Decision is Ultimate Power

Nowhere Map

Lex v5.312 – all will be explained!

“Imagine if your beliefs guarantee you can never get to where you want to go?” Tony Robbins during his most popular TED Talk, “Why we do what we do.”

Our beliefs form what psychologists often term as our mental map of the world. Folks, I don’t need a new map, I need a new atlas!

Robbins, in his TED Talk, also said, “The defining factor is never resources, it is resourcefulness.”

Changing our beliefs and thus transforming our mental maps is the only guarantee that we can change our destination. And, if this is not too corny, changing your destination kind of changes your destiny, doesn’t it?

I like the idea of mental maps. I also like the idea of mental software programmes. Approaching 54 this month, I would classify my current mental software as Lex v5.312! It’s still got loads of bugs and still crashes most days. Furthermore, I really don’t like where I’m getting to in life. So, I really need to improve my maps and update – or even upgrade my software, don’t I?

If you are even remotely like me, where shall we start?

Surely our transformation must begin with our beliefs? St Paul talked about a pathway to transformation. He said it was through the renewing of our mind. That sounds like new beliefs and paradigms to me – new patterns of thinking, backed up by new habits of action.

If we see limiting beliefs as software bugs or errors on our map – whichever works best for you – we can also see a way forward. Let’s hunt out and challenge those limiting beliefs. Capture them, challenge them, change them.

I know enough of my own limiting beliefs to make a start – and I’m willing to bet that you know some of your own too. I’m not even going to share my dirty washing here! What I am going to do, in privacy, is challenge their validity and then, if they don’t stand up well to scrutiny, I’m going to go for a belief upgrade!

Robbins lists the following as examples of resourcefulness:

  • Creativity
  • Determination
  • Love and Compassion
  • Curiosity
  • Passion
  • Resolve

Even looking at this list, I find helpful. All of these I have experienced in my life and yet some are at a low ebb at the moment. I believe that strengthening my resourcefulness will help. I know I can take action to change the health of those factors in the list that are currently weak. And that is what I have decided to do.

Thus I close with my final Robbins’ quote today:

“Decision is the ultimate power.”




Rite of Passage -l- The Bathtub


Sometimes we just need to change.

To achieve this well, it helps to have a “Rite of Passage”.

Many tribes do this with their children when they come of age.

We do it when we have a Wedding Service or a big birthday celebration.

But I can’t afford to wait for a birthday or a wedding.

I need to change on a daily basis.

That’s why I’m a fan of small rites of passage.

One of my favourite is bath-time.

I go into the waters one person, and come out another.

I go in (relatively) smelly, and come out smelling of roses!

I plunge beneath the waters (relatively) dirty, and rise up cleansed.

I sink in exhausted, I spring forth regenerated… ish.

No wonder some of the World’s Religions like the idea of ritual washing.

Some call it “Baptism”.

But I wonder, could I go into my bath low in spirit, and emerge refreshed, ready to face the World and myself renewed?  Even resurrected?


I just tried it…

…it worked.

The Power of Speech: Your Slogan of Destiny


What Is Your Slogan?

Until we truly can talk to the animals and understand their languages, we assume that we are the only species on Earth that can articulate their ideas and consciousness in speech.

This is our power.

This is our pitfall.

Why? Because our power of speech programmes us – and does this from the earliest ages. If you want to know what your family slogans are, just listen to your children as they begin to learn to talk. You’ll hear them using your phrases!

Bang your finger with a hammer and you’ll find what words are at the top of your brain’s search engine!!!

Mohammed Ali believed in affirmations – that what he repeated often enough would come to be believed by others as well as himself. Whether he was right or wrong, he’s not alone in that belief. The Good Book is full of commentary on the power of speech.

“Death and Life are in the power of the tongue.”

So if you could choose life – choose a slogan for you that empowered you – what would it be? When you need to speak to the mountains of resistance in your life, what would your power-phrase be?

Brands know the power of this – hence brand slogans like,

“Just Do It!”

Propaganda knows the power of this –

“Keep Calm, and Carry On!”

If our subconscious mind is truly programmed by the words we speak out, let us choose those words carefully. Here are some really good slogans:
• All things work together for my good
• I can find positive meaning in everything and anything
• With a strong hand (My family Clan motto)
• My body is my temple
• Carpe Diem (Seize the Day or Seize the Moment)

“Carpe Diem” is a favourite as it comes from the idea of plucking. It could literally be translated as “pluck the day” – because the day is ripe. Well friends, for good or for bad, the day is ripe for plucking!

