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Wednesday 11 April 2012



How do you get a donkey to move?

I guess it’s fair to say there are many ways; however we tend to rely on only a few.

1.     We can try to force it by dragging, pulling, pushing and screaming at it – ‘til we’re blue in the face.
2.     We can hit it on the rump with a stick.
3.     We can dangle a carrot in front of its nose.
4.     Or we could simply shoot the donkey in the head, then go and get a better donkey - one that will do as it’s told. Just kidding. Damn Donkey!

What do you think you’d prefer to do? Force it? Or go for the carrot or the stick? Or perhaps you actually do prefer the bullet? Whichever is your preference, the truth is the donkey truly needs an incentive, a good reason to move ahead, either away from the pain or towards a reward.

I know you know what’s coming now, but it has to be said:
Human beings are just the same: So if they don’t do as you tell them, shoot them! Again, just kidding.

People are motivated to move away from pain – a terrible situation, destructive behaviour, bad health, no wealth, painful relationship worries – or towards pleasure – a reward, a positive goal or outcome: spiritual, emotional, material, improved health, happiness, wealth etc.

Have you ever been forced to do something or go in a certain direction by someone who felt they knew best? It doesn’t really work in the long run and can even make you dig your heels in even more and blindly refuse, sometimes even in spite of the fact that what they are suggesting might actually do you some good. The outcome of such actions usually ends up with everyone losing out. Actually, let’s cut the crap…if someone tries to make you do something, shoot them too! Again, just kidding. The truth is, sometimes someone else can have an incredibly pure vision of what our potential might be if we were to just consider making some simple changes. Had they facilitated towards or away from motivation, instead of just pulling or pushing, or screaming, they may well have achieved their outcome and the success for us which they truly desired. And as far as screaming goes …have you seen my gun?

Accessing the motivations to change will enable giant steps forward and easier attainment of desired outcomes, goals and changes in any area of your life. If that's what you want.

Being aware of what you are moving away from (a stick) is clarifying and powerful in itself.
i.e. ‘I am sick of carrying this excess weight.’ Good starting point.

Crystalising what you are moving towards is another magic key.
i.e ‘I’d like to be my ideal weight.’ A good positive statement.

It’s vital to state what you are moving towards in the positive and in a direct, succinct manner. In this instance, to say ‘I don’t want to be overweight anymore’ would be a statement in the negative. It’s focussing on what you don’t want – the ‘overweight’. Whereas, to set a goal of ‘I’d like to be my ideal weight’ is a direct request and a clear goal stated in the positive.

A bunch of carrots and a handful of sticks are even better, as I’m sure you can imagine. All you have to do at this point is go further into both the pain you are deciding to move away from and the pleasure you are now moving towards.

Start by asking:

In what ways does this excess weight (Stick) affect me?
i.e (this is the bunch of sticks) ‘I feel uncomfortable, ugly, slow, lacking energy, low in confidence,’ whatever is true of the multiple ways this STICK negatively effects you, others around you and your life in general. This is like loading up the slingshot before you make the shot and really stacking up your reasons will improve your aim and enable you to hit the target. Be honest: To the degree that you are able to be honest with this the more improvements you’ll find easy to naturally attain.

Now grab a bunch of carrots. If the grocer doesn’t have any…shoot him too. Again, just kidding. Actually, to the degree that you can laugh at yourself and take yourself with a pinch of salt, so to say - in your life in general - the better your outcomes in personal development will be. I can feel a quotation coming on…

Angels fly because they take themselves lightly (G.K. Chesterton)

Ah (sigh). I needed that.

The bunch of carrots acts like a turbo. To venture further into the rewards/pleasures you are moving towards, answer these 3 simple questions:

1.     What does that carrot do for you specifically?

i.e. I’ll feel energized. It’ll improve my confidence = 2 carrots

2.     What do you truly want that carrot for?

i.e. To improve my health and fitness and enable me to exercise even more. To feel good about myself. To be proud of myself = 3 carrots

3.     What will that carrot give you?

i.e. Self esteem, self belief, more confidence to find my dream partner, to feel good in clothes. I can tighten up a few notches on my gun belt! = 5 carrots.

