Making Associations

Make Link Break Link

Making Associations

In an earlier blog, entitled, “Breaking Associations,” I encouraged us to challenge unhelpful links that we’d allowed to define us negatively. The blog post was originally published on Moodscope.  In response, “Hopeful One” said, “There seems to be an underlining assumption that being defined in this way is always negative. In my opinion it’s not so much the definition or the associations but the internal judgements we make that do the damage.”

We are in agreement, Hopeful One!

Associations have their own associations! We can make them mean what we want them to.

For example, we can change the context. One of my favourite film clips is from a rather violent thriller called, “Face Off!” In it, Nicholas Cage and John Travolta swap roles as goody and baddy. In my chosen scene, Judy Garland’s version of, “Somewhere, Over the Rainbow,” plays serenely while a S.W.A.T. team destroys the flat our hero is sheltering in. The association is ‘wrong’ – it shouldn’t work. It works perfectly.

So the flip side of breaking bad associations is to make good associations – deliberately. An association is simply, “This means that,” or “This links to that.”

Naturally occurring associations include hearing a song when you’re having a good time. The song and the feeling of feeling good become linked automatically. The next time you hear the song, you feel good because the two files are linked in the library of your brain! Even more powerful is scent. You may associate an after-shave or perfume with a person. Smell the scent, remember the person.

These links happen naturally and unconsciously. In fact, all the sense data you were receiving at the time becomes linked in your mind to the event. Famous Canadian Neurosurgeon, Wilder Penfield, demonstrated the physical nature of memory by stimulating areas of patients’ brains. The memories that were triggered enabled the patients to relive experiences – along with all the senses recorded at the same moments in time.

This is good news because we can create this process consciously as well as unconsciously. You and I can choose to link a song, a scent, even an object to an emotional feeling. When we sense we are beginning to feel great, we can choose to pop on our “Feel Great” Playlist… and turn up the volume! The brain doesn’t care what comes first, the chicken or the egg! It simply splices the memories together. Do the procedure often enough and you will discover that your “Feel Great” Playlist will remind your mind what it is like to feel great… et voila! You will feel better.

Right, I’m off to find a magic feather… heard some flying elephant dropped one near here.

Breaking Associations

Make Link Break Link

Breaking Associations.

I was editing some video today. Couldn’t really get it to do what I wanted it to do when I realised that two tracks were linked together. This association meant that I couldn’t edit the tracks individually. It was a simple matter to break the association and then I could achieve the transformations I was seeking.Walking back from my local shop, it struck me how my own life had been unnecessarily brought low by false-associations. When my business fortunes had shifted dramatically, I had allowed that downturn to remain associated with my self-image. The business had failed, ergo I was a failure.I hope you’re laughing, or at least smiling, at how absurd that link is. I am not my business.The subject, however, is serious. How many of us have associated our self-worth with our relationship to someone special? If that relationship ceases for any reason, we can allow that loss to impact our self-worth. The loss of a job can have a similar effect… if we let it.

Today, I’m recommending that we break such associations. It’s time to separate the tracks in the great Editing Software of Life, and assign new value and meaning to each distinct part of our lives.

I am not defined by the success of my business.
I am not defined by my bank balance.
I am not defined by the success of my relationships.
I am not defined by my employed status.
I am not defined even by my health.

I am something beyond all these links.
And so are you.

You are beautiful because you are simply beautiful.
You are lovely because you are distinctly lovely.
You are worthy because you have worth in my sight, and, I hope, in your own sight too.
I value you.

 


[First published on Moodscope, Monday 3rd August, 2015]

A KISS is Unique (POWERFUL Goal-Setting pt.7)

One-Thought-At-A-Time

I am grateful to my three sons for teaching me so much about success. Each one of them is unique. When they were small, they were so cute, engaging and witty – individually! But stick them together and a different chemistry began. To use street language, they “did my head in!”

Balancing the often conflicting needs of three young children in the same time-space was too much for my mind and my attention. Confusion and chaos followed rapidly!

When trying to befriend our brains, the same is true. Sometimes our goals are like three children going in different directions. This makes life confusing and too complex. Your brain will thank you for presenting one idea or demand on its attention at a time. Yes, I know female wired brains can cope with more, but the preference still remains for one-thought-at-a-time.

Some people confuse their dreams and goals by blending two or more ideas together. For example, if your desire is to be fit and healthy, it’s easy to think about those two discrete goals in the same sentence. Like my sons, they are similar and belong to the same ‘family’ of ideas. However, “fit” is not quite the same as “healthy”. Is it possible to be fit but not healthy? Is it possible to be healthy but not fit? I look forward to your comments!

Just imagine expanding those two desired states into the steps it would take to create them. A fitness regime is a lot about exercise. Being healthy includes exercise but it is frequently more about diet. And, yes, I do realise they overlap. My point, however, is that the brain works on each of them far more effectively if they are treated as unique goals.

When they are given their own unique time and attention, they will respond just like my lovely sons did when they were little: they will thrive!

Keep It Short and Simple!

KISS Me Quick!

Faith – the Final Frontier (POWERFUL Goal-Setting pt.6)

Daniel_Ilabaca“Daniel Ilabaca” by Jon Lucas. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Daniel_Ilabaca.jpg#/media/File:Daniel_Ilabaca.jpg

Faith – The Final Frontier

If you’re going to take a leap of faith, you need to leap boldly. It may be argued that climbing has been transformed by bold people like Sébastien Foucan who is famous for Parkour and Free Running. These disciplines combine as much momentum as possible to get from A to B as efficiently as they can. This may mean seeming to ‘run’ up a cliff-face.

