ADJUSTMENT, AN EXPERIENTIAL ATTITUDE****
2.1 ADJUSTMENT ATTITUDE AND EXPERIMENTAL METHOD
– SUBCONSCIOUS DEFENCE MECHANISMS AND MANIPULATION OF REALITY:
Correcting a mental error can take more or less time but it is not too complicated, you just have to internalise that erroneous thinking is (technically) a mental illness: it has its causes (bad learning) and its symptoms (discomfort, conflict, emptiness, suffering…) like any other illness. To correct it, the treatment is the following: locate the error (wrong thought or belief), understand how it works, look for a more adjusted thought and change the good one for the bad one. Let’s remember that we have to make changes in our subconscious, so it is advisable to know it a little better. Our subconscious “defends” its learned programs using some mechanisms that we will have to watch out for if we want to improve our results; among others:
– Rationalization: excuses and justifications.
– Projection: attributing the blame for what happens to us to the outside world.
– Repression: avoiding, forgetting or concealing the discomfort or problem.
– Compensation: trying to compensate for a “complex” or deficiency through appearances.
– Conversion: Transforming the mental conflict into a physical symptom (psychosomatic disorder).
– Filiation: taking on personality characteristics in order to be accepted by a person or a group.
– Fantasy: Imagination to avoid mediocrity and frustration; distorting their vision of past, present and future until they feel appreciated.
– Counter-reaction: feeling one thing but doing/appearing the opposite.
– Displacement: relieving/projecting the anxiety of a conflict onto another person or object; or through harmful habits.
– Simple Denial: inability to assimilate an unpleasant event and deny it as if it had not happened or was not happening.
Most of these movements are neither voluntary nor conscious, but they are completely normalized; they happen to all of us to a greater or lesser extent. The problem is that they maintain and enhance the wrong functioning: emotional exhaustion, denial and accumulated frustration, constant self-justification, defensiveness, mistrust, inefficiency, dissatisfaction, loss of natural joy and spontaneity… a very limiting picture that blocks our capabilities and the opportunities that come our way.
IT ALL STEMS FROM THE (UNCONSCIOUS) NEED TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF OUR CONDITIONED MODEL BASED ON DEPENDENCIES AND APPEARANCES. But we do not get so many demands and do not achieve the level of acceptance we are looking for; so (instead of looking for solutions) we alleviate our frustration by inventing all these defense mechanisms (they are a kind of anesthesia for the disorientated clown we have mistaken ourselves for). We will see that as we learn to take control of our mental programming, they will disappear by themselves. THE REPROGRAMMING CODE OF OUR SUBCONSCIOUS IS BASED ON TWO FACTORS: IMPACT AND REPETITION. The phases that we will use in this process are:
1- REFLECTION: First we must understand the importance of replacing a maladjusted thought with a more realistic and effective one (“I don’t think I can” to “it remains to be seen whether I can or not, I will find a way to do it”). It is also essential to be aware that every attempt to improve is an opportunity to learn and exercise our abilities.
2- DECANTING: For the change to be effective, we have to introduce these reflections at a deeper level of our mind, to replace our problematic automatisms with other more adjusted ones. To achieve this, the most effective tools are Impact/Feeling and Mental Imagery. The images have to be clear, simple and accompanied by a feeling of confidence. Our confidence and motivation cannot be based on “fulfill our dreams” but on a rational analysis of the real possibilities. If we take it with a minimum of seriousness, it will not take long to observe that our attitude starts to change in the intended direction, improving our internal feelings and our external results (Functional Threshold).