A grand total of 10 carrots.

These examples are just made up. I happen to know very confident, sexually attractive, healthy and extremely happy people who are carrying more weight than someone else would be happy with: So it’s a very personal thing. And remember this is just an example; you may be working on the goal of say... keeping a tidy house, or improving your outlook, or starting a business, or learning to play the piano. Whatever it is, large or small, the same things apply.

If you want to put a turbo on the turbo just get sensory specific with all these outcomes and simply venture into the feelings of ‘How will it be when I have all of these?’ Notice how you feel when you imagine having them. Consider how your loved ones and others might be when they are around the new you. What differences would they and you notice? Put yourself – with your whole sensory experience: feelings, sights, sounds, smells, tastes – into imagined situations where the new you can experience the pleasures of the outcomes you decide would be good for both yourself and the people closest to you. The reason we include our loved ones in our goals is because at a core level we like to benefit others as well as ourselves, especially the ones we love. Allow your breathing and physiology to be naturally effected by the experience.

To put a turbo on the turbo on top of the original turbo it’s a good idea to set a timeframe on when you will achieve these things. Make it realistic, achievable and fully believe in achieving it.

Add another turbo: (How many is that now?) Be aware of the varying evidence that you know will be in place: proof beyond doubt that you are moving in the right direction and constantly achieving your goal. Remember this evidence: It will be a payoff as you are moving towards and achieving your goal over the timeframe.

Now to add the turbo of all turbos: While you are tuned into the feelings of the achieved outcome, you can turn up the juice and really vamp up the experience by just choosing to do so. Just go ahead and expand these feelings. Turn them right up! Really feel it! Remember to adapt your breathing and physiology to fit the feelings.

Now all you gotta do is give this all a symbol. That’s right…a symbol. An image that represents the outcome achieved and being enjoyed. This is like bringing in the best mechanic in the world - your unconscious process, which works great with symbols - to finely tune the engine of your goal.
i.e. You see yourself smiling in a particular meaningful surrounding or place. Or it could be a triangle with a palm tree inside. Or a yellow circle with a green leaf inside. A sunset. A lake with mountains… whatever is the right symbol for your desired outcome and the attained feelings, let it be. This is vitally important and the ultra magic ingredient. The symbol is key.

You then place your symbol in a space in your mind’s eye where you construct images. So if I were to ask you to imagine an egg with a purple yolk, where would you construct that image in your mind’s eye? That’s where you visually construct imagined things. That’s where you place your symbol and that's where it stays for future reference. Make it as big and compelling as you like. Then start shooting at it! Juuust kidding. That's how you create new filters for your map of the world - remember my blog on beliefs? It's a direct new injection and request to your unconscious process of how you'd like your life to be and your unconscious will support you with it. 

While tuned into all this just simply ponder these two questions:

A. What am I believing about myself?

B. And what’s important to me about that?

Now here’s something amazing that my good friend Ricky Gill shared with me. Stir this into the mix by saying affirmingly...

‘I just know, something amazing is going to happen in my life today.
I know something amazing is going to happen in my life today.
Something amazing is going to happen in my life today!’

Then while you gaze into and are delightfully linked with your symbol, ask yourself this simple yet incredibly magical question:

Q. What’s the next smallest essential step I can take to help me achieve all this?

When you have your answer – which is inspired information - put your gun down and go do it. Whatever it is. If it was to take a walk, write, open a new account, call someone, start a plan, get to work, go somewhere, whatever it is just do it.

Once that’s done, re-engage with your symbol, let the feelings rise and expand again and ask that simple, magical question once again:

Q. What’s the next smallest essential step I can take to help me achieve all this?

Loop the symbol/question sequence and continue tuning in and then taking inspired actions whilst making your way to your compelling positive outcome, which, by the way, may also be making it's way to you. The inspired, higher level answers you receive whilst using the symbol will accelerate the process and fire you towards your desired outcomes. Simple. Fact.

