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!
I 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!
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;
- Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky which got him impeached.
- Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield’s ear in their 1993 boxing match. His hijack cost him 3 million and he lost his boxing license.
- 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.
The 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!
By Bob Davies
Here 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.
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.
This is a non conscious adaptation that favors survival. Regarding our brain, there are three major areas of concern regarding habits.
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 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.
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.
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 email@example.com www.bobdavies.com Permission also granted to edit this article.
High Performance Training, Inc.
20992 Ashley Lane
Lake Forest, Ca 92630
I recently participated on a panel as one of four the top coaches in the USA. It was quite an honor to be selected and it was interesting to see the approaches of other coaches considered to be leaders in the field.
It became very apparent that I have a different and unique approach. I thought I’d share it with you. My approach is a combination of the best practices of elite performers and laws of science.
If you look at a definition of coaching you will see that it’s a partnership designed to forward and enhance the life long process of human learning, effectiveness and fulfillment. This operates from the major assumption that people want to live in excellence and continue to learn and become for effective and fulfilled.
I’ve rarely come across someone who doesn’t say that they want this but most people don’t believe that they can have change and improvement so they simply don’t try. They live their lives in resignation believing that they are doing the best that they can be doing.
I challenge people about this. I ask, “Do dogs love bones?” almost everyone will say yes. I reply, “No they don’t. They love meat, they settle for bones!” Where are you living your life in resignation believing that you are doing the best that you can be doing.
This type of analysis is not good or bad, it just is. So I’ll ask you to look inward without judgment. If you go to judgment you will become defensive and justify your circumstances. This will prevent personal and professional growth.
As a result of the coaching conversation that I have with people they will have the following experience. I use this triangle as an anology.
I start at the bottom of the triangle, physiology. This is the foundation. Almost everyone that I work with is on my health program. Some are not. I have a coaching commandment that states the following; “Your lifestyle is an asset, not a liability”. This is backed up by another commandment, “What I can control, I must control”. I also embrace the serenity prayer and add that as a coaching commandment as well, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” We go for progress, not perfection.
Also a major part of this foundational base of my coaching triangle is attitude. All behavior is driven by neurons, your brain. Attitude is mind set. It’s a set of beliefs and neurological networks call schemata’s. These are wired together bundles of neurons that make up a habit. We must control our attitude.
Science says there is no dispute about this. Your thinking is an electrical impulse that generates the release of chemicals. These chemicals (neurotransmitters) have a charge and like attracts like so it is your thought that creates your reality. I like what the noted biologist Benjamin Libet says, “Reality is in the mind of the observer”. This is a quantum physics discussion for another time.
Have you seen the mathematical “Coincidence or Not?” formulas? It states the following;
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
K + N + O + W + L + E + D + G + E
11 + 14+ 15 + 23 + 12 + 5 + 4 + 7 + 5 = 96%
H + A + R + D + W + O + R + K
8 + 1 + 18 + 4 + 23 + 15 + 18 + 11 = 98%
Both are important but fall just short of 100%
A + T + T + I + T + U+ D + E
1 + 20 + 20 + 9 + 20 + 21 + 4 + 5 = 100%
Is this a coincidence? Well the world is made of math. Language is the math of communication. There are no mistakes in the universe, who knows. It’s a very interesting observation that is supported by science. For example, a positive attitude works in opposition to the emotional amygdale in the limbic system, the emotional area of the brain, by keeping electrical activity in an area called the septum. With positive thinking the septum is activated and that opens receptor sites for brain chemicals associated with focus, attention and well being. There is a scientific reason to be training your attitude.
Physiology, attitude, mind set, beliefs are ongoing processes of discovery, trial and error, failures and successes and are constantly being developed in my coaching.
Next I jump up to the top of the triangle, Goals. We must ask and answer these questions;
1. What do you want?
2. What are you building?
3. Why bother?
4. How much is enough?
This includes your mission, your vision, why you exist, what your philosophies are as well as the specific targets.
Next will come a discussion on the tactics that you will use to reach those goals. This includes staffing, campaigns, marketing, etc.
This is followed by a discussion about your metrics, what you can observe and measure as well as the systems that need to be in place to execute your plan.
Next the following questions are asked;
1. What do you need to do to have what you want?
2. What do you need to do this week?
3. What will you do this week, your commitment?
4. How will you be held accountable? What is your behavioral contract!
This is a powerful conversation to have. Remember, change is very, very difficult. The reason is due to how the brain works creating neural networks of bundled neurons that wire together and fire together. They become dense and fire fast.
I have mentioned in previous articles how change goes through three stages;
Most people won’t make it through the unbearable stage. It takes a reason to persist. You’ve got to have a clearly defined WHY! If you do persist however, you will generate new neurological patterns, called brain plasticity, and then move to being unstoppable.
It’s a matter of purpose, passion, excitement, planning and accountability. I have my clients follow the following steps of their program;
1. Constant learning fosters neural genesis, new brain cell development. So, they read one page a day from my “Day Book’.
2. Meditate 5-10 minutes every day. Meditation strengthens the development of the outer cortex, it enhances the mylenation of the neurons for faster and easier firing and increases meta cognition, a noticing of your feelings and sensations.
3. Precise previous planning prevents poor performance. We do weekly behavioral contracts and embrace accountability.
4. Hire a coach!
That’s my menu for excellence. Make it a great day!
One of the things that differentiate what I do from everyone else is the fact that my program is based on a combination of the laws of science and the best practices of elite performers. Also I am constantly doing research particularly in the fields of neural science, brain science.
Oddly enough, it was during that research that I came across some principles of the Buddha that have stuck with me. The Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama in Nepal around 2,500 years ago. He did not claim to be a god or a prophet. He was a human being who became Enlightened, understanding life in the deepest way possible. It is on his philosophies that Buddhism was founded.
It’s amazing that the Buddha didn’t know that scientific principles were the foundations of his philosophies. They didn’t have fMRI back 2,500 years ago. It’s amazing that as I reach back into the history of the world’s great minds, science is right there supporting their philosophies.
I love these four noble truths;
- Life is full of suffering.
- The cause of suffering is selfish desire.
- Suffering can be eliminated.
- Suffering can be relieved by following the 8 Fold Paths of Buddhism.
Think about this. The cause of suffering is selfish desire. The good news about this is that this can be controlled and changed. The Buddha didn’t say the cause of our suffering is our genetic predispositions. He said selfish desire.
So, I’m making my salad in the kitchen and I take the outer layer of an onion and toss it into the closest garbage can to my right. My sister in law was over the house and she freaks out. “That’s for recyclables, not trash” she yells. Hold on. What is she responding to? This is an example of selfish desire. She is responding to the world as she judges it should be. She is upset because I’m not behaving the way she thinks is right, judgment, and it’s her selfish desire that things are the way they should be rather than the way they are. It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t say something about the proper garbage can, but to create her own suffering over this is a bit on the unenlightened side.
Another example is one of my coaching clients. I’m urging him to go on the food plan of the avoidance of flour and sugar. He tells me that he will not give up his buttered bread at dinner, selfish desire.
I say this without judgment, just observing. The alarm clock goes off at 3:30 am and I plan on being at the gym by 4:00 am. If I feel tired, I might rationalize that it would be better for me to sleep in today. That’s selfish desire. The desire to remain in comfort is selfish desire.
The Buddha would say to observe the Noble 8 Fold Path which is the following;
- Right View
- Right Intention
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
The Right View is a detached way of seeing. It is seeing with an empty mind, or as the Buddha would say, in the middle. It is seeing without expectations or judgments. It is being neutral to the emotions which are self imposed. A detached way of seeing is one of the strongest mind set traits that you can develop. It will break the “cortical-limbic” loops where your thinking at the outer analyzing cortex is directly linked to the emotional limbic area of the brain. When you have mastered detached seeing no one can ever upset you; now that’s peace of mind.
Right Intention is the exertion of your own will towards change. This also intercepts the cortical-limbic loops. I can just stop my thinking and decide to go to the gym and not pay attention to being tired, or my client can decide just for today not to have any buttered bread. Or my sister in law can decide to think loving thoughts and just take the onion skin out of one garbage can and place it into another. What power, exerting your own will towards change. I love it.
The rest of the paths lead to right memory, right awareness and right attention. Are you paying attention to the right kinds of neurological networks of joy and appreciation? Your thoughts reinforce and strengthen the neurological connections that you are using. This leads to a greater mylenation, the fatty insulation of the neurons which speeds up transmissions and uses less energy. These become your preferred circuits over time. You can control this.
One of the best ways to wire in detached seeing and the 8 Fold Paths is through mediation. Regardless of the type of meditation that you do, observational, intentional, transcendental, all of them will have a positive effect on your brain. Meditation will cause the orbital frontal cortex to generate new neurons, called neurogenisis or brain plasticity. There is a fold of cortex tissue called the insula that will grow in size due to meditation. This area is responsible for your “meta cognition” or your awareness of the sensations you are feeling.
So sit in a comfortable position “with dignity”. Close your eyes and effortlessly allow your mind to go thoughtless. You can count breaths, box breath, (inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds), or repeat a mantra effortlessly, as a thought, and this will quiet the brain “chatter” and generate the neurological response.
The science says you will get a response in as little as 5 minutes of meditation. Add it into your routine.
High Performance Training, Inc.
Bob Davies, M.Ed. Psychology, Springfield College, B.S. Health, Rutgers University, MCC Master Certified Coach
20992 Ashley Lane, Lake Forest, CA 92630-5865
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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bobdavies.com Permission also granted to edit this article.
High Performance Training, Inc.
20992 Ashley Lane
Lake Forest, Ca 92630
Hold a pencil above eye level. Let go of your grip and you can predict with 100% certainty that it will fall. Although the principle of gravity remains unseen you know that it exists and therefore you plan accordingly.
This principle holds true for all of nature’s ways. Dig a hole in your back yard and leave it alone. In a short period of time it will fill in. Nature abhors a vacuum. This principle exerts its effect regardless of our understanding or belief.
There is an arrow of time with our perception. Although time works equally well both forward and backwards in physics equations, we can only perceive times arrow moving forward. A broken egg never gets unbroken. Times arrow is another principle of nature.
So it is with change. The good news is that there is a direction of change towards ongoing learning. It seems that the answers to all of our problems from clean energy to world peace are all ready present, it’s just our discovering what they are. This discovery or learning happens over time and the direction of time is towards constant learning.
All of a sudden in what seems like a blink of eye, the world can change forever. A few inventions have had such a powerful effect that they changed the way people think and act. The printing press, steam power, the telegraph and the computer were gigantic forces for change.
In about 1450, a German goldsmith, Johann Gutenberg, invented the first printing press. This press used movable type. Prior to this books were created by hand. This took years to copy and of course was very expensive.
The press made it possible for everyone to own books. Newspapers also became commonplace. The printing press changed every part of civilization. Discoveries in the sciences changed the way people saw the universe. The period between the 1500s and the 1700s is called the scientific revolution.
Experts believe the scientific revolution started when Nicolaus Copernicus tried to convince people that the earth and planets moved around the sun. The commonly held belief was that it was a certainty that the earth was the central figure and everything revolved around it. Copernicus was highly criticized for his contrary belief.
Other advances include the microscope. Prior to this discovery Dr. Lister warned physicians to wash their hands because of unseen germs. He also was met with skepticism.
Galileo improved the telescope and this allowed him to see images of the moon and other planets. Isaac Newton’s discovery of the laws of motion and gravity further changed beliefs.
In the late 1700s and early 1800s technology changed history once again. The prevailing thinking was that the only way to increase human strength or speed was to work with a stronger animal such as a horse. The invention of steam engines gave people a new source of power.
In 1800 it would have taken six days to travel from New York City to Washington D.C., by horseback. By the 1830’s, steam powered trains transported people on this journey in less than a day and at an affordable price.
Steamboats and steam locomotives gave people the ability to move themselves and goods all over the country, even in remote areas. People could visit family and friends and news spread quickly all over the country.
The first telegraph line was completed in 1844 making instant communication possible for the first time in history. By 1866 a telegraph cable was run on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. People could now instantly communicate with other countries as well.
Steam engines and the telegraph changed the way people thought about time and space. The world appeared to be smaller and interconnected. What’s most interesting however are the countless beliefs that were previously held as being true that were now cast aside. New possibilities continued to be revealed.
With the invention of computers everything changed again. The first electronic computer, the ENIAC or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator, was build in 1946. By 1995 the Internet was up and running. Today computer driven robots are performing surgeries. Computers can respond to thoughts from people who are paralyzed. Computers are running the Mars Curiosity rover.
So what does this mean to you for this year? It means that you can benefit by using a planning strategy and suspending fear and doubt. I’ve always maintained that when I coach someone I’m not adding anything new. What I do is teach you how to have access to the talent and abilities that you already have.
All of the great advances that I’ve previously mentioned were already here. It just took our civilizations growth and maturity to learn how to tap into what was already available.
So what will you create for this year? What do you want? What do you need to do to have what you want? What do you need to do this week? What do you commit to do this week? Next add accountability and create a behavioral contract where you will be held accountable to take the actions to execute your weekly plan with a negative consequence if you don’t.
One thing you can count on is that there is a direction of the universe and that is constant growth and improvement. Are you growing and improving? Constant learning is the best medicine for you to have continued mental clarity and yes, health. So, what are you committed to learn and create this year? Challenge your limiting beliefs. Embrace this statement;
“You have far more capacity to create the circumstances and events in your life then you are aware of.”
Decide what you will create for yourself and your family right now. Make your plan and execute your plan. Expand what you think is possible. Live with passion and energy. Create your life!
