You’ve Got to Have Your Why!
Imagine there is a two foot wide by twenty foot long board on the ground and I place a $100 at the end and ask you to walk across to the other side. Would you do it? Most people would answer yes.
What are you paying attention to? You are focusing on the desired result. You are focusing on successfully reaching your goal and getting the money. This is a positive “moving towards” strategy.
Now imagine that I take that same plank of wood and place it twenty stories high between two buildings. I tell you that this is a no wind day, gravity is not a factor and you have just as much of a chance to be successful walking across that board twenty stories high as you had on the ground. Would you do it? Most people answer NO.
What’s different this time? It’s all about how it occurs to you. Its how you observe this and the “story” you tell yourself about it. Your focus is different. At twenty stories high now your focus is on failure. You have a “moving away” strategy. Your thoughts are consumed with “I might fall off the board and die”.
Manifestation will occur either way. Your thoughts are electrical to chemical processes and the chemicals produced, neural transmitters have a charge and like attracts like so you manifest into reality that which you are dwelling on. You make it happen either positive or negative.
If you could change your observation, how this occurs to you, then you could change your outcome. It has to do with your WHY. What would need to be on the other end of that board for you to shift your focus from failure to success? It certainly is not the $100. What if it was one million dollars? For some that amount would create the shift but for most the answer still would be NO.
What if it was your family on the other side and the only way you could save them would be to cross that board? Would you do it then? For most that is the perceptual tipping point. No longer are you concerned with your own safety. There is a bigger purpose or WHY. Once you find your WHY you will also experience a shift in what you pay attention to.
Lets’ apply this to a common theme that many people can identify with, weight control. Doctors can talk about the obesity epidemic, the negative health effects of being over weight such as cardio vascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a host of other life threatening circumstances all attributed to being overweight. Doctors can tell you that you’re going to die if you don’t lose weight and this still will not cause the perceptual shift for most people.
This has to do with immediate versus delayed gratification. You can overeat today, skip exercise today and tomorrow you will still be alive. Since the negative impact is an accumulative effect over a long period of time it’s just too easy to “start” later. It’s the starting that stops most people.”
You need to develop your WHY that is linked to right now, the present. I’ll use myself as an example. This may sound strange but it will illustrate my point.
For a long time I wanted to lose weight. It was a good idea but the problem was that I wasn’t heavy enough to make it much of a big deal. I just wanted to lose about 40 pounds to look and feel better. I was always exercising and my food choices were outstanding, low fat, high fiber but I just ate too much. Grilled chicken and non fat cottage cheese are good choices but four chicken breasts and an entire container of cottage cheese at about a thousand calories is just too much.
I’ve got to have my WHY that is related to the present. I found it with skydiving. I’m a pilot and skydiver. I fly out to the drop zone twice a month to make a few jumps. I jump with a group of people ranging from four to twenty. This is called formation skydiving. The most exciting position to have is to be the last one out of the plane and “dive” to the base formation that has formed in advance. You really are flying like an eagle and it’s a blast.
However, when I was heavy I would fall too fast and “go low” on the formation. This means that I was not able to slow my fall rate and I would just go right on by the rest of the group. This is a bad thing.
This became my WHY that was linked to the present. Right now I see the impact of being heavy creating a result that I didn’t like. When I lost my weight it all changed. At two hundred pounds I can dive on any skydive and be able to adjust my fall rate to match that of the slower falling group. At two hundred and ten I am guaranteed to go low.
This has been the incentive that I needed to keep the weight off. No matter what your goal is there needs to be a focus of the benefit for right now. Behavior is all about cost versus benefit, time delay versus immediate gratification.
If you can’t find your why you can use behavioral contracting to get yourself to comply with the behavior for the short term, this week. Make a specific commitment for the next seven days and designate a severe consequence for non performance. If it is more painful then the pain of the activity then this will work to shift your attention and get you to take the action over the next seven days. This will at least buy you some time to figure out your WHY!
I’m always only an email away from accountability, firstname.lastname@example.org plus a hundred bucks if you don’t do what you said you would do!