[btw, Latin phrases are invested with more power in our imaginations for some bizarre reason. In the scarey movies, the baddies chant in Latin, but so do the heroes too. See if you can find a Latin phrase that works for you. Check out your Clan or Family Motto – that’ll be in Latin. Speak it like a spell (a good one in a Narnia kind of way!)]

Let me conclude with this: you can change your personal history and destiny by changing your slogan. Try on a new slogan until it fits. This can be like a pair of shoes that are too gorgeous to resist. You buy them even though they don’t quite fit. You know that they are more likely to wear you in than you to wear them in… but somehow it works.

Sometimes we need to grow into a slogan – so pick (or pluck) a good one!

It’s Complex

It’s Complex

Human beings are rather complex!  Part of this is because they are driven by complexes – something called, “Complex Equivalences.”  Our nervous system’s connections is mirrored by our thoughts.  Thoughts link to thoughts in a web of associations.

It is these associations that drive our thoughts, feelings and behaviours… and they are not always accurate associations!  Neither are they based on empirical reality.

It all comes down to one question: what does this ‘mean’ for me?  Every sensory stimulus or internal thought triggers this question as the brain seeks to make sense of our patterns of electrical activity.

Often, this is very good news.  Take ‘Love’ for example.  If you associate love with a close friend making you a hand-made greetings card, you are going to feel loved when such a card arrives through the post.  The thoughtfulness behind such a beautiful and time-costly gift means ‘love’ to such a fortunate person.  This is a “Complex Equivalence” – where ‘A’ means ‘B’.

Catalyst for a Great Complex EquivalenceSometimes, it goes wrong, however.  If a tone of voice or a certain look or even a type of location triggers an unwanted reaction, you can be sure that a Complex Equivalence is at work.  Somewhere on the timeline of your personal history, your brain has jumped to the conclusion: ‘x’ means ‘y’.

This, again, is actually good news.  Why?  Well because ‘x’ rarely means ‘y’ all the time… not in the other real world of thoughts and emotions.

I love to present.  Let’s call this ‘x’.  For me the ‘x’ of presenting means the ‘y’ of pleasure.  For other people, exactly the same ‘x’ – presenting – means the ‘z’ of terror!  When working with these x=z types, I can often help them swap their own definition of ‘z’ for my definition of ‘y’.  They re-wire their associations (and actually their neural pathways) and a new world of opportunity opens up.

There are three easy ways to challenge an unhelpful “Complex Equivalence.”

•    If you know the unhelpful trigger – you can go back in time in your imagination and challenge the conclusions the younger you made.  For example, “When they talk to me in that tone of voice it means that they are cross with me.”  On reflection, a more accurate assessment might be, “When they talk to me in that tone of voice it means that they are concerned for my well-being but don’t know how to show this nicely.”
•    Scratch the record!  Those of us who remember Vinyl Records will also remember what happened when they got scratched… they never played the same way again.  Sometimes you can scratch the Complex Equivalence.  So, a couple having an argument can get angrier and angrier until one of them ‘scratches’ the groove they are stuck in by bursting out laughing or tickling the other one.  The other partner will be furious for a few moments (after all, they were in their groove and you’ve messed it up) but both parties will have found the song doesn’t play the same way.  Or, to mix metaphors, the spell is broken.
•    Decide on your own Complex Equivalences!  This is ultimate power.  You can decide that someone being rude to you means they are frightened of how intelligent, gorgeous and powerful you are!!!

Truth does matter… but we are often a long way from knowing enough about a situation to really discern the truth.  For now, then, it is better to stay resourceful by assuming the best and making up our own Complex Equivalences.

[Footnote: unhelpful superstitions and even wars have been caused by unchallenged Complex Equivalences… And the greatest acts of Faith, Hope and Love are driven by Complex Equivalences.  Thus, one of the greatest things you can do with the gift of consciousness is to challenge your Complex Equivalences to see if they serve your Highest Purpose or not.  Those that do not stand the scrutiny must be rewritten!  Go write some new history for yourself and for those you love!]

Moodscope 19: Playing the “Ashamed” Card

19 Moodscope Card - Ashamed

The penultimate card!  Today’s card is the 19th in my series of 20 on the Moodscope Mood-Measuring indicators.  The 19th is the “Ashamed” Card which Moodscope defines as, “feeling shame for doing something wrong or foolish.”

What a great word for “embarrassment”!  Oh, I’ve embarrassed myself on many an occasion.  But do you know what?  Most of the events weren’t worth getting embarrassed about.  I was always the one who cared most about the stupid thing I said or did.  Others may have laughed “at” me, but they soon forgot.  Well, usually!

