even make it something to laugh about!
Try this right now by doing the following: Think of a situation that makes you feel sad, frustrated, or angry. Now do the first two steps of Learning How To Change Anything In Your Life, which we’ve already covered.
If you feel bad now about the situation, how do you want to feel? Why do you want to feel that way? What’s been preventing you from feeling that way is the sensations you’ve linked to this situation.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could feel good about it? Now get some leverage on yourself. If you don’t change how you feel about this situation, how will you continue to feel? Lousy, I’ll bet!
Do you want to pay that price and continually carry around these negative sensations or upsets you have toward this person or situation? If you were to change now, wouldn’t you feel better?
THE SCRAMBLER EXERCISE
You’ve got enough leverage; now scramble the disempowering feelings until they no longer come up. After reading this, take the following steps.
i) See the situation in your mind that was bothering you so much. Picture it as a movie. Don’t feel upset about it; just watch it one time, seeing everything that happened.
ii) Take that same experience and turn it into a cartoon. Sit up in your chair with a big, silly grin on your face, breathing fully, and run the image backward as fast as you can so you can see everything happening in reverse.
If somebody said something, watch them swallow their words! Let the movie run backward in quick motion, then run it forward again in even faster motion.
Now change the colors of the images so that everybody’s faces are rainbow-colored. If there’s someone in particular who upsets you, cause their ears to grow very large like Mickey Mouse’s, and their nose to grow like Pinocchio’s.
Do this at least a dozen times, back and forth, sideways, scratching the record of your imagery with tremendous speed and humor. Create some music in your mind as you do this.
Maybe it’s your favorite song, or maybe some cartoon music. Link these weird sounds to the old image that used to upset you. This will definitely change the sensations.
Key to this entire process is the speed at which you play back the imagery and the level of humor and exaggeration you can link to it.
iii) Now think about the situation that was bothering you and notice how you feel now. If done effectively, you’ll easily have broken the pattern so many times it is difficult or impossible to get back into those negative feelings.
This can be done with things that have been bothering you for years. It’s often a much more effective approach than trying to analyze the why’s and wherefore’s of a situation which doesn’t change the sensations you link to the situation.
As simplistic as it seems, scrambling a situation will work in most cases, even where trauma has happened to us. Why does it work?
Because we base all of our feelings on the images we focus on in our minds and the sounds and sensations we link to those specific images. As we change the images and sounds, we change how we feel.
Conditioning this again and again makes it difficult to get back into the old pattern.
One way of breaking the pattern is to Just stop doing something, go “cold turkey.” If you stop running a pattern again and again, the neural pathway will gradually dissipate.
Once a neural connection wires into our brain, it will always have a pathway, but unless we use the path, it becomes overgrown.
Like anything else, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Now that you’ve broken the pattern that has been holding you back, you now have the open space to…
STEP 4: Create a New and Very Empowering Alternative.
This fourth step is critical to establishing long-term change. In fact, the failure by most people to find an alternative way of getting out of pain and into the feelings of pleasure is the major reason most people’s attempts at change are only temporary.
Many people get to where they must change, where it’s a must, because they link so much pain to their old pattern and they link pleasure to changing.
The number one cause of failure in this process is they have nothing to replace the old pattern with!
Keep in mind that our neurological patterns are present in our brains to help our body get out of pain and into pleasure and that these patterns may keep us from changing for positive purposes.
If you’ve been following each one of these steps, you’ve gotten clear about what you want and what has been preventing you from getting it.
You’ve gotten leverage on yourself, you’ve interrupted the pattern, and now you need to fill the gap with a new set of choices that will give you the same pleasurable feelings without the negative side effects.
Once you quit smoking, you must come up with a fresh way, or a lot of new ways, to replace whatever benefits you used to get from the old behavior; the new behaviors or feelings must preserve the benefits of the old feelings or behaviors while eliminating the side effects.
How can you replace worry? How about dedicated action on a plan for meeting your goals?
We can replace depression with a focus on how to help others in need. If you’re not sure how to get yourself out of pain and to feel pleasure as a replacement to your smoking, drinking, worrying, or other undesirable emotion or behavior, you can find the answers by modeling people who have turned things around for themselves.
Find people who have made the lasting changes; I guarantee you’ll find that they had an alternative to replace the old behavior.
