Process versus Outcome: Forward Motion Plus Resistance Equals Desired Results.

I am coaching a client in a leadership. His team is experiencing five consecutive weeks of declining growth. They are in the staffing industry.

There are two ways to observe and react to this. One is from a victim mindset. A couple of large companies have either closed down or are reducing their manpower and temporary hiring. The economy in this area is slow and uncertain. That's one perspective.

The alternative perspective is that there is always business and the focus needs to remain on Process not Outcome.

There are rich scientific principles in play here. The first is quantum physics[1] which states that there are multiple "realities" all super imposed on top of each other, the "many worlds theory", and they all exist in a wave of possibilities until you observe. You select your reality. It is your observation, what you decide to pay attention to, which then collapses the wave function resulting in your experience of reality. Noted biologist Benjamin Libet[2] states, "reality is in the mind of the observer". The underlying principle here is that it is up to you to take responsibility to how you perceive the marketplace and your own behavior rather than going victim and blaming circumstances to justify the ongoing decline.

The key for this leader is to understand what business he is in. He is not in the staffing business. He is in the business of growing and developing people and the tool that he uses are his companies' product and services. This is a "people development" issue.

So here are the lessons. First, it's about Process not Outcome. How is your org chart thinking? What are the individuals paying attention to? Are they focused on the reasons why business is in decline or on the opportunities that are still available regardless of the marketplace?

This leader needs to coach intentions. Most people think that this is the prevailing formula:

Intentions + Mechanisms = Results

I want to increase growth, (intentions), and when the market is right and presents opportunities (mechanisms) then the results will occur.

This is the victim approach. Let's correct this.

Intentions = Results

If you want to know what someone is committed to look at what they have. Someone who is in an abusive relationship is committed to being in an abusive relationship. Someone who is in poverty is committed to being in poverty and then complaining and blaming others and circumstances. Tough love I know!

Visualize an automatic thermostat in your home. It's a feedback mechanism. When the temperature changes a metal coil either expands (hot) or contracts (cold) and this turns the furnace on or off. In other words, this is a feedback mechanism that creates an action so that a consistent result can be maintained.

So it is with human behavior. This leader has a behavioral issue, not a marketplace issue. What is the focus on? How bad the market is, outcome, or how do I need to be to create results in this market, behavior, process.

The key is to focus on process. When I was a college football coach we never focused on beating the other team. Instead our focus was always on being the best versions of ourselves, giving best effort on every play. If our athletes did that then the outcome would take care of itself and there is a high correlation between best effort and positive outcome.

So it's about each individuals' intention, or the setting of the thermostat. When you have an intention and then the behavior, you are controlling the only two things you can control, your attitude and your actions.

A coaching commandment[3], or way of thinking is L.O.L.O., Lock On, Lock Out. It is vital to lock on to your desired intention, ongoing growth of yourself and your business, and lock out competing and distracting thoughts.

Another coaching commandment is O.M.M.S., Obstacles Make Me Stronger. The mindset for this leader to coach is that obstacles are the way. Obstacles make you stronger. To complete the coaching commandment mindset; O.M.M.S., forward motion plus resistance equals desired results.

This is how airplanes take flight. There has got to be momentum into the face of resistance for an aircraft to create low pressure above the wing creating lift. Without enough forward momentum there can be no lift!

Consider the Serenity Prayer, God[4], grand me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.[5]

The leaders coaching is about staying in action and locking into a mindset that there are people to serve regardless of the marketplace. The key to focus on is what adjustments do I need to make in my behavior to create the opportunities to serve more people? That may mean making more calls, setting more appointments and keeping my focus on creating opportunities versus focusing on reasons why it can't be done.

This is a rich lesson with wide application. However, it's one thing to agree and say that the focus needs to be on process not outcome and then another thing to understand what that really means and execute it.

The key here is to "act as if". Take on the mindset right now, be precisely planned and make specific commitments for activities this week. Next add accountability. Communicate to someone else what you commit to do this week and have a reporting system in place to verify.

If you keep the right mindset then you are tapping into the infinite energy and intelligence of the universe which cannot fail you. You will produce results that are in alignment with your thinking regardless of the marketplace. It's not about the market, it's about you. Showing up every day well prepared, passionate, and executing in reference to your plan.

Don't take my word for it or the proof offered by science. Apply this yourself and watch what results you are able to create. Remember my principle;

You have far more capacity to create the circumstances and results in your life then you are aware

of ! Now go create, not react.

Coach Bob[6]

If you would like to receive this article send an email to info@bobdavies.com For a 6 min speaker demo video see below.

