About Us




Repetition is a Double-Edged Sword

The Integram: an Integral Enneagram of Consciousness;  a model of consciousness, including all aspects, for designing practical paths of personal development and evolution.

Quick Links: jump to any section

No time? Listen to the  podcast (7:35 min.) in the background while you file, exercise, ride to work, etc.

Feature Article 

Special Offers

Quick Communication Tip

Resource Links




Repetition is a Double-Edged Sword
(click for podcast) (7:35 min.)


The kind of improvements and developments we seek in our bodies have many parallels in how we achieve them in our brains. They both require many of the same kind of efforts and the same kind of process. Of course as they’re inextricably integrated, what we do in one area will affect the other. Likewise, what we don’t do in one will affect the other.

I chose repetition as a topic because it’s basically low-hanging fruit. This single area accounts for our success or failure more often than not, and most of the time it’s subconscious or unconscious. That right there is a huge reason to start paying attention to it. You certainly don’t want to be driving while asleep at the wheel.

Without getting too neuroscience-y, we do want to highlight the mechanism behind this so we can get a grip on it. Our brains use a huge amount of our body’s energy stores, and as virtually everything in nature tends to conserve energy, our brains follow this rule as well.

You’ve probably heard the expression “neurons that fire together wire together.” Rather than recreating neural pathways from scratch every time we do something, if it’s something that we repeat, the brain saves energy by pre-wiring that pathway. It’s a bit more complex than that, but to simplify, it’s a lot like trailblazing. If you hike a specific route over and over, you’ll trample down the underbrush until it becomes a path. Now you have that path to follow more easily, as you no longer have to trample down the underbrush. This path is now what we’d call the Path of Least Resistance. Foot traffic can do the same thing to a carpet in an office or living space. To exaggerate this a little, if you rolled a ball, it would follow that Path of Least Resistance (once again, conserving energy.)

A Dopey Helper

To help this process along, one particular neurotransmitter is very involved. When we set out to do something and we do it, our brain rewards us with a nice little hit of Dopamine. We feel better – for a moment. This moment doesn’t last as it exhausts neurons, and will require another action (or repetition) to engage other neurons, who will then get exhausted as well, and the cycle begins. This exhaustion is behind the drive to repeat whatever just got us the Dopamine. This is the same mechanism that drives addictive behavior. Dopamine doesn’t care what you did; just that you did it. Personally I’ve always found it ironic that the first syllable is “dope.”

So you can see the double-edged sword here. If we repeat habits that don’t serve us, they become more and more wired in, and to save resources our brains may relegate them to our sub-consciousness; to not take up thinking resources. A huge number of scripts and narratives live there, and untying those is a lot of what I work on with clients. If we repeat habits that do serve us, the same process takes place, and we don’t need to spend a lot of conscious energy on them. We just get progress and Dopamine.

Nature Abhors a Void

This is where the real workout takes place. You may have heard this phrase, attributed to Aristotle, and for the most part nature does abhor a void. This means that just stopping a habit that doesn’t serve you is going to be very difficult. It may not be serving you, but it is serving a purpose. It’s the mechanism that gets you that Dopamine hit, even if it’s literally doing damage to you (eg. smoking.)

This means that we need to figure out what the best possible replacement habit would be in advance. I’ve found that designing a habit that slightly replicates or shares some facet of the old habit makes it easier to do the shift. This is using that same conservation of energy concept again. Sorry to use a sports metaphor, but if you’ve ever watched football, you’ve seen that it’s much easier to push someone sideways out of bounds than to hit them head on, trying to stop them.

Somatic Awareness

One of the most powerful tools I’ve found in helping clients do this shift from habits that don’t serve to ones that do, is first recognizing that you’re about to do the negative habit. That can be tricky in itself, but many times we’ll get a physical cue before we head down the old path. This is a great red flag to get our attention. Then we can implement the new replacement habit in the moment. And this is where repetition comes back into play. By not following the old habit, and following the new one over and over again, we wear new grooves in the carpet. The new habit gives us our Dopamine now. We get a double benefit.

Repetition is the key. Doing one push-up or doing push-ups just one day isn’t going to get you the results you want. By repeating this workload, your body sends resources to enable you to succeed. You get stronger.

Our brain will do the same thing. It will send resources to the new habit, you’ll get stronger there, and the old one will atrophy. This concept of rewiring habits isn’t limited to physical actions. We can rewire how we habitually think about things or feel about things, re-examining them with new perspectives. We can replace habitual beliefs and narratives that hold us back with new ones that serve us and others.

Want to learn more about how to become the best you possible? 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.

     - Ian J. Blei


Special Offer -

June Graduations mean Summer's almost here!
Click the Pic to see this month's specials!!


Resource Links:

- responsive code site


The Integram - the podcast series

Kind Ambition - 3rd Edition



Subscribe to the Conscious Communication Chronicle



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

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



Kind Ambition

Click HERE



Kind Ambition:
Practical Steps
to Achieve Success
 Without Losing Your Soul


Kind Ambition
Fan Page on



Kind Ambition is about you having the tools to slide over to the driver’s seat of your own life.  Circumstances will always be changing, seemingly thwarting our plans, but we don’t have to be  thrown around by them. You can be in charge of your choices and actions more than you might imagine - yet.


Kind Ambition is written for you, as a practical guide you can use right now.  It is a collection of  insights and actions designed to help you move forward and get more out of your life at home and at work.  The chapters hold to a formula of first giving you a new way to look at things, then offering you tangible Action Steps to try them out, and finally some things to notice when you do.



Kind words for “Kind Ambition”


"If you are interested in success, whether it is in running a large organization, a small business, or leading a satisfying life, you will find a right blend of rules, wisdom and wit in a digestible fashion that will serve to accomplish your objectives. The notion that kindness can be blended with ambition and made to work and serve the "bottom line" is enlightening, uplifting and satisfying."

-Steven Kiefel – CEO, Red Pill Media



“An easy to use guide for anyone who wants to achieve real  growth and success. His sensible and practical tactics solve age-old challenges with real, how-to solutions. Best of all, Ian lives his work!”

-Romanus Wolter - Author: Kick Start Your Dream Business
Success Coach Columnist: Entrepreneur Magazine
Radio Host: Syndicated Kick Start Guy Segment



" We all face obstacles in our lives and careers. Some of these come from within, subverting our conscious intentions. The  good news is: they can be overcome.  The techniques and processes found in this book will help you on your way."

-Margaret Heffernan – Author: The Naked Truth: A Working Woman's

 Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters

Syndicated Columnist: Fast Company Magazine



“A scientifically-based, spiritually-awake, (and smart and funny) guide to making the most of your life.  Ian Blei provides the know-how, the inspiration, the structure and all the tools you need in  this straightforward and inspirational book.”

     -Lisa Betts-LaCroix, Past President of SF Coaches
Star of Unapix film, “Dance Me Outside”



" Ian Blei shares his deep insights in simple and straightforward ways.  His work continues to inspire me whenever I feel I'm getting stuck in some area of my life."

-Roy King, III , Director Pacific Development Partners


© 2001- 2024 Optimized Results. All Rights Reserved    
205 Chattanooga St.   San Francisco, CA 94114     415.826.0478