The fact is the body develops habits. It is used to experiencing certain feelings. It is used to vibrating at the frequency of negative emotions, be it irritation, anxiety, chronic stress, apathy or melancholy.
We underestimate the power of the mind – as an instrument and extension of our soul; as a spark of the divine – but at the same time we clearly overestimate our own ability to listen to the language of the body. A case in point:
– My body knows what it needs.
The body is governed by instincts (on the animal level) and habits (on the civilised level). The deeper modern civilisation has taken root inside us (which it already has, don’t kid yourself), the less we can hear the voice of nature. Especially when we’re winging it through life.
This leads to justifications such as:
- My body wants to smoke;
- My body wants alcohol;
- My body wants sweet after savoury (where is that written in nature?);
- My body wants to slouch (because, well, it’s already slouching)
- My body wants to lie on the sofa all day staring at the computer screen.
But I have noticed that when, for example, Russians move to the tropics, they suddenly realise that what their body is really craving is buckwheat and borsch!
This is why all my friends and family who come to visit me have a hard time, and why there are even Russian shops opening up so our bodies can satisfy their (natural?) cravings and apparently innate requirements for certain fruits, vegetables, fish and so on. It is difficult to break away from this arbitrary conditioning when it comes to eating habits. Oh so difficult.
Habits can be the greatest servants, or the cruellest masters
Our focus here is not on nutrition, but on what “the body knows”. I repeat: the body is the slave of its habits.
The logical mind (which, by the way, is not the same thing as the body!) knows this. But the body can grow quickly accustomed to any sort of input, be it food, or thoughts and feelings.
If you have slouched for a long time, you will develop a hunch. If you have been apathetic for a long time, you will become powerless. If you have been focusing on negativity for an extended period (a month is long enough), negative thoughts will begin to dominate full-time. This is nothing more or less than a habit…
There is good news and bad news regarding this point. Which do you want first?
I’ll start with the bad news. Habits are robust, and if you don’t do anything about them they will take root and try to take over. It is unlikely that they will “go away on their own”, given our current state of global unconsciousness and what I like to call the zombie effect. While we are unmindful and living on autopilot, the chances of spontaneous change are slim to none.
The good news (the power of which can eclipse and trump any negative) is that habits can be changed. Overwrite the program. This alone should be enough to keep a smile on our faces until the day we die. Habits can be refreshed.
In order to create a new habit, you will need three things: awareness, intention, action.
This means that first you have to recognise that you are a zombie who is sick and tired of an element of your behaviour (and you are prepared to maintain this recognition for an extended period). Then you equip yourself with the intention of “overwriting” the problem areas in your programming. With a steadfast intention. Rock-solid. Without a solid resolution it will not work. If the captain is not at the wheel, the automatic pilot is doing the driving (and this includes every time the captain goes temporarily AWOL). Your behaviour changes.
This is a general pattern, but let’s focus on a specific example: how to create your experiences in terms of inner states.
Our dominant states are habits in themselves. If deep down in your soul you carry lightness and joy and genuine adaptability, then you have everything you need to polish your surface emotions. If, however, you are quick to anger, constantly judge others as unworthy, feel drained and lethargic, and so on, it couldn’t hurt to have a think about why.
States are generally more complicated than, say, actions. Do you smoke? Just stop. The same goes for states. Are you feeling sad? Just stop. But in practice this is much harder to believe. We are too convinced that emotions are the consequence of external circumstances. But scientists disagree and provide a lot of evidence to the contrary:
If a person starts to smile (even for no reason), a message of happiness and vitality is transmitted to their brain, and their mood and overall wellbeing automatically improve
Yet we believe that happiness needs a cause, that only Californians smile for no reason, and in order to be perpetually upbeat and energised you have to travel to Mexico and undergo a peyote ceremony at least once a year. We are prepared to believe anything, except the most important thing:
We can invoke any state at any moment
Did you ever hear the heartbreaking statistic that only 3% of the world population live fulfilled lives and achieve their desires? It so happens that only 3% of people know how to manage their states. In other words, they don’t need a reason to smile or a reason to be upbeat and energised. Plus they know how to grit their teeth and pull themselves out of any tricky situation if they are steered wrong by a less-than-ideal automatic pilot.