That’s right! Famous biologist Benjamin Libet said, “Reality is in the mind of the observer”. Your feeling of being overwhelmed is self imposed.
I am a private pilot. This reminds me of a time I was receiving instruction in the simulator and the instructor said he’s putting a 100 mph tailwind so I could arrive at the approach point for the Santa Barbara Airport from John Wayne.
I noticed that one of my instruments was jumping all over the place. I asked him if he also put a cross wind and he told me, “No, you’re doing that with your feet on the rudder pedals”, wow, self imposed turbulence!
And that’s how it is with feeling overwhelmed, self imposed turbulence!
Let’s examine this more closely.
I had a coaching client tell me that he’s putting in 12 hour days, his kids take up all of his time on the weekends with their sports activities and he has absolutely no time for himself or for his wife. He was overwhelmed.
I did not let him stay in victim land and blame his circumstances. I brought him right back to one of our core principles, “Accountability-I am the source of all that I experience, versus going victim and blaming”.
I use what I call coaching commandments. When a person is not feeling that they are performing at their best then the first place to look at is what coaching commandments are being violated. We start at our very first commandment, “No judgment. It’s not good or bad, it just is.”
Another coaching commandment is “My lifestyle is an asset, not a liability”. Now the commandments kept rolling out as being violated. They included;
I put myself first-be selfish.
What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say.
Tell the truth faster.
What assumptions are you making?
Then this conversation led to the addition of seven additional commandments. I’ll get to those shortly.
As the conversation continued I asked my client to make a list of the assumptions that he was making. There was one overriding assumption for his business and that was that he has to get things done today. That’s just the way that it is.
We looked at the reality of his personal life and we could clearly see that he was putting his kids first, other volunteer obligations next, his wife third and himself not at all.
He also explained how he was a volunteer as the treasurer for his son’s baseball team and how that took him 3 hours of time on Friday and another 3 hours on Saturday this past week. I think I caught him off guard when I commented that he was being a fraud.
His response was, ok, you’ve got my attention. I explained that if you want to know what someone is committed to look at what they have. If a person is in a miserable relationship then they are committed to being in a miserable relationship. If someone is morbidly overweight then likewise that is what they are committed to. There are no mistakes. We are result machines.
He was fraudulently saying that he wanted to spend time with his wife yet he was involved with all of these other activities. So what is the truth?
So we added these coaching commandments;
- I put myself first-be selfish. Most people live a life of putting their kids first, their spouse second and themselves last. This results in fatigue, a feeling of being overwhelmed and resentment.
I am an advocate of putting yourself first, then your spouse and then your kids. What good can you be for others if you are not feeling good, energized and focused? It’s just like the airlines, put your mask on first and then grab your favorite kid and put their mask on. Continuing…
- Where am I in resignation-believing that I’m doing the best that I can?
- Where in my life am I settling?
Two and three are related to this question; “Do dogs love bones?” The answer is NO, they love meat, they settle for bones. My client was settling for being overwhelmed, making assumptions that this was the best that he could do and then complaining about it.
A big violation of accountability-I am the source of all that I experience! So we added another few commandments;
- What do I need to say no to?
- Because to Be/cause and opportunity is nowhere to opportunity is now/here.
- Where am I being a fraud?
- Be uncomfortable every day.
- If you want to see what someone is committed to look at what they currently have.
Now this is strong stuff. Back to the 12 hour workdays. There is something structurally wrong if you can’t get what you need to get done in normal business hours. It could be this principle, water takes the shape of the container that holds it. In other words, if he gives himself 12 hours to complete his tasks it will take 12 hours.
I’m reminded of being guilty of this as a college football coach. Our staff would come into the office for a 7:00 am staff meeting, then we’d prepare for the day’s practice, have practice, go to dinner, then back into the office until 2:00 am and start all over the next day.
On the other hand, when Terry Donahue was the coach at UCLA his staff would go home after practice, around 6:00 pm. He said that if you weren’t a good enough coach to get your work done before practice then go home to your family and come back rested the next day then maybe you shouldn’t be on his staff! Now that’s cold!
So another coaching commandment comes to the surface, “don’t complain about the dark-light a candle.” Instead of whining about how overwhelmed your are get MAD. Make A Decision.
- What do you need to say no to?
You may need to embrace coaching commandment #7. Be uncomfortable every day because you may need to say no to someone who will try to make you feel guilty for saying no. Will you stand in the face of losing their approval and stick with you no? Or will you avoid to the more comfortable position of continuing to take on the overwhelming tasks and then complaining about how little time you have? It’s a choice!
Be the cause of your life. Don’t respond to others requests and not be able to spend time with your wife because of this and that circumstance. Instead, be the cause of your circumstances. Maybe you need to hire someone else in your business. Maybe someone is incompetent and not doing their job and that is coming back to you in the form of a 12 hour day. Maybe you need to delegate or stop being a perfectionist.
Whatever it is, make a decision and stop worrying about being approved of by other people. Claim your peaceful and healthy state of mind. It really is up to you!
Most of all, tell the truth faster. Maybe you are avoiding spending time with you kids because they aggravate you. Tell the truth and stop complaining!
Now you know!
You’ve Got A Lot to Lose! Client Appreciation and Acquisition With a Food Management Seminar!
By Bob Davies
Before speaking at this past TD Ameritrade conference I was visiting with Rob Forrester from Alliance Bernstein. I invited him to listen to my program on performance excellence. I also mentioned that I had just finished several years of research on a program that would teach advisors a food management system that they could use as a seminar for their clients and referrals.
Rob commented that he thought it was a great idea. Not only does the advisor coach the client on growing their money for retirement but now he or she would be coaching them to be healthy when they start to get their money back.
Talk about differentiating yourself from your competitor and adding extreme high value in your service to your client. I always coach advisors that they need to give more of themselves to their clients, that they are their clients “life coaches” and that not only means safeguarding their money, assets and lifestyle for retirement but also preserving their health.
I know you’ve had a conversation with your clients where you’ve asked what money meant to them and how much is enough. Have you also asked what life would be like if they were able to lose 50 pounds or more? I’ll bet this is not on your review checklist and it has never made your product grid.
Why is that? I’ll ask you to consider because you were never taught it. It was never emphasized at a broker dealer conference. You just never thought about this being a part of your role for full service, until now.
Let’s look at the big picture and then we’ll come back to your circumstances and center of influence.
Our nation is in the midst of a public health crisis so profound that is it undermining our well-being, our economic competitiveness and even our long-term national security.
More broadly, the costs of obesity and chronic disease have become a major drag on our economy. Escalating health care costs are the main driver of our spiraling national debt, and obesity-related illness makes up an increasingly large share of our massive health costs. The obesity crisis is therefore not just a health crisis, but a major contributor to our fiscal crisis.
Over two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. One-third of American children are overweight or obese. And among children under the age of six, nearly one in five is overweight or obese. Obese people are far more likely to develop chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, heart disease and cancer. In short, obesity is the most urgent public health problem in America today.
This could be the first generation of children in the United States that lives less then their parents. We spend 2.2 trillion dollars a year on health care, over five times more than the defense budget. We pay more per person in health care then any industrialized country in the world. Yet we’re sicker than ever. Every minute a person in the US is killed by heart disease.
The U.S. government has a part of the blame. Subsidies to farmers to produce piles of corn and soybeans turned into high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils are major contributors to the sweet tasting foods that are being produced that sell but are not good for you.
U.S. farmers now produce 3,900 calories per U.S. citizen per day . That is twice what we need. Since humans have a built in weakness for fats and sugar we have gotten fatter every year. We subsidize the cheap calories of processed foods with our tax dollars. A profit driven food industry has exploded and nutritionally bankrupted our caloric supply.
There’s no money in healthy people. There’s no money in dead people. The money is in the people in the middle, people who are alive, sort of, but with one or more chronic conditions. One out of three people born today will develop the crippling condition of diabetes in their lifetime.
Millions of others are so stimulated by sugar, coffee and energy drinks that they mask their chronic fatigue. Could there be a solution to all of these problems? A solution so simple that it’s mind boggling that more of us haven’t heard about it nor are using it?
Turning the tide of this epidemic will require leadership, first and foremost. All sectors of society must be engaged and all must take responsibility – from individuals and families to communities, institutions and government.
So why is this your problem or concern? Bill Maher stated in his comedic routine, “Someone has to stand up and say that the answer is not another pill, the answer is spinach.”
This is an excellent opportunity for you to be the source of a solution that your clients would not have had access to otherwise. Their physicians don’t know about nutrition. Even dieticians are spewing out information that is outdated, inaccurate or just too confusing.
The organizations that are designed to help Americans get healthy have no incentive to create success. If they do that then they are out of business. They create a dependency, lose some weight, buy our food, attend our meetings, stay on our program or you’ll gain it all back and that’s just what happens.
You are non-partisan. You have no agenda other than to be of service to your clients and their referrals. You get by giving and I’m going to teach you how starting right now.
Why is it so difficult for people to lose weight and keep it off? The reasons have to do with our human genetic coding, the way genes are turned on and off, the triggering of hormones, and other factors that are outside the scope of this article. Instead of going in that direction I’m going to just right to the solution.
I’ll ask you to accept that there are physiological and biochemical events in each of us that make dieting very difficult to sustain.
Also there are psychological processes at work. First, it’s perceived as being too hard. People fear cravings, they fear being hungry, they don’t trust willpower, they’ve failed before.
What I’m about to share with you will take all of that away and make you look like a hero in front of your clients and their referrals.
Hold a seminar on “How to Eat!” This is not a diet, doesn’t require willpower, and doesn’t require exercise, no cravings, no hunger and best of all its easy.
The best approach would be for you to use this food plan for 90 days. Go 90 days abstinent from sugar and flour. That’s right. Here’s the plan. It’s simple. Its three weighed and measured meals a day, no flour, no sugar, no snacking in between. Period! Eat breakfast, four hours later eat lunch, five hours later eat dinner. Eat dinner only between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm, not earlier and not later.
I will give you the food plan. There is more that I can show you in terms of actually delivering a power point presentation as a seminar but that can come later.
The first step is for you to get on the plan yourself for 90 days. I promise you that your clothes are going to hang on you and you will feel better then you have in years. You will have no problem sharing this with your clients and using it as a recruiting event based on the results you achieve. It just requires rigorous honesty on your part and a willingness to change.
The food plan: 3 weighed and measured meals, no flour or sugar.
Step one: Get a digital body weight scale. Get your baseline body weight. Do not weigh yourself again for another 30 days.
Step two: Get a digital food scale. Weigh and measure every meal.
This is it. Here’s what you’re going to find. Most likely you will discover that you are not eating enough at breakfast and lunch. That’s what I found. There is plenty of food here. The key has to do with the speed at which carbohydrates are metabolized into sugar. You are getting such a healthy amount of fiber in this meal plan, remember, it’s not a diet, and you are not going to be hungry. You are not going to have cravings. There is no need for willpower, it will be easy.
Because your body is getting the proper nutrition probably for the first time and due to the slow and steady of the release of glucose into your blood stream, insulin, which transports the glucose into your cells is working efficiently. When people don’t eat properly they flood their blood stream with fast glucose from processed foods and insulin levels rise taking the excess sugar directly into the fat cells for storage.
This will be easy for you. Go shopping. Be prepared. Cook your food in advance, put it into baggies and take all of the decisions about eating completely away. You now have boundaries. You know what time to eat, what foods to eat and when to stop.
You can’t trust your body sensations to tell you this because you are genetically coded to binge when food is available to protect yourself from the times when food is scarce. You have to have a program, a plan.
The key is to have reinforcement, support and accountability to stay on the plan. Show this plan to your doctor and I promise you it will be blessed. Something significant will happen to you in 90 days.
I have seen people with big numbers use this to lose hundreds of pounds and keep it off. Once you have experienced this for yourself you’ll be having your assistant call your clients with an “each one reach one” referral campaign. You’ll be so excited to share the new you with your clients and their friends. If they haven’t seen you in 90 days you will get more compliments then you can imagine.
If you are interested in being supported on this 90 day journey make contact with me and I’ll provide that support. Your life may depend on it.
One last note. I’m a skydiver. Everyone knows that I’ve dropped 50 pounds over the last several months since skydiving is so weight sensitive. The manager of the Perris Valley skydiving facility came out of the restaurant with a plate of sugar and flour and started to sit down next to me to eat but stopped himself and said, “I’m not going to eat this in front of you” and then walked away.
I kept thinking, he thinks that I’m starving. If he only knew how easy this has been.
Are you ready to live excellence and then teach your clients the same?
Permission granted to publish this article with Resource information included: Bob Davies High Performance Training, Inc. 949-830-9192 email@example.com www.bobdavies.com Permission also granted to edit this article.
High Performance Training, Inc.
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Six hundred members of the California Assisted Living Association made their way into the main ball room at the Hyatt Regency in Orange County, California for lunch and my 45 minute keynote speech titled, “The 1.2% Factor-How One Small Change Leads to Large Results”.
I was a bit apprehensive because of the time frame. I usually present a 90 minute program so I was challenged as a professional to deliver value in half the time. It’s rare that I have a local program close to where I live since I present all over the USA. I invited Jeff Golan, Regional Managing Director for Principal Financial Group to come hear me. I wasn’t sure if he could make it.
The program went off very successfully! The audience raved about the talk and only I know what I had to leave out because of the time frame. Breakout sessions followed 15 minutes after my program so I went outside where I had some flyers on a table and visited with those who wanted to speak with me. One of those was Jeff.