A good example of this is an ex pro football quarterback Fran Tarkenton. He had a habit, an addiction to chewing tobacco. When being interviewed he would suddenly turn his head and spit.
This did not match the public image of this powerful and elegant man, yet he’d been doing it for over twenty years.
Fran said chewing tobacco was one of his greatest pleasures in life. It was like his best friend. If he was on the road and felt alone, he could chew tobacco, and he wouldn’t feel alone anymore.
In fact, he told a group of his friends one time that if he had to choose between sex and chewing tobacco, he’d chew tobacco!
He’d wired a pathway out of pain and into pleasure via the highway of chewing tobacco. After years of continual use and reinforcement, he had created a neural trunk line from tobacco to pleasure; thus, this was his favorite route of change.
What got him to change his behavior? Finally, he got enough leverage on himself. One day, with a little help from “a friend,” he saw that chewing tobacco was massively incongruent with the quality of the man he’d become.
It represented a lack of control over his life, and since being in charge of his life is one of Fran’s highest values, that was a standard he could not break.
It was too painful to be in that position. He directed his mind’s focus to the possibility of mouth cancer. He pictured it vividly until soon he was driven away from using tobacco. The taste of it began to disgust him.
These images helped him to get leverage on himself and interrupt the pattern he’d previously linked to using tobacco for pleasure.
The next most important key was that Fran found fresh ways to get pleasure that were even more effective than tobacco.
He poured himself into his business and started producing results that made his company, KnowledgeWare, one of the most successful computer software companies on Wall Street.
Even more powerfully, now that he needed a new companion, he attracted a real one, and found the woman of his dreams and learned to get the kinds of emotions and feelings from his relationship with her he could never get from any other source.
Often, if we just break our old patterns enough, our brains will automatically search for a replacement pattern to give us the feelings we desire.
This is why people who finally break the pattern of smoking sometimes gain weight: their brains look for an alternative way to create the same kinds of pleasurable feelings, and now they eat mass quantities of food to get them.
The key is for us to choose the new behaviors or feelings with which we will replace the old ones.
STUDIES IN TRANSFORMATION
Researcher Nancy Mann conducted a statistical study to test the level of rehabilitation in reformed drug abusers, and the adoption of a replacement behavior appears to play a major role even in this complex field of change.
The first group in the study was forced to give up their addiction through some external pressure, often applied by the legal system.
As we talked about in the section on leverage, external pressure rarely has a lasting impact. Sure enough, these men and women returned to their old habits as soon as the pressure was lifted, i.e., as soon as they were released from jail.
A second group wanted to quit and tried to do so on their own. Their leverage was from internal. As a result, their behavioral changes lasted a great deal longer, often as much as two years after they began.
What eventually caused a relapse was suffering a significant amount of stress. When this occurred, they often reverted to their drug habit as a way of getting out of pain and into pleasure.
Why? Because they had not found a replacement for the old physiological pathway.
The third group replaced their addiction with a new alternative, something that gave them the feelings they had sought originally—or perhaps something that made them feel even better.
Many found fulfilling relationships, spiritual enlightenment, a career that they could be passionate about. As a result, many never returned to the old drug habits, and the majority lasted an average of over eight years before any backsliding occurred.
The people who kicked their drug habits followed the first four steps of the relax and rejuvenate your mind to change anything in your life process, and that’s why they were so successful.
Some of them lasted only eight years, however. Why? Because they didn’t use the fifth and critical step.
STEP 5: Condition the New Pattern Until It’s Consistent.
Conditioning is the way to make sure that a change you create is consistent and lasts long term. The simplest way to condition something is to rehearse it again and again until it creates a neurological pathway.
If you find an empowering alternative, imagine doing it until you see it can get you out of pain and into pleasure quickly. Your brain will associate this as an alternative way of producing this result consistently.
If you don’t do this, you’ll go back to the old pattern. If you rehearse the new, empowering alternative again and again with tremendous emotional intensity, you’ll carve out a pathway.
With even more repetition and emotion, it will become a highway to this alternative way of achieving results. It will become a part of your habitual behavior.
Remember, your brain can’t tell the difference between something you vividly imagine and something you experience in actual life.
Conditioning ensures that you automatically travel along the alternative route, that if you spot one of the “off ramps” you used to take all the time, now you just speed past them—in fact, they’ll become difficult to take.
The power of conditioning can’t is super important to remember. Boston Celtics one time great Larry Bird was doing a soft-drink commercial once, and he the script called for him to miss a jump shot.
