“Life is either a daring challenge or nothing.”
To be able to awaken the hibernating giant within thyself, you need to constantly attack and perceive drama as non life-threatening.
There are very few situations in one’s life when things really suck, like when someone close to you passes away or when you’re attacked by a vicious gun-man.
Even in these situations you cannot and you should not let your emotions take complete control over you because it will not lead to anything good, both in the short and in the long-term.
Don’t get me wrong here! It’s good to grieve someone you’ve just lost, but you should not do it for weeks or months. The relieving sensation (in the short-term) can turn to stress in the long-term, which leads to the release of stress hormones in your brain (like cortisol) and it negatively influences your whole body chemistry.
Tony Robbins taught me neuro-associative conditioning (or NSC, as he likes to name it), which is a technique that links pain or pleasure to certain life situations.
Think of it this way:
Is it okay to associate the memory of someone you love with the pain of crying for that person? Wouldn’t it be better for you to link the memory of that person with the great moments you had together?
You know the answer deep inside your heart. Be smart!
The Manageable Drama
Now, let’s focus on the more manageable drama we all have in our daily lives. Let’s nail it down the Tony Robbins way.
If you didn’t know so far, Tony is probably the best motivational speaker alive. He’s been coaching presidents of countries, athletes, VIPs, people with multiple personalities and people with no personalities, Fortune 500 companies, and many other important names.
We’ll refer to manageable drama as being the situations similar with the following:
– a fight with someone at work
– the break-up with your partner/lover
– the fact that you’re broke
– body weight problems
– temporary health issues
….and so on.
The first step is to understand that such situations are temporary and that your active participation into focusing on solutions is the key, rather than crying, complaining, or waiting for others to get you out of the situation.
The recent load of research in neuroscience, NLP, and the study of the brain have brought a wide range of approaches to deal with drama and depression, rather than jumping on drugs or other crazy stuff.
Let’s take a particular situation and apply the Scrambling Method to see how it works. The following situation is very common for many people.
Bob is two weeks nicotine free. It’s becoming more and more difficult to resist temptation. His brain addiction calls upon him and tries to make him give up every minute of every hour.
Bob’s mind and thinking are very faulty and very subjective. He pictures himself as doing the greatest sacrifice ever. To him, he’s a victim; he will never feel complete ever again. He’s remembering the times during break at work when he had a nice, calming cigarette.
He’s picturing the nights out with his friends when he smoked a packet full and had a great time.
Bob doesn’t know, but he’s on the brink of relapse. He’s been constantly associating pain with smoking cessation and he’s been reinforcing pleasure into the memories of smoking.
Those are a lot of chemical mixing inside his brain, such chemicals that will make Bob choose to follow the happy memories and start smoking again.
This is the kind of behavior that most of us express. However, now that we know about it, let’s focus on changing it.
Bob is following the wrong path the moment he starts making those negative neuro-associations.
The Scrambling Approach
This is where the scrambling technique kicks in. So, here’s what Bob should do:
1. Start seeing his two weeks of nicotine free as a movie. Yes, you’ve got it right, a movie.
2. Stop associating abstinence moments with wrong sensations and feelings. To illustrate, here’s another example:
Bob is having coffee with his friend Judith. He’s used to smoking several cigarettes while having coffee. Now he doesn’t do that. He’s feeling deprived.
When playing this movie, Bob should press fast-forward, then rewind the movie, to see it from the back to the beginning. He should picture himself with a rainy cloud above his head, as lightning and thunders are striking. Bob should also see himself growing a red-shinny clown nose, as he tries to enjoy his coffee with Judith.
I don’t know if you get this, but Bob should stop making bad and depriving neuro-associations with the moments he’s not smoking and start making fun out of him. You can imagine that he cannot feel upset on the long-term as he sees himself like a clown.
The game drastically changes when Bob sees this movie. He’ll start becoming more conscious and understand how silly he looks when thinking that he cannot live without cigarettes.
3. Repeat the movie for several times. You’ll see how you start feeling differently when you’re thinking about your drama. You’ll be more objective, less biased, and more solution oriented.
4. To make a lasting change you need to start making positive, self-empowering associations.
Here’s another example. Think of people trying to change a bad habit or eliminate drama from their lives by focusing on doing sports.
Exercising is triple-empowering, if you ask me and Charles Duhigg.
First, it makes you feel better, then it makes your looks better, then it drives other positive changes into your life (such as change in eating behaviors, change in sleeping patterns, and so on).
As you empower this habit (exercising) by forcing yourself into doing it for at least a month, you start making positive neuro-associations (when you see that you feel and look better).
Do it for long enough and it will become part of you. Then, try to stop doing it and you’ll see how wrong it feels! It will be self-enforcing and you’ll not be able to eliminate this positive habit, unless you try very hard.
This is the way I personally quit smoking; and I was an avid smoker for more than 9 years.
1. See your drama/bad habit as a movie.
2. Play it fast forward. Play it back-wards.
3. See yourself as a cartoon character with a big red nose and fluffy ears. Be inventive here.
4. Repeat the movie until it makes you feel different (until negative neuro-associations are gone).
5. Create new positive, self-enforcing neuro-associations that drive you away from the drama.
6. Repeat them until they become a habit.
I think that we should not allow our brains to control our lives. Negative habits and drama can make our lives a pain in the ass.
I know each one of us has the power to make a change. I personally want to help you do it, as long as you want to do it as well. So please tell me, in either of the comment sections below, where and who you wanna be. We’ll both try to figure out ways to get there.
1. Tony Robbins – Awaken The Giant Within
2. Dr. Joe Dispenza – Evolve your Brain: The Science of Changing your Mind
3. Dr. Daniel Amen – Change your Brain, Change your Life – The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Anger, and Impulsiveness
4. Karunaratne, M. (2010). Neuro-linguistic programming and application in treatment of phobias.
5. Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in Business and Life