After the crowd dispersed Jeff and I found a quite place to chat. We talked about what he was in the beginning stages of building at PFG and what some of his challenges were. He explained how he already had a solid structure and system for teaching the advisor the “what to do and the how to do it” logical information. What he liked about what I do is that it is directed towards the most important issue, the individuals’ ability to form habits and to consistently do what they need to do to generate results. He promised to send me an old white paper, “The Common Denominator of Success” by Albert Gray.
A couple of days later an email with an attachment from Jeff arrives. I opened it expecting it to be some outdated boring what you can believe you can achieve type of stuff.
I am happy to say that this paper caught my attention immediately with the first quote:
“The common denominator of success-the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful-lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”
Wow! This was written in 1940 and it is still a core underlying necessity today! Albert Gray delivered this at the NALU annual convention in 1940. Remember National Association of Life Underwriters?
What I plan to do with this paper is to add some of the scientific discoveries of the 2000’s on forming habits to the wisdom of Albert Gray. I’ll first reveal some of the most profound statements from Gray in his address.
“I had become convinced that hard work was not the real secret even though in most cases it might be one of the requirements.”
In one of my presentations I ask for a volunteer to come on stage. I ask them to state a goal that they have such as increase assets under management. Next I ask them what they need to do to reach this goal. For the sake of simplicity let’s say prospecting. Next I ask them to tell me three things that might stop them. One, busy with current clients, two, need to prepare for meetings with prospects, three, not enough time.
Now it gets interesting. I bring up three of the biggest guys in the audience. Each one of them represents one of the three obstacles just mentioned. Two guys stand in front of my goal setter and grab his wrist with their outside hand and hook their inside arm under the persons arm and the third obstacle stands behind the goal setter and puts their arm across the persons throat. I instruct them to resist and not to let him break through.
Here we go the competition. A person’s desires and commitment to action versus their obstacles. The person tries as hard as they can yet they will not break free. I yell “work harder” yet still no results, the 3 obstacles are just too strong. (You can watch this in action on my website, www.bobdavies.com demo video).
This is a perfect example that hard work is not the key. I ask the audience, “Did he try? Did he try hard? Did you cheer him on? Did it matter?”
I do give a solution here. The solution is to accept that he does have limitations and obstacles and to negotiate. Even though he has to prepare for prospective clients, meet with current clients and has limited time, here is what he commits to do this week.
To highlight Albert Gray’s first point;
- Hard work is not the difference.
Gray also made this statement;
“Success is something which is achieved by the minority of men, and is therefore unnatural and not to be achieved by following our natural likes and dislikes nor by being guided by our natural preferences. We don’t like to call on people who don’t want to see us and talk to them about something they don’t want to talk about. Any reluctance to follow a definite prospecting program, to used prepared sales talks, to organize time and effort are all caused by this one basic dislike.”
This is as simple as I have ever heard the core issue stated. We are going to avoid doing things that we view as being uncomfortable. It’s that simple!
There are a number of scientific experiments that clearly show this. Put a rat in a cage with a gate. Place food at the end of a corridor and open the gate. The rat runs up the corridor and starts to eat the food.
However, we don’t let the rat eat. Instead we place it back behind the gate. Next we place a metal grid on the floor separating the rat from the food. We also place a shock on this grid; it’s called a “shock grid”. We open the gate; the rat sees the food and starts to run over this grid. It gets a tremendous shock and instinctively retreats away from the grid.
Now we take the shock off of the grid but leave the grid. When we open the gate this time the reality is that there is nothing stopping the rat from reaching its goal. However, what will the rat focus on? Will it focus on the opportunity to get the food or the past painful experience with the metal grid? The rat will remember the shock and will never go over that grid again. This is called learned helplessness.
It doesn’t matter what the truth is. The only think that matters is what is the rat paying attention to? The rat has what is called a “cortical limbic loop”. This is a protective memory where the outer area of the brain associated with wants, needs and desires and is linked to the middle area of the brain, known as the limbic system, which is associated with emotion, fear, avoidance and threats to survival. Just the sight of the metal grid triggers the limbic area and the rat is in automatic avoidance.
We are genetically coded to avoid activities that we view as being threatening. Our instincts trump our intentions.
Gray goes on to state that the biggest producers also do not like to do this prospecting either. It’s just that they have a purpose and have formed habits.
“Successful men are influenced by the desire for pleasing results. Failures are influenced by the desire for pleasing methods. It is easier to adjust ourselves to the hardships of a poor living than it is to adjust ourselves to the hardships of making a better one. Just think of all of the things you are willing to go without in order to avoid doing the things you don’t like to do.”
I couldn’t believe what a profound insight that Albert Gray had in 1940 that is as true today as it was then.
Again, Gray says;
“Every single qualification for success is acquired through habit. Men form habits and habits form futures. If you do not deliberately form good habits, then unconsciously you will form bad ones. He success habits in life insurance selling (and all selling) are divided into four main groups. Prospecting habits, calling habits, selling habits, working habits.”
Now the question is how do you form habits? I have the answer. This was helped by another 21st century discovery, brain plasticity. Go ahead and “Google it”. Isn’t that amazing? Google is now a verb!
Brain plasticity is the brains’ ability to form new neurons and neurological networks. A neurological network is a habit. In its simplest form it’s no more complicated than stimulus response. The alarm rings in the morning and off to the gym you go. You plan at the end of the week you execute your plan in those four areas as identified in 1940 by Albert Gray, it really is that simple.
A habit is a neuron that has dentritic growth to the cortex and to a structure in the limbic system called the amygdale. The cortex is the thinking and planning area of the brain and the amygdale is the emotional area. A habit also has dentritic growth to the hippocampus are of the brain which is now the wiring for memory.
The rat is hungry. It looks at the food but it has a protective instinct, a memory involving the hippocampus that links the metal grid with the amygdale as dangerous and to be avoided.
Humans have another layer to add to this. We use language to rationalize our avoidance and believe that the truth is that we were just too busy to make those calls.
I’ll end this by giving you a quick method to rewire your brain and form a new habit. Use behavioral contracts. Make one commitment to one activity this week they you are capable of doing but also know you won’t do unless you are held accountable to complete. Tell one other person that if you don’t take this action you will give them $100. You will instantly create a cortical limbic loop where the cortex, amygdale and hippocampus will view this penalty as the highest level of pain and instinctively compel you to avoid this pain by doing what you said you would do.
Yes it does take about 30 days for these dentritic projections to remain solidified and permanent so use this consistently and wisely and you will rewire your brain forming the habits you need for success. Albert Gray was absolutely correct even without knowing the science of it all!
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!
Want to motivate yourself and others? Check this out!
Three Atlanta area researchers reported evidence confirming that there is only a 1.2% difference in the genetic coding of the genes of chimps and humans. However, there are significant differences. In any particular part of the brain only about 10% of our gene activity differs from those of chimpanzees according to researcher Katie Pollard, an associate professor with the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the UCSF Institute for Human Genetics. The difference in the molecular evolution between humans and chimps is very small, but significant. “Only one in 100 base pairs is different” according to the research by Pollard and others.
This likeness presents opportunities to learn more about humans and diseases. In particular, chimps are immune to AIDS and Malaria. There are many examples of the small creating outcomes that are big. At 211 degrees water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. Vince Lomabardi said “inches make a champion”. Thomas Edison said “many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
Yes it’s the little things that make the difference. I can still remember as a college football coach drilling the little things, like keeping your shirt tucked in, stance and starts, tackling drills, first step drills, quick hand and quick feet drills. All these little things accumulate to give the ever so slight edge that enabled an athlete to just barely get off of a block and make a tackle.
So what does this mean for corporate leadership? It has a lot to do with coaching and mentoring. If you are committed to helping others with personal development then I want you to realize that there is only one small change that you need to make a very big difference. That is the small change of accountability.
If the brain was connected to a functional magnetic reasoning machine, fMRI, you would actually see what areas of the brain are using energy during particular tasks. Show a person a picture and the visual area lights up. Play some music and the auditory cortex is active. When someone makes a commitment the outer cortex is activated and then an area of the brain referred to as the limbic area becomes active. This means that the individual has declared their action and now the brain is searching for emotional memories of danger associated with that action that are life threatening. This is a subconscious process.
The subconscious brain fires 400 times faster than the conscious thinking mind. The individual commits to making so many prospecting calls per day. The brain sends a signal from the cortex to the amygdale, a structure in the limbic area. The amygdale sends a signal to the hippocampus searching for stored memories of danger, like rejection. This is called a cortical limbic loop and the signal comes back to the conscious mind first through your physiology, a knot in your stomach and then through your thoughts about how busy you are and you just don’t have time to prospect.
You need to hijack this circuit. You do that through a behavioral contract. The behavioral contract consists of the check in and accountability. Accountability has two parts, the check in and the enforceable consequence for non performance. The driving force here is genetic coding. We are all coded to avoid the highest level of perceived pain. This is not an option. This is an instinct. You will avoid the highest level of perceived pain, period. The key is to make this avoidance the actual execution of the desired activity.
Here is how you do it.
Let’s say you make a commitment to exercise five times this week. It’s Sunday, your commitments are due this evening and you’ve only worked out four times. You don’t feel like going to the gym, you’re tired, you’ve worked hard all week and all you want to do is just relax.
Your brain searches and finds how painful and inconvenient exercise is. Before you avoid it however, your brain continues to verify that this indeed is the highest level of pain and it comes to your behavioral contract. Lets’ say you contracted for five workouts this week or you would pay a fine of $100. Now your brain has something to be in reference to. What is more painful, going to the gym or paying $100? Most likely you will hold the fine as more painful and away you go to the gym. You have just witnessed a behavioral contract in action.
You are still the very same genetic avoidance machine that you are genetically coded to be. You have just manipulated the gene expression with your contract. Apply this with one small action this week and watch what happens.
Use this with another person and you will be the business mentor that you’ve always wanted to be! I’ll bet that you both do what you said you would do!
Think back to a time in your life when you gave everything you had to the accomplishing of a goal and felt absolutely exhausted and satisfied, even exhilarated. Think of the camaraderie between all on your team.
How far back did you have to go? I’ll bet that for a lot of people this brought them back to some type of athletic event as a participant. It did for me. I think back to my time as a football coach at Cal State Fullerton.
Our staff and team had several things in common. First, we faced adversity. It was us, the little guys from a small school versus the big guys from the big conferences with the big budges and facilities. It became anUSversus THEM scenario.
I can remember all of the hard work, time and effort that we all gave to our program. I can also remember the love and tight inclusive camaraderie between the players and staff. This is the result of an “all in” effort towards the accomplishment of a shared goal.
You just don’t find this in businesses today. Somehow people have become independent, out for themselves without regard for the total picture. Businesses have evolved to an environment where theUSversus THEM might be the employees versus management rather than the company versus the outside elements.
Whatever happened to maximum effort in a “whatever it takes” commitment? Whatever happened to an individual’s intense desire to grow, improve and learn? Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologist, once said, “I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures…I divide the world into learners and nonlearners.”
What on earth would make someone lose their intense desire to compete, to grow, to have passion for their life? Everyone is born with an intense drive to learn and improve. Infants are examples of this. They are stretching their boundaries daily. They never decide that learning to walk and talk is just too hard and not worth the effort.
Babies don’t worry about making mistakes or humiliating themselves. They walk, they fall, they get up. They just keep on keeping on.
What could put an end to this exuberant passion for learning and improvement? It’s language. As soon as children become able to evaluate themselves and to express themselves with language then the decline begins. It’s the stories we tell ourselves that either creates or denies access to behavior.
I’m writing this on the 4th of July weekend. The 4th is an American celebration of freedom. This freedom we many times take for granted. The past few months have accentuated the difference between our democracy and every other form of governance.
Our police don’t shoot protesters. Our news reporters don’t disappear when they are critical of the current administration. Our elections, scandal free for the most part, reflect the true will of the people. In short, we are free.
Every person has the opportunity to create their own mindset, their own set of circumstances and then apply enough energy to turn their desires into reality. Our economy is not perfect and never will be. There have always been cycles of the ups and downs. However, in the end, the freedom to make choices in business, the freedom to reinvent, change direction, whatever it takes, has always gotten us through. Not only that, times like these have made our country stronger.
Einstein gave us the answer to our problems when he declared E equals MC squared. This means that if you put enough energy into the system then you will create mass or in this case business results.
Prior to Einstein Charles Darwin made a significant contribution when he said that nature selects those organisms that are able to adapt to changes in a way that favors survival.
What adaptations do you need to make? Do you need to learn and sell a new product? Do you need to develop relationships with other experts and serve each others clients? Do you need to upgrade your education, certifications and licensing? What adaptations to the changing marketplace do you need to make?
If you can work your way out of a problem then you don’t have a problem. You have the freedom to control your focus, your preparation and your effort. Or, you can give that freedom away to others and allow them to dictate your state of mind for you.
I hope you take the time in your celebration of the Fourth of July to remember that at your business, your home, at the ballot box, you are free to make choices. There are not many in the world who can say that!
A friend of mine knows that I am writing a new book on weight control. In fact, he is creating the cover. He sent me an article titled, “MSG, a Slow Poison” which is about MSG causing obesity and he wanted to know my opinion about the article.
Here are some of the article highlights.
The food additive MSG (Mono-Sodium Glutamate) is a slow poison. MSG hides behind 25 or more names, such as Natural Flavoring.” MSG is even in your favorite coffee from Tim Horton’s and Starbucks coffee shops!
I wondered if there could be an actual chemical causing the massive obesity epidemic, and so did a friend of mine, John Erb. He was a research assistant at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and spent years working for the government. He made an amazing discovery while going through scientific journals for a book he was writing called “The Slow Poisoning of America”.
In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies. No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese, so scientists have to create them. They make these creatures morbidly obese by injecting them with MSG when they are first born.