The difference from traditional climbing is stark. Safe climbing demands keeping one foot and one hand in position at any time. You scale whatever challenge you’re facing in a lizard-like movement. Not so with free running. With Parkour and Free Running the momentum and the jumps are key parts of getting you to the summit. Mindset, according to Daniel Ilabaca, another star of the discipline, is also vital. If you think you’ll fall, you’re more likely to fall.

It seems then that this revolution in climbing to the summit requires a leap or two of faith. Faith is a sure and certain expectation to do with the future and the unseen. Like free running, I think it is a tough discipline. It requires a revolutionary kind of commitment – a commitment to propelling oneself towards a future that is just that little bit out of reach.

Fear, on the other hand (and foot) is a sure and certain understanding to do with the present and the seen. It helps us cling safely to where we are. And that’s its purpose – keeping us safe. I’m not down on fear – fear is good when it serves a survival purpose. It keeps us safely in the comfort zone.

But creating an extraordinary future requires change, momentum, a positive mindset and faith. It requires courage and daring, and, dare I say it, a little bit of craziness?

If we keep on doing what we’ve always been doing, we will continue to get what we’ve always been getting. If you and I want something different, something more, something better, we need to do something different. Is it time for a leap of faith?

If it is, you’ll need to fuel your faith. Those who engage in Parkour and Free Running do a lot of practice. Developing faith takes practice too. Faith comes from hearing words and stories of those who have successfully dared to cross a new frontier. If you surround yourself with naysayers – your faith will dissipate. If you surround yourself with accounts of the bold and courageous, you will find your courage and faith rising.

OK, I’m off to play some Van Halen! Might as well…

A POWERFUL Approach to Goal-Setting – Win Win (POWERFUL Goal-Setting pt.3)

Means, Opportunity, Motive

…so is the suggested trinity for any crime. I think the three points are also really valuable for understanding why goals go often unfulfilled. Yes, we can be positive – making sure we focus on what we really want. Again, we can make sure that the goal is really something we can influence – that it is under our own-control. But sometimes it still doesn’t happen.

I believe we live in an age where many have the means and the opportunities to make a difference. The whole process falls down when we don’t have a strong enough motive. This, for me, is having a big enough “Win”.

I’d love to learn the piano. My excuses are impressive. Usually around time. However, I have a beautiful piano and I have as much time as the next person. So the next excuse becomes learning to read music. It seems like a barrier.

I know this is an illusion. I learned to touch-type, and this has been one of the most valuable skills in my life. I know I can learn to play piano, and I can learn to read music – even at my age. So what stops me? Simply that the “Win” is not big enough yet.

So here is today’s useful question: “What would this do for me?”

Learning to read music would open a new world to me – a new world where music is the language and learning to read music would be to open the libraries of wonderful tunes recorded there throughout the ages. Learning to play the piano would help me relax. I could compose – which I love doing on the guitar. I could entertain my nearest and dearest…

Already, I’m seeing a bigger win!

I’m sure you’re just like thousands of other people with frustrated ambitions. Perhaps this one simple question will move you towards a big enough win to add “motive” to your “opportunity” and your “means”!

What would achieving this goal do for you?  What’s the big win?

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.”

 

 

 

Let Me Interrupt You

Tubular-Bells-Record

“Let me inter//rupt you there!”

Growing up, the major way to buy our music was to go to a Record Shop and purchase vinyl. It was tangible. It was expensive. It was something I highly valued.

There is something magnificent about the scale of an LP. Not only was it big, it also offered a broad canvas for cover art. I loved the music. I loved the art. I loved the experience.

There is, however, a couple of problems with vinyl. Firstly, it is sensitive – it can warp in the heat (so you never left it in the car on a hot day). Secondly, if scratched, it never plays the same way again.

I am vinyl.

Well, my mind is like vinyl.

Often it is warped through being (over/hyper) sensitive. My perception of ‘reality’ can become twisted, distorted, bent out of shape in the heat of the moment.

Also, just like my first Album purchases, I can play the same old tracks over and over, over and over, over and over again. Some of these tracks are rubbish – bad compositions, badly recorded.

What do to? I seem to have little power over what to play. In the dead of night, the Jukebox of my consciousness chooses the same old tracks, coming back to haunt me with their accusing or fear-filled lyrics. I know they are warped. I know they are not reality. But they still torment and disturb.

One way to deal with them is to deliberately scratch the recording – to violate the vinyl! I can face my fears and challenge them with powerful questions such as, “According to whom?” or “What would happen if I did?” Or I can dig into the groove with a blunt needle and turn the recording into a parody of itself. For example, changing the quality of the accusing tone into the voice of Mickey Mouse. Somehow an accusational, “Why did you do that?” doesn’t sound as intimidating on the lips of Mickey Mouse.

Some people call this a pattern-interrupt. Once you’ve messed with your ‘pattern’ the record will never ever play the same way again. It’s a bit like standing up to a bully – once you’ve done it, the relationship will never play out the same way again either. Something has changed forever.

If you find yourself troubled by your thoughts, interrupt them! Interfere with them! Scratch them where they irritate! Interrogate them! Demand that they present evidence to support their statements! The very process will change the way you experience them.

Behind the distorted reality is often a better recording to be discovered or created – something beautiful can be learned. So record a new album…

And then, from your learning, on the cover, make great art!