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Act As If January 11, 2008

Posted by cjescribano in NLP, state management.
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There’s a strategy in Neuro-Linguistic Programming called Act As If. The idea is that if you behave in a certain way for long enough, your mind will begin to believe it.

For the past few days, I’ve been acting as if on a very deep-seated belief to see what will happen to it. I know at an intellectual level that it’s a silly belief, but acting as if has exposed its flaws even more.

I feel silly stating this belief, but maybe it’s one that others have too. You see, I’ve pretty much believed my whole life that no one could ever really like me. So, I spent a lot of time trying to get people to like me. And then when they did something that hurt me, I would say, “See, I knew they didn’t really like me.”

But now I see how destructive that belief was. It made me defensive, and sometimes mean in a “hit them before they hit me” kind of way.

Maybe I’ve finally come to a point in my life where I like myself enough to believe that others like me. The acting as if has been easier than I thought it would be. It’s actually been fun. I find that I enjoy people more when I’m not worrying about whether or not they like me. I can focus on being interested in them and liking them.

Every now and then, the old pattern emerges. Someone hurts me, and I equate it with “He doesn’t like me.” But since I’m paying attention and acting as if, I can stop that pattern and make a new choice. And as I walk along the path of that new choice, I can look back and see how silly the old choice was, how it led me to exactly what I was afraid of. Basically, I was creating my own den of dislike. What a waste of my time!

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Managing My State of Mind January 3, 2008

Posted by cjescribano in NLP, state management.
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An Unresourceful State
As I transition from holiday mode back to reality mode, I am especially aware of my state of mind, which this morning was definitely resistant. After about 10 days of sleeping in, moving slowly, eating whatever I wanted, and doing whatever I wanted, my whole being was fighting the pull back to routines and responsibilities. I was in what Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) experts call “an unresourceful state.”  That is, in my resistant state, I wasn’t going to be too productive. But it was time to get back to work, so I had to change my state.

You Can Change Your State of Mind
Many people don’t realize that they have the power to change their states of mind. They don’t have to be stuck with “I just don’t feel like it.”  They can create a state where they can achieve what they want or need to. So, here’s what I did this morning to get myself into the right state:

1. Take care of the physical state.
Face it, very few people jump right out of bed when that alarm goes off. I need some time and movement to wake up. I like to get up early and have a half hour to do some yoga or meditation. There’s something about a Sun Salutation that lets me know that it’s time to get down to business.

2. Let routine carry you through
After my body is awake, I want some time to work quietly at my desk–thinking, writing, getting a project done. In order to have this time before the household awakes, I have to get up at 4:30 a.m. Oddly enough, I actually feel better when I follow this routine everyday. My body gets used to it, and I don’t even have to think about whether or not to push the snooze button again. Also, I get so much done in that first hour of the day that the routine is reinforcing. The more I follow it, the more this routine becomes my signal to myself that it’s time to get busy.

3. Create a sense of urgency
One thing that really gets me going is having a specific goal and a deadline. If my only goal is to be at my desk “working” because I have to “put in some time,” I’m going to procrastinate. So, even if I don’t have a customer anxiously waiting, I have to give myself a specific goal (finish that blog post, do a first draft of that presentation, sketch out a first-draft of a design) and a specific time to finish it. The best thing is for me to write these goals and deadlines down on a sticky note the night before, so they’re waiting for me when I get to my desk. Usually, when I first start working I think I have all the time in the world. The stickies remind me that I’ve got a lot to do, so I better get going.

4. Challenge your thinking
I’ve learned to recognize the whiny voice that undermines my best intentions. And when I hear it, I start asking it questions, like: “Is sleeping really more important than writing to you?” or “At the end of this day, what do you want for yourself?”. It’s amazing how quickly all those whiny excuses cave in when you challenge them.

So, you don’t have to be a slave to your “unresourceful states” anymore. Just figure out what state you need to achieve what you do want, and then take some steps to create that state for yourself.