The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats (and perhaps humans) to become obese. They even have a name for the fat rodents they create: “MSG-Treated Rats.”
When I heard this, I was shocked. I went into my kitchen and checked the cupboards and the refrigerator. MSG was in everything – the Campbell’s soups, the Hostess Doritos, the Lays flavored potato chips, Top Ramen, Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper, Heinz canned gravy, Swanson frozen prepared meals, and Kraft salad dressings, especially the “healthy low-fat” ones.
The items that didn’t have MSG marked on the product label had something called “Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein,” which is just another name for Monosodium Glutamate.
It was shocking to see just how many of the foods we feed our children everyday are filled with this stuff. MSG is hidden under many different names in order to fool those who read the ingredient list, so that they don’t catch on. (Other names for MSG are “Accent, “Aginomoto,” “Natural Meat Tenderizer,” etc.)
But it didn’t stop there….however I will. The article continued to say that the food manufacturers are aware of the scientifically proven addictive properties of MSG and in fact that is one of the reasons that they use this ingredient, to get people addicted to their product.
This blog is not about the ill effects of MSG. This blog is about accountability. The information about MSG supports a person going victim and blaming food manufacturers for their obesity.
My response to my friend was the MSG is not the cause of obesity. YOU are! Obesity is a
behavioral issue. It’s about your habits, how much food you eat and whether you exercise or not.
I am not making a statement about MSG. My statement is about taking full responsibility
for the results in your life. You are the cause of all that you experience, not Mac Donalds or food manufacturers.
Now I’m not saying that this should be allowed to continue. Of course we need to have
protection for our food supply and to ensure compliance with healthy ingredients. However,
W T F
Yes, I said it. This doesn’t stand for Why the Face or Where’s the Food. It stands for
“What’s the Focus?”
If the focus is on blaming food manufacturers, or fast food chains, or the media then it’s not likely that you are going to take full responsibility for the results that you are creating in your health.
I’d recommend that you apply W T F to every aspect of your life. What is your focus in your business? Are you focusing on the economy, the scandals and frauds that are happening, the problems in Europe? Are you focusing on world events, interest rates, the real estate market, inflation, the job market, consumer buying or any other “indicators”?
The focus needs to be on the most productive “required daily activities” that you need to
be doing to give you the highest probability of predicted results, period.
When I asked the attendees from an elite level conference that I recently presented to, the International Forum, now Forum 400, what their biggest challenge was they said seeing enough people. That’s what they were focused on!
At the end of your day ask yourself the question, “what did I focus on for most of the day?” If the answer is your most productive actions then the results are a certainty.
Don’t get seduced into being a victim and get sidetracked in terms of what you are paying
attention to. Take full responsibility for the results in your life. Take full responsibility for what you pay attention to on a moment by moment basis. Your family and the families of your clients will thank you!
How to Make Disappointment Hurt Less
Would it be of value to you to learn how to influence your perception in such a way that your many disappointments just aren’t as severe as they may possibly be? For most the answer is yes.
Noted biologist, Benjamin Lipton, states that “reality is in the mind of the observer”. This means that you have the choice to decide what meaning you will give to everything that happens to you.
You can make up any “story” about what happens. Quantum theory supports this stating that reality exists only in states of potential outcomes, possibilities, and that it is up to you to select the outcome interpretation of your choice. Once that selection is made all other possibilities cease to exist.
Consider the following.
John has a successful retirement planning business. He has an in-house marketing department, a client services department, administrative staff, an in-house bookkeeper and a receptionist. John has five additional advisors working in his organization. They appreciate the fact that that their clients are the firms clients and they sign non-compete and non disclosure agreements.
Fast forward two years later. Two of the advisors leave the firm and take almost all of their clients with them. John is devastated and initiates a law suit.
John is more than devastated. He is mad! He has resentment and wants revenge! John is doing what I call “Double Duty”. Not only have the facts occurred, two advisors left the firm and breached their agreement by illegally taking clients and assets with them, and he is also upset about it.
John is suffering from the three R’s, Resentment, Resistance, Revenge. This will impact his health as his body sees this as real threat to his well being and creates the release of peptides and destructive hormones that take a heavy toll on his physiology. John needs to let go!
This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t continue to do what he needs to do for his lawsuit and for the possibility of communicating with his clients in the hopes of keeping them. What it means is that he doesn’t allow this to upset him at the same time.
Here is how you gain control of your physiology and your thoughts. The first step is to realize that whatever happens to you is neutral. It has no meaning. It is your internal dialogue, your own thinking, that gives meaning to everything that happens to you.
You can assign any type of meaning to anything that happens to you. What are some possible interpretations that John can have related to his advisors leaving? Try these positive meanings:
- This is a lesson to me about developing a relationship with my advisors and with the clients that may have prevented this from happening in the first place.
- These clients were never loyal to the firm and although I’m sorry to see them leave I realize that life will be easier without them. Plus they were never a source of referrals anyway.
- This will be the motivation that I need to replace these assets and further grow my business.
Here are some negative interpretations:
- How dare these advisors leave me and steal my clients. They will pay for this.
- I’ll call every client and tell them that this was an illegal action and that they are the firms clients and insist that they stay.
- This is terrible horrible and awful and I’m calling my broker dealer.
All of these are possible realities waiting for you to make a selection. Which set of meanings best serves you?
Here is a model for you to use for future disappointments. Visualize three circles. Circle one, something happens.
This is neutral. There is no meaning in whatever happens.
You are stuck in traffic-it doesn’t mean anything until you say so.
Someone lies to you-it doesn’t mean anything until you say so.
Someone doesn’t do what they said they would do- it doesn’t mean anything until you say so.
A large case you are working on gets stopped because one of the clients’ other advisors doesn’t understand how you are using a large premium financed insurance policy inside of an off shore super freeze trust to protect an estate from tax liability- it doesn’t mean anything until you say so.
You have a teacher conference for your son or daughter in school and the teacher is rude- it doesn’t mean anything until you say so.
You travel cross country for a company conference that gets cancelled while you are in the air due to a bad weather forecast- it doesn’t mean anything until you say so.
The list can go on and on. Circle one is just the facts. Something happened. Circle two is where you make up a story where you give meaning to the facts. Circle three is where you live your life as if your meaning was true. If this leads to the three R’s, the I say change your story.
You live in a world where multiple realities exist so it is up to you to take responsibility for the story you make up about what the facts mean. The facts are that two advisors leave your company and take their clients with them. That’s it. It is not terrible, horrible and awful. It just is.
The fact is that you are in traffic. Period! You are going to be late for an appointment, you hate wasting time, this is terrible is all a conversation that you are making up that does nothing for you but make you upset.
Here is a tough love core principle: “I am the source of all that I experience-versus going victim and blaming others.”
You are the only one who can make you upset. Again, I’ll emphasize that this doesn’t mean that you don’t take the appropriate actions, but what it does mean is that you don’t do double duty. Not only does the fact occur but you are also upset about it. Change your story. Find to benefit or positive out of everything that happens to you. There are two structures in the limbic area of the brain called the septum and the amygdale. When the electrical activity is in the amygdale you have a shut down of the receptor sites for endorphins and dopamine, the feel good chemicals that the brain naturally releases.
When the electrical activity is in the amygdale you are upset and are not able to be your best. However, you can shift which area of your brain is being stimulated simply by shifting your thoughts. This is much more than wishful thinking or unrealistically positive thinking. This is based on physiology. You owe it to yourself and to your clients to be the best that you can be. You are a protector of lifestyles and dreams. It is your responsibility to be at your best. Protect your thinking and select powerful interpretations. It’s your choice.
Imagine this as the lead story of a national magazine, Instinct Trumps Intentions. As I go throughout the country speaking on performance excellence I continue to observe thousands of people who intend to lose weight, make more money, improve relationships, start a new hobby, learn something new, volunteer for a charitable cause, yet they continue to do nothing. Why is that?
This seems like a simple question yet it has multiple answers. Science would argue that the cause of procrastination and avoidance lies in cortical limbic loops. The outer cortex of the brain, the executive thinking part of the brain generates the intention. It then sends action potentials through thousands of neural networks as it searches for the activities necessary to achieve the desired results. Next it conducts an instant search for any links to pain of those activities by sending an avalanche of neuronal excitation to the limbic area of the brain, the amygdale, (fear and arousal) and on to the hippocampus for memory retrieval.
The result is unavoidable and predictable. For every action that you need to take there will be a link to a previous or anticipated experience of discomfort. Your brain then magnifies this to become a catastrophic threat to your very survival so you are left with only one move, avoid.
Psychology now steps to the forefront and you justify your avoidance with rationalization and you never know that you are doing so. This is the instinct that is present in all of life called the “survival mechanism”.
Your instincts just didn’t show up today. They are the result of millions of years of genetic selection for those traits that give you a competitive advantage and increase your chances of achieving your purpose for living-to pass on your genes.
I call this evolutionary debris. At one point in time every instinct that you have gave you this competitive advantage. Throughout evolution you are a part of gene selection. It is natural for you to view the world through the lens of negativity, fear, doubt, distrust and blame. It favors survival to see the danger in a circumstance and avoid it long before you are conscious of doing so.
This is a currently hotly debated topic in the scientific field. I’m referring to free will versus determinism. In other words, who controls the choices you make. Do you think you do?
Numerous studies display precognition. Scientists armed with a functional MRI device can see in real time how your brain is firing. Long before you are conscious of making the choice to press button B on a computer your motor cortex has already fired. Your choices are subconscious processes based on genetic coding and previous neural networks of memories of past experiences.
This process is what enables survival. A caveman looks up and sees a lion. Long before he is conscious of the danger he has initiated his fight or flight response. He is fifty yards away in a full sprint before he becomes conscious that his life is in danger. These subconscious networks, cortical limbic loops of emotional memories are one hundred times faster than any conscious processing.
The reason for this is because the cave man who couldn’t generate this preconscious response and stood there wondering what the lion had in mind never lived to pass on their slow moving network.
What does all of this mean to you? It means that your work is cut out for you if you want to create new habits and enjoy new results. All of your genetic wiring is geared to safety and to staying the same. The word that describes this is homeostasis. Homeo is Latin for same and stasis means state. Our evolution has us stay the same. Keep the same body temperature and initiate a microscopic assault on any foreign tissue that enters the body.
This is good. If you inhale the Ebola virus you will certainly be thankful that your body immediately begins a release of antibodies into your lungs. You don’t have to participate in this non conscious process. You don’t need to understand it or believe in it. It is an instinct.
Suppose you need a kidney transplant or you will die. That’s a foreign tissue. Will your body realize that an exception needs to be made? The answer is no. Your instinct will trump your intention. You intend to live and your instinct sees the foreign tissue as a threat to be attacked to save your life.
Can you have a kidney transplant and still survive? Yes, but not without an intervention. The intervention are drugs that suppress the immune system. If you are ever in a situation where instinct is in conflict with intention then instinct will always win unless there is an intervention.
For example, intend to run up a flight of stairs as fast as you can without breathing heavy and increasing your heart rate. Can’t be done.
Imagine I have an air puff gun and I puff a blast of air into your eye. You will instinctively blink. Now let’s do this again. I tell you what I’m going to do and I ask you to give me your word that you will not blink. Here we go. What happens? Instinct trumps intentions, you blink.
So you intend to create an alliance with an estate planning attorney, an accountant, a realtor, a lender and a property and casualty specialists. Your intentions are to send some introductory emails, set up some lunch appointments, select your team and then develop a seminar marketing plan for the rest of the year that you will each market to your own data base.
You have your assistant go through your book and identify all of your clients other advisors on record. You call them first. The first call you find that you can’t get past the receptionist. The second call you get through but the attorney doesn’t care that you share the same client and is too busy to spend time with you. The call after that the accountant says you’re the fifth advisor to call him and he’s not interested. You get a series of no’s ranging from rude to apathy.
Now your brain has had a steady firing in the area called the anterior cingulate. This is the area that gets fired on when you are in real physical pain. Rejection is viewed by your brain no differently then physical pain. Rejection is physical pain.
You intend to continue to make contacts to make this happen. You love the idea of servicing each others clients and referrals as the category expert. Your instinct however is to avoid pain. So you get very busy with other priorities and just don’t have the time to pursue this but you will get to it later.
Try this. Use a behavioral contract. Allow your instincts to continue to rule your behavior. The most powerful instinct that you have is the avoidance of pain and the seeking of comfort.
Make a specific commitment to a small part of that intention. Commit to making 30 minutes of calls in this area on Monday and add a penalty of $100 if you don’t. Now look at what you just mobilized. Your brain will now make an instant pain comparison. Visualize the scales of justice. There is the pain of the activity versus the pain of the penalty for non performance $100. Your compelling human instinct is to avoid the highest level of perceived pain. If the highest level of pain is the $100 fine then you will be compelled to avoid it. You avoid this high level of pain by doing what you said you would do and making the calls.
Now you have aligned instincts with intentions. Until you do this you will be like a dog. Do dogs love bones? No, they love meat but they settle for bones. Don’t settle. Use behavioral contracting.
What Motivates You? What are You Committed to?
When I ask that question I get a variety of replies such as, my family, doing the right thing and world peace. For the commitment part I hear answers such as prosperity, health, to give to others, gratitude.
This may be the illusion that people are operating under but let me restate that it is an illusion, a lie. If you want to know what someone is committed to all you have to do is look at what they have.
If a person is miserable then they are committed to misery. If a person is in a struggling relationship then they are committed to being in a struggling relationship.
If a person lives in clutter and chaos then that’s what they are committed to. All the rest is a lie!
