Whatever the strategy, if you and I are going to change it, we have to go through six simple steps, the outcome of which is to find a more direct and empowerment way to get out of pain and into pleasure, ways that will be more effective and elegant.
These six steps will show you how to create direct highway out of pain and into pleasure with no disempowering detours. They are:
- “Decide what you really want and what’s it preventing you from having it now.” You’d be surprised how many people came to me for private therapeutic work, and when I asked them what they wanted, they’d spent 20 minutes telling me what they didn’t want, or what they no longer wanted to experience. We have got to remember that we get whatever we focus on in life. 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 do what so that you have something to move toward. The more specific you can be about what you want, the more clarity you will have, and the more power you will come on to achieve what you want more rapidly.
We also must then what’s preventing us from having what we want. Invariably, what’s the preventing us from making the change is that will link more pain to making a change than 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.
- Get leverage: Associate Massive to Not Changing Now and Massive Pleasure to the Experience of Changing Now! Most people know what they really want to change, yet they just can’t get themselves to do it! But change is usually not a question of capability; It’s almost always a question of motivation. If someone put a gun to our heads and said, “You’d better get out of depressed state and start feeling happy now,” I bet any one of us could find a way to change our emotional state for the moment under these circumstances. But the problem, as I have said, is often a should and not a must. Or it’s a must, but it’s must for a “someday”. The only way we are going to make a change now is if we could hear this sense of urgency that’s so intense that we are compelled to follow through. If we want to create change, then, we have to realize that it’s not a question of whether we can do it, but rather we will do it. Whether we will or not comes down to our level of motivation, which in turn comes down to those twin powers and their shape our lives, pain, and pleasure.
Every change you have accomplished in your life is the result of changing neuro-associations about what means pain and what means pleasure. So often, though, we have a hard time getting ourselves to change because we have mixed my emotions about changing. On the one hand, 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 with them. We don’t want our kids to feel unloved because we are 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.
On the other hand, we fear change. We wonder, “What if I stop smoking cigarettes, but I die of cancer anyway and I’ve given up the pleasure that secrets 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 we link both pain and pleasure to changing, which causes our brain to be uncertain as to what to do and keeps us from utilizing our full resources to make the kinds of changes that can happen literally in a moment if every ounce of our being were committed to them.
How do we turn this around? One of the things that turns virtually, anyone, around his 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; 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 in it anyway. Why? You realized it that would get better, without doing anything to make it better. If you were in so much pain, why didn’t you live? Even though you were unhappy, your fear of the unknown was a more powerful motivating force. “Yeah, I am unhappy now,” you may have thought, “but what if I leave this person and then I never find anyone? At least I know how to deal with the pain I have now.” This kind of thinking is what keeps people from making changes. Finally, though, one day the pain of being in that negative relationship become greater than your fear of the unknown, so heated threshold and made the change. Maybe you have 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 past your failure to be able to squeeze into your favorite pair of jeans, or the sensations of your “thunder tights” rubbing against each other as you waddled up a set of stairs! Or just the sight of the bulbous folds of excess flesh hanging from the side of your body!
The greatest leverage you can create for yourself is the pain that comes from inside not outside knowing that you have failed to live up to your own standards for your life is the ultimate pain. If we fail to act in accordance with our own view of ourselves, if our behaviors are inconsistent with our standards___ with the identity we hold for ourselves___ then the chasm 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 behavior can be incredibly effective in causing them to change. It’s not just pressure placed on them by outside word, but pleasure built up by themselves from within. One of the strongest forces in the human personality is the drive to preserve the integrity of us on identity.
The reason so many of us seem to be walking contradictions is simply that we never recognize inconsistences, but rather by asking them questions that cause them to realize for themselves from within. If you want to help somebody, you won’t access this kind of leverage by making them wrong all pointing out that they are inconsistent, but rather by asking them questions that cause them to realize for themselves their inconsistencies. This is a much more powerful lever than attacking someone. If you try to exert only external pressure, they’ll push you against it, but internal pressure is next to impossible to resist.
This kind of pressure is valuable tool to use on yourself. Complacency breeds stagnation: unless you are extremely dissatisfied visual current pattern of behavior, you won’t to be motivated to make the changes that are necessary. Let’s face it; the human animal responds to pressure.
So why would someone not change when they feel and know that they should? They associate more pain to making the change than to not changing is incredibly painful (painful beyond our threshold of tolerance), and the idea of changing is attractive and pleasurable!
To get true leverage, ask yourself pain-inducing questions: “What will this cost me if I do not change?” Most of us are too busy estimating this price of change. But what’s the price of not changing? “Ultimately what will I miss out on my life if I do not make the shift? What is already costing me mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually?” Make the pain of not changing feel so real to you, so intense, so immediate that you don’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 do for ourselves. So, picture in graphic detail how much your failure to change will negatively impact the people who are most important to you.
The second step is to use pleasure-associating questions to help you link those positive sensations to the idea of changing. “If I do change how will that make me feel about myself? what kind of momentum could I create if I change this my life? What other things could I accomplish it 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 loads of reasons, or better yet control enough reasons, why the change should take place immediately, not someday in the future. If you are not driving to make the change now, then you don’t really have leverage.
Now that you have linked pain in your nervous system to not changing and pleasure to make the change, you are driven to create a positive change.
- In order, for us to consistently feel a certain way, we develop characteristic patterns of thinking, focusing on the same images and ideas, asking ourselves the same question. 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.”
Please don’t misunderstand me. There’s nothing wrong with you; don’t need to be “fixed.” (and I suggest you avoid anyone who uses these metaphors to describe you!) The resources you need to change anything in your life are within you right now. It’s just that you have a set of neuro-associations that habitually cause you to not fully utilize your capability. What you must do is recognize your neural pathways so that you consistently guide you in the direction of your desires rather than your frustration and fears.