NLP: The Value of Change
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
We all know that Einstein really knew what he was talking about. That having been said however, the above quote has become quite trendy lately and despite having such a simple meaning, it is often misunderstood. In NLP or Neural Linguistic Programming, an often utilized presupposition is worded similarly yet has more immediate and commonly accepted implications.
If you go on doing what you’re doing now you are very likely to go on getting the same results you are getting now.
If we were to strip this statement down to its most basic components the simplest way to interpret it would be that “We are all responsible for our own lives.” This is a fairly weighty statement, one that most people would rather not truly embrace.
There is often a lot of talk, particularly in Western culture, regarding people being “free” and having the “right” to live their life however they see fit. This is a fine concept and rightly trumpeted as the backbone of America etc. The actual situation, the reality, is much more diffuse when we begin to remove the blinders people like us are programmed to wear and recognize the ever-present “Double Think” at work. People have total control over their lives and we are all responsible for our own actions….wait for it….UNTILL something unpleasant or negative happens, then it is someone elses fault. A commonly accepted escape route from individual failures. Obviously this is nonsense.
If you go to the drive in delivery window at a fast food vendor, order coffee then it spills in your lap, those mild burns and discomfort are your fault. If you over eat and become obese, that is your fault. If you move from Michigan to Florida and a hurricane ravages the area destroying all you own, that is also your fault. Step one for radical life change is simple enough yet daunting for most:
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY, TOTALLY and WITHOUT EXCEPTION FOR ALL YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES, GOOD AND BAD.
Now to the presupposition stated above. If you do what you have always done, you will continue to get what that action has always delivered. If you know that you are abusing alcohol; by this I mean that your finances are negatively impacted due to your over indulgence or your health is failing because of it or other similar examples it should be clear that you need to decrease the amount you drink. It is necessary to identify why you drink so much, not some abstract concept involving the school bully when you were 8 or the fact that you used to wet your bed, but rather the day-to-day circumstances that “trigger” you to drink. For example, if you always take the same route to come home after a long day at the office and you have a habit of stopping by the pub outside the station for a pint just to “relax”, which inevitably leads to 4 pints, and a stop at the convenience store near your home for 2 cans of something that culminates in you finishing off the rest of the vodka you had in the freezer then the initial trigger that you need to avoid is the pub. The pub, and your regular visits are the first domino tipping over that brings about the cascade of events leaving you hung over at 0730 AM and 60 dollars lighter in the wallet.
How to de-activate this mechanism? Change your pattern. Avoid the pub. Plan to meet a friend to work out after the office three days a week. It is doubtful, unless you are already a full-blown lush that you will hit the sauce pre-workout. Just by working out you have already broken your pattern. Even if you have a beer at home after training the pattern is not the same. Your entire body chemistry has been changed and re-organized and it is likely you will not be drinking as much as normal.
Another option would simply be taking a left out of your office instead of taking the right going to the pub. Take the stairs instead of the Lift you normally take. Hold your brief case in the opposite hand you normally do. Add small changes to your normal pattern untill everything you are doing is different and it will be much easier to simply not go to the pub. Change works. Small changes compound to deliver large results.
Although I have used the example referring to the pub and over-drinking, the advice works for anything: Over-eating, depression, general over spending, smoking, drug use, procrastination, relationship trouble and literally everything else.
To review: the small variations you make can culminate in dramatic change. If you don’t change, neither will your life. Do not prove Einstein right, he is surely arrogant enough in the afterlife. Produce change.