And you can gaze into your symbol last thing at night and connect with something truly home grown, something your unconscious process can keep working with while you sleep. What might that be like?

And I guess it’s fair to say if all this doesn’t work, you can always shoot yourself.
Once again… Just kidding.


Thanks for reading

Simon Caira
Author of Bish and the Magic Bow & Arrow

Sunday 26 February 2012


I once heard a man say, “Beliefs are like tabletops – they need legs to stand on.”
Quite an intriguing if not appealing thought.  I seem to remember he was recalling something that he had learnt via the self-help guru Tony Robbins, and believe me I was listening real close. He continued, “And it’s us that make the legs for that fine and dandy tabletop.”
Great, I’m a carpenter! – Nice, I thought.
“And we make those legs strong and reliable works of art by what we notice, reaffirm and constitute through our senses into our map of the world,”
My goodness, I feel like I’m sailing now. One hand on the wheel, a chisel between my teeth and an old Columbustine world map in my other hand.
“You see,” “he continued, “And I really want you to hear this and get a handle on what I’m explaining…”
This has got to be good, I thought and patiently waited. He lowered the tone of his voice and with a faint smile he said, “We get to prove ourselves right in every moment of every day by our method of filtering.”
What? Coffee? I’ll go with that. I put down my map, proudly lifted my cappuccino and sailed towards a distant new land.
“We all do it; All of the time,” he continued. “And it’s considered possible that in regard to your own personal beliefs… nothing is real, and actually… you know nothing.”
What? Nothing is real and I know nothing?! That hit my sails and stopped me in my tracks. I dropped my chisel, spilt coffee all over my map and let go of the wheel… Excuse me?
“You borrow them. You build them from experience. You make them up.”  
His words sunk in deeply and caused a chain of inner and outer enquiries, some enthusiasm, more uncertainty, sudden curiosity and a desire to understand – along with a compelling need to just turn and run away, right then and there.
“We aren’t born with a set of beliefs, they form as we grow and interact within our homes, families, schools, religions, friends and neighborhoods. Your beliefs are neither right nor wrong and can be, whenever you decide the time is right, personally and individually explored by wondering whether they empower and enrich you or simply hinder and limit your life?”
Talk about responsibility. But that was then.

I now like to think of it more in this way:

In the matter of personal potential, our beliefs act as a door; open - to varying degrees - or closed. They may allow a clear way ahead, restrict to some extent, or block access. The closed door may even be locked. It may even have a rusty old lock, difficult to budge.  The hinges may also be corroded and stuck, and in some cases we may even find the whole doorframe has been painted shut. Quite an impeding thought.
‘Who did this to the door?’ we may enquire in disbelief.
‘What a fool,’ we might even conclude. In truth it’s simple. The closed door, rusty lock, stuck hinges and painted doorframe are 
all pieces of our experiences that we hold onto - the unquestionable proof that supports our beliefs. And they are now our beliefs. Whether we borrowed them, had them transferred to us, or built them ourselves, the door is as it is: Open, closed, stuck or ajar.

What we require is a free-flowing door that can be easily opened to reveal the empowerment and potential that is there for us to behold and revel in.  So…how exactly does the door become closed? Locked? How does the mechanism of the lock become rusty, the hinges stuck and the whole doorframe painted shut? More importantly… how do we loosen the door? Remove that painted seal, oil the hinges, free the lock and then open that door? Well, there’s one thing I’d like to share with you first of all.

“You are the golden key to every door that’s ever been closed. Know this and be yourself.” – Marvin

Our beliefs are the doors. What we notice as true for us - what our filters allow through - becomes the locks and hinges. Our filters enable things through that support our beliefs and filter out those things that don’t. Our beliefs are always strengthened by our filters.

