It happens to everyone ? a destructive pattern sets in, and you struggle to get out of it. Habits are some of the strongest emotional forces we humans have to deal with, and successfully breaking bad ones is one of the most difficult tasks. But the job can be made easier: eliminate your old anchors and triggers, watch for thought-habit creep, and start fresh.
Always being new
Have you ever spent some time traveling?
Apart from the usual excitement and interesting things, what is special about your MINDSET?
Ok, you could argue for a few things, but for me, there?s only one answer.
The NEWNESS of it all.
Even if I?ve been to the place before, even if nothing is ACTUALLY new, I still FEEL new.
What?s going on THERE?
Simple: ALL your habits are, at least temporarily, broken.
You are? FREE.
All those old patterns of thought and behavior, GONE. Old ways of being, GONE. And most importantly, old expectations, GONE.
Everything is FRESH again.
Man, I love that feeling. It?s my favorite part of travel. When everything is fresh and new, everything is POSSIBLE.
Guess where I?m going with this one.
Freedom and the rut
No matter what you?re doing, you will someday, sometime get stuck in a RUT. Sometimes they?re easy to get out of, sometimes not ? usually depending on experience and confidence.
Dealing with women is an example of a rut that is often EXTREMELY hard to get out of.
Hell, most men have been in a rut with women their entire lives ? so long they imagine that this is the way it ALWAYS is, and always will be.
If there?s one thing you should know by now, it?s that relaxed CONFIDENCE is the biggest key in the lady equation. So it?s not hard to imagine, a rut that becomes something you believe a permanent loser aura ? instead of a streak of bad luck ? becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Ok, you?re all alone. Ignore the slob in the next-door cubicle smacking his lips on the sloppy joe. Forget him completely. I shouldn?t have mentioned him.
Now, time for a little honesty: where are YOU on the Rut Scale.
Step one: admit the problem
Are you in one? Is it minor ? like ?I slept with two women last week but this morning the coffee shop girl laughed at my proposal? ? or major ? like ?I hope to one day be with a woman again, but in all honesty, I think I?ll need a user manual when the time comes.??
More to the point, do you REALIZE you?re in a rut, or is it bad enough ? is the habit so ingrained ? that you think a lack of success is NORMAL?
If anything has a HINT of a rut or, worse, a hidden rut, then you need to MIX IT UP.
Wake up your brain!
You need to zig when you normally zag. Run when you normally walk, walk when you normally sprint. Do whatever you need to do, but CHANGE IT UP. Don?t let your mind settle into any of its usual patterns.
And when you feel a comfortable or normal pattern coming on, ELIMINATE IT!
There are some guys who take this to an extreme ? they are SO scared of habits and ruts, the moment they sniff one, they move.
That?s it. Pick up everything and take off for a new part of the city, a new state, maybe even a new country.
I?m not saying you need to go THAT extreme, but it sure does work.
Triggers and anchors
The mind is a funny thing. Oftentimes, we aren?t even too aware of WHAT triggers our patterns, or WHAT reminds us of a state of mind.
It could be your coffee table. Or the way the light hits your table at a certain time. Or the way it rattles when someone downstairs slams their door.
Basically, Pavlovian animals that we are, as long as we sight or smell or generally SENSE something IN THE SAME WAY we did during a previous state of being, THAT link can throw us right back into the old ways.
So, if you find yourself playing through the same depressing scenarios and expecting the worst ? because that?s what you?ve conditioned yourself to believe is normal ? then you really need to start doing things differently.
Perhaps you can take a vacation and get out of the city, your apartment ? remove yourself from all familiar sights and routines.
Try taking new routes. Go to new places ? don?t keep hitting the same bar where you were dumped by your ex, go somewhere completely NEW and different.
It?s amazing how much a new place can free our minds ? you might not even realize it, but if you know people in your regular haunts, part of you is concerned with how you look to them.
You gotta get rid of that, and a place where NOBODY knows your name is the perfect place to start. There?s no fear about looking bad or acting an ass ? because you?ll probably never see these people again.
And on top of that, your mind DOESN?T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT in a new place. If you?re in a rut, it?s because you?re CONDITIONED to expect FAILURE. The most important thing is to get OUT of that conditioning.
Finally, whether the changes you make are dramatic or humble, temporary or permanent ? you need to SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY.
Don?t be lazy NOW
Given half a chance, your mind will slip back into it?s usual state. It?s known and comfortable and, no matter how fresh your environment, the second you get a reminiscent EMOTION ? say, nervousness ? your mind will want to revert to what it?s done before.
In truth, you?ve got a particular split-second you need to be on guard for ? the first one. That first slide. You need to RECOGNIZE it as it happens.
Do that, and you?ll recognize the rut. You?ll be able to understand it at a deeper level, and, if you?ve been working on your relaxation techniques and the such, you should be able to stop whatever anxiety starts bubbling before it can do any damage.
Sure, the old patterns will continually try to emerge, but the more often you see them and UNDERSTAND their coming, the less visceral control they have over you.
However, miss that first attack, and it becomes MUCH harder to put your fresh unhabited environment to work for you. New anchors for your old behaviors will already start to take hold.
You can?t have that.
Stay ALERT when you?re in a new place, and remember, whatever negative patterns you had in the past were JUST PATTERNS. You can break them ? and when they start to creep in on you, well, see them coming and don?t open the door.
Congrats. You?ve crushed the rut.
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Until Next Time,