He made nine baskets in a row before he could get himself to miss! That’s how strongly he’s conditioned himself over the years to put the basketball through the hoop.
When that ball hits his hands, he automatically goes through a pattern that subconsciously puts the ball through the hoop. I’m sure that if you examined the portion of Larry Bird’s brain that’s linked to that motion, you would discover a strong physiological neural pathway.
Realize that you and I can condition any behavior within ourselves if we do it with enough repetition and emotional intensity.
The next step is to set up a schedule to reinforce your new behavior. How can you reward yourself for succeeding? Don’t wait until you’ve gone a year without smoking.
When you’ve gone a day, give yourself a reward! Don’t wait until you’ve lost eighty pounds. Don’t even wait until you’ve lost a pound.
The minute you can push the plate away with food still on it, give yourself a pat on the back. Set up a series of short-term goals, or milestones, and as you reach each one, immediately reward yourself.
If you’re depressed or worried, each time you take action instead of worrying, or each time you smile when somebody asks how you’re doing and you say, “Great,” give yourself a reward for already beginning to make the changes necessary to ensure your long-term success.
In this way, your nervous system learns to link great pleasure to change. People who want to lose weight don’t always see immediate results—usually losing two pounds doesn’t miraculously transform you into a supermodel or Mr. Fitness.
So it’s important to reward yourself as soon as you take some specific actions or make any positive emotional progress, like choosing to run around the block instead of running to the nearest fast food restaurant.
If you don’t, you may say, “Okay, I’ve lost a pound so far, but I’m still fat. This will take forever. I have such a long way to go…” Then you might use these short-term assessments as excuses to binge.
Understanding the power of reinforcement will speed up conditioning a new pattern.
Recently I had the pleasure of reading an excellent book that’s highly recommend to those who really want to make a thorough study of conditioning. It’s only available in a print edition and entitled Don’t Shoot the Dog! By Karen Pryor.
This book gives some simple principles about modifying animal behavior that parallel distinctions gained in years of shaping human behavior.
What’s fascinating is how similar animals and humans are in terms of the forces that drive our actions. Knowing the fundamentals of conditioning enables us to take control of those forces and create a goal and path to achieve it without distractions.
We can live like animals, manipulated by circumstances and those around us—or we can learn from these laws, using them to maximize our fullest potential.
Pryor discusses in her book how she learned to use pain to train animals for years: whips and a chair for lions, the bridle for horses, the leash for dogs.
But she ran into difficulty when she worked with dolphins, because when she tried to give them pain, they just swam away!
This caused her to develop a more thorough understanding of the dynamics of positive reinforcement training.
“There is nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach. It can turn bad morals to good; it can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones; it can lift men to angel ship.” MARK TWAIN
The first organizing principle of any success training is the reinforcement. You and I must know that to get ourselves to get more productive consistently at any behavior or emotion, we must create a conditioned pattern.
All patterns result from reinforcement; specifically, the key to creating consistency in our emotions and behaviors is conditioning.
THE LAW OF REINFORCEMENT
Any pattern of emotion or behavior that we reinforce will become and provide an automatic response. Anything we cannot reinforce will eventually fade away.
We can reinforce our own behavior or someone else’s through positive reinforcement. That means every time we produce the behavior we want, we give a reward.
That reward can be praise, a gift, a new freedom, etc. Or we can use negative reinforcement. This might be a frown, a loud noise, or even physical punishment.
It’s crucial for us to understand that reinforcement is not the same as punishment and reward. Reinforcement is responding to a behavior immediately after it occurs, while punishment and reward may occur long afterward.
Timing is critical to effective conditioning. If a coach yells, “Great!” when the basketball team executes a perfect pick-and-roll, it has a lot more impact than if he waited until they debriefed later in the locker room.
Why? Because we always want to link the sensations of reinforcement in the pattern that is occurring.
One problem with our court system in the United States is that when people commit criminal acts, they don’t get punished until years later.
Intellectually they may know the reason for their punishment, but the pattern of behavior that generated this problem in the first place is still intact.
The accused has not interrupted the undesirable pattern. The negative pattern also does not have any pain linked to it.
This is the only way to change our behaviors and emotions long term. We must train our brains to do the things that are effective, not intellectually but through our physiological network in our bodies.
