Can change happen in an instant? “Things do not change; we change.” What are the two changes everyone wants in life? Isn’t it true that we all want to change either how we feel about things or our behaviors? If a person has been through a tragedy___ they were abused as a child, they were raped, lost a love one, are lacking in self-esteem___ this person clearly will remain in pain until the sensations they link to themselves, these events, or situations are changed. Likewise, if a person overeats, drinks, smokes, or takes drugs, they have a set of behaviors that must change. The only way this can happen is by linking pain to the old behavior and pleasure to a new behavior.
This sounds so simple, but what I have found is that in order for us to be able to create true change___ changes that last we need to develop a specific system for utilizing any techniques you and I learn to create change, and there are many. Every day I’m picking up new skills and new technologies from a variety of sciences. These sciences are creating an order and sequence of ways to use any set of skills to create long-term change.
- First, we must believe, “Something must change” ___ not that it should change, not that it could earn out to but, that it absolutely must. So often I hear people say, “This weight should come off,” “Procrastinating is a lousy habit,” “My relationship should be better.” But you know, we can “should” all over ourselves, and our life still won’t change! it’s only when something becomes a must that we begin the process of truly doing what’s necessary to shift the quality of our lives.
- Second, we must not only believe that things must change, but we must believe, “I must change it.” We must see ourselves as the sources of the change. Otherwise, we’ll always be looking for someone else to make the changes for us, and we’ll always have someone else to blame when it doesn’t work out. We must be source of our change if our change is going to last.
- Third, we have to believe, “I can change it.” Without believing that it’s possible for us to change, as we have already discussed that we stand no chance of carrying through on our desires. Without these three core beliefs I can assure you that any change you make stands a good chance of being only temporary. People don’t misunderstand me___ it’s always smart to get a great coach (an expert, a therapist, a counselor, someone who’s already produced these results for many other people) to support you in taking the proper steps to conquer your phobia or quit smoking or lose weight. But in the end, you have to be the source of your change.
To change ourselves we must understand what’s the power of our brain what a magnificent gift we were born with! I have learned that our brains can help us accomplish anything we desire. The brain’s capacity is nearly unfathomable. Most of us know little about how it works, so let’s briefly focus upon this unparalleled vessel of power and how we can condition it to continuously produce the results we want in our lives.
Realize that your brain eagerly awaits your every command, ready to carry out anything you ask of it. All it requires is a small amount of fuel: the oxygen in your blood and a little glucose. In terms of its intricacy and power, the brain defies even our greatest modern computer technology. It is capable of processing up to 30 billion bits of information per second and it boasts the equivalent of 6000 miles of wiring and cabling. Typically, the human nervous system contains about 28 billion neurons. Without neurons, our nervous system would be unable to interpret the information we receive through our sense organs, unable to convey it to the brain and are unable to carry out instructions from the brain as to what to do. Each of these neurons is a tiny, self-contained computer capable of processing about one million bits of information.
These neurons act independently but they also communicate with other neurons through an amazing network of 100,000 miles of nerve fibers the power of your brain to process information is staggering, especially when you consider that a computer___ even the fastest computer___ can make connections only one at a time. By contrast a reaction in one neuron can spread to hundreds of thousands of others in a span of less than 20 milliseconds. To give your perspective, that’s about 10 times less than it takes for your eye to blink.
A neuron takes a million times longer to send a signal than a typical computer switch, yet the brain can recognize familiar face in less than a second___ a feat beyond the ability of the most powerful computers. The brain achieves this speed because, unlike the step-by-step computers it’s billions of neurons can all attack a problem simultaneously.
So with all this immense power at our disposal why can’t we get ourselves to feel happy consistently? Why can’t we change a behavior like smoking or drinking, overeating, or procrastinating? Why can’t we immediately shake off depression, break through our frustration, and feel joyous every day of our lives? We can! Each of us has at our disposal the most incredible computer on the planet, but unfortunately no one gave us an owner’s manual. Most of us have no idea how our brains really work, so we attempt to think our way into a change when, in reality, our behavior is rooted in our nervous systems in the form of physical connections___ neural connections or what I call neuro-associations.
Great breakthroughs in our ability to understand the human mind are available. “To the dull mind all nature is leaden. To the illumined mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light.” When we do something for the first time, we create a physical connection, a thin neural strand that allows us to re-access that emotion or behavior again in the future. Think of it this way: each time we repeat the behavior, the connection strengthens. We add another strand to our neural connection. With enough reputations and emotional intensity, we can add many citron simultaneously, increasing the tensile strength of this emotional or behavior and pattern until eventually we have a “trunk line” to this behavior or feeling. This is when we find ourselves compelled to feel these feelings or behave in this way consistently. In other words, this connection becomes what I called “super-highway” that will take us down an automatic and consistent route of behavior.
It is not enough to have a good mind the main thing is to use it well anytime we experience significant amounts of pain or pleasure, your brain immediately searches for the cause it uses the following three criteria.
- Your brain looks for something that appears to be unique to narrow down the like sometimes our brain tries to distinguish something that is unusual to the circumstances.
It seems logical that if you are having unusual feelings, there must be an unusual cause.
- second your brain looks for something that seems to be happening simultaneously this is known in psychology circles as the law of recency. Doesn’t it make sense that what occurs in the moment (or close proximity to it) of intense pleasure or pain or pain is probably the cause of that sensation.
- Your brain looks for consistency. If you are feeling pain or pleasure, your brain begins to immediately notice what around you are unique and is happening simultaneously. If the element that meets these two criteria also seems to occur consistently whenever you feel this pain or pleasure, then you can be sure that your brain will determine that it is the cause. The challenge in this, of course, is that when we feel enough pain or pleasure, we tend to generalize about consistency. I’m sure you have had someone say to you, “You always do that,” after you have done something for the first time. Perhaps you haven’t even said it yourself.
Because the three criteria for forming neuro associations are so imprecise, it is very easy to fall in prey to misinterpretations and create what I call false neuro-associations. That’s why we must evaluate linkages before they become a part of our unconscious decision-making process. So often we blame the wrong cause, and thereby close ourselves off from possible solutions.
How to change anything in your life? The beginning of a habit is like an invisible thread, but every time we repeat the act, we strengthen the strand, add to it another filament, until it becomes a great cable and binds us irrevocably, thought and act. If you and I want to change our behavior, there is only one effective way to do it: we must link unbearable add immediate sensations of pain to our old behavior, and incredible and immediate sensations of pleasure to a new one. Think about it this way: all of us, through the experience of life, have learned certain patterns of thinking and behaving to get ourselves out of pain and into pleasure. We all experience emotions like boredom or frustration or anger or feeling overwhelmed and develop strategies for ending these feelings. Some people just shopping; some use food; some use sex; some use drugs; some use alcohol; some use yelling at their kids. They know, consciously or unconsciously, this is neural pathway will relieve their pain and take them to some level of pleasure into the moment.