The Experimental Method will be the procedure we will use to carry out our Adjustment or Error Correction Challenge; it consists of the following steps:
EXPERIMENTAL ADJUSTMENT METHOD (AVIA):
This is the most effective procedure to advance our Adjustments process; we will call it AVIA (Analysis-Visualization-Impact-Action):
Step 1: Observation and Analysis:
1.1. Understanding and recognition of the error. Observation:
The first thing is to see or observe the error and honestly recognise the possibility of committing it when the symptoms we want to correct (nervousness, tension, sadness, worry, conflicts and the like) appear. Observe if these symptoms are accompanied by imperative affirmations (excessive sense of truth), excessive demands (towards ourselves, others or circumstances), negative generalizations (nothing goes well for me, everything sucks) and in general judging situations or people and their actions in a tremendous way. Also detect stubbornness (refusing to look at things in a different way). I ASSURE YOU THAT YOU MAY BE SURPRISED AT THE DEGREE OF FOOLISHNESS ONE CAN DETECT WHEN ONE LEARNS TO SELF-OBSERVE; BUT DO IT WITH HUMOUR.
This vigilance is important because the earlier you catch a mistake the easier it is to correct it. Here are some “moves” that we have to learn to detect:
– DENYING the evidence, complicating the simple and resisting change.
– SAYING “this is the way I am”, “things are the way they are” or “I believe this or that”; remember that we are not our way of being, but the possibility of being and doing.
– Underestimating or rejecting the OPPORTUNITY to make a prudent revision of our vital approaches.
Let us remember that we start from a state of Learned Helplessness that tends to convince us (wrongly most of the time) that we cannot do anything in a given situation. We have to get out of this state because it is the main cause of stagnation, complaints and excuses. We will see how to get out of it by TRAINING our Understanding and Executive Capacities:
1.2. Functional or causal analysis:
It consists of making a reflective analysis of the possible causes of the error and the possible solutions to it; our chances of success will increase to the extent that we understand how the error we are adjusting (causal patterns). To do this we have to ask ourselves simple but essential questions (why, how, what, when); avoiding reaching conclusions too quickly by denying or believing based in our prejudices. It is a matter of locating evidence that gives us enough clarity to overcome the challenge. Let’s look at some criteria that will allow us to check whether an idea or perspective is minimally reasonable:
– Empiricist: accept as possible truth only what we can personally verify.
– Logical: to elaborate well-ordered and concluded reasoning, without contradictions or mediocre arguments.
– Flexible: The analysis must be open to change if new facts or significant information appear, avoiding stubbornness, which is the most foolish way to create problems.
– Morally neutral: In objective and absolute terms nothing is good or bad, but depends on circumstances and context. The Cosmos and Nature are not governed by pity or moral criteria; and they do not hesitate to act forcefully if they have to defend their project.
– Probabilistic: The conclusion we reach is never a certainty, but the most probable or possible one we can obtain with the information we have, from our point of view and at that moment.
In short, it is about using Observation and Analysis to get the best possible VISION of how the error occurs and how it can be adjusted.
Step 2: Visualization and impact:
Having recognised the error and analysed both its causes and possible solutions, a strategy needs to be devised to increase the assurance of change. It has to be a strategy that we can internalise/visualize (simple, clear and well-defined); so we have to specify as well as possible what actions we are going to carry out for the reprogramming, when and how we are going to carry them out.
To do this, we will visualize the change in as much detail as possible; the more clearly we can define our new position, the better we will be able to internalise the objectives we are pursuing and the planned actions. We will use simple images, so that they can provoke the necessary impact to counteract the inertia of the error we are undertaking. We have to find a way to REPEATEDLY FEEL the importance of making the Adjustments we are facing.
Our Attitude must be one of total determination but very calm; we will concentrate on enjoying the Adjustment Game, without expectations. IT IS ESSENTIAL NOT TO JUDGE THE RESULTS; IT IS ABOUT LEARNING TO MEASURE THEM IN ORDER TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS. Progress will be guaranteed as long as we apply our strategies with a minimum of discipline.
We have to appreciate the small steps forward and make the decision to go all the way, no matter what. When our mind realizes our determination, it will give up its mandate.
Step 3: Implementation and follow-up:
The previous phases are very important, but the one that will bring us mastery and the results we are looking for will be the effective application in our daily life, in our daily laboratory. Only when we start to apply the strategies and actions to correct the error in our daily life, can we say that we have really started our Adjustment Challenge.
