GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


October 14, 2015

The Magic Bean

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:35 am

BeanstalkThere is a magic bean when it comes to evolving (changing). It’s called “Interruption.”

It works every time. The rub is this: You have to work at it.

There is no denying that we are patterned individuals. Our actions are dictated by our conditioned patterns of thinking and behavior.

When we want to change a pattern, we normally go about it by attacking it. If that strategy works, it’s short-term. Think of dieting to lose weight as one of these attacks.

The strategy for evolving that works is twofold:

1. Noticing

2. Interrupting

Noticing a pattern of thinking or behavior is the necessary first step in changing. “Yes, I do do that” has to enter our awareness. Not only is it necessary to notice, it’s most productive to notice when the pattern is happening. Notice the pattern while it’s going on. “OMG I’m yelling now because I’m frustrated” is an example of noticing in real time.

Suppose that’s something you want to change. You could practice not yelling over and over again in imagined, frustrating situations but when reality hits, you’ll go back to your default pattern unless you outgrow it. That’s what change is: outgrowing or updating a pattern.

Interruption is the magic bean to use once you notice patterns in real time. You can’t use this bean just once and expect results. You have to use the prescription over and over until you get results.

This is not an experimental theory I’m offering. It’s the proven way deliberate change happens.

When you notice that you are exhibiting a pattern you want to change, immediately interrupt it. If, as in the previous example, you notice you are yelling because you are frustrated, immediately interrupt the pattern and adjust your volume downward, in real time. Do that every time you notice you are running that pattern.

This is where the magic happens – in the space between stimulus and reaction.

Consistent application of this two step technique updates your old pattern over time and has you responding in more up-to-date ways to surrounding stimuli.

I liken the process to learning to “spit shine” shoes when I was in the U.S. Navy. The method seems like it’s never going to work, until it does. Here’s a description of the process I wrote about a few years ago:

In order for your porous, cheap leather boots to shine like a black mirror on the toe portion, you have to constantly apply polish and water and rub in a circle in the same spot to get the desired result. It doesn’t happen on the first application and is still absent after the 30th. The sense is it will never happen and giving up is not an option. Your drill instructors insist on your success and their tactics seem heavy-handed, until that little spot of reflection begins to show itself. Then success feeds on itself until you have a shining example of your work.

This method of change is available to all of us and the results are guaranteed if you guarantee to put in the work. This method doesn’t attack the problem; it interrupts it, and gets results that last for a lifetime.

Once you outgrow something, you’ll never go back. The only question you need to answer regarding changing is this: Am I willing to go to work on a way that works?

If your answer is “Yes,” you now have access to the magic bean.

All the best,

John



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