[1] Quantum physics is a fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest scales of energy levels of atoms and subatomic particles.

[2] Benjamin Libet was a pioneering scientist in the field of human consciousness. Libet was a researcher in the physiology department of the University of California, San Francisco.

[3] Coaching commandments are ways of thinking that become a part of a pattern of one's personality. These become one's "truths". These become neurological pathways that generate behavior.

[4] For a non-religious application substitute Good Orderly Design for God.

[5] The Serenity Prayer is the common name for a prayer written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.

[6] Bob Davies, best-selling author of the 1.2% Factor. For more information www.bobdavies.com For a 6 min speaker demo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLtjWRHzxm8&feature=youtu.be

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What is your most probable predicable Future?

What is your most probable predicable future? How do you make sure it is not more of the same? There is a law in nature that states matter is either in a state of growth or decay and there is no middle ground. The same can be said for human beings. You and I are either getting better or we're getting worse, there is no staying the same.

It's interesting that the flow of time is always forward and each moment is just that, a moment that is already gone!

This graph represents your most probable certain future.

You start off in life with an upward trend over time. Things are going just fine. You are learning, growing, getting an education or a job and maturing. There are some struggles but you move through the ups and downs generally coming out as a better person. If you chart this at forty years old, (X), over the next ten years you can expect to wind up at (Y), representing more, better, different and again, improved.

It is not a breakthrough to wind up at Y. This is simply an improved version of the same. A breakthrough is to wind up at Z. Now that's an outrageously fulfilled life. What is the probability that in ten years your life will be outrageously improved?

Let's look at this from a different perspective. Let's examine the issue of probability. Years ago there was a popular T.V. game show called "Let's Make A Deal". The host of the show, Monty Hall, would show three doors with a wonderful prize such as a car behind one of the doors. After the contestant chose a door, Monty Hall would open a different door, revealing a joke prize that the contestant would be thrilled that they did not pick. A joke prize might be a live donkey for example.

You chose Door 1. Monty then says, "let's show you what's behind door number 3", and of course a beautiful woman is holding a rope on the donkey and Monty is quick to point out that the prize is the donkey, not the woman. That's what you didn't win.

Next Monty gives you a choice. Do you want to keep to your original choice or change your mind and select door number 2 in the hopes of winning the new car?

The audience cheers and shouts out their opinion as the contestant is in agony. What would you do? What is the probability that you have correctly chosen the door that has the car? Most people would look at this and think that you have a 50-50 chance of being correct if you stay with your original choice or if you change to door number 2. This is not correct.

This is a lesson in thinking and altering perspectives. Take this a step further to expand your thinking. Imagine that there were 6 doors and you selected door number 1. After the choice is made, Monty hall reveals the unwanted prizes behind 4 of the doors, leaving only yours and one other. Do you still believe that there is an equal chance that the door is behind one of the remaining two doors, or, has your intuition about the situation been changed?

A method of thinking being used here is to exaggerate the potential outcomes. Suppose we exaggerate the situation to 100 doors or even 1 billion and Monty opens all but two of them after you have made a choice. Should you switch doors or stay with your original choice?

At this point, you are probably thinking about switching. What is the chance that you correctly selected the door with the car with 1 billion doors? You have a 1 over one billion chance of being correct. From that perspective would you change your choice?

Let's look at this from another thinking perspective call taking the opposite. What is the chance that you would be correct if you changed your selection? If it is almost certain that you were wrong, 1/1,000,000,000 on your first selection, then the chance of being correct if you change is 999,999,999 in a billion! It's almost certain that you should change your selection.

Now let's return to the original situation of 3 doors and measure the probability of winning there. The chance that you were wrong with the first guess is 2/3. Therefore, if you switch after one prize is revealed you have a 2/3 chance of winning the car. If you stay with your original guess, you only have a 1/3 chance of winning the car.

This problem has stumped many people including mathematicians. It's an example of a few peak performance principles. First, the law of large numbers is being used through exaggerating the problem. Exaggeration enables you to see trends and make most probable predictions. It is then easier to return to your current situation with a new perspective.

This problem also shows you that you can't trust what you see and how you instinctively think. Your gut is going to tell you that there is a 50-50 chance of having selected the right door with your first guess. Probability theory disagrees.

It's not too much of a stretch to apply this to the bigger picture of your life. You want an exciting life filled with love and abundance. The question is should you stay the same, continue on with the same habits and routine as you currently have now, or should you make a dramatic change? It appears most certain that unless you make a dramatic shift in your thoughts, actions, routines, habits, then you will wind up with the most probable certain future of more, different, better, but simply another version of the same.

