Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mastering our Mind - Azara Feroz Sayed

The name of the post is a chapter in Anthony (Tony) Robbins' bestseller book 'Unlimited Power'. I have included below excerpts from the chapter on how to enhance our life by using the positive experiences in our life and diminishing (or throwing out in the sun) the negative experiences in our life that keep us from optimum performance.

Refer below site for a summary of the book 'Unlimited Power'

In our relationship, I have the treat of Feroz's many surprises as positive experiences to nurture our relationship.

Being treated to a room lit up with candles all-over on valentine's night, as I walked in at 10.00pm from a tired day - with valentine dinner being least on my mind - especially after having my team members stay back too - spoiling their valentine's day too. I remember very well the comments of our Nepali security man that night. Feroz had taken the help of our Nepali security man to help him with the decorations and the security man said, "if this is all it takes for being married - I don't want to". With Feroz, there would be surprises all the time - even shaving of his head!!

A treat of fried fish on one such similar tiring day. The surprise is in two counts - first being treated to the best fish fry I have ever had and the other to know Feroz's cooking culinary skills!!

My best memory which makes me keep fighting and never give up - The day when I called Feroz to say I wouldn't be able to join him for lunch as there was a critical issue at work and as always I was almost in tears. Feroz's voice on the call asking me to keeping fighting and not to give up, gave me the most needed strength at that difficult moment, as all the hard work done by so many people for timely delivery would have gone to waste due to a change management issue. I got back to my fire-fighting. Soon there was a security lady looking for me in the conference room, saying my husband has something important for me. I walked out and Feroz was there with a nice small colorful bag (lunch for me) asking me to take care and not to worry about the lunch. I couldn't believe how he managed all the resources at home, in the bag was the perfect home-made sandwich, choclates and a sweet note!! As the post below mentions, positive experiences truly nurture relationships!

Refer for a summary of the book.
We have learnt that all human behavior is the result of the ‘state’ we are in. When human beings want to change something they usually want to change one or both of the two things : how they feel – that is their state and/or how they behave. For example, a smoker often wants to change how he physically and emotionally feels (state) and also his behavioral pattern of reaching for cigarette after cigarette.

Our internal representation (what and how we picture in our mind and/or what we say and hear in our mind) contribute to the state. We all know that there are some states that empower us and some states of the mind that leave us limp. Learning how to specifically change the internal representation by taking control of how we represent our experience of life (how we feel), empowers us to create the desired feelings and to produce the kinds of behavior that support us in the achievement of our goals.

We structure our internal representations through our five senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. In other words, we experience the world in form of visual, auditory, kinesthetic, gustatory, or olfactory sensations. Whatever experiences we have stored in mind are represented through these senses, primarily through the three major modalities-the visual, auditory, or kinesthetic messages. The sub-modalities are the precise amount of ingredients (the major modalities) required to create a result i.e. knowledge of how bright is the image, moving or stationary etc for visual experience or how loud or far etc for auditory experience or soft, stiff etc for kinesthetic experience. The sub-modalities are the smallest and most the most precise building blocks that make up the structure of human experience.

Basically, we can live our life one of two ways. We can let our brain run the way as it has in the past. We can let it flash any picture, sound or feeling and we can respond automatically on cue, like a Pavlovian dog responding to a bell or we can choose to consciously run our brain ourselves by implanting the cues we want.

We don’t know how life really is. We only know how we represent life to ourselves – by creating a state in our mind using sub-modalities (our senses) we tell the brain how to feel. So if we have a negative image that’s presented in big, potent, resonant form, the brain gives us a whopper of big, potent, resonant bad experience. But if we take this negative image and shrink it, darken it, make it a still frame, then we take away the power from the negative image and the brain will respond accordingly. We can take good experiences and enhance them. We can take the little joys of life and make them bigger, brighten up your vision of the day and feel ourselves become brighter and happier.

One woman absolutely loved chocolate because of its texture, its creaminess, and its smoothness, yet she hated grapes because they were crunchy. All that was done was, to have her imagine eating a grape slowly, bitting into it slowly and feeling the texture as it trolled around in her mouth. The same things were done with tonality. By doing this she began to desire and enjoy grapes.

We know that similar internal representation will create similar states or feelings. And similar feelings or states will trigger similar actions. If we explore and evaluate our sub-modalities for motivational experiences in life, we then know exactly what we have to do with any experience (may be negative) to make ourselves feel motivated. From that motivated state, we can get ourselves to take effective action.

A large number of therapists believe that in order to change negative behaviors, we have to re-experience the events and pain all over again and then to try to let it go once and for all. The major problem with this resolution is, by continually accessing neurological states of limitation and pain, it becomes much easier to trigger these states in the future when we are actually trying to stay away from those. Traditional therapy does produce results it is always better to see the results be produced with less pain for the patient and in a shorter period of time. Bandler and Grinder (pioneers of NLP - Tony uses the NLP approach) provide an approach using NLP to be able to change any feeling, emotion or behavior. Automatically triggering the change to our internal representation, from a negative state to a positive one, to produce more effective results.

NLP looks at the structure of human experience, not the content. Since the main difference between how we produce the state of depression or state ecstasy is, the way we structure our internal representations in our mind based on what happened. As William Shakespeare said, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. After all, frustration, depression, and ecstasy aren’t things. They are processes created by specific mental images, sounds and physical actions. If we love the feeling of challenge that our work gives but hate to clean the house, we can note the difference in sub-modalities that we currently have for work and house cleaning. By appreciating the difference in the sub-modalities for house cleaning and infusing the necessary sub-modalities we can create the drive to clean.

Just as a movie director can change the effect his movie has on an audience, we can change the effect any experience in life has upon ourselves. A director can change the camera angle, the volume and the type of music, the speed and the amount of movement, the color and the quality of the image, and thus create any state he wants in his audience. We need to direct our brain in the same way to generate any state or behavior that supports our highest goals or needs. This can be achieved by accessing and modulating our sub-modalities i.e. appreciating the sub-modalities for a positive experience and making them stronger and more empowering or appreciating the sub-modalities for a negative experience and stripping their power over us.

Like any skill, this takes repetition and practice. Think what our life would be if we remembered all our good experiences as looking bright, close, and colorful; as sounding joyous, rhythmic, and melodic; as feeling soft, warm and nurturing. And what if we stored our bad experiences as fuzzy little still-framed images with almost inaudible voices and insubstantial forms – far away from us. Successful people do this unconsciously. They turn up the volume of things that help them and turn off the sound of the things that don’t help them. In relationships, over the years, small negative experiences like not closing the cap of the tooth paste, or what was said in a fit of rage etc tend to get significance, by consciously reminding ourselves at such times of the positive experiences in the relationships, would help nurture relationships.


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