The challenge is that most of us don’t realize we’re all conditioning each other and shaping each other’s behaviors constantly. Often, we’re conditioning people negatively instead of in the positive.
In my consulting with companies across the United States, I’ve noted that most companies try to motivate their employees by using negative reinforcement as their primary strategy, trying to use fear of punishment as its prime motivator.
This will work in the short term, but not in the long term. Eventually, companies run into the same problems that eastern Europe has: people will live in fear only for so long before they revolt.
The second major strategy companies use is financial incentives. While this is an excellent idea and is appreciated, there is a limit to its effectiveness.
There is a point of diminishing return at which all the additional incentives don’t really induce a greater quality of work from people. In fact, most companies find that there’s a limit to what they can do in this area.
If one constantly reinforces with money, people expect that when they do something of great value, they must have an immediate economic return.
They work strictly for financial reward and won’t do anything unless they get it, surpassing and stripping the capacity of the business to keep up with the economic demands of its employees.
The third and most powerful way to motivate people is through personal development. By helping your employees to grow and expand personally, they feel passionate about life, people, and their jobs.
This makes them want to contribute more. They do it out of a sense of personal pride rather than pressure from the outside.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an incentive program; just make sure you have the most powerful incentive of all, which is to help people expand and grow.
“Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature: these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work, and guided.” JOHN LOCKE
SCHEDULE YOUR REINFORCEMENT SO CHANGE LASTS!
When you’re beginning to establish a new behavior or a new physiological pattern, it’s very important that you reinforce yourself or anyone else you’re trying to establish these new patterns for.
In the beginning, every time you perform the desired behavior (for example, pushing a plate away), you need to give yourself acknowledgement and a pleasurable reinforcement of a type that you truly will appreciate and enjoy.
However, if you reinforce the behavior every time thereafter, eventually your rewards will no longer be appreciated. What at one time was a unique and enjoyable surprise will become an expected norm.
Because of my commitment to help those in need, whenever I go through airports, I invariably give to those who request money.
I’ll never forget one particular gentleman who had staked his claim in a particular spot in front of a terminal.
Every time I came by, I gave him some money. On one morning, I was very rushed and had no money in my pocket. As I rushed by, I smiled and said, “Hello! I’m sorry, but I don’t have any money today.”
He became angry because I was no longer giving him something that he once was thrilled to receive from me.
You and I need to remember that the element of pleasant surprise is one of the most enjoyable experiences that a human being can have. It’s so much more important than most of us realize.
This is the very reason. If you want a behavior to last long term, it’s invaluable that you understand and use what’s known as a variable schedule of reinforcement.
Let me give you a simple example from dolphin training. In the beginning, to train a dolphin to jump, trainers wait for the dolphin to jump on its own. They catch the animals doing something right and then reward it with a fish.
By doing this, each time the dolphin jumps on its own, the dolphin eventually wires in the physiological pattern that if he jumps, he’ll get a fish. Emotional patterns that wire together fire together.
This pairing of pleasure to a behavior that the trainer desires allows the trainer to condition the dolphin to jump again and again.
Eventually, though, the trainer will give the fish only when the dolphin jumps higher. By slowly raising the standards, the trainer can shape the dolphin’s behavior.
Here’s the key: if the dolphin is always rewarded, he may become habituated and will no longer give 100 percent.
So, the dolphin is rewarded sometimes after the first jump, or perhaps after the fifth, or after the second. A dolphin is never sure which jump they will reward it.
This sense of anticipation, of they may couple a reward with the uncertainty which tries will be rewarded, causes the dolphin to consistently give its full effort. The reward is not taken for granted by the dolphin.
This is the identical force that drives people to gamble. Once they’ve gambled and been rewarded— and linked intense pleasure to the reward—that excitement and anticipation pushes them to go forward.
When they haven’t been rewarded in a while, often they have an even stronger sense that this time they’ll be rewarded. What drives the gambler is the possibility of winning again.
If a person were to gamble without ever receiving a reward, they would give up. However, receiving just a few small rewards, winning just a few hands, “earning” back just some of their money, keeps them in a state of anticipation and produces the dopamine in their brain that they could hit the jackpot.
So people who discontinue a bad habit (like smoking or gambling) for a period of months, and then have “just one more hit,” are reinforcing the very pattern that they’re trying to break and making it much more difficult to be free of the habit for a lifetime.