In order to have an outrageously exciting, abundant and successful life, the most certain move would be for you to change! Now the assignment is to examine your life and to decide what needs to be changed. Good luck!


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Trump Wins! Now What?

untitled-1I do not bring politics or religion into any of my presentations. However, this unique moment in history does bring an opportunity to visit and apply one of the behavioral skills that I teach on emotional regulation.

I thought that Hillary Clinton would win the election in a landslide. I just couldn't imagine that the USA population would accept or ignore the manner that Trump ran his campaign with his uncensored remarks. Plus, I know how the markets strive for certainty and I was afraid of what might happen if Trump was elected.

Like many people I was caught off guard and very surprised at the outcome. Two of my coaching clients were very distraught, angry and even depressed by this outcome. They were so affected that it was noticeable and had friends and family seriously concerned.

Fortunately I had an opportunity to have a call with each of them right after the election. Here is the gist of how the call went. My philosophy is that stress and suffering are both self-imposed. Most people don't want to have this type of a conversation because it means that you don't get to be a victim and blame someone or something outside of yourself.

You would be absolutely amazed at how easy it is for people to be attached to blaming. One of the key components of being a top leader is to live in 100% responsibility. That's one of my coaching commandments, "I am the source of all that I experience versus going victim and blaming others".

I explained that now that Trump is elected you need to live in the reality of what is and not be upset because things didn't turn out the way that you thought they should have. Now it's time to make a choice. What are you going to pay attention to? You can decide to focus on how terrible, horrible and awful your think this is and how the world now will come to an end.

That choice reminds me of this quote by Richard Bach;

"The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly."

Quantum theory explains that our world is filled with multiple possibilities, multiple potentials all super imposed as wave lengths of possibility until you make your selection. Once you choose than all other wave lengths collapse and the only thing that is left is your choice.

So I told my clients to go ahead and give themselves a time to be angry, depressed, disappointed and to feel the emotions that are present. Allow them to surface. Don't attempt to suppress them. Accept them. However, give yourself a time limit. So, for the next 3 hours for example, allow yourself to feel and embrace the injustice of it all. Then, after that time, stop. Period!

No more victim perspective. Now it's time to tune into opportunities and positive possibilities. What good can now happen with Trump in the white house? How can you be of service to assist in Donald Trump being a successful president? Get excited. Tap into the scientific principle of "Act as if". The human brain cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is vividly imagined.

There is a formula to this effect;

I x V = R

This means Imagination x Vividness = Reality

The same area of the brain is activated when you imagine shooting foul shots as when you physically practice shooting the shots.

There is no other choice. The science is clear. There are multiple manifestations from a physiological and mental standpoint in reaction to the nature of your thoughts. You must choose a positive attitude and outlook.

When I travel and I'm walking through the very crowded Atlanta airport to my next connecting flight I catch myself all the time saying, "I love everything about what I do!" As I'm driving my rental car to my next city for the next two hours to an isolated resort at 11:00 pm after a presentation 3,000 miles away that same day I say to myself, "I love everything about this!"

What is the alternative? That's what I call double duty! Not only is the unpleasant thing happening but you are also upset about it.

The purpose of this note is to be an advocate for positive mental attitude. However, I must emphasize that this advocacy is in alignment with what the science says about how the brain responds to the nature of your thoughts and what physiological changes happen because of your thoughts.

So get excited and be creative, not reactive! Same letters, different arrangement!

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The Amygdala Hijack-How your brain bypasses logic and creates anxiety.


I had a speaking engagement booked by a speaker's bureau. This means that the bureau has the relationship with the client and they have booked me to speak at their event. The bureau will earn a commission on my fee, usually 25%. They will handle all of the money and pay me after the presentation.

This one particular bureau is a woman who used to work for me. After leaving my office she started her own bureau. In the past she has had poor money management and used the speaker's money to pay her bills. Although she handles all of the money the only amount of it that is hers is her commission. Several years ago she stiffed me on a fee. She said she was having hard times and was closing her business.

After several years had passed she made contact with me to tell me she was in the business again and had a booking for me. Although I hesitated, I accepted that booking.

Then it happened again. She collected the deposit and the balance. I flew to Orlando, gave a wonderful program for the client and everyone was totally pleased. When I arrived back home I was told that the check would go out this week. It never did!