The first thing to say here is that we need filters; there is only so much information we can consciously process at any moment in time. Our filters keep us sane in the world; they let through what we need to notice. They show more of what we deem as important. I myself discovered that I get more of what I think about and concentrate on. Take, for example, the time when I took my son out for the first time alone, walking him in his buggy. Suddenly I noticed countless other dads pushing buggies all over the place. I was shocked. I wondered how I’d never noticed this before? Or like the time I bought my first car - a red one. I thought it was quite a unique choice until I noticed red cars on every road. Then I noticed many of the same models as mine and, to my complete surprise, so many were also in red. It was a joke. In fact, it seemed a conspiracy. All that had actually happened though, in both instances, was that something had become important to me and this led to me becoming aware – as though my eyes had suddenly been pried open – that more of the same or similar was all around me.

Like in every good kettle, our filters are extremely effective. As a human being however, our filters are acutely honed and pay constant attention and true homage to their ruler – our beliefs. And that’s great if you only have beliefs like ‘Ain’t life great’ or ‘I’m a lucky person’, but if you have something like ‘Life seems cruel’ or ‘Nobody likes me’ going on at a deep level of your internal makeup, you’re in for one hell of a ride. Positive or not, our filters just do their job. And extremely well, may I add.

Our filters support what’s in the cup – the tea of our beliefs: what we deem as true about ourselves, our lives, the world around us and our place within it. Filters are NOT a conscious process but are always on, all of the time.

Filter 1.
Delete. - That doesn’t match my belief: I’ll not see/hear/feel/notice it.

Filter 2.
Distort. – I’ll make that fit my beliefs (map of the world) with a little twist, exaggeration, embellishment or trim.

Filter 3.
Generalise. – That’s a bit like the other time when… I’ll make it another of those instances/experiences that always seem to happen.

Beliefs and their effects compose big and worthwhile discussions. To narrow it down, I ask you to give this brief made-up scenario a thought:

Belief: I’m bad. Owned after my teacher told me “You’re a bad apple. Bad to the core.”

Effect: I notice everything to support this belief. I hear a conversation on TV whilst I’m doing my homework: A woman is talking about her bad man and how men are always bad (generalise). I go back to my homework and don’t hear her friend advocate the opposing view (delete). I notice boys scarpering from the vicinity of a shop: they probably stole stuff (generalise). I don’t notice the young guy across the road, kindly helping the lady off the bus (delete). I smell the stench from an alleyway. I don’t notice (delete) the sweet smelling flowers hanging outside shop fronts. I hear the angry shouts of a distant argument. I don’t notice (delete) the choral music coming from the local hall. I see a man crouching down, speaking to a child; he’s probably telling him off for being naughty (distort). I steal. I also do lots of good for others but I remember I’m a thief and I’m bad (generalise). I lie. I also tell the truth 99.9% of the time but I remember I’m a liar and I’m bad.

And another:

Belief: Life is hard: borrowed from Uncle Barry. “Life’s hard, son. You’re born and you die. All you do in between is work and get no thanks for it. It’s a constant struggle.”

Effect: I notice everything that supports this belief. I notice my own and everyone else’s struggles. I delete the ‘thank you’ I get from the lady at the garage or the smile I get from the station attendant. I mentally distort a look my boss gives me into a look of disdain and generalise that every time I think things are going well, at least 3 bad things come along at once to put me in my place. I always seem to be able to busy myself and I work, work, work. In the little spare time I do have, I manage to watch TV shows and read books and articles that support ideas of struggle and mistreatment. I talk about such things with family and friends.

These are exaggerated. They are also true for many. It can be that simple.

We get more of what we concentrate on, all by way of our filters. The great thing is, our beliefs are not fixed and we can change them.

I’m always curious to consider “What core beliefs would you now like to nurture in yourself? And in your children?”

And I often wonder “What are you spending your time concentrating upon?”

Once you choose a new belief, what you are actually saying to your filters is, ‘Show me more of the same’. And that will happen.

Thanks for reading.

Simon Caira
Author - Bish and the Magic Bow & Arrow