It is very important that the practical application respects the strategy we have set to ensure results. If we do not pay enough attention to it, if we do it in a disorderly way or if we have not understood the procedure well, we have to realise it, because if not, our mind will take the opportunity to convince us that the method does not work or that we cannot achieve it. It is very convenient to systematize moments of metallization and planning, to look for ways to remember and apply the process during the day and to review it in the evening to draw conclusions about the results and decide for the following day.
Checking whether the change is bearing the right fruits is an essential part of the process; it is the only reliable way to know that we are applying the error correction procedure correctly. The symptoms that should appear progressively are: greater stability of mood, a feeling of calm, a decrease in mental noise, worries and complaints, a tendency to simplify things, an increase in confidence and in the ability to concentrate….
It is essential that you understand this: if any difficulty appears in the application of the Procedure we have to solve it (it is a Learning Zone) before continuing to do a half-hearted treatment; otherwise our mind will look for a way to demotivate us and take us out of the Game. For something to work well you have to do it well, doing it half-heartedly is better than doing nothing, but the results will also be half-hearted.
***ATTITUDE OF ADJUSTMENT:
ATTITUDE IS A MENTAL AND NEUROLOGICAL STATE that pre-disposes us to act in a certain way and “orients” us towards the goals and objectives that our mind has programmed. This attitude controls our actions-reactions, forges our habits and determines our Quality of Life.
There are two factors that determine our Attitude: Our way of Interpreting Reality and the emotional and behavioral Responses associated with that interpretation. Both are learned.
A maladjusted attitude is passive, reactive and dependent. The results of that attitude are there for all to see (insecurity, dissatisfaction, instability, complaints…). Forget about blaming the world for these results and focus on doing what is really in your hands: Adjusting your Attitude by regaining control of your Essential Capacities (Affective, Understanding and Executive). The aim of this Method is to help you do this.
Waiting for things to get better without changing our attitude, thinking that it is impossible, guessing at difficulties, complaining, making excuses, interpreting the past, pre-worrying about the future… that is the right way to perpetuate dissatisfaction and conflict.
The Adjustment Attitude is an experiential, non-speculative position that uses inner resources to achieve a more adequate view of Reality. Its aim is to progressively adjust our current way of functioning (directed by our Personal Mental Model and its Mental Chains) by implementing the Experiential Method in our lives.
What we will do to achieve this is to train the Base State of the Adjustment Game: the PCG (Position of Control and Management):
POSITION OF CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT (PCG):
“P”: Position and Reference State.
The main step to start the Adjustment Attitude is to set a Reference State starting from Calmness and to take a certain Distance with respect to the situations we are handling; if we train these 2 Sensations we will achieve the Observer-Experimenter Base Position. Calmness is the sacred variable of the Method of Adjustments, it is the key that unlocks the Process of growth and it is also our natural state, as it appears by itself when the mind is quiet (it is the state that Zen, mindfulness and other fashionable techniques try to achieve). The most pathetic thing is that Calmness is always there, but our Mental Chains prevent us from enjoying it by generating emotional movements of greater or lesser intensity. As we lose our natural state of calm (which can be observed in the rest of the animals because their brain is not so maladjusted), closed-mindedness and inertia appear and prevent us from learning from the circumstances; keeping us in error, conflict and stagnation. This variable is so important that in the Method we have called it NON-NEGOTIABLE CALM; because our mind has a lot of programs that will try to get us out of it. Have you ever heard these expressions? “How can I not get angry if…” “It is impossible not to worry when…” “I was saying that…”. Anyway, what I hope you admit is that from calmness; besides feeling much better; one tends to act in a more effective and reasonable way than from emotions. So we will have to make it very clear to our mind that EVERYTHING IS NEGOTIABLE BUT CALMNESS.
It is essential that we FEEL that POSITION of Observer that allows us to monitor the mental movements that take us out of the State of Reference. THE KEY IS TO UNDERSTAND AND BECOME AWARE THAT ANY NEGATIVE SYMPTOM IS A MENTAL ERROR. This step will allow us to point in the right direction when any sign of discomfort or conflict appears: our Mental Chains. Our objective is to ensure that our mind does not clash with Reality by making better use of our Capacity to manage the situations it presents us with.