I had this handled from a perspective standpoint. I took responsibility. I knew that it was a possibility that this woman would have a problem with spending the speaker's money. I could have asked her to get her deposit up front and to have the client send the rest of the payment directly to me. In fact, I should have insisted on it.

My further thoughts were that not all people are honest and have integrity and it's not terrible, horrible and awful when they don't, it just is. So I thought that I had this handled in a very reasonable way. The cognitive behavioral therapists would have been proud of me.

A couple of nights later however I woke up in a state of high anxiety. I was in a flight or fight high anxiety driven state. My amygdala had just hijacked me.

I unfortunately have a very sad personal example. My brother in law was in a 12 year relationship with a woman. They lived together; he financed her business and made other financial commitments on her behalf.

After their break-up this woman comes to his house with her new boyfriend and starts taking furniture that she rationalizes belonged to her.

My brother in law is immediately emotional and amygdala hijacked. He drives over to the new boyfriend's condo in a rage. He confronts the new boyfriend. This person gets his gun and murders my brother in law. Then he goes into the house and kills himself, a murder-suicide.

Some other famous hijacks;

  1. Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky which got him impeached.
  2. Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield's ear in their 1993 boxing match. His hijack cost him 3 million and he lost his boxing license.
  3. Enron's executives numerous hijacks over their tenure ended with jail!

Let's take a look at the neurophysiology of the amygdala hijack and then I'll offer a solution.


An Amygdala Hijack is an immediate and overwhelming emotional response out of proportion to the activating event and independent of logic.  The amygdala is the part of our brain that handles emotions. It is a structure in the limbic area of the brain. During an Amygdala Hijack, the amygdala "hijacks" or shuts down the pre-frontal cortex or PFC.

The PFC includes working memory, judgment, planning, sequencing of activity, abstract reasoning and dividing attention. The prefrontal cortex is involved in impulse control, personality, reactivity to the surroundings and mood.

Ordinarily it is the function of the PFC, prefrontal cortex, to inhibit and direct behavior. This is the part of the brain that will have you do the harder thing.


This is also the seat of willpower. This is your conscious control where you are able to match your behavior with your intentions. When you wake up at 3:50 am and intend to go to the gym for your morning workout, it is the PFC that will stop you from thinking how tired you are and replace that thought with the positive and more compelling thought that every day that you start off with a workout is a better day.

You use the PFC when you plan for your week. This is the logical and reasoning part of the brain. This is how the human species has risen to the top of the food chain. We have the largest frontal lobes of any animal. The frontal lobes are associated with higher-level functions such as self-control, planning, logic and abstract thought.

clip_image009The amygdalae are a set of structures deep within the brain in the limbic area. There are two of these structures. They are a complex system of nerves and networks involving several areas near the edge of the cortex concerned with instinct and mood. It controls the basic emotions (fear, pleasure, anger) and drives (hunger, sex, dominance, care of offspring).

All of your senses connect directly to the amygdala. When there is a strong activation of the amygdala then the flight or fight instinct occurs and you are instinctively driven into action without any activation in the PFC.


This is a tremendous advantage for survival. The limbic area of the brain is very fast. It is this speed that is necessary for survival. Then non conscious brain is 400 times faster than the conscious brain. It favors survival to have the limbic area of the brain see the picture on the left and be able to react to it as if it is the picture on the right.

The PFC is not activated while caveman sprints as fast as he can. It's not until several seconds later that the PFC engages and the man realizes that he is running for his life from a tiger that can kill him.

Ordinarily we have cortical-limbic loops. This means that we modulate the emotions with our PFC. However, the PFC is very energy intensive and we can't maintain activity in this area for a prolonged period of time.

There are many examples of the amygdala getting overwhelming activation and controlling your behavior without the modulating influence of the PFC. This is what I am referring to as amygdala hijack!

There are several solutions that will shut down the amygdala hijack. All of them have to do with emotional regulation through rational thinking or what is referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy. This is a reappraisal of the situation in such a way that is not a catastrophic, terrible, horrible and awful experience.

What is important here is to realize that we must take responsibility for the meaning that we give to the events that occur in our life. Events are neutral until we make up a story about them and give them meaning.  We don't have to believe our story or hold it as being true. We can give it a new narrative, one that is less emotional.

Another intervention is what is called grateful flow. This works wonders.

Imagine an activating event. The bureau doesn't pay me for a speaking engagement. My brother in law's ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend are taking his belongings out of his house. You're stuck in traffic, you name it. Pick an irritant that has happened to you.

Next apply grateful flow. The first part of grateful flow is acceptance. This doesn't mean that you are passive and allow yourself to be taken advantage of. It just means that you don't do double duty. Not only did the event occur and you are also upset about it.

