Posts tagged with “good habits”

Are You Making These Intuitive Mistakes?

Last week we explored the perils of quick thinking. We discovered that many of our intuitive first impressions fall prey to biases that make them poor judgments. So, in this week’s post, I want to examine two causes of intuitive errors and what you can do to increase intuitive accuracy.

This past month, I’ve been working on an e-book cover as part of an online course. E-books are something that we may get into here at The Mind-Body Training Company, so I’m learning how to go about creating them. Part of this project has been soliciting the opinions of others to get feedback on what I’m doing. This is a great way to check my intuitive judgments and fine-tune them. It’s a powerful learning process.

One thing I’ve learned is to watch out for two common mistakes when it comes to following my intuition. First, is becoming too emotionally attached to what comes to me intuitively. Second, is to be wary of jumping to conclusions based on limited information.

To understand these points better, two places where these errors seem especially prevalent are judgments we make in politics and in picking stocks for investment. For most of us, judgments in these fields are highly influenced by emotional attachment and sorely lacking in sufficient evidence. Even the experts in these arenas fall prey to those two biases. For the rest of us, we may as well be throwing darts.

So, in my creative process, I want to be wary of falling into those two traps. I would describe my creative process as highly intuitive—so it lends itself to those errors.

My creative efforts are most always initially prompted by experiences working with clients around a certain issue. In response to what they are going through, I find myself inspired with words, images, and techniques that just seem to pour out “when they are ready.” When that time comes, I need to be ready to take down what is coming through. I would describe this as an initial intuitive information download related to that topic.

I then prune what has come through based on past experiences working with clients around this issue. This gives me a pretty good sense about what might work and what probably doesn’t. I use what I’ve learned to check and shape my initial intuition into something that makes sense and holds promise for being productive. I then fit that into formats and language that I’ve learned work well for communicating this material to others. This is stage two. I’m learning more about that all the time.

My third stage is to submit this “work in progress” to several others and see how it comes across to them. I did this through many successive rounds of suggestions and revisions with this e-book cover. It’s amazing to discover what I am assuming that I don’t realize I’m assuming. It’s also fascinating to see how others interpret what I’ve put out there—in other words, what is communicated to them. I am always surprised at what jumps out for someone else that I’ve never thought of. When I can let go of being attached to the work as if it is “mine,” this is a really fun, creative process.

So what am I learning?

First is that, in my field, in other words in a body of knowledge that I know well because I’ve been involved with it for decades, my intuition comes up with some good rough directions. It gives me a starting point and sets me into action.

Second, it’s important not to get too locked onto the fine details of my first impressions, but to be open to learning and discovering more. In other words, it’s important to keep taking in more information as I pursue the direction that my intuition has sent me along. As I take the actions prompted by my intuition, observing the results and consequences of these actions leads me to fine tune my initial ideas.

Third, ongoing conversations with others are essential to shape the project into a final result that is effective and communicates well. It’s so easy to think that my point of view is self-evident or that it applies to everyone. Getting feedback from others shows me assumptions I am making that aren’t true for others. It also helps me adjust what I am doing so that it is useful to someone besides myself.

You can apply these three insights to fine tune your intuitive guidance in whatever you are doing:

1. Understand that your intuition is going to be most effective in things that you know really well.

2. Your first intuitive impressions are starting points. Intuition can give you a good general direction to get you going. It’s then important to continuously check and fine tune what you’re doing as you move forward. In other words, don’t get too attached to the details of your first idea. Just use it to get you started.

3. Solicit the insight of others. Engage in true dialogue, to show you your blind-spots and increase the effectiveness of what you’re doing.

Intuition combined with real world feedback and conversations with others can grow your first impressions into creations that make a real difference.

What do you want to grow in your life and/or share with the world?

We all need what you have to offer!

Kevin

Kevin Schoeninger

P.S. Spiritual Growth Monthly is our community of practice designed to support you in creating the life you truly desire. This month we’re exploring how to establish good habits and quit bad ones. Click here to learn more.

Leave a Comment

Guess Who Knows Your Habits Better Than You?

Did you know that your supermarket loyalty card isn’t just a nice way to give you discounts and keep your business? It’s an information gathering device, so that retailers can track your habits and sell you more stuff. These days it’s likely that your favorite stores know your habits better than you do. In this post, we’ll explore some crucial things they know that can help you. Understanding your habits is a powerful tool that can help you quit the bad ones and create the good ones.