From this POSITION we have to be aware that our attitude has to focus on the present and to value highly the progress we make. We say this because we are so used to creating unrealistic expectations that we are capable of misjudging the results of our Adjustment Challenge. Be in no doubt that if you are more concerned with what “theoretically” is missing than with what you are achieving, your mind will take you out of the Game and you will regain control again.
The State of Reference will gradually provide us with a stability of mind – equanimity – that will allow us to become aware that we are experimenting with a limited time, but essential for our evolutionary development. It will progressively increase the capacity of concentration in each moment; detached observation, learning, enjoyment and fluidity will be the norm.
The Position will make us feel that Present in another way; we will realise that the only Real thing is each instant. The past (memory) and the future (divination) will stop invading our attention. From the Position we will use the past to look for information and the future to plan our improvement strategies; and only when we see it convenient. The objective of the Position is to progressively move from the mental Level – Ego – to the Real Level, Real Observer-Experimenter Self, to Control what our Experimental Tool (body-mind) thinks, feels and does:
“C”: Control of the tool (Body and Mind).
The Mental Chains that we will learn to reprogram are controlling our body (speed, posture, tensions…) and our mind (fears, desires, worries…), influencing our health and quality of life much more than we imagine. Our mind controls thought, sensation and directs the actions of our experimental tool.
From the Position, our first objective will be to progressively regain control over our body and mind. We have 3 Planes in our experimental tool: Physical, Chemical and Mental. We will review and adjust 3 parameters in each of the Planes: Rest, Exercise and Intake.
“G”: Management of Circumstances.
From the Position and with our more controlled tool, we will rehabilitate the Questions to open our Understanding Capacity and develop Strategies to reduce inertias and regain control of our Executive Capacity (decision making).
The Adjustment Attitude is proactive (not passive) and oriented to the meaningful (the variables that really determine the Real Quality of Life). These are its Bases:
1- The Correct Understanding of the Circumstances we handle: recovering the Question to progressively improve our capacity to analyse and create alternatives. This will entail the training our communicative skills.
2- The Enjoyment of Learning: we must understand that effort and sacrifice are the alternatives that we have been “sold” to overcome the awkwardness and demotivation associated with erroneous learning.
3- The Sum: An eco-logical (not ego-logical) orientation, making the best possible use of diversity and making sustainable use of individual and group resources.
We have learned to identify ourselves and others with “ways of being”. When we label something, that label/judgment manages the way we function; it conditions and limits our Investment of Capabilities (e.g. the label “I am shy” manages our ability to communicate).
We need to understand that “ways of being” are STATES (different ways of using our Capacities) that can be adjusted to improve results. It is about managing states (I am not shy, I tend to get into a state of shyness); it is an essential step to motivate us to look for the causes of our internal problems – insecurity, complaint, dispersion, disorder… – or external ones – conflicts, excessive dependencies…-.
SO THE KEYS TO SOLVING ANY ISSUE ARE:
– Clearly define the problem in a simplified and orderly manner.
– Analyse alternatives or possible solutions.
– Plan strategies and concrete actions.
– Implementing and monitoring them
4 – THE THREE STEPS:
IN SHORT, THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TO MANAGE OUR EXPERIENCES IS BASED ON THREE STEPS:
1- Sense the Real Self and, from it, observe what your experiential tool (body-mind) thinks, feels and does by controlling the AFFECTIVE FIELD with Non-negotiable Calm as a base.
2- Becoming Conscious of Learning by recovering the question to enable/develop the UNDERSTANDING FIELD.
3- Make decisions based on Adjustment Criteria (not based on beliefs) to be able to control the response in the EXECUTIVE FIELD.
