The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice. Although it was cold, he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.
Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur’s cage with kind words and loving thoughts.
“I like this Dinosaur,” thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. “Although he is fierce he is also tender and he is funny. He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now.”
“I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur,” thought the Dinosaur. “She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice. She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.”
“But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times,” thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. “He is also overly fond of things. Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?”
“But her mind skips from here to there so quickly,” thought the Dinosaur. “She is also uncommonly keen on shopping. Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?”
“I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things,” thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur, “for they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual.”
“I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping,” thought the Dinosaur, “for she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides, I am not unkeen on shopping either.”
Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old. Look at them. Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.
And that, my friends, is how it is with love.
Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together. For the sun is warm. And the world is a beautiful place.
Sean started planning a mountain hike.
Closing his eyes, helped him recall his past hikes.
Remembering the time when ill-fitting shoes had rubbed a blister into his heel, he decided to invest in boots more suitable for the task ahead.
Remembering the time when driving rain had leaked through the seams of his coat, he decided to find a waterproof coat more suitable for the task ahead.
Remembering the time when his head became very sunburned, he decided to pack a hat more suitable for the task ahead.
Closing his eyes once more he confirmed the feeling of attraction towards this forthcoming hiking challenge. And began mentally rehearsing required attitudes and abilities that would assist an exciting adventure.
Sean kept it simple. He checked his past experiences to prepare himself for the future he wished to welcome.
Sean’s hiking companion Stu however, was not feeling so enthusiastic about the forthcoming hike. On one hand he wanted to do it. But every time he thought about it his brain’s record of previous events (driving rain, foot blisters and sunburn) kept prompting thoughts like “it’s not fair… what if that happens again… that’s always my bad luck…” which in turn produced avoidance feelings. That overwhelm trapped him in a state of suffering. Stu agonised for many weeks about whether he should take another (sure to be) miserable hike or avoid it, only to be tormented by the thought of missing out on a day with his pal.
Contrary to Sean, Stu’s thinking processes were not at all simple.
Both Sean and Stu’s brains were preparing them to meet their futures.
Just like Dalia who told me “I knew I was going to tell you that (revelation), I sometimes think I’m psychic” and I thought to myself “if only she’d been conscious of that mental rehearsal”.
We are all heading into our futures, the question is ‘how’.
Defining, refining, and mentally rehearsing your future is a proven strategy for installing new circuitry in the brain, whether that’s to terrorise yourself into decision-inertia (like Stu) or to propel yourself into the next adventure (like Sean). The auto-pilot part of your brain doesn’t care either way, it just needs direction. So why not use the conscious part of your mind to meet an enhanced future that you’ll love meeting and being in?
Brain training is an art form to manipulate neural circuitry through hypnosis, visualisation, or even guided meditation. And NLP provides the perfect combination of conscious and non-conscious co-creation. Because that future you – is thanking you for making your past matter.
Do you have an attitude for ‘how will I get through this?’ To summon determination so that you keep going until you get to the other side of something stressful.
That’s resilience. It’s training your brain to push through adversity rather than fold into helplessness when the going gets tough.
I consider myself pretty resilient and I’m tenacious in finding new ways to thrive, but I want to share with you a time when I was really tested to think out of the box and rapidly come up with a brand-new coping strategy. I was lying in the MRI scanner about to have my head and neck scanned.
“Soothing music?” they asked.
“Of course,” I replied, knowing how such music positively affects brainwaves.
“Here’s the panic button. Press it and we’ll get you out as quickly as possible”
“Oh, I won’t need that, I’m an accomplished meditator” my Hubris responded, after all I was making clear pictures of myself lying flat and relaxed.
And so, it began. I lay still, calm, and ready to remain relaxed.
But no sooner than the machine began its vibrating sound, my reptilian brain immediately shifted into a primitive fight/flight reaction.
No problem I thought, understanding that I just needed to adjust my autonomic nervous system reaction. So I aimed all attention on soothing basal brain through a calming breathing technique. But as visceral fear surged through me I panicked, pressed the button and they brought me out. I was unable to override a fearful amygdala.
Truly bemused, I tried again a few moments later. This time, I decided to activate my brain’s creative centres through visualisation of my happy place with full sensory association – an excellent way to switch on calm. But no, as cortisol and adrenaline misdirected my body, reptilian brain pressed the button again…
Damn it. Now I was cross and somewhat shocked at how my body and mind had stopped talking to each other.
Last chance. I could either validate the fear reaction and retreat into failure, or find a new solution. “This is your brain, drive it on purpose” I thought calmly and clearly.
“How else can you drive your brain through fear and get to beyond?”
I made a mental checklist of what hadn’t worked and searched for something different. Numbers! Maths! My sure way to zone out!
And so I began counting back from 500, out loud while visualising each number. It required intense concentration and I frequently had to start again whenever I lost that focus. But it worked, the strategy worked! I had pushed through adversity and discovered a new strategy. Learning through doing something different.