A decade ago, I used to compete in Okinawan Karate.
Competitive karate is a roller coaster ride of glorious victories and bitter failure. There were days I found myself pummeled like a useless rag doll. And there were other days I scythed through opponents like an unstoppable juggernaut. Every punch broke through and every kick landed somewhere satisfyingly soft. (oooh how I loved
that!) I would zip around the squared ring like Neo on steroids, launching a flurry of eye-blackening attacks with a detached sense of killer calm.
My team never ceased wondering how I can be a sluggard one day and a murderous one-man army the next.
“Joe,” Trish used to tell me, “How in the world do you get into the zone the way you do?? You were amazing- That guy never stood a chance.”
I’d shrug and say that destiny meant for me to win that day.
Today, I realized it’s all a matter of states.
States? What in the world is that?
Turn on the TV or listen to the radio and you’ll soon hear a popular self-help guru asserting how success “is all a state of mind” and exhorting that prosperity comes from “shifting paradigms and adjusting mind states.”
Step back a bit more and travel to the days of your Psych 101. Do you already recall how states are simply complexes of physiology and neuro-functioning? Sure you do!
Look at the following list of words and observe how they describe common human states:
Now ask yourself this: What would it be like to change your state at will? Imagine flicking a switch in the dark corners of your mind and suddenly transporting yourself from a state of gloom to explosive euphoria!
To be able to shift from one state is empowering because you can back up any endeavor with the sizzling power of emotions. So, how’d you like to flick mental switches and command states at will?
Alrighty- Let’s get down to business then. Before you shift gears, first learn to pace where you’re setting out from. Hence:
1. Take a deep breath and identify the state your mind is currently engaged in. Expand your awareness: notice the feelings and sensations coursing through your body as well as the sounds and pictures whirring in your head.
Right now the weather is 31 degrees Celsius, I’m sweltering like a pig and feeling cranky as a baboon. I’m grumpy, and I accept it as *my state.
Have you already discerned how you feel? Whatever it is, accept it as *your state.
2. Purge your mind till you feel neutral. Get all the garbage out.
3. Identify the state you desire.
Most folks focus so much on their existing state that they fail to identify their desired state. You know what I mean: if I ask a grumpy person how they’d like to feel, they’d say “Certainly not like the way I feel now!”
Folks, it’s important to understand that the human neurology is goal seeking. Your mind demands a direction, so give it one! Okay. You’ve identified the state you want; here are TWO push button techniques to launch your desired state.
3.1 Method One: Recall an occasion when your mind oozed with the radiance of your chosen state. See what you saw back then as though you were looking out from your eyes (in 3D TechniColor). Relive the emotions that coursed through your body. Hear the sounds in True Dolby Surround Sound quality.Now, unless you are doing this halfheartedly (watching a grainy black and white movie in Mono), the sensations will peak and as they do, gently squeeze a ticklish part of your forearm for a few seconds. Release it.
Ok. That’s done. Break your state by doing something uninspiring such as recalling the color of your beige wallpaper back home. Or the conversation you had with your boss. Now squeeze that ticklish part of your forearm once more. The state will come cascading back.
Squeezing is a technique called anchoring. Search the archives for more info on this. Elroy and William whipped up a few good essays on the subject.
3.2 Method Two: First query yourself, “What am I experiencing when I feel (your state)” then plunge your mind into a three dimensional movie of yourself experiencing the state. For instance, if you’d
like to be “suavely debonair”, visualize the time you exuded sensual confidence around the opposite sex. See what you wore, the cocky expression on your face, the buzzing people flocking around you. Hear the adoring sounds that reverberated in the room as you were the center of attention.”
Make the picture really big and bright. Increase the volume and picture quality. Then… leap into that dazzling image of yourself and seize the experience.
Relish the state. Then squeeze that ticklish part again.
Whip up a list of states that you’d love to experience more. Choose either of the methods discussed (or make your own), and practice getting into those states while mentally anchoring them. I found it useful to create permanent anchors for Enthusiasm (for slow Mondays)
and Warmth (for days my staff is in a cranky mood)
Whatever you do, have fun zapping your anchors and firing those states. .