Acceptance means that you stop resisting. It's like pushing a beach ball under the water. The beach ball will constantly rise back up to the top. When you attempt to suppress a thought or feeling it also magnifies and pops back up even stronger. Your resistance magnifies what is being resisted.

So the next time just accept that some people are….fill in the blanks. Or not all people are honest, or do what they promise, have integrity etc.

Once you have acknowledged and accepted the feelings then allow yourself to think about what you are grateful for. Focus on that. What you focus on expands. This type of thought focus will part the dark clouds and give you direct access to the great sunshine that is above. Now you'll have access to the best version of yourself.




When I woke up that night with all of that anxiety I realized that my previous perceptual control was wearing thin. I immediately went into grateful flow and it stopped the anxiety. I just thought about all of the things that I was grateful for, my health, my family, my career, my friends, the weather, the list is never ending.

What did this was the PFC. It works in opposition to the amygdala. There are other positive activations in the brain caused by grateful flow but I'll keep it simple.

I wish I would have had the insight to teach my brother in law how to emotionally regulate. If he could have responded differently he would still be alive today.

Use grateful flow and watch the hijack end immediately!


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My version of The Theory of Everything!

clip_image002Here is a heads up for you. For a long time I've been very interested in how the laws of science, physics, math and psychology apply to human behavior. Many of the previous coaching content you've experienced considered concepts from the leading edge of research in those disciplines. I've been doing quite a bit of "new" research moving forward so you may see more leading edge insights that affect you on a daily basis in future calls. Today's call is one of those.

Albert Einstein in 1905 said that the essence of his theory of relativity is that we are all equal. We all have the same access to the laws of physics! He went on to say that motion is the key to everything that happens!

The natural state of motion on earth is that we move at a straight line at a constant speed, also known as the law of inertia. A push or a pull is required only to change motion.

Back in the 1700's, Isaac Newton developed his famous three laws of motion.

1) An object moves uniformly, straight line, constant speed,      unless acted upon by a force. (Law of inertia) 
2) A larger force produces a larger acceleration. 
3) Forces come in pairs. If A pushes B, then B pushes on A in an      equal amount. (Equal and opposite reaction)

So, what does all of this mean? It means that we live in a cause and effect world. It means that we all have access to abundance if we all simply follow the rules of performance that will give us the highest probability of achieving the results that we are seeking. It means that we live in a universe of rules and laws that are available to everyone.

Translated, this means that anyone who applies these principles will experience predicable results. I did, and you can too!

I grew up in poverty. I was raised in a single parent household and am the only person in my immediate family to ever graduate high school. My mother never graduated. My older brother was involved with drugs and never graduated. My younger sister was also involved with drugs and never graduated. (She has since not only graduated from high school but also gone on to get her nursing degree-I am very proud of her!)

I got lucky. I was involved with sports and had a coach who held me accountable to tap into my potential and set and achieve goals! My coach challenged me to make a decision on what I wanted, what was important, and what I would need to do to have what I wanted, and what I would commit to do right now! (Sound familiar?)

These early experiences became a template that I followed to break through the grasp of low self-image and poverty and claim the abundance and prosperity that is present for everyone.

I learned to get M.A.D. This means, make a decision on what I wanted, what I needed to do to have what I wanted, and then apply the elite performance formula;


According to the laws of physics, anybody in motion will remain in motion unless acted on by an external force. The natural state for all human beings is prosperity, health and abundance. Everyone would have this in their lives except they are acted upon with pushes and pulls. These pushes and pulls are distractions, competing priorities, interruptions, negative attitudes, stress, and the realities of daily life.

The results of these pushes and pulls are mediocrity for 70% of the population. It has become abnormal to have excellence and elite performance unless there is an intervention. What is the intervention? You already know, it's Behavioral Contracting!

Psychologist and scientists know how the brain works. They know that we are in a constant state of recognition of the highest level of perceived pain and then avoidance." This is what we do. Unless we have an intervention, we will work up to our comfort zone, avoid and justify our avoidance with rationalization. The intervention is behavioral contracting."

Something changes in our focus when we make a specific declaration of what actions we will take in a short period of time, seven days. But that's not enough. We all need to have accountability to take the committed actions. It's our accountability that enables us to handle and navigate the normal pushes and pulls that occur daily that distract most people. Accountability follows the following formula;


It's not enough just to say what you will do. There must be what I call "The Check In". That is where an outside source checks in with you to see if you actually did what you said you would do. That is still not enough! You've got to have a negative, painful consequence that will be enforced for non- performance!