Before going on, it is essential to know that we have some mental mechanisms installed that can block the practical application of our Adjustment Process. These Blockers usually appear when we want to implement a change and they make it difficult or impede it. If we decide to start our process and this interest is not reflected in a consistent way in our daily life, we should check if it is due to any of the following Mental Traps:
***2.2 REVIEW OF THE MENTAL TRAPS THAT HARD THE CHALLENGE:
FALSE CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION
We are too often wrong when we judge the causes of our quality of life. How important is this mistake? Very little: When we aim out to establish what happens to us (the world, my children, my friends, my boss, my neighbour…my-my-my-my-my….), we are giving control over our lives to those stimuli, because we give them power over our thoughts, emotions and behaviors. On the outside are not the causes but the effects of what we think, feel and do. Some people go a step further and attribute what goes right to their expertise and what goes wrong to others (the world, life or bad luck). It is much simpler: if we are well, we are doing well; and if we are bad, there is something we need to learn and change. To successfully advance in our Adjustment Challenge it is indispensable to recognise our true Responsibility: what things really depend on us, to what extent and how to handle them. The contracted stance (which is the usual one) is the one that keeps us in discomfort, complaint and resignation.
If we believe that the causes of our problems are outside us (External Attribution) we will do nothing to change things and circumstances will determine the way we live. But if we turn our finger towards our Attitude (Internal Attribution) we will realise that our beliefs and misidentifications are behind the bad results, we will look for ways to adjust them and take back Control.
THE PRIORITIES: SIGNIFICANCE OR IMPORTANCE OF THINGS.
The environment around us (using Emotional Conditioning) manipulates us over and over again to think, feel and act in certain ways. It is not so difficult to observe that our social, cultural and educational environment pressures us with its ideologies, dogmas, fashions and trends. It makes it very clear to us what things we have to give Importance to and/or pay Attention to. We don’t have to bother to reflect and decide, it is enough to obey in order not to have problems. When they manage to program our subconscious in this way, we go into automatic mode (they don’t need to keep pushing us) and we start to do with others the same thing they have done with us: condition/manipulate them to meet our expectations. Pathetic.
Learned priorities are turned outwards: appearances, studies, money… in other words: “to have” and “to seem”. Literally: We sell our Lives. That is why one of the main objectives of our Adjustment Game is to review the Importance we give to things, in order to better Invest our Capacities and get a higher Yield from them (Real Quality of Life). Get this into your head: Importance directs our Attention and behind it go all our resources.
BELIEFS AND CONVICTIONS.
We believe that our point of view and what we feel is the truth. We do not see Reality, we see our reality; and we also believe that our model is the best, which adds a qualitative nuance to the previous error. Thus, my point of view is not only the true one but it is the best one and consequently, the world “should or shouldn’t”, I “should or shouldn’t” be like that. Therefore we need the world to conform to “my model” without realising that others are trying to do the same. All these beliefs are the basis of dependencies and suffering.
RESISTANCE TO CHANGE.
One of the biggest evidences that we are not in control of our lives is the Resistance to change; especially if they go against your fears and dependencies. The main Tricks our mind uses to impede our Improvement/Adjustment Process are:
-Trick number 1. DENIALS AND EXCUSES: Our mental programming is an infinite source of denials and excuses; no matter how obvious something is it is able to deny it “I don’t usually do that” or dismiss it “that can’t be avoided”; and no matter how important it is to make changes it manages to put them off with any excuse. When he cannot deny the problem, because it is too obvious, what he does is to make us feel difficulty or impossibility. The only thing impossible is to pretend that things improve without making changes.
-Trick number 2. HABITS AND INERTIAS: We have already talked about the power of inertias due to our automatic functioning. We will not be able to make positive changes without progressively freeing our Attention from the sequestration of our automatisms. The way to overcome this disadvantage with certain guarantees is to combine patience, calm, constancy; that is to say: not to stop until we achieve it and to fix small breaks/changes in our routines.
We have internalized that “We are like this” and “The world is like that”. When you feel that way, it is very difficult for you to consider the possibility of doing something to improve things.
-Trick nº 3. DEPENDENCES AND ATTACHMENTS: We will see that this is one of the main Variables that we have to Adjust. “CREATED/BELIEVED Needs” generate expectations and pressures on the one hand and fears and insecurities on the other; they are the most obvious cause of discomfort, suffering and conflict. Dependencies tend to manipulate our Capacities, making us, at the same time, egocentric manipulators. The really dangerous Dependency is the one that a person has on something or someone in particular (it is not the same “wishing” to have a partner as “believing” that you will be bad without “that” person).