HARP Tip: It is alwyas worth asking yourself the question, “According to whom?”  If you’re feeling embarrassed and therefore believe the situation to be embarrassing, ask yourself, “This is embarrassing according to whom?”  Sometimes that’s enough to take the sting out of the moment.

As a frame can make or distract from a picture, so also the context can exaggerate or dissipate a sense of shame.  This is where you can make a difference.  If you are ashamed or embarrassed, excuse yourself (not by way of apology but by way of absenting yourself – Elvis must leave the building!)

This may seem almost cowardly but we all know deep down that trying to do something about the situation from a state of feeling ashamed rarely produces anything good.  We’ve dug a hole and we can end up digging it deeper.

Better to leave as graciously as you can (even if only for 5 minutes to the loo), breathe differently, change your posture, refocus and reframe the event.  Then you can return to influence the way the rest of the time plays out from a position of detached strength.  A sense of shame often provokes the defence of blame.  Better to dissociate yourself for a while and get a fresh perspective.

Of course, I don’t need to remind you that everyone has made a fool of themselves at some time or other.  Because of this, the simple and beautiful words, “I’m sorry,” will resonate so powerfully with their heart that they will be moved.  They may choose not to outwardly show this but humility and love is irresistible in the long run.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Amen and So Be It!

HARP Tip: “Associated vs Dissociated.
This is language used in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and in HARP (Hypnotic Associative Re-Patterning).
It refers to how ‘in’ the event you feel or perceive yourself to be.
Most of us watch the sad News on the TV in a dissociated state.
It is as if the glass on the front of the screen provides a safety barrier for our emotions – a shield between event and emotion.
If the News then mentions someone we know, we are suddenly pulled through the screen into the event – we feel it personally.
This is the ‘Associated’ state.
It is as if you are there,
looking through your eyes
hearing through your ears
feeling through your skin…
Being able to be associated or dissociated at will is a core-skill of being ‘Emotionally Intelligent’.
An emergency worker is better off being dissociated whilst giving practical aid.
In fact many acts of heroism are carried out in a dissociated state.
When the hero is interviewed afterwards, they often say it, “just happened… I acted without thinking.”
Feeling embarrassed is very ‘associated’!
Dissociating yourself is a good strategy to take the sting out of this unresourceful and disempowering emotional state or feeling.
‘Breaking State’ – breaking the spell the emotion has cast over you, by absenting yourself from the situation is a great first step.
When you return to face the heat (even if it was just the heat in your cheeks), imagine going back as a commentator from the BBC.
Distance yourself from yourself!
Imagine you were commenting objectively and dispassionately about someone else.
If you want to step up the magic, imagine yourself protected by a clear, toughended glass shield that stops other people’s negative ‘vibes’ reaching you.
I use a technique I learned and adapted from Jack Black (the Scottish Motivational Speaker, not the Hollywood star!)
The technique is called, “Thunderbirds!” and is named in honour of the TV Show.
It has a wonderful, military march theme tune and promotes a sense of adventure and good energy.
I play the theme tune to myself in my head, and imagine a protective clear glass shield coming down all around me.
It is permeable to air, so I can breathe freely!
However, it is impermeable to negativity – nothing negative can get through my shield!
I find this helps me deal with difficult situations without my own or other people’s emotions contaminating the communication.
Crazy?  I don’t think so.  After all, “Reality leaves so much to the imagination!”

Improvised Discounts

Improvised Discounts and the Art of Communicating

I was talking on the phone with an important client yesterday evening. We were planning to meet up. I was enthusiastic about this, and said, “that’ll be brilliant!” He said, “It’ll be good, I’m not sure about ‘brilliant’.”
He wasn’t being cute of funny. He was just being himself.
It reminded me, usefully, of one of the Golden Rules of Impro (‘Improv’ or ‘improvisational theatre’). In Impro (as in the game show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”), one of the key principles is the win-win of building on a colleague’s suggestion. So if a colleague improvises and says, “I see you have a wooden leg” – the idea is to develop the theme. The next character might say, “And I’m terrified by the way you remind me of a woodpecker – get away from my leg!” An inexperienced impro artist will often panic and negate a line fed to them. In our story above, they might say, “No, I think you’ll find I have a normal leg…” What does the first actor do now? If they are brilliant, they’ll recover and add something Pythonesque such as, “I’m sorry, I have a cold!” but many people will let the connection die.
Communication Professionals call this negative barrier an ‘empathy blocker’.

It blocks empathy.

Blocks the flow of the conversation.

Creates an impasse.

We are not sympatico.