The reason for this is how the brain works. Neurosurgeons agree the brain is designed to constantly seek the highest level of perceived pain, and then to compel you to avoid that pain. To protect ourselves from feeling guilty about our avoidance we justify the avoidance with rationalization and never know we are doing it. We just think that we were just too busy!

I had been teaching these principles since I refined my techniques as a football coach at Cal State Fullerton. Working alongside great coaches like Steve Mariucci, the former head coach of the NFL's SF 49'ers and Detroit Lions, we unlocked the code to tap into the talent and potential in each athlete and turn it into actual performance. The result was two conference championships!

I have been bringing these techniques to the general business population ever since I resigned football coaching in 1983. These principles were widely accepted but there was a universal problem. People were not enforcing the negative consequences for non-performance.

You can't fight human nature. Our brain searches like a computer and finds the highest level of perceived pain, then compels us to avoid and rationalize! It is a mathematical certainty that this will occur. We need to embrace this and use it. We need to create a highest level of pain in the negative consequence. This way, our brains will focus on avoiding the consequence. The way we avoid the consequence is by doing what we said we would do!

As long as you are careful with what you commit to, (MLO'S), this principle will enable you to compete with the pushes and pulls, the distractions, and will keep your momentum of activity and accomplishment. This formula will keep you focused on getting things done rather than focusing on the reasons why you can't. It will create inertia, remember, anybody in motion will remain in motion unless acted on by an outside force.

This is what led to the invention of this on-line coaching program. "This is a system of weekly decision making and accountability. You are making a decision on what you will commit to do over the next seven days, and then you place a consequence or fine on each promise that will be enforced by the computer if you don't accomplish the specified task! It's brilliant! The results are that you get more done! (Feel free to send me a note about your specific results, info@bobdaviescom. The behavioral contracting program is www.bobdaviescoaching.com)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, embraces this concept. In the August 2004 issue of Muscle & Fitness magazine, he states, "I needed a plan of action." He was referring to changing a weakness, his calves, into a strength. "Within a year my calves had grown by 2 inches. By committing myself to a firm plan of action, I had turned a weak body part into a strong one. That episode illustrates the kind of mind-set that drives me. My mentality dictates that for whatever time I invest in a task, I must achieve a result proportionate to the time invested."

"I developed this approach soon after I began body building and came to understand very quickly that I only got out of my workouts what I was prepared to put into them." (Newton's third law of motion; Forces come in pairs. If A pushes B, then B pushes on A in an equal amount, equal and opposite reaction)

As you know, these principles have been used by sales people, athletes, business owners, entrepreneurs and housewives, who all had one thing in common; they wanted to improve something in their lives.

Make this a scientific experiment. Try behavioral contracting for one week and see if it makes a difference!

Thank you for believing in you! Spread the word!

High Performance Training, Inc.
Bob Davies, M.Ed. Psychology, B.S. Health, MCC Master Certified Coach 
20992 Ashley Lane, Lake Forest, CA 92630-5865 
949-830-9192 fax 949-830-9492 Email: Info@bobdavies.com Website: www.Bobdavies.com On-Line coaching  www.bobdaviescoaching.com

Named in the Top 100 Minds of Personal and Professional Development, World-wide by Excellence Magazine.

Permission granted to publish this article with Resource information included: Bob Davies High Performance Training, Inc. 949-830-9192 info@bobdavies.com www.bobdavies.com  Permission also granted to edit this article.

Bob Davies, M.Ed. Psychology, B.S. Health
High Performance Training, Inc.
20992 Ashley Lane 
Lake Forest, Ca 92630


The Neuropsychology of Change and the Refusal of the Masses!

Jesus said, "The road is narrow, few will choose". You can't say it any better than that!

I'm speaking in front of 10,000 people on the main platform for one of the most prestigious meetings in the financial services industry, the Million Dollar Round Table. In that meeting I will give the audience a step by step system that is so precise it will yield a guaranteed result. It involves weight management through the avoidance of flour and sugar and the following of a precise way to weigh and measure food.

Statistically at least two thirds of that audience and possibly 100% will be interested in how they can lose weight. My question is, keeping in mind that I will be giving them a proven step by step formula to reach the goal they say they want to achieve, how many will actually implement my teachings? Can you believe that there is a possibility of none?

Don't you think that is an amazing possibility? If it's only 1% that means that 100 people will change their lives through the application of what I will teach them. This continues to stump me. People will tell me that they want to lose weight and I tell them they will need to avoid flour and sugar and they refuse to give up pasta, or pizza, or that buttered bread they so desire at dinner.