Dependencies and Attachments take emotional control of our lives and are therefore one of the biggest obstacles to making positive changes. “Emotional Addictions”; like any addiction that is not corrected; end in self-destruction, loneliness and disorientation. The lack of ability to control our emotions makes us insecure and distrustful. We all know that the “heat” of emotions is fatuous, apparent, unstable; it creates unrealistic expectations that prevent us from consolidating authentic and lasting feelings.
The Adjustment Process develops our Analytical or Understanding Capacity by rehabilitating the Questions: Is what my mind considers necessary really necessary? What other alternatives do I have? We have to be realistic when looking for options and be aware that it is our dependent attitude that does not allow us to manage correctly and really enjoy things. We cannot be calm and secure as long as we allow our minds to invent needs and dependencies. In this scenario, fears inevitably arise; among others:
– Fear of failure: “I don’t try in case I fail” or “I don’t want to fail so I don’t try”. Fear is an evolutionary mechanism that tries to protect us from something. Of the possible reactions to fear, the worst are paralysis and resignation. Mistake is an essential part of Real Learning; which is based on learning from mistakes. Make no doubt that the biggest mistake is to live in fear of being wrong.
– Fear of “losing something”: The learning model we have been sold is more about appearances than results; it tends to complicate the simple, wasting our energies and potential. Real Learning or Adjustment will give us better results with less effort (effectiveness). This Process will help you to adjust your main blocking fears using prudence and reason. You will not lose anything, but you will take a lot of weight off your shoulders.
THE SENSATION OF DIFFICULTY.
What I’ve heard the most when I explain to someone what our Adjustment Challenge is all about is: “Yeah, but that’s really hard”. They agree that it would be great and they can’t argue with the approach, but they “know” (before they even try) that they won’t be able to do it. And they are right, of course. This mental movement; which contaminates any possibility of growth and improvement; is called Self-Fulfilling Prophecy (you don’t do something because you think you can’t). It is fundamentally based on 2 mental programs that need to be adjusted:
– Guessing sacrifices and difficulties: good trick to do nothing, problems stay and get worse; turning the apparent “comfort” of doing nothing about it into a daily quagmire (that, with two…noses, has been called “comfort zone”).
– Dichotomous way of thinking: “Now we have to change EVERYTHING” “NOTHING can be done” “Life IS LIKE THIS”. This way of thinking shuts down and obfuscates our view of whatever we are dealing with. It is not easy to find a more effective way to throw balls off (it seems to me a clearer name than procrastinating), that is: to postpone things for when there is time, for the New Year, for when we retire….. Procrastinating is a skill that, if trained, progressively atrophies our Capacities and installs us in that lamentable state of incapacity and resignation that we know so well and conceal so well.
UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS AND LEARNING.
We have to see our Adjustment Process as a pleasant game of progressive change; feeling motivated and challenged, but not pressured. Valuing and enjoying the small improvements as they appear. At Low Adjustment Level we live with Expectations (we expect things to happen in a certain way and in a certain time) and attached to the outcome; we do not realise that Reality contains infinite variables and is much more unpredictable than we “believe”. Expectation is the most influential factor in frustration and demotivation.
Forget about expecting anything; focus on your Adjustment challenge and use the results to draw conclusions and see if there is anything to correct; the quality of our results depends on the quality of our Learning Process. We have already seen the types of learning through which we are conditioned and which we transmit to each other. Our Educational System forces us to spend the most crucial years of our learning in getting the approval of our environment and a Degree/Paper that certifies that we are able to swallow anything to be fed (Mascot Effect). There is an incredible disproportion between the effort made and the real knowledge achieved. What this approach achieves is to format useless people who pretend to know; it also has two other effects that limit us for life:
– It generates disinterest or aversion to Learning, since we confuse “it” with Learning and we draw the conclusion that learning costs a lot and does not really contribute much.
– It replaces questions and trial and error with conviction and mental rigidity.
With this scenario, it is logical that dependencies and a lack of real confidence appear; which are the ideal conditions for us to become easily manipulated “resources”.
