However, if you find yourself constantly skipping one of these 4 situations, then it would be more beneficial to start again from the day one of this 6th challenge. If you are really struggling and find yourself reverting back to your bad habits of avoiding and running away, go back and redo courage-developing exercise #5 again. This is okay too. Going back to past challenges does not mean you are flunking out of this program. It is not something you should be ashamed of. I've had many clients who re-apply themselves in certain exercises and challenges again and became stronger and better because of it. This courage-seeking program is not a straight path. These imagined sensations worked much quicker and more effectively than the actual words. Process cues which help you speed shift your attention are, understandably, images, sensations, and sounds having to do with speed. Bill, the voiceover guy in piece of writing Five, often had to do a commercial in a very short time frame. He needed to get pumped up, yet he needed to concentrate in order to deliver the enunciation his employers wanted. Bill imagined, as his process cue, the sound of a train passing him on the platform: He could hear and feel the speed of the oncoming train. Instantly, he was able to shift into high-energy, high-speed mode himself. Having worked with Grand Prix drivers, all I need to do to get in that mode is hear in my head the unforgettable ripping, screaming, roar of a Formula race car zipping by. It could be the press of air that walloped me--the sensation of speed that gust of air communicated. Similarly, I have felt that sense of power and speed in my gut whenever I'm sitting in a jet accelerating down the runway. The point is to figure out what does it for you: What sensation of speed, or sound of speed, or image of speed can you make your process cue for mutitasking situations? This was less a verboten beauty indulgence than a wise and personally therapeutic act, I rationalized. Plus, the thing was about to expire! It was hard to think therapy, however, as I strolled through the Peninsula's lofty marble lobby.
It was even harder when I was ushered into a treatment room and my foot ceremony began. A clinician pored elixirs over my feet--hot, cold, scented, oily--and left me alone to soak in a bucket of flower petals. Luxury it was, and I tried to get into it, but really I just felt embarrassed for the woman who had to kneel down before me and deal with my archless, calloused lumps of clay. Next came a sweat in the superheated crystal sauna, followed by a massage so gently powerful that my anger and sadness burst through the dam. My masseuse calmly handed me tissues as I cried right there on the padded table, naked under my towel. When the flood subsided, I wondered how often, in such deluxe establishments, the staff witnessed patron breakdowns. Some smidgen of allegiance to my experiment--combined with a growing distaste for beauty treatments involving pain--had kept me from piece of writinging a facial, so when I'd finished sniffling, I wrapped myself in a bathrobe and headed for the luxury of all luxuries--the nap room. How many negative phrases can you count in a day? I'll bet you have as many as I do, and I can catch myself on many of them. But what makes these negative connotations stick is that we justify being used or abused. By playing the victim, you place yourself in a position of power. You want to be right and they are wrong. You want to be understood while the misunderstanding lies with the other person. You want an apology for being wronged so you can justify how right you always are. Here is what I do. Carry a small notepiece of writing with you. However, I am no longer addicted to my morning sugar habit. I understand the cue and provide myself with a reward, even if I occasionally succumb to my original temptation. I've gone into some detail in this discussion of ditching old habits and forming new ones, here within the context of physical exercise and nutrition.
I suggest these are the first areas where we should start the process of change. The methods we have learned in these areas will prove useful when we apply the individuation process to the other dimensions of our make-up. The human brain can activate two types of thinking -- subconscious and conscious. Most of the time we are controlled by our subconscious thinking processes, and for good reason. More than 90 per cent of our reactions and behavioural habits are activated by the brain's subconscious thinking mechanism. It saves us time and brain energy. Your subconscious thinking mode is at play when you drive. It meanders around a crooked road and goes back and forth. Everybody develops differently and at a different pace. As I mentioned before, self-compassion is a crucial trait in your journey toward finding your bravery. Instead of self-criticism, give yourself more tenderness, forgiveness, and words of encouragement. Intuitively, it may seem that harsh words may be the best way to motivate yourself toward courage, but it's not. Sometimes you need a kick in the butt, others times, you don't. Be kind to yourself for your misgivings. Recommit to the process and get back on your feet. Perfection is not the goal; progress is. It may not be a sound; it may be a musical theme, or beat. (The song Danger Zone from Top Gun always works for me: I just need to hear the lead guitar part and I'm fired up.
) When you hit upon the image, sound, or sensation that revs you, put it to the test. Find a multitasking situation and practice triggering rapid attentional shifts with your process cue. Every weekday Joey puts his to the test. When the markets open at 9:30 and the room starts to buzz, Joey is centered and ready to field all the balls hurled at him. Nine people may be screaming at him, his markets may be tanking, but he's staying in the moment, shifting his attention from one task to the next, making decisions, hearing out the sales trader, processing the information on his screens, or presenting new information over the squawk box. He's multitasking with poise. I stood at the entrance of a sunny, quiet chamber filled with polished teak and lofty white chaise lounges. Near the door, a table was spread with teas, water, green apples, and a stack of beauty and fashion magazines. I thought: the staff of the Peninsula has done so much work to banish my worries, why read a whole piece of writing full of more? Then again, the first time I'd encountered a nap room in a spa, I'd thought to myself: why not just sleep at home? I hadn't been able to imagine a home that was a workplace filled with duties, not a quiet sanctuary. Today, my foot ceremony had been similarly lost on me, probably because I never wore high heels and didn't have to stand up for hours a day. The definition of luxury, I realized, was as relative as the definition of beauty. When a woman entered behind me and picked up a magazine, I smiled at her. If everyone had different spa needs, I thought, padding over to one of the chaise lounges, the need itself we seemed to have in common. The nap room was packed with women in robes and head towels reclining, murmuring to each other, sleeping with arms luxuriously outstretched. You can use a tablet, but I prefer actual paper because digital material gets lost easily. Throughout the day, when you start to complain or use one of your negative phrases, write it down. Right there.
This will make you aware of what you are thinking and saying that keeps your self-pity train moving. Self-pity is another form of negative thought. It spins a web of lies that tell us, If I am the victim, I don't have to do anything. Use your notepiece of writing to identify the phrases you use. Then, add up the phrases you have most commonly used. Everybody has several that they love to use repeatedly. When you learned how to drive, you had to solve new and unfamiliar problems, which required conscious reflection. Now that you are an experienced driver, your driving is almost automatic, requiring very little conscious thinking. Your brain has acquired a `driving mind map' and your responses to road conditions are controlled by your `auto-pilot', which is chiefly operated by the rear lobe of the brain. When the `auto-pilot' is turned on, the frontal lobes can relax, enabling them to switch readily to a meandering, subconscious mode of thinking. This in turn can lead your mind obsessively from one subject to another -- and worse, from one worry to another. This type of thinking has been named `monkey thinking' -- because it is jumpy, messy and unruly. However, if you are to successfully complete the individuation process for the wisdom period of your life, your conscious thinking mode needs to undergo comprehensive activation. Only in this way will you be able to examine and reframe the thoughts, reactions and habits you acquired during adulthood. It is your capacity for active, conscious thinking that will enable you to cope with the complex issues you will have to deal with at this stage of your life. This can be done by activating all the three lobes of the brain simultaneously, gradually creating new mind maps appropriate for the wisdom period. Your new habit of courage is always waiting for you when you are ready to obtain it. The best way to change a habit is to first understand its structure. Once you understand what your cue, routine and rewards are, it is much easier to change your bad habit.