I’m having this conversation with you without judgment. This is not good or bad, it just is. It’s all about genetic coding and pattern recognition. We are genetically coded to recognize what can hurt us and to avoid. We are coded to save time in our response by recognizing patterns and responding well before we are conscious of the threat.
Our five plus million year’s evolution has us coded for survival, not prosperity. Any trait that favors survival, thus the passing of our genes is copied and passed on.
Consider these numbers. It has been estimated that we have 100 billion brain cells, each capable of tens of thousands of interactions with other neurons. We are bombarded with 100 billion bits of information per second. Of this we pay attention to only 2000 bits of which seven can make it into our short term memory and we can take action on only one input at a time.
Humans have a very limited perceptual capacity. We can see only certain wavelengths of light whereas other species can see frequencies that are beyond our abilities. Same with sound, hearing and all of our senses. Since we have such a limited capacity evolution has taken our small bandwidth of perceptual ability and dedicated it to seeing danger. We are predisposed to be negative and see what can hurt us, not opportunities.
I can put what motivates all of us into one phrase;
All human performance is the avoidance of pain or the seeking of comfort.
This is what dictates what makes it into our bandwidth of awareness. We are coded to see danger. Our brain is designed to recognize the highest level of perceived pain and then compel us to avoid.
So what does this mean to you on a daily basis?
It means that you will have a difficult time having your actions match your intentions. I’ll assume that you have a business plan for next year. You have your goals, objectives, and activities that you need to accomplish to reach those goals.
Now you plan for the next seven days. Before you can take an action your brain searches like a computer for any link of those actions to pain. When you find the link to pain, and you will, your brain compels you to avoid and then you justify the avoidance with rationalization and you never know that you are doing this. You think that the truth is you were just too busy!
Do dogs love bones?
No, they love MEAT but they settle for bones. We are all avoidance machines. We avoid making prospecting calls, calling on potential high net worth house holds, developing strategic alliances with attorneys and other financial experts all in the name of being too busy.
The reality is that we are settling for mediocrity because of human nature’s limitations. Make not mistake about it, we are all driven to avoid pain and seek comfort.
You can not fight this human genetic coding. All you can do is surrender to it and use it to your advantage. Here’s how.
Identify one activity that you give your word that you will do by the end of the week. This should be an activity that you are capable of doing. It must be realistic. It should also be an activity that you most likely would resist tacking action on and would not do without some special treatment.
Now let’s leverage human nature. Since we know that our genetic coding is to recognize the highest level of perceived pain and avoid it, let’s leverage this by placing a higher pain on the activity.
For example, imagine that your commitment is to call a wealthy individual who is on the board of the city hospital foundation along with you. This person knows who you are, what you do yet is not a client.
Your brain searches this activity and links it to being very dangerous. That’s right; being rejected or embarrassed is viewed as dangerous. You are therefore compelled to avoid this dangerous activity and then you justify with rationalization.
This is the way that it should be unless there is an intervention.
Let’s change your approach. Send someone an email that you will call this person by the end of the week and if you don’t you will pay them $100. Send it to me; I’ll hold you accountable for $100! (email@example.com)
Now your brain acts in this manner. The outer cortex is the executive thinking area and it contemplates making the call to this person. Immediately there is a connection to the hypothalamus (memory of past experiences) where you search for any past experiences of prospecting and danger. You find an example of great rejection and there is a shot of excitement in the limbic area of the brain referred to as the limbic system or more specifically a structure called the amygdale. This is the emotional area of the brain and it creates this tremendous non-conscious command to avoid. This is called a cortical limbic loop.
After you place a $100 consequence on this action, you will have a different cortical limbic loop. You will still be avoiding the highest level of perceived pain but this time the avoidance will be the avoidance of the fine by taking the action and you make the call.
Guess what, it was easy. The prospect tells you he is glad that you called.
Try this. It is called Behavioral Contracting. It works almost 100% of the time. Avoid your way to the top. Remember, I’m only an email away.
The average Thanksgiving meal equals 3,000 grams of fat and the average person takes in a daily total caloric intake of 4,500 calories.
You can search anything on the internet these days so I Googled “How to Avoid Overeating on Thanksgiving”. There were lots of articles, comments, stories and tips including the following;
1. Eat throughout the day prior to the main meal.
2. Exercise before the main meal.
3. Drink two or three glasses of water before the main meal.
4. Stick to single portions and leave food on your plate.
5. Don’t have seconds.
All of these suggestions seemed very reasonable. Except for one thing. They won’t work! Being reasonable is the lowest level of human consciousness!
The above 5 suggestions are not likely to have an impact on your emotional mind. I like to emphasize three areas of the brain. Here is an analogy.
Make a fist with both hands and put your knuckles together so the heels of your hands are touching. Roll your hands so you are looking at the top of your knuckles. This represents the outer cortex of the brain. This is the area that is responsible for rational thought, executive decision making and analytical thinking.
Open your hands and the fingers represent the deep area of the brain called the limbic system. This is the oldest area of the brain that is often referred to as the reptilian brain. It is the brain of our ancestors. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for emotional responses, fear, avoidance, disgust and arousal.
The wrists represent the brain stem, the autonomic nervous system, breathing and heart rate.
The above suggestions about overeating only appeal to the outer cortex, the thinking area of the brain. This also refers to the left brain, or the conscious analytical mind. The conscious brain agrees that it is a good idea to limit caloric intake.
Remember the fingers in the brain analogy, the limbic system? The limbic system is genetically coded for feast or famine. The limbic system begins a hormonal cascade that signals the area of the brain called the appestat to delay its signals to the fat cells to release the hormone leptin. When leptin is in the blood stream you feel satisfied and stop eating. However, this primitive food scarcity mechanism of delay enables you to binge so you can survive the famine and it still operates as if your life was in danger. You can not be logical or reasonable around your eating at Thanksgiving. You have to do battle on the appropriate battle ground. You’ve got to address the emotional limbic area of the brain.
Here is how you can win this game called overeating at Thanksgiving.
1. Get MAD!
2. Declare the commitment. (Cortex)
3. Add accountability through the use of a behavioral contract. (Cortical limbic loop)
Let’s take these one at a time. First, get MAD. Make A Decision! You’ve got to understand your “why”. Why bother eating sensibly at one of maybe two times a year where you can allow yourself to overeat.
You might decide that you can overeat on Thanksgiving and Christmas and then leave it at that. This would be a fine decision. Have as much as you want. You can get back on track next week. If this is your approach then you do not need to read this article. You are fine, no judgment, enjoy.
However, you might also think that Thanksgiving is not an excuse to get off of your plan and disrupt your healthy eating habits. If your decision is to stay within your plan then read on.
By the way, I congratulate you for either decision. It is a very weak position to be indecisive.
Step one: Make a decision.
Step two: Declare the commitment.
Specifically declare what you are committed to. Are you only going to have one plate, no seconds, whatever your decision is declare it specifically. Someone else needs to know exactly what you are committing to.
Next you will need to appeal to the emotional part of the brain, the limbic system. The limbic system is like a radar sensing environment. It is constantly monitoring the inputs coming in from the outer cortex and all of the senses for any threats to survival.
You have a lifetime of what are called cortical limbic loops where just the thinking of taking an action is linked by the hypothalamus to previous threatening and dangerous experiences of pain. This constant dance occurs on a subconscious level and is constantly showing up in your life as avoidance. Unfortunately there is also another step of rationalization where you justify the avoidance and never realize that you are doing so.
The brain is genetically coded to find and respond to the highest level of perceived pain, always, just like your life depended on it. That is because at one time during human evolution the ability to recognize pain and avoid it was necessary for survival.
After you have declared your commitment now you must engage the limbic system to compel you to abide by your commitment. The commitment is in the cortex now you must engage fear to drive you to avoid, but to avoid over eating. You do this in step three.
1. Get MAD!
2. Declare the commitment.
3. Add accountability through the use of a behavioral contract.
You must engage the avoidance power of the brain by having a high pain as a consequence for non performance. There must be a penalty if you don’t do what you said you would do. This penalty must be perceived as a higher pain than the pain of not allowing yourself to overeat. Your brain is designed to compel you to avoid the highest level of perceived pain. If you told another person that if you had seconds on Thanksgiving then you would pay them $100 I’ll bet that you would have only one serving on Thanksgiving!
This is a behavioral contract. Here are the dynamics;
Specific Declaration + Accountability = Elite Performance
Accountability has two parts. The first part is the check in. Someone outside of yourself checks in with you. Did you do what you said you would do?
The second part is the big one. There must be an enforceable consequence for non performance. This consequence must be the highest level of perceived pain. If it is then human nature will compel you to avoid overeating. It really is that simple.
Try it out and see what happens. Can’t find someone to hold you accountable? Use me. I’m only an email away, and $100 if you don’t do what you say you will do. (firstname.lastname@example.org) I’ll bet you won’t find this recommendation anywhere else on the internet!
The alarm rings at 3:50 am. You swing your hand over and press the snooze button without opening your eyes. Settling back into your warm and comfortable bed you notice how sweet it is to continue to sleep.
The alarm rings at 4:00 am and you repeat the process. This goes on until 5:30 am when you make the decision that this will be a non-workout day.
This is a worldwide problem. Why is that? I’m going to answer that question and give you a solution.
The problem is human nature. There exists an undeniable genetic code that translates into a compelling instinct:
All Human Performance is the Avoidance of Pain or the Seeking of Comfort.
This is the code of life. This is what motivates every human being. As a species we are very limited in our perceptual ability. We can see only certain frequencies of wavelengths of light, hear only a limited frequency distribution of sound, in fact, all of our senses have limitations. Since we have these limitations, evolution has genetically designed us to recognize the highest threats to our survival, the most potentially painful and dangerous experiences and to avoid them without thinking. This is called a cortical limbic loop.
We are predisposed to recognize our most dangerous and painful threats and then compelled to avoid them.
We don’t have an option here. This is an instinct that does not request our compliance, it compels it. We are avoidance machines!
We also have language. Humans are “meaning making machines”. We give meaning to everything that happens in our lives. It is rare that we accept things or events as just being. We are constantly flipping from the past to the future and having a dialogue about what we are experiencing.
Here’s how this works. You have a goal of weight loss. You intend to wake up at 3:50 am and exercise. You are motivated to do this. You’re committed. You set the alarm for 3:50 am and go to sleep with the greatest of intentions.
The alarm rings at 3:50 am. Your brain immediately goes through a search like a computer looking for any link to pain or any threat associated with the activity. Exercise is hard. You might be tired throughout the day unless you sleep in. It’s cold outside. You have found the links to pain.
Next, you are compelled to avoid. You can’t help it. The trigger has already occurred. Then language comes in and you have an internal dialogue that justifies your avoidance. You never consciously come into conflict. You rationalize and you don’t know that you’re doing it.
The purpose of rationalization is to protect you from feeling guilty for not doing what you said you would do. The method of rationalization is to justify your avoidance.
You start to think that you’re over training and an equally important part of physical fitness is rest. You pay attention to the pain you have in your back and you remember the last time you worked out through that type of pain your back went out and you lost several days of production. You count how many days you have already worked out this week and you justify that you can make it up tomorrow.
The solution lies in understanding how the brain works. This would involve an examination of the reticular activating system. The reticular formation as it is called is a bundle of densely packed nerve cells located in the central core of the brainstem. Roughly the size of a little finger, the reticular formation runs from the top of the spinal cord into the middle of the brain. This area of tightly packed nerve cells contains nearly 70% of the brain’s estimated 200 billion nerve cells-or a total of over 140 billion cells.
The reason for this tremendous concentration of brainpower is because the R.A.S. is your front line of defense and is an absolute protector of your survival. The R.A.S. instantly recognizes friend or foe and starts the necessary physiological and psychological response.
You already have a default program coding the R.A.S. That coding is the search and recognition of perceived danger and then the activation of what is referred to as the “survival mechanism” of avoidance and rationalization. This is an instinct, not an option. You will be compelled to avoid all that you perceive as painful, threatening or dangerous.
Reality is not an issue here. It doesn’t matter weather the threat is real or not. Your perception is your reality. Rejection from sales calls is not a real threat yet that perception keeps many sales people average as they avoid prospecting calls and then justify how busy they are. It’s the same process going on. Your brain does not differentiate between what is real or imagined. You are an avoidance machine, it’s an instinct.
There is good news. You can have an intervention. You can influence what the R.A.S. drives you to pay attention to. The solution lies in surrendering to avoidance. Surrender to the ways of human nature. Ride the horse the direction it is headed. The way that you do this is through Behavioral Contracting™.
Consider the following formula for excellence through a behavioral contract:
Specific Declarations + Accountability = Elite Performance
Specifically make a decision about what you want and why. Answer the question, “Why bother?” Next ask yourself, “What are the actions I need to take to reach this goal?” Follow that question with “What actions will I take over the next seven days?”
Now, you’re almost ready to influence the R.A.S. but there is another major part still missing. That would be accountability. Accountability has two parts. The first part is the check in, “Did you do what you said you would do?” This must come from another person outside of you.
The “check in” is not enough however. You must have the next part of accountability and this is the part that will influence what you pay attention to. The second part of accountability is an enforceable painful consequence for non-performance.
The consequence is the key. It must be more painful then the perceived pain embedded within the activity itself. For example, what is more painful, getting up early in the morning and exercising or paying $100.00 to another person if you don’t? As you’re lying in bed and the alarm rings at 3:50 am, your brain searches for the highest perceived level of pain. Instantly it notices your Seratonin level is high from sleeping throughout the night, it’s warm under the covers, exercise is hard, it would be so nice just to sleep in and roll over and hit the snooze button. However, the brain continues to search for the highest level of perceived pain and you make the association of how painful it would be to have to pay a fine of $100 for not getting up and you perceive that as the highest level of pain. Now, you are compelled to get up and do what you said you would do. You can’t help it. Human nature is making you avoid the highest level of pain. You are a perfect avoidance machine.
