If you set mouse traps, you always get mice - Grasshopper
Have you ever caught sight of yourself in a mirror and said something like, "I look just like my father/mother"? Have you ever caught yourself in the middle of a mannerism and said the exact same thing? It happens all the time.
I had a friend named Glen when I was in the Navy. We were stationed in San Diego and he invited me to his house in Anaheim for the weekend. One of the nights there, I sat up late talking to Glenn's mother and she told me the most fascinating story.
Glen's father left when he was 3 months old and was never seen or heard from since. Glen's father had a fingernail on his right pinkie finger that was a bit longer than the others (not a drug thing). His mom went on to say that he had a very interesting way of scratching the left side of his nose with that fingernail and she demonstrated. Suddenly I was awe struck that Glen did it in the exact same way with a long right pinkie fingernail. His mother went on to explain that she and Glen had never, until recently, had that discussion but that he had been using that mannerism ever since he was a toddler.
We absorb and learn things without consciously knowing how. We learn behaviors, beliefs and attitudes that run in the background and they run our lives.
Routines are a wonderful and necessary part of life. There is a part of our mind that builds these patterns to take care of these routine things so that we don't have to consciously think our way through them every time. How wonderful!
But what if one of your routines is a rut? Then what? You've got to do more than build a better mousetrap because that will still only get you mice. A rut is a rut and finding a better way to stay there is sorely missing the point. That strategy is called consciously working it out which has a dismal rate of failure.
When I was taking NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) training, I heard John Grinder, one of the founders of NLP say, "if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got." I was so taken by that phrase that I asked him to repeat it so I was sure to write it down accurately. It was my introduction to recognition.
Change is a process that begins with recognition. If you don't recognize that you're only trapping for mice, you will be disappointed with your results.
What if you could bait and trap bigger game? Or, better yet, what if you started playing a bigger game - one that didn't ensnare you in your own trap? Would that be valuable? You bet!
Playing a bigger game begins with recognizing that you are running in a maze of your own making. You are convinced you are stuck there because you keep running into the same dead ends. There is an off ramp but you won't get to it if you continue running in the same grooved track.
When the Grasshopper spoke through a very wise teacher named Dave Dobson (http://otcc.com), the following solution strategy was born.
Step One: Recognize you are running a pattern. It's best to recognize this while the pattern is going on - in other words, when you catch yourself doing it.
Step Two: Take a nice deep breath, audibly sigh it out, and then say the following to yourself: "I wonder what I could think about or do right now that would be more valuable than this" - "this" being the pattern you caught yourself running.
Step Three: S-l-o-w-l-y roll your eyes in a circle a few times and then just quietly wait for an answer.
You may have to do this exercise a few times to prime the pump but once you get comfortable doing it, you will begin to get some glorious directions from the part of your mind that knows where the off ramp is.
The Result? You'll save a lot of money in therapy and have enough left over to go to Disney World and see the only mice that matter.
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