If you smoke one more cigarette, you’re stimulating your nervous system to expect that you’ll reward yourself this way again.
You’re keeping that wired in neuro-association highly active and, in fact, strengthening the very habit you’re trying to break!
If you want to reinforce a person’s behavior long term, use what’s known as a fixed schedule of reinforcement.
In her book, Karen Pryor describes training a dolphin to make ten jumps. To make sure that the dolphin consistently jumps ten times, you’ll want to reward them on the tenth jump every time.
You can’t demand too many behaviors before reinforcement occurs, but if the dolphin is rewarded only on the tenth jump, the dolphin soon learns that it need not make as great an effort on the previous nine jumps, and quality declines.
This is the same reaction we might see in people who receive a paycheck every two weeks. Employees know there are certain things expected of them, for which they receive regular compensation.
The challenge is that many people learn to do only the minimum necessary to receive the reward because there is no surprise. In the workplace, we expect pay. But if it is the only reward, then workers will do only what they expect and the minimum they can do for the pay.
However, if there are occasional surprises—like recognition, bonuses, promotions, and other perks—then they will put forth the extra effort, in hopes and anticipation that they’ll be rewarded and recognized.
Remember, these surprises must not be predictable, or they become ineffective and taken for granted—this expectation will drive the behavior.
Vary your rewards, and you’ll see greater results in making change within yourself or anyone you’re managing. There is a third tool for reinforcement that can also be used: it’s known as the jackpot.
A jackpot can help compound the reinforcement. If, for example, once in a rare while you give a dolphin not only one fish, but three or four, for its behavior, it makes the dolphin expect even more that if it just puts out that extra effort, there might be a huge reward.
This compels the dolphin to consistently give more of itself.
Human beings respond similarly. Often in companies, when people are given a reward that’s much greater than expected, it can create great motivation to continue to give great service with the anticipation that they may receive an even greater reward.
This same principle can work like very well with your children!
CREATE A “JUMP-START,”
We can also use the jackpot principle with someone who’s not motivated to produce any results.
Again, if dolphin trainers have an animal which they seem to be unable to motivate at all, they will sometimes give it a dozen fish, even though it has done nothing to earn it.
The pleasure that this creates is sometimes enough to break the dolphin’s old pattern and put it into a state of such pleasure that it then becomes willing to be trained.
Again, human beings are similar. If someone who has not met expectations at a job or task is suddenly given a reward, just out of compassion and caring, this can stimulate them to take on extra levels and types of behavior and performance.
The most important thing to remember about conditioning, however, is to reinforce the desired behavior immediately. The minute you respond playfully to what used to frustrate you, reinforce yourself.
Do it again and create even more pleasure. Laugh a bit. Remember, each time you create a strong emotional feeling, either positive or negative, you’re creating a connection in your physiological nervous system. Emotional patterns that fire together, wire together.
If you repeat that pattern again and again, visualizing the same imagery that makes you feel strong or makes you laugh, you’ll find it easier to be strong or to laugh in the future. The pattern will be installed in our physiology.
The minute you, or anyone you want to reinforce, does something right, create an immediate reward. Reinforce it consistently with the reward that you, or that individual, want or desire most.
Give yourself the emotional reward of turning on your favorite music or smiling or seeing yourself accomplishing your goals. Conditioning is critical.
This is how we produce consistent results. Once again, remember that any pattern of emotional behavior that is reinforced or rewarded consistently will become conditioned and automatic.
Any pattern we cannot or decide not to reinforce will eventually dissipate. Now that you’ve accomplished the first five steps, let’s go to the final step…
STEP 6) Test It!
Let’s review what you’ve accomplished: you’ve decided upon the new pattern of emotion or behavior that you desire; you’ve gotten leverage on yourself to change it; you’ve interrupted the old pattern; you’ve found a new alternative; and you’ve conditioned it until it’s consistent.
The only step left is to test it, to make sure it will work in the future. One way of doing this that’s taught more in depth and is in our longer and more involved programs is “future pacing.”
This means you imagine the situation that used to frustrate you, for example, and notice if in fact it still makes you feel frustrated or if your new pattern of feeling “fascinated” has replaced it.
If normally you still have this urge to smoke every time you feel overwhelmed, imagine yourself in an overwhelming situation and notice if instead you have an urge to read or run or whatever new alternative you’ve conditioned.