This is an undeniable intervention that will predispose you to find the opportunity to take the action that avoids the penalty. Use behavioral contracting and you will see immediate results. Apply this to one activity and watch yourself avoid your way to accomplishment. I’m only an e-mail away for accountability.
I love the phrase from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “what you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say!”
Almost half of American adults make one or more new years resolutions every year and fail. That’s probably the reason that the other half of the population doesn’t even bother.
If you keep reading I’ll show you why new years resolutions fail and I’ll give you a strategy to ensure that they stick!
The most common resolutions are about weight loss, exercise and smoking. I see this first hand in all of my speaking engagements. When I give the audience a chance to make commitments almost always the commitments that they make are for their health.
I can remember speaking at an elite top producer’s insurance conference. These were the top of the field for insurance sales. They had an opportunity to share commitments for actions that they needed to take to reach their goals. So I’m expecting to hear about putting on seminars, prospecting for strategic alliances, or meeting for financial reviews with their high net worth clients.
Instead what do I hear?
“I’m committed to losing weight.”
Now I have an opportunity to coach this person in front of the entire room. So I say, “What does that mean?” This allows me to introduce a concept that will dramatically impact your final outcome, “be specific”. I then teach the audience the concept of “precision probing”.
A big reason that commitments don’t turn into long-term habits and actions is because the commitment is not specific enough. The precision probing model will solve this. It’s simple, who, what, when, where and then add the word specifically.
So back to “I’m committed to losing weight?” I ask myself, what don’t I know about this statement and I ask the client in the format of blank specifically.
“How much specifically?”
The client says “I want to lose forty pounds”.
This is still a vague statement so I ask “by when specifically?” The client gives me an answer, let’s say by the end of the year.
This brings up another problem with new years resolutions. “It’s the starting that stops most people”. The end of the year is too far out. It’s got to be very short term and a small step. So I ask, “What does this mean for this week?”
The client replies that they would like to lose one pound. This seems reasonable so I ask “how are you going to do this?”
The client responds with another vague response, “I’ll eat less and exercise more.”
I say, what the heck does that mean? Any time you hear the words less or more, qualifiers, challenge them with the precision probing model of blank specifically. So I focus on one thing, exercise. “What specifically will you do for exercise this week?”
The client says, “I’ll work out five times this week.”
Now as a coach I could go several directions on this one. What don’t I know? What does the client mean by work out? Again, not being specific. However, to save time I go a different route. I check for reality. “How many times did you exercise last week?”
The most common response I get back is 0. “How about the week before that?” Again, another 0, and before that 0 etc.
This is a third major reason that new years resolutions fall flat on their faces, unrealistic commitments. I explain to the group that you can’t commit to workout five times when your history is 0 followed by 0 followed by 0! Then I ask “would it be good if you worked out four times this week?” Most of the time the client says “Yes!” Then I ask if working out three times would be good and again I hear yes!
This client is making an unrealistic commitment and has just about a zero chance of succeeding. You can almost guarantee that there will be circumstances, obstacles, unscheduled priorities, interruptions, that all get in the way preventing this person from doing what they said they would do.
Yes there is hope. So, let’s say that the client agrees to a minimum level commitment of working out two days this week. They’d like to work out four times but are only committing to and being held accountable to two. They can go ahead and reset their baseline by working out four or five times and then commit higher next week but they only have the behavioral credibility to commit to the lower level of two times.
Now this brings up another key component for successful new years resolutions, take small, realistic steps.
However, this too is doomed for failure unless……….
There needs to be an intervention to compensate for human nature. We are all genetically coded to avoid the highest level of perceived pain and seek comfort. We are genetically coded to see threats, to be negative. We are not coded to look in a meadow and appreciate the beauty. We are coded instead to look in a meadow and see the lion that is barely visible. We are coded for survival. We are coded to be fat, not thin because of the scarcity of food for caveman we are coded to binge, to eat well beyond our nutritional needs and to store the excess as fat.
Human evolution does this by delaying the appestat area of the brain from signaling the fat cells that we have had enough caloric intake and therefore suppress hunger. This delay favors survival enabling caveman to eat more because he may not have a protein source like this captured deer for another week.
This is not appropriate for us today but we still have the primate instinct. In fact, all of our evolutionary instincts are to recognize what can hurt us and to compel avoidance. This is not based on the truth, it’s simply based on this no long appropriate human survival instinct.
For example, the flight or fight mechanism will save your life if you see a bear. Your breathing will increase, you will get a shot of adrenalin, cortisol, your blood circulation rises, blood leaves the extremities for the major muscle groups so if you’re clawed you won’t bleed to death. Digestion stops, endorphins are released so you won’t feel pain. You are instinctively put into a state where you can run as fast as possible or stay and fight as strong as possible.
This automatic response even occurs precognitive. In other words, before you are even aware that you are looking at a dangerous and hungry bear you are already running away. This instinct favors survival so you live to pass it on.
However, the problem is that these protective instincts occur regardless of the truth and validity of the threat. For example, you are driving and someone cuts you off in traffic. You get the exact fight or flight response physiologically but it’s not a true threat. You are sitting in your car. Your life is not being threatened but you respond as if it was.
The key is to recognize what the real competitor is to your reaching your goals, human nature. You are genetically coded to recognize the highest level of pain and avoid it for comfort. You are an avoidance machine!
Once you recognize this you can work with it and stop fighting it. Here’s what this means for your commitment to exercise two times this week.
You make the commitment, exercise two times. (And you’re specific about what exercise means.)
So this meeting the first issue, it is specific. You also meet the second consideration, it’s a short term commitment, the next seven days, and it is a small step with specific actions.
You also pass the third test, it’s realistic.
So why won’t you do it consistently?
Because this is only half of a commitment. You haven’t acknowledged the failure reason number four, recognizing the true competition, human nature and having an intervention.
Human nature states that all human performance is the avoidance of pain or the seeking of comfort. Your brain is designed to search like a computer to find any links of your commitment to pain, and it will find it. Here are a few;
1. Exercise hurts.
2. You’re tired.
3. You have aches and pains.
4. You don’t have enough time.
5. It’s inconvenient.
Your brain instantly links your commitment to exercise to life threatening pain. This triggers the survival mechanism and you are compelled to avoid. This then impacts your perceptions. You don’t see opportunities to exercise, instead you focus how you have been genetically coded to focus on the perceived threat and you avoid it. The brain doesn’t say that you’re not really tired, it just holds it as if it is a life threatening event and compels you to avoid. When you avoid you will then justify the avoidance with rationalization and never think that you’re avoiding. Unless…..
You implement an intervention.
One more example before the intervention.
I was sitting in a real estate office many years ago and this is what I saw. A new lender walks into the office carrying her rate sheets. She was trained to go into real estate offices and meet with the realtors who can give her their buyers. She was trained on how to approach them, what to say, and what to point out on the rate sheets, etc. She was trained on everything except on how to handle what came next.
The owner of the company saw her walk into the office. He came storming out of his office grabbed her business card, tore it up and threw it at her shouting this is how much I want to see you in my office, now get out! This poor woman left the office in tears.
Here is what happened mentally and physiologically for this lender. The activity of prospecting was linked to pain. The area of the brain that fires upon real physical pain, the anterior cingulate, also fires upon mental pain, in this case the tremendous rejection. Next the hypothalamus forms a memory and releases stress hormone between the outer cortex, the executive thinking part of the brain, the intentions area, and the amygdale, a part of the arousal, fear based limbic system buried deep in the brain. A cortical limbic loop is created and strengthens with the stress hormones. Now the next time this woman even thinks about calling on a real estate office this memory will be triggered and it will lead to the same physiological state that the woman was in when this first happened. This is called learned helplessness. This lender will not prospect again but will rationalize and justify why she is just too busy to call on this office.
Here it is, the intervention. It’s called behavioral contracting. Behavioral contracting is making a specific declaration (exercise two times, or call on this real estate office) plus accountability. Accountability has two parts. The first part is the check in. Someone outside of yourself checks in with you and verifies that you did what you said you would do. The second part is the consequence for non performance.
There must be a painful consequence if you don’t do what you said you would do. This consequence must be more painful than the pain of the activity. Now you are tapping into human natures’ genetic coding of avoiding the highest level of perceived pain for the comfort. If the highest level of pain is the consequence then you will be compelled to avoid. How do you avoid, by doing the activity you said you would do.
Try it yourself. If this realtor would put $1000 as a fine if she didn’t go into that office this week I promise you that the pain of losing the $1000 would far outweigh the perceived pain of the activity of going into the office. The bottom line, she will still be an avoidance machine, but she will be avoiding the penalty by doing the action.
Here is a summary of what stops new years resolutions from working. No, let me turn it around. Here is a summary of what ensures new years resolutions are kept:
1. Goals are specific.
2. Short term focus with small steps and specific activities.
3. Commitments are realistic and based on previously established behavior.
4. You recognize the true competitor, human nature and you have an intervention.
5. You use behavioral contracting-specific declaration plus accountability. Accountability equals the check in with an enforceable consequence (painful) for non performance.
Try this with just one new years resolution for one week at a time and you will be very happy with the result. Send me an email and I’ll hold you accountable, email@example.com and $100 if you don’t perform.
NOTE: My power point slides did not copy to this post. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send them to you. Three hour presentation.
Good morning. Good you’re excited, let’s begin.
Before I begin I have a few nuts and bolts to go over. I’ve got a bit less than three hours to be with you today. I know your industry very well. First, I’m a fan of the industry and a client. I also coach some of the top producers in the industry as well as a top asset protection and estate planning attorney so I get to see your industry from their perspective as well.
Even though I know the industry very well, I don’t know your individual set of circumstances. Despite that, what do you think the chances are that over the next two hours and 48 minutes that what you’re about to hear about behavioral will have a significant impact in your lives. What do you think the chances are, high or low?
…[audience shouts high]
Let me hear it again…[audience shouts even louder…high]
Actually it’s very low. It’s very low that this program will go beyond entertainment into impact. Then you might be asking, “why bother?”
The “why bother” is because it’s possible. It is possible that what you’re going to experience in the next 2 hours and 46 minutes can stick, can help you to influence what you pay attention to, to influence your habits. Is it likely, NO. Is it possible? YES and that’s what we’re going for, that possibility.
With that in mind I have simplified. There is only one take away. This is a behavioral dynamic that you didn’t have when you walked into the room that you will have when you leave. It is this one dynamic that has a chance to be significant.
I’ll ask you to put blinders on and imagine that I’m talking just to you. Imagine that this program is designed just for you. That’s right, I’m your personal one on one coach for the next 2 plus hours.
I also want to make a suggestion to your listening to the program. Please listen without judgment. Here’s an example. If I were to say to you that there is a very high correlation between being a decamillionaire and being in a health and fitness program, two thirds of the decamillionaires exercised regularly, and you are not in an exercise program, then to listen with judgment would be to say that you should be in an exercise program.
To listen without judgment would simply to observe that you are not doing something that highly successful people do, period. So no judgment.
Ok, let’s begin. I want to start off by telling you about my first flight in the clouds without an instructor. I was flying from John Wayne airport to a charity organization called Angel Flight in Santa Monica. I was bringing my marketing director. It was forecast to be a 1000 foot ceiling. What this means is that at 1000 feet 100% of the sky is covered with clouds. I was going to be in the clouds.
When I got to the airport it was cloudy. I did everything I needed to do to and then received clearance to hold short of the active runway. Finally the tower called my aircraft. I was hoping they were going to say we’re too busy for small aircraft on this cloudy day and to turn around and go back. They didn’t say that. They said, “cleared for takeoff!”
I rolled down the center line, reached lift off speed and up in the air I went. The higher I got the more clouds, 500 feet 800 feet finally 1000 feet and it was like someone put a blanket over my face at 1000 feet. Here’s what it looked like at 1000 feet.
Let’s take a closer look and here’s what I saw:
The problem with this is that when there is no visual reference you can’t tell what the aircraft is doing. That’s because we have very poor perceptual abilities. Let me show you how easy it is to deceive human perception.
Are these lines parallel or do they slope? It looks like they are slanting up and down but if you place a ruler under each line you will see that they are absolutely straight lines. You can’t trust human perception. Our
perceptions are limited. In reference to the black and white squares you can’t trust your beliefs. Here’s another;
Which line is longest? Again, it looks like to bottom line is longer but if you take your ruler you’ll see that they are exactly the same.
The human senses are limited and you don’t see the true picture until you change what you are in reference to. That is what this one behavioral dynamic that I mentioned to you will do. It will change your reference point.
I remember how nervous I was. I also remember saying to myself that I’ve been in this situation before with an instructor and that I’ve always flown the plane myself. Imagine that my passenger was a flight instructor. What kind of conversation would I be having? My flight instructor would be saying, stay on your system of instruments.
This is what will save my life:
I’ll talk about this one circled piece of equipment called the attitude indicator. Just by looking at this one instrument I can tell what the airplane is doing. If I see the miniature airplane in the blue and tilted to the right then I know I am in a climbing left turn. There is no other way that I can know that other than by staying on my system and following the instruments.
There is a reason that I mention this to you. Today I am giving you a system that if you follow it you will have predicable results just like myself as a pilot. I can’t be in reference to the clouds so I change my reference to my instruments. That’s what we are doing today-changing your behavioral reference to a system. This is a system of elite performance. This system will result in three words;
Peace of Mind.
