Why You Cannot Make the Change you Want

Perhaps you have noticed how millions of people saw the movie The Secret when it came out yet how few manifested Ferraris or millions or miracle cures – or anything beyond the odd parking space.  Andy Shaw, in his book Creating a Bug Free Mind, estimates that fewer than one percent of those who engage in self help methods actually have the life they want. That’s a terrible record!  Over 99 percent of us think but do not grow rich!

I have tried dozens of self help methods and I am quite accomplished at not being helped by them, so I have a clue what the problem is.  Actually, I have more than a clue, as I have a fairly consistent method to get good results with self help.  And, I have  an excellent method for failing to be helped.

I have seen both of these methods work with my clients, too. Those who get results always use the method I prescribe. Those who don’t get results are those who understand my approach too well.  Yes, that is what I said.  They understand, and that gets in the way.

Here’s how it works. To create more civility in your life, you need to be in a certain state of mind for interacting with others, especially with bullies, manipulators, and those with empathy deficits. A client hears this, thinks, “Oh. That makes sense,” and having understood it, their intellect tells them they’ve mastered that point and can move on. If I am working with a client directly, she may get into a powerful state and see what it feels like, but then wants to move on to the tricks that will defeat a bully.

Unfortunately for the client who is smart enough to quickly grasp the concepts I teach, the intellect tricks them into thinking that understanding is mastery. It is not. In fact this level of understanding is downright harmful because it gives the client a sense that here is yet another approach to her problem which did not work.

Say you want to clean up your diet, and you read a book on nutrition, you understand the concepts and you know to eliminate certain things from your diet. You can even engage in an intelligent conversation about nutrition and sound quite expert, all without ever having changed your diet. Your intellect has made you into an expert, and yet you have made no real change if you are still eating the unhealthy foods.

photo credit: millicent_bystander via photo pin cc

photo credit: millicent_bystander via photo pin cc

I maintain that you are not an expert until you have practiced and applied the concepts. I know this firsthand. Any time I have succeeded at self help has been a time when I have spent some time each day, or even most days, practicing the meditation or doing the exercise or eating the healthy food.  If you want to be in a state of mind which is quite different than your habitual states of mind, it takes practice, not understanding.

I have a friend who admits she has a shelf of self help books, each with a bookmark at the point at which she discovered the proposed solution to her problem. It is at this point, she says, she put the book aside, disappointed that she did not find the magic which would instantly solve her problem, or at least something she’d never learned before!

This is sad when I consider that some self help methods really could qualify as magic with just a little bit of practice. In my case, I have found that a mere fifteen minutes of practice a day creates a huge difference in personal power within a week and a lasting difference within a month.  That’s not much effort to feel better when dealing with difficult people.

But, you probably already knew that.

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