By imagining the same stimuli that used to trigger your old emotion or behavior and noting that you feel certain that your new empowering alternative is automatic, you know that this new pattern will work for you permanently.
In addition, you must test the ecology of the change you’ve just made. The word “ecology” implies the study of consequences. What will the impact of these changes you’ve made in yourself have on those around you?
Will they support your business and personal relationships? Make certain that this new pattern will be appropriate, based on your current lifestyle, beliefs, and values.
If your attempt at creating this pattern didn’t last, you need to recycle back to Step 1. Are you clear about what you want and why you want it?
Review Step 2; most people who’ve tried unsuccessfully to make a change rarely have enough leverage. You may need to make a public commitment to get more leverage on yourself. Make it to those people who will not let you off the hook!
If you feel that there’s enough leverage, check Step 3: if you know what you want and you’ve got enough leverage, it’s very possible that you’re like the fly beating itself repeatedly against the windowpane.
You’ve done the same things repeatedly, with more and more intensity, but you haven’t changed your approach. You must interrupt your pattern.
If you feel that all these steps are in place, go to Step 4. If your efforts still have not produced a change, you’re showing that you’ve left out this step.
Find a new, empowering alternative for getting yourself out of pain and into pleasure, which is as powerful and convenient as your old approach was.
All this means is that you now explore being a little more creative. Find a role model-somebody else who’s been able to eliminate this habit or negative set of emotions you want to change.
If you’ve made a change, but then not followed through, you haven’t reinforced your pattern with enough pleasure.
Use Step 5, conditioning. Use both variable and fixed schedules of reinforcement to make sure that your new, empowering pattern lasts.
We can use the six steps of how to relax and rejuvenate your mind to change anything in your life for anything: challenges with relationships, problems in business, being stuck in a pattern of yelling at your children.
Let’s say you worry too much about things over which you have no control.
How can you use the six steps to change this disempowering pattern?
1) Ask yourself, “What do I want to do instead of worry?”
2) Get leverage on yourself and realize what worry does to destroy your life. Bring it to a threshold; see what it would cost you ultimately in your life so you’re not willing to pay that price anymore. Imagine the joy of getting this monkey off your back and being free once and for all!
3) Interrupt the pattern! Every time you worry, break the pattern by being outrageous. Stick your finger up your nose, or belt out “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!” at the top of your lungs.
4) Create an empowering alternative. What will you do instead of worry? Pull out your journal and write a plan of what you can do immediately instead. Maybe you can go for a run, and while you’re running, you can think of alternative solutions.
5) Condition the new pattern into your physiological system; vividly imagine and rehearse this new pattern with tremendous emotional intensity and repetition until this new thought, behavior or emotional pattern is automatic.
This will mean it’s embedded into your nervous system. Reinforce yourself by taking the first step: see yourself succeeding again and again.
Seeing the results in advance can give you the pleasure you desire. Again, use repetition and emotional intensity to condition the new pattern until it’s consistent.
6) Test it and see if it works. Think about the situation that used to worry you and realize the worry is no longer there in this situation.
You can even use these same six master steps to relax and rejuvenate your mind to negotiate a contract.
1) The first step is to lay the groundwork. Get clear about what you want and what has prevented you from getting it. What does the other person want? What’s in it for both of you? How will you know you have a successful contract?
2) Get leverage by getting that person to link pain to not making the deal, and pleasure to making it.
3) Interrupt the pattern of any belief or idea that’s keeping the deal from moving ahead.
4) Create an alternative that neither of you thought of before that will meet both your needs.
5) Reinforce that alternative by constantly reinforcing the pleasure and the positive impact of this alternative.
6) See if it will work out for everybody, a win-win situation. If so, negotiate to a successful conclusion.
The same principles can get the kids to clean their rooms, improve the quality of your marriage, boost your company’s level of quality, get more enjoyment out of your job, and make your country a better place to live.
Sometimes our kids use these same six steps on us in abbreviated form. Remember what I said: if you get enough leverage and interrupt somebody’s pattern strongly enough, they’ll find a new pattern and condition it.
A friend of mine tried almost everything he knew to stop smoking. Finally, he broke his pattern.
How? His six-year-old daughter walked in one day while he was lighting up. She knew what she wanted, she had massive leverage, and she interrupted his pattern by crying, “Daddy, please stop killing yourself!”
That’s it for now and make it a great day wherever you are!
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