The patterns that Real Learning, that is what we are going to recover with the Adjustment Attitude are:
– Respect the Natural System of Learning: Question, Hypothesis, Experimentation and Follow-up.
– Being Pro-active and Meaningful: Moving from becoming mere containers of, more or less irrelevant, information to directing our potentials towards objectives that provide a Real Quality of Life.
– Focused on the quality of the Process: correct understanding, analytical capacity, critical sense, capacity to create alternative solutions, social and communicative capacities. Focused on self-confidence and developing our capabilities to the fullest.
– Based on the Enjoyment of Learning and not on sacrifice: Effort is a sign of a bad educational strategy.
– Competence-oriented: A truly competent person is more independent and more able to contribute and add up.
Knowing the main traps that usually prevent a correct process of Adjustment, let’s point out some variables that favor it; because it might be convenient to “turn” towards them:
***2.3 VARIABLES THAT FAVOUR THE ACHIEVEMENT OF RESULTS:
Our life revolves around what we call “I” or “mine”. The Method of Adjustments states that the only thing we are all the time is the sum of 3 Capacities: Affective (wanting or rejecting), Understanding (understanding better or worse what is in front of us) and Executive (acting one way or another). When we identify with what we perceive, think and feel (all changing), we become trapped in those mental movements and lose control over our Capacities.
Identifying with what changes is the most serious of all our mental errors (Fundamental Error #1). We are an Experimenter Background that perceives the experience, on the outside there are only challenges to develop the expression of our potentials.
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT WE UNDERSTAND THAT WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR OUTSIDE IS WITHIN US. When we feel great satisfaction from some external event…does that feeling come from the outside or from within us? If we receive a hug from a person we love…does the joy or tenderness we feel come from our inner affective capacity or does it come from the back through the arms of the person who hugs us? If these Sensations come from us, why do we give the key to our internal “apothecary” (sadness or joy) to external stimuli? Does this question seem important to you? I suppose it is; because this is where all our attachments and dependencies come from: from believing that it is those stimuli that “bring us” those sensations.
We learn to associate our well-being/discomfort with circumstances (conditioning = putting conditions to be well). The Adjustment Process allows us to progressively regain control over our apothecary/sensations. It is about understanding that, in reality, our well-being does not depend on anyone and making it clear to others that theirs does not depend on us. For this to be possible, all we need to do is to calmly analyse the amount of suffering that this misunderstanding brings.
Achieving Real Fullness or Real Satisfaction depends unique and exclusively on each one of us; it is a Potential that is within us; so we will learn to enjoy it independently of the circumstances.
We must make our mind understand that eliminating learning errors and developing our Capacities is the most important and profitable of our personal objectives. When we feel discomfort in our body we go to the doctor, because we know that there is some MALADJUSTMENT in our physical-chemical functioning… why don’t we do the same with psychological discomfort? Because we have normalized demotivation, frustration, listlessness and unpleasantness.
Eliminating suffering and discomfort from our lives should already be a great motivator. What´s more, if you learn how to do it, you can help others to do it (think of your loved ones). The only real support that can be offered to a person is to help them understand their psychological functioning and the mistakes that can make them dependent and mess up his life. The most laudable motive for initiating a process of Learning for Self-Improvement is that it is also useful to others. So you have to overcome inertia, excuses and laziness. It is about getting excited about this profitable Challenge, with a realistic approach (without absurd expectations), persistence and unshakeable confidence.
Demotivation is annoying because it is Life’s (that We Are) way of letting us know that something needs to make changes. Life won’t let us feel at ease until we have minimally unfolded our real potentials. To think that “we are all for a style” is a very bad excuse, which already indicates the state we are in. We have to get going, put our heart into our Adjustment Challenge and be careful with these mental movements:
– “It’s too difficult or impossible”. We have tried so many times without success that we have acquired what in psychology is called Learned Helplessness (we do not suspect that there is something to learn/adjust, we believe that it cannot be done).
