This is the latest article from Neil on changing your internal state. If you want to make better decisions and work more productively, read on below:
Lately, I’ve been taking stock of all the modalities and tools I’ve studied over the years for personal growth.
And I found a renewed spark of excitement for a system that completely changed my life.
When I first discovered it, it was a major milestone in my development. Nothing was ever the same afterward. And I still catch myself using it every single day.
The system is NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming,
NLP is a system of tools and lessons designed to methodically upgrade your mental software…
And change the unconscious patterns that shape your thinking and behavior.
One of the biggest things that blew my mind, and proved to be incredibly powerful on a daily basis, was all about changing your state.
The idea is:
At any given time in a day, your mind is in a particular state.
And depending on which state that is…
The way you think, feel, and act, will change drastically.
For example, if you’re in a state of insecurity…
You might have negative and self-limiting thoughts, feel anxiety in your chest, and look closed off to other people, or stuck in your head.
You might be more prone to procrastination, unhealthy food choices, or bickering with others.
On the other hand, when you’re in a state of joy and confidence…
You have expansive, positive thoughts…
You feel open, alive, empathetic, and talkative…
You make better decisions, work more productively, and appear more charismatic and inviting to those around you.
Now, if these states determine our behavior, and affect how people respond to us, that means they ultimately determine our success (or lack thereof) in all areas of life.
Learning to be in a great state is one of the keys to making consistent progress toward your goals, and experiencing peace and harmony, more often than not.
And here’s the thing: Most people never learn how to take control over these states.
I mean, that was definitely me…
Like many of us, before I studied psychology and NLP, I had trained myself to live in limited, disempowering states of mind—day in, day out.
I was basically hypnotized into a constant state of social anxiety and low self-esteem.
If I ever snapped into powerful states of self-love and confidence, it only seemed to happen once in a while, and it was externally dependent on what happened to me that day.
It felt more like a lucky accident, rather than a conscious choice.
When I discovered NLP, I quickly learned that…
I could break the habit of being in these negative states, and I could easily re-train myself to naturally access desirable, healthy states on command.
Once I did that, my reality completely shifted. My health, mindset, and work greatly improved. My people skills, creativity, and social life skyrocketed.
In brushing up on my NLP knowledge, my excitement for it has been rekindled all over again.
So, I felt inspired to share a few key concepts that have helped me immensely…
Starting with how to tap into powerful growth-minded states, whenever you need them.
Like the times when you want to be energized and productive, self-loving, or confidently social.
It’s a tool called “anchoring states.”
It allows you to switch on a desired way of being (a state) with a specific external trigger (an anchor.)
Today, I’m going to teach you a simple way to do exactly that.
Essentially, what you’re doing is manually wiring a new connection in your brain…
So, when you say certain words, or touch a certain place on your body, the desired state you want to feel will automatically come up.
Remember Pavlov’s dogs, who were trained to salivate every time a bell rang?
It’s just like that. Except instead of feeling hunger, or ringing a bell, you get to choose whichever state and anchor you want (you could even use it to not feel hunger, and manage food cravings.)
Once you learn this, you can use it any time—before going out to dinner, an important phone call, a big job interview, a business meeting, or whenever you want to be at your best.
And as the saying goes: Neurons that fire together, wire together. So you may want to do this a few times to really solidify this connection.
First, you need to pick the specific state that you want to anchor…
For example: To manage anxiety, you might choose the state of calmness and serenity.
To boost social confidence, you would choose the state of joy.
(Because the feeling of joy is easier for most people to find internally than “confidence.”
And when you feel joyful, you naturally have all the traits you want to be charismatic—like openness, playfulness, and presence in the moment.)
Now, we’re going to use the most common anchoring technique…
Anchors can be created through any sense—sight, taste, smell, etc.
But I find kinesthetic anchors (touch) and auditory anchors (sounds/words) to be the best, because you can use them anytime, anywhere.
Whichever anchor you pick, make sure it’s not something you do every day. Otherwise the effect won’t be as powerful.
Here are two anchors I recommend:
If you choose touch, use the fingernails on your thumb and forefinger to pinch your right earlobe.
If you choose sound, simply say a mantra like “I am calm and collected,” or “I am joyful and confident” powerfully.
Pick one, and give the following exercise a shot. This was inspired by Nick Cownie, a former Society member and NLP trainer who certified our members in this powerful transformational system.
(For best results, do this with eyes closed. I recommend reading these steps a few times to remember them first, before trying it out for yourself.)
Close your eyes and remember a time when you felt the desired state (ie. Serenity or joy)
Really go back to that time. Step into your body. Where are you? What are you doing? What are you thinking about? What do you see? Notice as much detail as you can with each one of your senses.
After a few moments, when you can feel these emotions at their peak strength (maybe there’s even a smile on your face) establish your anchor. If you’re pinching your ear, hold it for 8-10 seconds. If you’re saying a mantra, repeat that 4-5 times while fully feeling the emotions of your memory.
Now “break” that state and distract yourself for a second. Look around the room and notice what you see and smell.
Then use your anchor and see how quickly that state returns to you… Crazy, right?
These last two steps are optional, but highly recommended…
Imagine a future scenario when you would want to use this anchor. Picture a situation that would normally cause you to feel anxious and nervous.
Once you’re really there, use your anchor, and see how your feelings change. What do you notice? What does your new behavior look like?
Try installing the anchor not when imagining the state you want to feel, but when you’re really feeling it in real life. In the midst of my peak life moments of joy, I almost always install or refresh an anchor.
Just remember that these anchor connections only get stronger with more practice. It might feel subtle at first. But if you do this every day for a week, you’ll see a massive difference. And it will feel like wielding a superpower.