What goes into having peace of mind? There are three parts of your life that must be fulfilled to have peace of mind. They are
If just one of those areas is not fulfilled you will not have peace of mind. So, let me ask you a question. How many of you are at least interested in improving your results in one of those areas? [audience raises their hands]
Who would you say your biggest competitor is to reaching your goals?
Is it the economy, the interest rate, the eroding forces on money, is tax issues, pending legislation, regulatory and compliance issues, your clients other advisors, the weather?
No, you are your biggest competitor. This program has two parts. The first part is to identify what does it mean to be my own biggest competitor and the second part is an intervention, a method of competing.
Let’s take a look at human nature. Here is the first aspect of human nature to examine.
The way that you THINK effects how you FEEL and that effects what you DO.
You and I are going to resist activities that we don’t feel like doing. For example, if you don’t feel like getting up at 3:50 am and going to the gym you’re not going to do it. If you don’t feel like staying on a diet you’re not going to do it. If you don’t feel like reading or getting gas in your car you’re not going to do it.
If you don’t feel like…..
Basically my first point says that you and I are going to resist doing activities that we don’t feel like doing.
Many times there are trainers in the room. Trainers ome up to me all the time and tell me that they agree with my first point. I ask them what do they use to enhance the results of their training. The most common response I get back is goal setting.
Goal setting doesn’t work! Goal setting is going to be a part of my recommendations but not by itself. If all you did is set goals here is what you would find;
The top line has your goals, your intentions. This is what you want to accomplish, your business plan. There is another word that goes on that line and that word is “potential”. Your potential is not relevant. The only thing that matters is what you actually do-the bottom line!
I want to examine why this happens. You have goals, and you have activities that you want to accomplish. Your goals might include first year commissions, AUM, new house holds, new assets under management, referrals, product goals, qualification goals, carrier trips, MDRT, Top of the Table, etc.
You have activities that you intend to accomplish and implement. For example,
You say you are going to prospect, you intend to prospect but you just get too BUSY!
You are all set to prospect and then something happens;
You intend to market, to prospect, to set appointments to see clients and you were just Too Busy!
I know is so easy to believe that the truth is that you were just too busy. However, remember my point that you can’t trust human perception. Let me show you another example.[magic trick-thumb tip for a brief video go to www.bobdavies.com and click on 7 minute video]
I know that it looked like my hands were empty but as you now know they were not. It’s the same thing here. You can’t trust you own interpretation of your circumstances and your observations that you are just too busy. You will have to change your reference.
Since perception is the key, let’s see how perceptions are formed. What is this line, concave or convex?
It depends on which side you’re standing. If you’re on the A side this is a concave line. If you are on the b side it’s convex. What’s the truth? The truth is not relevant. The only thing that matters is “does what you’re paying attention to support you in taking the actions that you said you would take?”
I’m going to give you a technique that is so powerful that if all you took away from this presentation is this technique it would be worth your time and money to attend. It’s called the “STOP” technique. Here is what it means. When you thinking is not supporting you simply say STOP and Flip to an opposite point of view. Here is an example.
I say that health is my number one value. I intend to get up at 3:50 am to exercise. I set the alarm. Do I get up at 3:50 am? It depends on which side I’m on. I might be on the a side and say “I’m tired. I’ve worked out 18 of the last 21 days. I need to sleep in”. That might be absolutely true. However, the truth doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is does my thinking support my taking the actions? So when you catch yourself thinking negatively, stop, and flip to an opposite point of view.
Here is the problem. You won’t do this. It takes too much energy to do so. Our brain is designed to conserve energy. Consider the following; what do you see:
In the first photo you probably see a dog. In the second a triangle. This is left over from evolutionary days. It favors survival to be able to see a pattern and recognize what it is and begin a response long before you have consciously figured out what it really is. This saves energy and favors survival.
Consider this problem:
The most common response that I get is C, can not be determined. Audiences want to know if Jodi is married or not. It doesn’t matter. The answer is Yes. This is an example of cognitive miser. It takes a lot of energy for the outer cortex, the area just above the bridge of the nose and between the ears, to work through this problem, so as soon as it thinks it has a solution, in this case, you need to know if Jodi is married, then it stops paying attention to the problem to save energy.
It takes too much energy to use the stop technique. However, good news, the one behavioral dynamic that I have for you will do the same thing as the stop technique, but automatically and using less energy.
I have a masters degree in psychology. What this means is that I’ve spent a lot of time teaching rats to press down levers to get food.
I want to take you into the laboratory and look at a simple scientific experiment that will help me to explain why this one behavioral dynamic that I have for you will work so powerfully. Here is what we have.
We have a wooden behavioral box and we place a rat in the center. We open the gates and the rat sees the food to the right and runs to the right. Here’s the next thing that we do. We place a metal grid on the floor and put a shock on the metal grid. This is what the metal grid looks like and this is what the rat looks like. We also place a device on the skull of the rat so we can see in real time how its’ brain is firing when it gets shocked.
We open the gates this time and the rat doesn’t know that there is a shock on the metal grid so it doesn’t pay attention to it. Instead its attention is on the goal, the food. It starts up to reach its goal and gets a tremendous shock. Instinctively it runs over to the other side with the comfortable rags. There is a built in instinct in the nervous systems of all of life called the survival mechanism. This is the part of the brain that is wired to recognize danger and to create the avoidance of the pain for the comfort.
We also are able to see the actual brain scan of when the rat is shocked and how it gets electrical activity in the cortex and the limbic area when it avoids. This is called a cortical limbic loop.
The last thing that we do is remove the shock from the metal grid but leave the grid. We put the rat back, open the gates and what does it do? Here is the question;
W T F ?
That’s right, what’s the focus. The rat focuses on the obstacle, the previous shock and not on the opportunity, the food. We also see the exact same brain scan in anticipation of the shock even though the rat is never actually shocked.
The rat will die of starvation but will not go over the metal grid again. This is called learned helplessness. Where is the pain in sales? It’s the rejection. Why is it so difficult for people to lose weight? Because the activities that they need to do are linked to pain.
When you have an activity that you want to do linked to pain the survival mechanism kicks in and compels you to avoid what is viewed as life threatening pain.
You and I also have built in instincts that compel avoidance and are no longer appropriate. I call this evolutionary debris. Here is an example. Imagine you are out taking a hike in the woods and you see a bear. Immediately your heart rate increases, breathing increases, your blood will leave the extremities and go to your major muscle groups, digestion stops, adrenalin, cortisol are released, you get a shot of endorphins. You get this physiological cocktail where you are ready to fight as strong as you can or run away as fast as you possibly can. This is called the “flight or fight” response. It is absolutely proper for this to occur in the face of danger. But here’s the problem. It doesn’t only occur when your life is really in danger, it occurs anytime there is a perceived threat real or not.
Imagine your driving your car and someone else cuts you off and gives you an obscene gesture. Your heart rate increases, breathing increases, your blood will leave the extremities and go to your major muscle groups, digestion stops, adrenalin, cortisol are released, you get a shot of endorphins but you are sitting in your car. This is not a real threat but you respond as if it was.
Another example of an inappropriate instinctual response is the appestat area of the brain. This is the part of the brain that signals the fat cells to release a hormone called leptin. When leptin is in the body you feel satisfied and stop eating. However, because of evolutionary needs it favored survival to delay the onset of leptin allowing you to eat more because you never know when your next meal is going to happen. However today this is not appropriate because we don’t have feast or famine and there is no evolutionary advantage to delay the release of feeling full.
Let me give you some notes about the survival mechanism. The survival mechanism overrides my desire to _______(reach my goals by taking action) and compels me to _________ (avoid).
However, we don’t notice that we are avoiding the actions that we need to be taking to be successful. Evolution strikes again. Let me ask you three confrontive questions;
- how many of you would agree that you know what to do that if you did it in your current set of circumstances that you would be more successful then you currently are?
- how many of you would agree that not only do you know what to do but you also are capable of doing it?
- how many of you would agree that not only do you know what to do, are capable of doing it but also that you are not doing everything that you could possibly be doing to be as successful as you could possibly be?
I appreciate your honesty. I can just feel the love in the room. However, it’s not likely that you are walking around in your lives feeling inadequate about your performances. If you were feeling inadequate how would your self image be, high or low?
That’s right, low. And what mood would you be in with a low self image? (audiences says depressed) Scientists have studied people who have been depressed and they find that there is a decrease in the white blood cell counts. What would happen to you if there is a decrease in your white blood cell count? (audience-get sick)
Our brain is designed for survival, not for prosperity. When you and I are avoiding uncomfortable activities we don’t see our avoidance. As humans we have very limited perception. Don’t worry about these numbers but we are bombarded by 100 million bits of information per second. To put it in perspective we have over 100 billion brain cells each capable of trillions of interactions. There are over 30,000 brain cells on the head of a pin. However, as humans we have very limited perception. We can’t smell ordors that dogs can. We can’t see images that are visiable to other species. This chart shows how much light is actually visible to humans, the narrow band in the center.
We can’t see on the subatomic scale. Einstein would say that this wall is not solid. He would say that there is more space then there is matter but that it is vibrating at such a frequency that is so fast that with our limited human perception we see it as a solid.
The closest example I can give you is that of an airplane propeller that spins so fast it looks like a solid plane.
Let me illustrate how limited human perception really is. Have you ever put a pen or pencil in your mouth? Watch what reveals itself beyond the realm of human limits of perception when you increase the magnification of the head of a pin;
As you can see there is quite a world beyond human perception. Since our perception is so limited, evolution has taken this small bandwidth of perceptual ability and defaulted it to a very specific role, that of seeing through the clutter whatever threatens our survival. We are genetically wired to be negative and not to see opportunity, but to see our threats and what can hurt us.
How do you think you are at paying attention? Do you think you can take your limited bandwidth of perceptual ability and focus it? Let’s test it. I’m going to show you a 30 second video. I want you to count how many passes the white shirt team makes. Here we go;
The answer is 15 but that’s not what’s important. How many of you saw the gorilla walk into the center, beat its chest and then walk off?
How many of you are saying, “what gorilla?” I’m glad that some of you did actually see the gorilla because you can verify that I’m playing the same video. Now let’s watch it again but this time don’t count any passes, just watch the video.[those who didn’t see the gorilla will see it this time]
I’ll let you make your own application of what that means. To me it just shows that we get so bogged down by our daily priorities, interruptions, circumstances that we just don’t see the opportunities that are right in front of us.
When you and I are avoiding uncomfortable activities we are not going that take our narrow bandwidth of perception and see opportunities to take these actions that we hold as “painful”, instead we go into what’s called selective perception. We are going to see our circumstances, our obstacles, our priorities, our interruptions, our stories, our excuses and there’s a word for this process, would you write the word in the blank of # 2, the word is RATIONALIZATION.
Rationalization is what you mean when you say I am my biggest competitor. Rationalization is internal dialogue. How many of you have internal dialogue. I want to give you a metaphor about this internal self talk. Remember the movie Alien, the astronaut is on the spaceship and looks up and the alien creature grabs him by the face and pulls him in and kills him. That is my metaphor for rationalization (hand on face). This is fear based internal dialogue and it almost always ends in the phrase “you’re going to die”.
Here’s an example. I say I’m going to wake up at 3:50 am and go to the gym. I intend to do this, I set the alarm. The alarm rings at 3:50. The alien is asleep on the couch in my bedroom. It wakes up, looks at the clock, freaks out and jumps on my face and starts this conversation, “are you crazy, do you know what time it is, you can’t keep pushing yourself like this you’re going to depress your immune system, your going to die! Stay in bed, stay in bed.
We all have this internal dialogue. I want you to experience the limiting aspect of human natures fear based internal dialogue. All I need to do to have you experience this is to put you in a circumstance where you will associate an action with pain, or being uncomfortable, or embarrassing. Are you willing to compete?
Here is what I’m going to ask you to do. When I say “ready set go” I want you to scream as loud as you possibly can these four words, “fear is a lie”. Scream as loud as you can like your life depends on it.
How many of you are already thinking “I’m not going to do it!”
How many of you are thinking “I’ll do it loud enough that he doesn’t bother me but I’m not going to scream as loud as I can”
Go ahead and take your right hand and put it right on your face. That’s the alien. When I say pull it off take if off. It will make a popping sound and try to get right back on but keep it off. Ok, pull it off now! Feel it trying to get right back on? You might want to name it when you get home. Ok the words are fear is a lie and the cue is ready set go. Now before we do this, who is in control of the choices you make?
You think you are in control? What do you really control? The temperature in your car, the volume on the radio, whos’ in control.
What comes after this: “Who let the dogs out!” [audience woofs five times]
How do you know that? Why do you know that? Did you practice drill and rehearse to learn that? You learned this because you were exposed to it. Your permission and awareness were not necessary for you to know this, simply being exposed to it was all that was necessary. What are you exposed to on a daily basis? Negativity, complaining clients, uncertain market conditions, scandals from trusted leaders.
Ok here we go, ready set go! [audience shouts fear is a lie]
100% of the room held back. Why is that? Because the activity of shouting as loud as you can was linked to being embarrassed, or uncomfortable or bringing undue attention onto yourself and your brain linked that to a threat and compelled you to avoid by holding back.
Here is a tough love question for you. Where else in your life are you holding back? What price are you paying? The hold back is based on fear.
I’m going to play this song. It’s public property on the internet. The alien thinks that it must survive and if you pull it off it’s got to get right back on your face to protect you.
Here it is, the Alien Song.
Here are some notes for you. The purpose of rationalization is to _________ [protect me] it protects me from feeling guilty about not doing what I said I would do. How does it work? Rationalization is a ________________[justification of avoidance].
What I’m about to put on the screen is the answer to what controls you. This is so powerful it is considered to be a universal law.
This is what motivates all people.