– “It seems easy”. Underestimating the difficulty of something is often just as dangerous as overestimating it. The Process of Adjustment and Correction of Errors requires attention, persistence and internal changes in the person, so it is not enough with the desire.
– “Interesting, when I have time…”. When the previous two fail, our mind tends to use this last cheated. There are two ways to make a mistake: to decide wrongly or not to decide in time. Don’t put anything ahead of your Real Learning Process; it won’t be long before you realise that you have never made a smarter decision in your whole life.
In short, personal motivation is adequate when it meets these 2 requirements:
1- It is intrinsic: the objectives come from within us (it is not “I have to do” but “I want to do”).
2- It is meaningful: we feel that the subject has a real importance and a clear usefulness.
THE CONTROL OF ATTENTION.
We are not aware that our Attention works automatically, following the instructions of our Personal Mental Model and trapped in routines that, for the most part, do not require our conscious participation. We have the sensation of directing our Attention but in reality it is our expectations, judgments and worries that are in control of this important resource. If we observe a little, we will see that our thoughts work on their own. Sit quietly, close your eyes and give your mind the command not to think until you say so. What happened?
We have already said that where our mind places the Importance it also directs our Attention; so we have to review them in order to recover this very important factor. In our techniques section, you will find some exercises to train the control, intensity and duration of voluntary Attention.
It is especially important to “Attend to Intuition”. We usually call this a sensation that appears in the mind, that we don’t really know where it comes from, and that tries to guide us. Some scientific experiments have confirmed that this information comes from our unconscious level and is usually quicker, more accurate and more effective than that which is consciously and/or “voluntarily” elaborated; but our thoughts usually end up convincing us to ignore it, and we usually end up regretting not having done so. This phenomenon is another example of the struggle between our Natural Programming and our Mental Programming, which tends to reject anything that does not fit the outlines of our programmed Mental Model.
THE RIGHT ATTITUDE.
The Right Attitude is one that reinforces self-confidence, real learning, creativity, collaboration, concentration and the development of our Capacities: a Creative and Collaborative Attitude. To move towards this we have to reschedule/adjust the Egocentric Position from which we started:
– Sense of truth: With little tendency to respect the opinion of others (everybody knows everything).
– Biased accounting: Permanent feeling of giving much more than we receive.
– Unfairness: We give opportunities to those who do not deserve them and deny them to those who do. The only equality we should aspire to is equality of opportunity; from that point on, “rights” must be earned.
– “Flexible” loyalty and coherence: according to personal interests, to the detriment of collective interests.
– Protesting and doing nothing: The complaint takes away the solution; besides being very tiresome, complaining is the most toxic and absurd way of relating to others.
A person who denies their problems or attributes them to causes other than their egocentric automatisms will sow suffering for themselves and for those around them. Only if we recognise these automatisms can we begin our Adjustment Process and act on the mechanisms behind the way we think, feel and act. If we do so, it will not be long before our confidence, effectiveness and satisfaction will clearly and consistently improve.
A GOOD STRATEGY.
The success of any process is based on the application of a clear, simple strategy based on concrete/well-defined actions that can be applied in our daily lives (any other approach tends to be ineffective and ends up demoralizing us).
In this sense, THE TWO FACTORS THAT CAN FACILITATE OUR PROCESS THE MOST ARE:
– A Strategic Vision: it is fundamental to manage the processes by Levels (Mental, Physical-Chemical and Capacitive). Our energy gives life to the body and from our body comes our mental and chemical-emotional activity. It is about analysing strategies and actions aimed at the control and development of each of our internal and external processes. We must be clear on which level we are introducing improvements and how they affect the other levels.
– Action and Follow-up Plans: Effectiveness will depend on establishing clear, well-defined, realistic actions whose results can be easily evaluated. Establishing and specifying the actions to be taken will not only increase the likelihood of success, but will also improve confidence and motivation levels.
We refer here to those that are related to basic needs and survival: rest, physical activity, food and care with toxins. Our physical and mental states are closely related, they influence each other, when we are physically unwell it is easier for us not to control our mental and emotional movements; and when the mind is too restless it generates a physical-chemical wear and tear and imbalance that results in psychosomatic disorders.