An amazing amount of money is spent by large corporations to understand you better. They know the cues that trigger your habitual routines and the rewards you’re looking for. They know where you go, what time of day, and what for. From all the info they gather, they create a portrait of who you are as a consumer. Armed with this information, they offer you incentives that match your desires, so you’ll buy more of their products.

Interestingly, this is exactly the information that can help you if you’re trying to quit a bad habit or establish a good one. You’ll be much more successful if you understand the cues that trigger your behavior and the rewards you’re really seeking. If you understand each of these components—the cue, the behavioral routine, and the anticipated reward—you will be able to step into your habits and design them to work for you rather than against you.

Cues can be locations, times of day, emotional states, the people around you, or what you are doing. For example, you might be cued into a certain behavior, like drinking a soda, by being at work, in the afternoon, when you are a little bored or tired, alone in your office, and stuck in a tedious task.

Those cues might drive you to the break-room, at about 3 p.m. every day, to get a soda. That’s your behavioral routine. That’s your habit.

Your anticipated reward might be the sugar and caffeine high, the social interaction, or just the break from where you are and what you are doing.

Now, what if you’re trying to lose weight and that sugary pick-me-up is getting in your way? If you don’t know the factors that created this habit, it can be very hard to kick it. On the other hand, if you understand what is cuing your behavior and the rewards you are seeking, you could design a behavior that can give you same rewards, without the undesirable side-effect—in this case, the sugar, which is killing your chances of losing weight.

A good place to start is by understanding the reward that you’re after. For example, if the reward you really want is a break from sitting in your office and doing tedious work, you could take a walk outside. If what you are looking for is a little social interaction, you could ask a co-worker to take that walk with you. If you want a pick-me-up, you could have some green tea, which will do the trick, while also helping you lose the weight. If you substitute any of those behaviors when you hit your afternoon cues, you’ll get the reward you want while moving toward your weight loss goal at the same time.

When you understand a habit, you can step into it in a more conscious intentional way. You can experiment with different behaviors and rewards, so you can make better choices to give you what you truly desire.

Enjoy your practice!

Kevin

Kevin Schoeninger

P.S. Start your day in a conscious intentional way with the powerfully good habit of meditation. Meditation is a practice that will help you be successful at everything else you do. Click here to learn The Secrets of Meditation.

Leave a Comment

What It Takes To Change

You know you should do it. It’s good for your health, your career, and your family. You know you’d feel better and be happier. Really, you couldn’t have any more reasons to do it. So why is it so hard to change?

We all have changes we’d like to make—whether it’s taking time to relax, start a new business, travel, create, meditate, eat well, exercise, spend more time with family, quit an old habit, or start a new one. We all have something we want to do.

Have you talked about doing a certain thing for years? Do other things always seem to get in the way? What will get you over the hump?

To make any significant personal change, at least three things need to happen:

First, you need to see “what you’re doing instead” of that other thing you keep saying you want to do. Your time, energy, and attention are always somewhere. Where is your focus right now? Making a personal change requires being intentional about where you put your time, energy, and attention. It is about choosing your life. And you can only do that Right Now!

Is what you are doing right now important and satisfying? Or is it just a default behavior? Are you waiting for some magical event to change your life? Or are you just unconsciously going through the motions? Recognize what you are thinking, feeling, and doing at the moment.

Second, realize that whatever you are doing is just a habit. Saying “I’ll do that when such and such happens” is a habit. Thinking you’re unable to change is a habit. Feeling that life is hard is a habit. Most everything you do is just a habit. Habits don’t define the way things are or the way you are. They’re just ways you’ve learned to think, feel, and do things.

Third, you can learn to do something different. That’s really what personal change is about—choosing to do something different with your time, energy, and attention. If you want to have different experiences, you just have to practice having them. You have to build new habits.

Decide what you want to do. Understand what actions are involved. And repeat those actions consistently until you’ve grooved a new habit. You can repeat new thoughts, new feelings, and new actions.

Some experts say that to form a new habit takes repeating something every day for 21 days, some say 100 days. I believe that number depends on the sincerity of your effort and how fully you immerse yourself in the process. I’ve seen myself adopt a new habit in a few days, if I really put myself into it.

So, what does it take to change?

It takes awareness of what you’re doing now and what you desire. It takes understanding of the actions involved in what you desire and fully-engaged repetition of those actions. That’s it. Repeat your positive intentional actions and watch your life change today! That’s the power of practice.

In next week’s post, we’ll talk about the quality of attention that gives you the best and fastest results.

Enjoy your practice,

Kevin

Kevin Schoeninger

P.S. The Power of Practice program guides you to create your life through intentional daily practice. Click here to learn more.

Leave a Comment