THE POWER OF STATE
Edmund Spenser once said, “It is the mind that maketh good or ill, maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor.” Understanding the STATE is the key to understanding change and achieving excellence. Anthony Robbins will propose that our behavior is the result of the state we are in. “We always do the best we can with the resources available to us, but sometimes we find ourselves in unresourceful states.”
People are not their behaviors; the key is to take charge of our states and our behavior. A state can be defined as the sum of the millions of neurological processes happening within us, in other words, the sum total of our experiences at any moment in time. Most of our states happen without any conscious direction on our part. We see something and we respond to it by going into a state. It may be a resourceful and useful state or an unresourceful and limiting state, but there is not much that most of us do to control it. The difference between those who fail to achieve their goals in life and those who succeed is the difference between those who cannot put themselves in a supportive state and those who can consistently put themselves in a state that supports them in their achievements.
The first key to directing your state and producing the results you desire in your life is to learn to effectively run your brain. In order to do this, we need to understand a little bit about how the brain works. We need to know what creates the state we are in.
What creates the state we are in? There are two main components of state. The first is our internal representations, and the second is the condition and use of our physiology. What and how you picture things, as well as what and how you say things to yourself about the situation at hand, create the state you are in and thus the kinds of behaviors you produce.
What causes one person to represent things out of a state of concern, while another creates internal representations that put them in a state of distrust? Well there could be many factors.
We may have modeled the reaction of our parents or other role models to such experiences. Our beliefs, attitudes, values, and past experiences with the particular person all affect the kinds of representations we will make about our behaviors.
There is an even more important and powerful factor in how we perceive and represent the world, and that is the condition and our pattern of use of our physiology. Things like muscle tension, what we eat, how we breathe, our posture, our overall level of biochemical functioning, all have huge impact on our state. Internal representation and physiology work together in a cybernetic loop. Anything that affects one will automatically affect the other. So changing states involves changing internal representation and changing physiology literally changes the way you represent and thus experience the world. When you perceive things as being difficult or upsetting, your body follows suit and become tense. So these two factors, internal representation and physiology, are constantly interacting with each other to create the state we are in; and the state we are in determines the type of behavior we produce. Thus, to control and direct our behaviors, we must control and direct our states; and to control our states, we must control and consciously direct our internal representations and physiologies.
Before we can direct our experiences of life, we must first understand how we experience. As mammals, humans receive and represent information about their environment through specialized receptors and sense organs. There are five senses: gustation or taste, vision or sight, audition or hearing, and kinesthesis or feeling. We make most of our decisions that affect our behavior primarily using only three of these senses: the seeing, hearing, and feeling systems.
These specialized receptors transmit external stimuli to the brain. Through the process of generalization, distortion, and deletion, the brain then takes these electrical signals and filters them into an internal representation. Thus, your internal representation, your experience of the event, is not precisely what happened but rather a personalized internal representation. The conscious mind of an individual cannot use all the signals sent to it. So the brain filters and stores the information it needs, or expects to need later, and allows the conscious mind of the individual to ignore the rest.
The filtering process explains the huge range of human perception. Two people can see the same traffic accident but give different accounts to it. One may have paid more attention to what he saw, another to what he heard. They saw from different angles. They both have different physiologies to begin the perception process with in the first place. One may have 20-20 vision while another may have poor physical resources in general. Perhaps one has been in an accident himself and had a vivid representation already stored. Whatever the case, the two will have very different representations of the same event. As they will go on to store those perceptions and internal representations as new filters through which they will experience things in the future.
There is an important concept that is used in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (discussed last week) – “The map is not the territory.” As Alfred Korzybski noted in his book Science and Sanity, “Important characteristics of maps should be noted. A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has similar structure to the territory which accounts for its usefulness.” The meaning for individuals is that their internal representation is not precise rendering of an event. It is just one interpretation as filtered through specific personal beliefs, attitudes, values, and something called meta-programs. Perhaps, that is why Einstein once said, “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”
Since we do not know how things really are, but only how we represent them in a way that empowers ourselves and others, rather than creating limitations. The key to doing this successfully is memory management – the forming of representations that consistently create the most empowering states for an individual. In any experience, you have many things you can focus on. Even the most successful person can think of what is not working and go into a state of depression or frustration or anger – or he can focus on all the things that work in his life. No matter how terrible a situation is, you can represent it in a way that empowers you.
Successful people are able to gain access to their most resourceful state on a consistent basis. That is the difference of people who succeed and people who do not. Remember, nothing is inherently bad or good. Value is how we represent it to ourselves. We can represent things in a way that puts us in a positive state, or we can do the opposite.
The key to producing the results you desire, then, is to represent things to yourself in a way that puts you in such as resourceful state that you are empowered to take the types and qualities of actions that create your desired outcomes. Failure to do this will usually mean failure even to attempt that which you desire, or at best a feeble half-hearted attempt that will produce like results.
If we represent to ourselves that things are not going to work, they will not. If we form a representation that things will work, then we create the internal resources we need to produce the state that will support us in producing positive results. Obviously, even in the best state we do not always produce the results we desire, but when we create the appropriate state, we create the greatest possible chance for using all our resources effectively.
People who have achieved excellence are masters of tapping into the most resourceful parts of their brain. That is what separates them from the crowd. The key thing to remember is that your state has awesome power, and you can control it. You do not have to be at the mercy of whatever comes your way. Life is like a river. It is moving, and you can be at the mercy of the river if you do not take deliberate, conscious action to steer yourself in a direction you have predetermined. “If you do not plant the mental and physiological seeds of the results you want, weeds will grow automatically.”