According to USC social psychologist Wendy Wood, in a study on the "Take 5" program, 35 percent of people polled came away believing they should eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day. Looking at that result, it appears that the national program was effective at teaching people that it's important to have 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. But the data changes when you ask what people are actually eating. Only 11 percent of people reported that they met this goal. The program changed people's intentions, but it did not overrule habitual behavior.

I'll take an 11% hit ratio. That will mean that at the MDRT talk I will have helped to change 1,100 lives!

So the curious and research oriented part of me asks the question, why is implementation so low? I'll need to examine this on several different levels. First the psychological. We have three voices constantly clamoring for our attention. The first is the good voice. This is the goal oriented voice that supports you in reaching your goals. You can expect to hear this voice about an estimated 25% of the time.

The second voice is the bad voice. This is the instant gratification, instinctually driven voice that wants it now. You will be greeted with this perspective 35% of the time.

The third voice is the vision and purpose voice. This is the "why" voice. You will be hearing this voice approximately 60% of the time.

The problem is that most people don't have their mission, their purpose, their vision, their connection to something bigger than themselves developed so it's absent. What's left if you take this voice away is a losing proposition, 35% beats 25% every time. However, if you develop your mission, vision and if you act on purpose connected to the bigger picture then you have a ratio of 85% to 35% and that's a winning hand.

So how do you connect to the universal energy (Google quantum physics) and tap into your greater self? You start by asking and answering these questions. Why bother? What am I building? How much is enough? What is the big picture? What is the benefit of having-fill in the blank? In this case you will need to be clear about the purpose of losing weight and what weighing less will give you. What benefit will achieving this goal give you? What purpose will achieving this goal allow you to fulfill. The more clearly you can identify this the stronger and more frequently that purpose voice will appear. You've got to take some time to write this out. Give it some thought and follow this formula;

Feature-losing weight. + Benefit-more energy. Then ask, what will having (benefit) give you? What will having more energy give you? How about being healthier. What will being healthier give you? Maybe the answer is you will exercise. What will exercising give you? Live longer. What will living longer give you? More time to influence my family and to guide and love them.

Now you can see that changing your habit is linked to the love of your family. Now that's a purpose.

I'll grant that this is not scientifically based. It is a bit theoretical and psychological. I'll discuss more in this arena and then get to the science.

Changing habits will follow these three stages.

1. Unbearable.
2. Uncomfortable.
3. Unstoppable.

Keep in mind that your perceptions are illusions. Yes, they are persistent but illusionary none the less.

When you approach change of any kind you are very apt to feel that it is absolutely unbearable. Why is that? This is now the time for some science.

Much of our daily lives are taken up by habits that we've formed over our lifetime. An important characteristic of a habit is that it's automatic- we don't always recognize habits in our own behavior. Studies show that about 40 percent of people's daily activities are performed each day in almost the same situations. Habits emerge through associative learning. "We find patterns of behavior that allow us to reach goals. We repeat what works, and when actions are repeated in a stable context, we form associations between cues and response," Wendy Wood explains in her session at the American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention.

Our brain is genetically designed to conserve energy. From a biological perspective answer this question, what is the purpose of your life? Before you start to say world peace, prevent global warming or to leave a legacy to your family, remember I prefaced "from a biological perspective". The answer is to pass on your genes, period!

Any genetic expression adaptation that favors survival is likely to be passed on. It favors survival to be able to code networks of neurons, habits, together for ease of firing. Once these neurons form a network they also develop a thick myelin sheath covering which creates faster firing saving more energy.

Charles Duhigg states in his book, "The Power of Habit", a trigger occurs that leads to the routine, which is the behavior itself; then there's the reward and that's how the brain learns and encodes this for fast future use.

As humans we have very limited perceptual bandwidth. Since our perceptual abilities are so limited human genetic coding prefers us to form neural networks that are easy to stimulate and lead to fast and automatic firing. This saves energy and frees us up to default that narrow bandwidth of attention to our threats. We are genetically coded to be negative, to be victims, to see obstacles not opportunities. It favors survival to look up and see figure 1 and respond non consciously as if it was figure 2.


Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2


This is a non conscious adaptation that favors survival. Regarding our brain, there are three major areas of concern regarding habits.


The outer cortex area of the brain is our logical, analytical, planning and executive thinking part of the brain. It is very expensive brain real estate from an energy use perspective. The orbital frontal cortex, the area right behind your eyebrows, is the area of the brain that executes your conscious will. It is very finite with a limited amount of available energy.


