Outcomes – how do we get what we want?
People who get what they want consistently in their lives all have a similar strategy.
Firstly, they think about what they want, not what they don’t want.
Secondly, they mentally rehearse having it already.
Thirdly, they think about the consequences of getting it, positive and negative, to themselves and those around them.
Fourthly, they make sure that they can take action themselves, and that someone else is not responsible for the action.
Let’s take those in turn.
They think about what they want, not what they don’t want. Our minds can’t imagine “not”. “Not” only occurs in language, not in our internal representations. So if we tell ourselves not to do something, we are, in fact, instructing our minds to think of the very thing that we don’t want.
Think for a minute about the following statements:
“I mustn’t eat cake today.”
“I don’t want to start an argument with anyone.”
“I must be careful not to slip.”
As you read these statements, what images come to mind? Eating cake, having an argument and slipping over, probably! Whatever you imagine happening acts as an instruction to your unconscious mind to do it.
It is much more effective to give yourself the following instructions as alternatives to the above statements:
“I will eat healthy food today.”
“I will be polite to everyone I meet.”
“I will walk carefully.”
With these statements, you will imagine what you do want, rather than what you don’t want.
My wife and I discovered that our son Thomas has a very effective strategy for running races. He imagines himself running across the winning line, having already won the race. In other words, he mentally rehearses the outcome. And he wins races!
The more sensory rich your rehearsal, the more likely it is that you will achieve your outcome.
Ask yourself: How would I know if I had achieved the outcome? What would I see, hear and feel?
They think about the consequences of getting it, both positive and negative, to themselves and those around them.
In other words, does what they want fit with who they are and what’s important to them? They put themselves even further into the future and ask themselves, “What will happen when I get what I want? Will I lose anything that I have now? How will it impact on those around me and is it worth it?”
“What will happen if I don’t get what I want? What will be the negative consequences of things staying the way that they are?”
It is important to look at things from both perspectives as this reinforces our motivational tendencies to move both ‘towards’ the thing that we want and ‘away from’ the thing that we don’t want. What we call in the trade, a double whammy!
They make sure that they can take action themselves, and that someone else is not responsible for the action.
We are only responsible for our own behavior. We cannot set an outcome for someone else to behave in a certain way and expect it to happen.
We have to look to ourselves first. What can we do differently that will make it more likely that the other person will behave differently towards us?
If your outcome fulfills the conditions below, it is more likely to be achieved.
Phrase It In the Positive:
What do you want? (Not what don’t you want)
Using language that describes what you do want makes it much more likely that you will get it.
Create rich, sensory based, evidence of success.
How would you know that you had it? What do you see hear and feel? How would someone else know that you had it?
Creating evidence procedures is very powerful as it really connects you to your outcome.
Finally, take yourself even further into the future to imagine what is beyond the successful completion of your outcome by asking yourself the following questions:
What will happen when you do get [your outcome]?
What won’t happen when you do get [outcome]?
What will happen if you don’t get [outcome]?
What won’t happen if you don’t get [outcome]?
These, then, are some of the strategies of the most successful people. Try them on, practice them regularly, and notice the difference they make.