How can we change our states? Let’s get to the bottom of it.
1.The physiological approach
This is the aforementioned “smile method”: first you smile, then you feel good. If you need to bring yourself into a state of vitality and energy quickly, consciously straighten your shoulders, smile and make your eyes sparkle. If you don’t know how to make your eyes sparkle, your homework for the weekend is to learn!
My preferred method, by the way, is jumping. At a photoshoot, for example, initially I hold back and the photos come out badly. Then I ask the photographer if I can jump up and down a bit, which really surprises them at first, and then I begin jumping like a kid on a bed for a couple of minutes. Then the photos come out great, with sparkling, playful eyes. The physiological method – jumping around, acting silly, dancing – is a great idea if you are feeling nervous 5 minutes before a performance. The body gets a message of fun, momentum and vitality, and your eyes light up.
There are tricks to come alive and shine such as pinching the little finger on your right hand. If, for example, you are nervous at an important meeting, you can just press the button. This all works much better than people think, especially the “I’ll believe it when I see it” type. Suffice it to say, you had better believe it.
If everybody is used to seeing you miserable, start walking to work with resolutely straightened shoulders and a big smile and when anybody asks you how you are, reply that you are “Great!” If you can keep this up for a month, people will get used to seeing you this way and within a year they will be queueing up to ask for your advice. But, yes, they may think you are acting strangely at first.
But better have people talking about you than be a miserable zombie.
2. The mental approach
The basis of the mental method is your own past success. For example, anybody who has tried, and succeeded with, cold calling, knows that the first sale is the most difficult. Enough to make you quake in your boots. It’s horrible! By the second and third time you’re still shaking. But then you begin to initiate every meeting or call armed with the positive outcomes of past experiences. Remembering that feeling of success, that wingedness and easy confidence of “yes, they will buy from me”, and taking it with you to the meeting. Your attitude is your business partner, and your confidence precedes you. Once again, if you can stick to it, and manage to continue carrying around your “I did it!” (even in moments of failure), then it will soon begin to work for you; it will add to your aura. That is how you become a successful salesperson, and more besides. This approach works for everything.
If you have been paying attention, and not just reading for the hell of it, you may logically ask: so how do you make your first sale, if you don’t yet have past success as a basis and are so terrified that you’re quaking in your boots?
A rock-solid intention, remember? A firm decision. You have to do it, no matter what. In the end, everybody survives their first sale, just as everybody survives all the many other departures from their comfort zone. Or there is always the option to remain in that 97% of the population. It’s a question of personal choice.
Everything in life is actually much easier than it seems, but the only ones who discover this are the ones who try in the first place.
Ideally, you should use both methods. Begin with trying to change your state in specific situations, and then, once you are better trained, you can start thinking about your dominant inner background. It’s hard work but it’s worth it. What is your internal soundtrack? The main backdrop?
If just 51% of our innermost state leans towards joy, it will snowball. Incur interest, if you like. States are creative; they form our habits and manifest in the world in the form of unconscious impulses. In order to “automate” the process, all you need to do is focus on positivity a little bit more than negativity.
In a public corporation, whoever owns 51% is the boss. The same goes for us; there is no need to tear ourselves out by the root in an attempt to become 100% happy – this is extremely difficult and energy-consuming. To earn a million, first your need to earn a thousand. Similarly, you should first work on making happiness the dominant feeling, and then smooth out the edges later.
If positivity outweighs everything else by even a tiny margin, you can expect an avalanche of positivity in the future.
We reproduce whatever we are feeling. Continuous happiness (not just occasional and random happiness) begins to please itself (hence the saying). The principle is: the rich get richer because their money works for them and brings them dividends. And this is why people often talk about the ability to enjoy the little things – that’s the deciding 1% in the 51%.
If you have boxed yourself into the situation of: I only smile for a reason, I am only happy if you make me happy, then you are allowing negative thought patterns to arise in your habits (!) which in the end make you weak in body and mind.
This is not about the self-delusion that happiness can appear out of thin air – what I’m talking about is conscious creation on all four levels: when a person with an inspirational goal starts to think and act towards its implementation, all the while filling their sails with happier inner states, without waiting for those special occasions to be happy.
Act consciously and create yourself anew.