The limbic area is the emotional, instinctual part of the brain. This area has direct neural connections to all of our senses. In other words, if you look and see a spider on your arm you will completely bypass the analysis of the cortex and immediately shoot a stimulus directly to the amygdala in the limbic system which will have you scream and jerk your arm away while simultaneously swatting that spider off. Your heart rate will increase and a host of additional physiological responses of the fight or flight response will instinctually occur.

It's only after that response that you realize that it wasn't a spider at all but a piece of plastic. Cave man didn't have the luxury of evaluating; it takes to long to figure it out.

The brainstem is the autonomic nervous system, breathing, heart rate, etc.

Breaking a habit leads to what is referred to as "cortical-limbic loops". Here is how it looks from a neurological perspective.


Figure 4

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 6


Figure 4 shows a dense bundle of never fibers with cortical-limbic extensions and connections. This is what a habit looks like. This is a strong and fast reacting thinking pattern that bypasses the cortex and leads directly to the emotional act. Feel a sensation, go to the refrigerator. Have anxiety, eat flour and sugar. Breaking this connection at first appears to be unbearable.

If you are driven by your purpose and connection to a higher vision you can then start to develop a new neurological pathway as you see in figure 5. This is when your new intended behavior is in the uncomfortable stage. This is where you would need to practice the philosophy of using your will, the orbital frontal cortex, to maintain the behavior. This requires a very strong intention backed by accountability. In other words, you can't do this yourself.

An estimated 2.1 million people seek help from AA each year and as many as 10 million alcoholics have achieved sobriety. One of the cornerstones of their 12 step program is to surrender your will to a higher power and to have the accountability that comes from making commitments to a sponsor. This is very much like my behavioral contracting methodology.

Through persistence and conscious repetition you will eventually populate your neurons to develop a new desired network, or habit, figure 6 and now you have developed your new behavior. Repetition is key. Studies have shown it can take anywhere from 15 days to 254 days to truly form a new habit. This refers to these neurological connections creating cortical-limbic loops.

Figures 7-9 shows this from a single neuron perspective.

5 6 7

I use this to show how a different response can be wired in for the cue of frustration. Figure 7 shows the triggering stimulus, something happens, that leads to the wired in response of frustration. Next using your intentions, your will power, you have an intervention. This needs to be driven by the limbic area of the brain so you will need to declare the action plus a painful consequence such as a $100 fine. For example, every time I notice myself beginning to get angry I stop, and repeat that I respond to frustration with fascination. If you don't apply this conscious intervention then you will have to pay another person the painful penalty of $100. This engages the limbic area of the brain.

With conscious repetition, you will actually see the previous wired in response of figure 7 beginning to deteriorate and a new response begins to get established, figure 8. With additional repetition, (remember the 15-254 day rule of thumb) this goes from being unbearable, through uncomfortable to unstoppable, figure 9. Now you can see what is called synaptic pruning, where you are strengthening the new response, habit, and dissolving the previously unchallenged response, the circle in figure 9.

Too much science? Sorry, but that's my style. I'm not big on wishful thinking. I want to see the objective data that is proof of claim. This is referred to as brain plasticity and it is proof of my claim;

"You have far more capacity to create the circumstances and events in your life then you are aware of".

You can create the formation of new neurons in the orbital frontal cortex through meditation. Meditation for as little as five minutes a day will create neurogenesis, new nerve cell development and it will also increase the size of the insula, a fold of tissue directly under the orbital frontal cortex that is responsible for meta cognition, or awareness of your sensations.

Be a student of human behavior. Have faith in the process. Meditate for five to ten minutes a day, be a life time student of learning and make weekly commitments to someone else with painful penalties for non performance until your old habits are stopped and your new habits are formed. Then you will have gone from unbearable, through uncomfortable, to unstoppable. Now you will have 65% of your mind power driving you to be, do and think the way that you need to so you will be the best version of yourself, every day.

Bob Davies
High Performance Training, Inc.
Bob Davies, M.Ed. Psychology, B.S. Health, MCC Master Certified Coach
20992 Ashley Lane, Lake Forest, CA 92630-5865
949-830-9192 fax 949-830-9492 Email: Info@bobdavies.com Website: www.Bobdavies.com On-Line coaching www.bobdaviescoaching.com

Named in the Top 100 Minds of Personal and Professional Development, World-wide by Excellence Magazine.


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Bob Davies
High Performance Training, Inc.
20992 Ashley Lane
Lake Forest, Ca 92630