Pacing and Leading

In Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), great emphasis is placed on ‘pacing’ then ‘leading’. This is the opposite of an empathy blocker’s behaviour. We ‘pace’ a person – matching not just their speed but also their frame-of-reference, choice of tone, language, and volume. Then, when we believe ‘rapport’ has been achieved (we are sympatico), the partner in the dance of communication takes the lead. If the other follows, the dance continues. This ebb and flow, this give and take, I call “The Estuary of Conversation”.

Improvised Discounts

My client is normal. The normal way to communicate is for people to hold fast to their own world-view and decline the invitation to dance. This is as thrilling for the other party as having their card declined at the checkout… with a queue of people watching!  A lot of opportunities to dance are missed.

In this sense, any conversation is a series of transactions. When we fail to pace and lead, we decline the transaction. The conversation fails. It skids to a halt. Rapport is broken, like some strange chemical bond being broken, and you chemists know what happens next… a reaction!
Most people, when their transaction has been blocked, go quiet. That’s pretty sensible. When you’re ready though, you will learn the power of returning to pacing. You will be the experienced Impro Actor. When the apprentice stumbles, you must masterfully and graciously pick up their pace again and go with their flow. “I’m sorry, I have a cold…”
This is going to happen to you.

A lot.

So let’s get ready for it. Realise that it actually is a well-developed improvisational skill: improvised discounting! Discounting is the habit of rendering someone else’s point-of-view of lower value than they hold it to be worth – a discount. Many discounts are actually dismissive of the total value, but everyday conversations are full of little put-downs, empathy blockers, and discounts. A discount devalues the relationship. This is occasionally deliberate (where someone is being spiteful or jealous) but it is usually totalling innocent and beyond the awareness of the offending party.

Improvised Bargain

We can move from an ‘improvised discount’ to an ‘improvised bargain’. ‘Bargain’ is a strange word – meaning to ‘bar’ ‘gain’ – to forbid or block anyone gaining. In this sense, it is not a word I like. I do, however, like what it has come to mean in everyday speech. It means win-win. Neither party wins to the detriment of the other.

It is fair.

It is just.

It is Impro!

With an ‘improvised bargain’ of a conversation, the transactions are equal and flowing. Each listens, acknowledges, reflects, and builds on the other’s contributions…


…and a simple way to do this is to swap out the word ‘but’ for the phrase ‘and so’ (or just ‘and’ where more appropriate.)
And so, back to our actors…
“I see you have a wooden leg…”
“And so I make an excellent Pirate, ahargh!”
With pacing and leading on today’s agenda, I wonder if we can dance from ‘good’ to ‘brilliant’? I’ll let you know.
Can’t wait for the performance!

Moodscope: The “Interested” Card

The Interested Card

“Interested” – defined by Moodscope as: “wanting to be involved in something”.

This is a lean-forward, edge-of-the-seat, cock-your-head-to-one-side type of mindset.  Notice how many of those phrases are physical.  When we want to be involved, we naturally incline our body forward.  We are ‘inclined’ to be involved!  When we want to listen attentively, we most often move our heads to an angled position – perhaps to get a better ‘stereo’ sound reference.  Why we do it is not as important as the fact that we do it instinctively.

Walking in Agreement

Psychology and Physiology are the best of friends.  “Can two walk together unless they agree?”  (Amos 3:3)  They ‘agree’ with one another.  They are congruent with one another.  As with the mind, so with the body; as with the body, so with the mind.  Every time you shift your posture – you have to change your mind.  Why?  Well I’m playing with words but what I mean is that you are triggering a different pathway – a different pattern of neurons.  These patterns of ‘thoughts’ group together in clusters of associations.  So, your body knows what position it should take if you feel uninterested just as your body knows the position it should take when you’re interested.

So what?  Well we do the Moodscope cards because often we are not interested in being involved in something.  We’ve lost our Oomph!  Our get-up-and-go, got-up-and-went!

My suggestion (and I’m looking forwards to your suggestions) is to run after our get-up-and-go!  How?  By moving.  By moving our posture forward towards something.  By breaking any pattern in our body posture that ‘says’ “I’m not interested.”

Practically, if I’m finding it hard to stay engaged in a conversation, I deliberately sit up, move forward on my seat, lean forwards, and put my head to one side as if listening more attentively.  I don’t know how it works.  I don’t know why it works.  But I do know that it does work.

When you change your (physical) attitude and position you change your (mental) attitude and position.

Folks, the consequences of this are utterly life-changing: if you ever get stuck in an attitude you don’t like, you can only stay stuck if you stay stuck in that position.

If you ever get stuck period – change your physical position and new patterns of thought will flow.  Keep changing until you get some thoughts you like.

What’s your inclination today?

Assume the position!