The best way to describe this is to talk about my own personal circumstance. I have adhd and bulimia. The way that I control my adhd is with structure and routine. I wake up at 3:50 am and go to the gym. I have my stair master machine that I work out on and if someone is on my machine that upsets me. I have my locker that I use and the lane that I swim in and the area in the hot tub that I use. When I go to breakfast I say it’s either going to be a great day or an ok day. What’s the criteria, if someone is sitting in my booth the best it can be is an ok day!
When I’m on the road I lose my routine. I was having a problem with the mini bar at the hotel. I’m going to tell this story as if it just happened but it happened about 27 years ago. I was traveling cross country from California to the east coast. I was starving. All I had to eat is what they serve you on the airplane. Can we talk about this? They gave me a bagel this big! They gave me a box of raisins this big. I thought that people would think that I was exaggerating so I kept them and took a picture.
I was starving. When I walked into the hotel room my brain did what it was genetically coded to do, ensure that I recognized the highest level of perceived pain and avoided it for the comfort. Remember, all human performance is the avoidance of pain or the seeking of comfort.
When I walked into the room my mind perceived the pain of the hunger. What makes it into my limited perceptual bandwidth, the solution to my hunger which was the mini bar. I walked over to the mini bar and the first thing I saw was a bag of M & M’s. There was so much love in that bag then I saw some candy bars and some cookies, and potato chips, nuts and I ate everything and I mean everything in the mini bar, then I had a diet Coke!
Then I realized that I just had an episode of bulimia. I thought I had overcome bulimia but I just binged over 5,000 calories. It was at this point in my life that something significant happened to me over 27 years ago. It was the way that I responded to this binge. It was the first time that I didn’t go victim and blame everyone else for my problems. I said it’s me. My whole life is avoiding pain and seeking comfort. I wasn’t successful in my health, my business or my personal life. I surrendered.
On my next trip something happened. I told 5 people that if I go into the mini bar on this trip I will give them each $250.00. Add it up that’s $1,200.00 if I go into the mini bar. I fly cross country. I am starving. What does my narrow bandwidth of perceptual ability lock onto, my hunger! What makes it into my awareness, the mini bar!
As I walk over to the mini bar something else happens. My brain continues to do what it has been wired to do for over 5 million years, make sure that I am noticing and avoiding the highest level of perceived pain. When I get to the mini bar my brain pays attention to the $1250 and I step away and it was easy!
I went from believing that the truth was that I just couldn’t control my weight to having it be a non issue. Here is a coaching commandment for you. Where in your life do you need to let go, to surrender? Here’s another one, what lies are you buying into?
I had a specific declaration, not going into the mini bar, plus accountability the fine of $1250 and that is a dynamic called behavioral contracting. That is the one take away that has a chance to take this from entertainment to impact.
Let’s look at this elite performance formula;
The take away is to use behavioral contracting. This means to make a specific declaration of an activity that you give your word you will do and then to pair it with a consequence for non performance. This taps into the human genetic wiring of avoiding pain and seeking comfort. Human nature will compel you to avoid the highest level of perceived pain which is the consequence. How do you avoid it? By doing what you said you would do!
Here is the application. You’re hearing this on Wednesday, June 8th. Let’s keep to a seven day time period which is from the moment you wake up on Monday until the time you go to sleep on Sunday. Since you’re here on Wednesday, this leaves 5 days for you to make a commitment and to execute it or honor the consequence. As long as the pain of the penalty is greater than the pain of the activity you will take the action of avoiding the highest level of perceived pain which will be the consequence for nonperformance.
This brings us up to our break (90 min.) the second part of the program I will give you some communication skills that will give you a near expert level as a coach. I will teach you how to bring this back to your organization for your teams and also for you. We will partner up and implement behavioral contracting plus the two new skills that you will learn after the break. Let’s take a short ten minute break.
Program II Implementation
The first thing I want to do is to give you some communication skills that can dramatically improve your ability to have an influence on your own behavior and others.
It’s a simple communication skill called Precision Probing. It’s easy because you already know it. You already know who, what , when , where, forget the why and just add the word SPECIFICALLY. This has an amazing impact in helping a person to get clarity around what they want and what they need to do to have what they want. When you are in a conversation with someone and they say for example that they are going to exercise. You don’t know what you’re holding them accountable to until you clarify, how much
specifically, when specifically, where, etc.
You can use your hand as a metaphor. In the palm of the hand are two very powerful pattern interruptions. When someone says “I can’t do something” interrupt with “what would happen if you could” or “what prevents you from doing this?” Just remember to ask blank specifically and use who, what, when, where.
The next skill is a communication coaching skill that I teach coaches to use with their clients. It puts the responsibility right where it should be with the client. You will need to fight through your tendency to solve the other person’s problems and let them come up with their own solutions. I’m going to give you three coaching phrases that will make a significant difference in your conversation with them. Here they are.
- Tell me more.
- What are your options?
- What will you do?
That’s it. Take the third one and put it into a behavioral contract with a specific commitment and consequence for non performance.
I would like to get into groups of 3, A B and C. Go ahead and arrange yourselves. Next I’d like for you to rate yourself in terms of your current results in your health, business and personal lives. Go ahead and just put a number on each line.
Now here is the coaching rotation. We will go for 5 minutes with A being the coach, B is the client, and C is the observer. Just follow what you see on the screen;
Ok, your objective is to have at least one behavioral contract. One activity that you will be held accountable to accomplish with a consequence if you don’t. You will have 5 minutes. I will tell you when you have two minutes left.
Let’s begin now. [stop at two minutes left and introduce two new concepts, why the stick versus the carrot and what stops behavioral contracting.
We are motivated to keep what we already have rather than to get something else. A dollar lost in the stock market will hurt more than that pleasure of a dollar gained. This is why the penalty will drive performance rather than the promise of a reward or the carrot.
There are three stops to behavioral contracting. The first one is that the person is satisfied. They are not motivated to improve. The second is that they are unrealistic with their commitments and the third is the non enforcement of the consequences.
Ok you’ve got two minutes left in this rotation. Let’s get this person’s behavioral contract in place with the consequence for non performance and how it’s going to be enforced.[time 2 minutes]
Speaker goes at random from group to group asking who was the client, who was the coach, what are you being held accountable to do and what is the consequence for non performance and how will it be enforced. Discussion about the criteria for making commitments, realistic, specific, discussion of the consequences for about ten minutes then the beginning of the second rotation, repeat for three rotations.
Ok now let change the rotation ….
Now for some last comments. There was a study completed of the genetic coding of a chimpanzee and a human being. It was found that there was only a 1.2% difference or a 98.8% identical similarity between the dna of a chimp and a human. However of course there is a significant difference in the final outcome. 211 degrees is hot but one more degree boils water.
An average baseball player hits 250 which is 3 hits every 12 times at bat and makes about a million dollars. The superstar hits 333 which is only one more hit every 12 times at bat and makes about 24 million. The super star is a little bit better.
That’s my message to you, be a little bit better. Do one thing this week that you ordinarily would not have done. Then one more thing next week and so on. It’s the law of accumulative effect that will have something significant occur. I love this sign;
[read slide to audience]
Every month I host a free telephone conference coaching call and you are invited. The next call is Tuesday, June 14th. It is my way to give back to audiences who want to stay connected. The number is on the top of this slide.
Let me know how else I can be of service to you.
Remember to contact your partner at the end of the week regarding their commitment.
 Dr. Stanley, “The Millionaire Mind”, pg. 51
 Optical Illusions, Gyles Brandreth, Michael DiSpezio, page 94
 M.Ed. Psychology, Springfield College, Springfield Ma. USA
 Psychology, 4th Edition, Robert Silverman page 129 photo of rat on grid.
 Daniel Simons, Christopher Chabris, 1999, as seen on news.yahoo.com
 Victor Navone, 1999 as seen on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eim5jLlEPYI
One of the most embarrassing memories from my childhood was when my mother took us into Valentino’s corner store and literally begged for extended credit so we could have something to eat that night. The embarrassing part about it was that I was the captain of the high school football team and Valentino’s son was our offensive tackle!
Poverty and embarrassment stayed with me throughout high school, into college, through my first teaching and coaching job, through graduate school and all the way up to my first year as a college football coach.
After graduating college I was hired as a teacher and coach at a high school in New Jersey. I wasn’t in poverty. However, I hadn’t changed my mindset, or my thoughts about myself. I still had a poverty self image. After two years manifestation took hold and I resigned teaching and went to graduate school. This is a positive move. I’m getting my masters degree. I’m coaching on the college level. And I’m back into alignment with my thoughts, back into poverty, earning $2,000 a year as a graduate assistant coach!
After two years I graduated and was hired as a head football coach at California Institute of Technology. I’m not in poverty any longer. Again, I’m not in alignment with my thoughts. I resign after one year and join the staff at Cal State Fullerton as a restricted earnings coach making $5,000 my first year. Now I’m in alignment with my thoughts and image of myself as living in and owning poverty.
Sometimes it takes a significant event for a person to shift out of a particular mindset. I had this happen. I was living for free with our team doctor in beautiful Newport Beach, Ca. I was driving a new Honda loaned to the staff by a booster. I was shopping for groceries at the local store when it happened. I gave the check stand cashier food stamps and she didn’t know how to use them. She got on the loud speaker and declared “food stamps on check stand 5” or something to that effect.
I had a transition from extremely embarrassed to extremely mad! That was it. I had enough of poverty. I didn’t know how I was going to do it but I was through with poverty! I had made a decision!
There is a well known formula of success that states intentions plus methods equals results. I say, edit out the methods and that leaves you with intentions equals results. The methods will reveal themselves to you once you have made a decision.
Sure enough, this new internal vibration of thought, abundance, started to take hold in my brain. New dendrites and connections were beginning to develop and old patterns of need, want and poverty were starting to atrophy, known as synaptic pruning.
Then reality adjusted to align with my new paradigm. A coach leaves to take a job at the University of Hawaii and I get the full time paid position. I managed to hold on to this mindset and manifestation gained momentum.
I had the intention, passion and motivation to be the best that I could be. This led to my resigning coaching football in 1983 to start my own business as a performance excellence speaker, trainer and coach.
I had locked into the thoughts of abundance. Dr. Raymond Barker has explained in his book, The Science of Successful Living:
“God wants you to be what you want to be. In your quiet thinking select your future, accept it as normal for you, and then expect it to happen. Give thanks that the ways and means to bring it to pass are already in action.”
You must mentally accept in the present what you want to literally happen in the future. Picturing it with powerful thoughts transforms the possibilities into reality.
Einstein declared with his famous equation that energy and mass are two different states of the same thing, like ice and water. I will turn the thoughts that I dominate my mind with, fueled by action, into reality. This is an absolute certainty and a scientific law.
Dr. William Tiller did three interesting thought experiments. He wanted to see what affect the power of focused thought, intentions, would have on measurable circumstances.
He had experimenters concentrate on raising the PH of a container of water by 1.0 PH which I’m told is significant. Second, the intention was to increase the thermodynamic activity of an enzyme in the liver. Third, the intention was to influence a living system, fruit fly larvae, to increase the ADP to ATP ratio which would result in the reduction of larvae development time.
All three experiments involved highly focused thought projections from the experimenters who were all trained in meditation.
The results were achieved exactly as intended in all three experiments. They were statistically significant. Your thoughts can and do influence things outside of you. This very statement is an illusion because being separate is only an illusion, although a persistent one. There is no outside of you. We are all interconnected through vibrating energy.
Dr. David Hawkins developed what he calls the Scale of Consciousness. He talks about all things being energy in different states of vibrations. Your thinking is energy in a variety of vibrating states. He gives a scale with the range of 20, shame, to 700 plus which is enlightenment. This range of energy vibrations includes guilt, 30, apathy, 50, fear, 100, anger, 150, love, 500, joy, 540, peace, 600 and enlightenment at 700 plus up to 1000.
If you have problems the sole reason you are where you are is because you are vibrating at the average human level of 207 on a scale that reaches 1000. You do not have to reach 1000 to reap benefits. All you need to do is raise your vibration to the level love or above, which is 500. At 500 and above, love, joy and abundance are easily within your reach. Once you start vibrating at this level you will virtually be a magnet for the things you truly want.
At the smallest level, quantum mechanics has discovered that atoms are in fact composed of packets of energy, of vibrating particles. All matter is simply vibrating atoms. Everything is interconnected. You can decide to change your thoughts, your energy vibrations and this will change the frequency that you operate on, like a car radio, thus enabling the laws of attraction to combine with purposeful actions and bring you the results that you want. You will always be in alignment with your thought vibrations.
You can control this. Herbert Bensen was one of the early pioneers to discover that people can have control over their body that they previously thought to be impossible. Studies show that people who meditate can decrease metabolic rate, lower their heart rate, reduce levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. Meditation reduces high blood pressure and slows down the aging process of the brain. All of this is related to your intention to influence the use of your thinking.
Once I stopped giving my power away, once I took full responsibility for my results in life and stopped going victim and blaming others, I realized that I could invent the life I wanted. It’s all about the nature of the thoughts I allow myself to have.
Notice your thinking. Understand that your thoughts have consequences and will manifest, it’s a scientific law. Be careful with the thoughts that you have and be the guardian of your reality. Reality is in the mind of the observer. Observe wisely.
 Published by Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, 1966.
 Conscious Acts of Creation. The emergence of a New Physics. William Tiller, Ph.D. Published by Quality Books Inc.
 For more information on this research //www.spiritofmaat.com/archive/mar2/tiller1.htm
 See Power vs Force The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior, David R. Hawkins, M.D.
 The Relaxation Response, Herbert Bensen, M.D. 1975 William Morrow and Company Inc.