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April

2011

 
Just Don't Do It!
                

Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all, intentional.

Feature Article 

  No time? Listen to the  podcast (7:34 min.) in the background while you file, exercise, ride to work, etc.

 

Quick Communication Tip

Resource Links

 

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Just Don't Do It!
(click for podcast)

 

Ah the oversimplified, television pop therapist approach to change: just stop doing what you're doing. This can sound a bit silly, but there's a fundamental aspect of real change that starts here.

These chapters explore bringing consciousness to your communication; and let’s not be limiting; consciousness to your life. The very first step of making any kind of change begins with awareness and consciousness. We have to recognize what we're doing, (or not doing) when we're not getting our desired outcome. We can't change what we're oblivious to.

The first stumbling block is often recognizing our behavior as we step over a line, and thinking how much we wish we hadn't done that. We say we want to change, we say we can't change, we say it's just the way we are, we say we wish we could change, and then we proceed as usual. Ironically, as we pay more attention, we often beat ourselves up about this, because we "should" do what we say we want to do, and shame is ever so empowering - not! There's nothing quite like breaking promises to yourself and then feeling badly about it to motivate yourself.

Obviously there's a missing piece here. It feels like a ball rolling downhill out of control, and probably the hardest part of stopping that ball mirrors the physics of stopping a real ball. Forgive my simplifying Newton's first two laws of motion, but I don’t want to stray too far from the point. First, a body at rest remains at rest, and a body in motion continues to move until an external force acts upon it. Second, the rate of change of momentum of a body is directly proportional to the impressed force and in the direction in which the force acts.

In other words, it isn't going to stop happening by itself. Once we recognize that we "explode" when we don't want to, or use our words like razor blades, we have to exert another force, significant enough to alter if not stop the course of our behavior.


Exemplum Interruptus
The next step after the conscious recognition of the pattern, is to interrupt the pattern. Every time we repeat a behavior, we reinforce the neural pathways that map it in our brains. Even when we are chiding ourselves about "doing it again!" we are building stronger and deeper neural paths, making it harder and harder for our brains to take another route.

This can be as simple as the internal dialogue where you tell yourself you can't change, (and make it true) all the way up to complex rationalizations for why the status quo is unchangeable (external circumstances, people, genetics, astrology, etc.)

We have to start with the simple physics of it, and apply enough force to the rolling ball to either change its course or stop it in its tracks. Talk to anyone who has successfully kicked a cigarette habit or any major addiction; you have to interrupt your patterns. Any approach where the patterns survive (tapering off, for example) simply don't work. We have to stop "going off" on people cold turkey.


New Patterns
Once we interrupt the old pattern, we can't leave a void. Staying with our physics metaphor, Nature abhors a void. We need to replace the old pattern with a new one, or we'll slide back to the old pattern just to fill the space. If you can create a pattern where you can fully appreciate that space, and be comfortable there, go for it. Otherwise, look at what you want to be doing, rather than what you have been doing.

If you want to have more compassion for someone who has historically pushed your buttons, you need to "clip the red wire" from the buttons, and then consciously respond with the compassion you aspire toward.

In the beginning, we’re not particularly adept at this, which is both normal and necessary. We were so good at the destructive pattern, that we didn't even need to be conscious. Now, it's a whole new behavior; a whole new game, and we have to consciously concentrate just to be okay at it.

Over time, we develop new neural pathways, and become much more adept. Eventually, we may become so adept at the new way of being, that we become somewhat unconscious again – this time with healthier patterns. If you want to continue evolving, don't get too complacent. Stay in the conscious stage, and you'll be able to continue changing your behavior and your world, because you'll be directly involved in it.

This is where we start the shifts in our interactions with ourselves and everyone in our lives. Merely by putting a little consciousness in place, we add a force that can slow down that unconscious ball rolling downhill, or even stop it altogether. A pause in the action gives you the time and space to direct your words and responses in an intentional way. So with all due respect to athletic shoe slogans, the next time you're about to blow your stack, or make up a story in your head to explain someone else's behavior, just don't do it!



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Quick Communication Tip

R.A.R.E.
The simple way to re-wire ourselves or change our behaviors in a more permanent way is to follow a specific sequence of actions for about a month without breaking the pattern.   Neuroscientists disagree on the exact amount of time, as we all have slightly different brain plasticity, but it ranges from 14 days to 30 days. To remember this sequence, sometimes acronyms can really help mnemonically, so here you are: Recognize, Arrest, Replace, Evolve.

- Recognize the behavior or way of communicating that is not serving you.
- Arrest or stop it in its tracks.
- Replace that behavior or way of communicating with a new way that will serve you in a more positive fashion.
- Evolve to the new version of you.

There isn't any magic here; you're simply creating a new neural pathway that replaces the old one, becoming the new "normal.


Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or catapult you forward?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.


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Resource Links:


Conscious Communication - the podcast series

KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Integram (TM)

Personal Life Media - "Coaching the Life Coach:"
Communication Excellence (Podcast Snippets)
Communication Excellence (full interview)


Interview Podcast for Evolutionary Radio w/ J. McClain

Kind Ambition -
2nd Edition now available

Got Blog? c
ome visit the Blog.

Character Driven - Ever want to create characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were characters?

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Welcome to the Conscious Communication Chronicle, sharing how Conscious Communication results in success, and how you can achieve yours.   Enjoy!

 

 



The Optimizer
Ian Blei,
Director of the
Institute for Integral Enneagram Studies and
President of
Optimized Results
415.826.0478

 

 

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