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Personal Turnarounds are Tough

Fortunate is the person who takes exactly the right measure of themselves; much easier said than done. In 2020’s Orwellian fog, a time like no other, it’s a daunting challenge to stay out of a rut. It requires Herculean strength to redirect your outlook and your talent. For some, the road forward is mined and unmarked. 

The Pacific Institute and the late Lou Tice (one of the Globe’s most respected analysts of human behavior) once shared with my group his outlook on what Lou called “The rungs of our self-assessment ladder.” That model defines our pitfalls, perils, potential, progress, and ultimately our performance. See it as “corny head-stuff” or, an entirely new way to put your future on course. 

Negative Resignation: a dangerous and unproductive game; a talking mirror that says “what’s the use? I never get it right. It’s the story of my life.” Not only is it non-efficacious and destructive handcuffing us to yesterday, it’s a rung on our self-assessment ladder that must be demolished or positive growth can’t happen. Why? Because the mind cannot hold two conflicting self-opinions without emotional upset. 

Recognition: a step forward out of the funk, yet it’s mostly “surface.” In this stage we recognize our vulnerability but unless it reaches our subconscious we won’t change. “I know I should quit smoking” – or – “Sure, I should rededicate my career to accomplish what I hoped for ten years ago.” Yet nothing lasting comes from passive acquiescence and like Carly Simon’s lyric, “It keeps comin’ around again.” 

The Vow: finally, a huge step forward proclaimed Lou Tice. This is where we can score a major victory; a self-imposed makeover using teleological pictures. “That’s it – I’m finished with drinking too much starting now!” It’s here the great awakening really begins. Hannibal had it right; “I must either find a way or make one.” 

Finally–Replacement Pictures: Tice’s Pacific Institute remains so effective because they demonstrate the “how” as opposed to the “what.” Tricking the mind isn’t new. Hypnotists have been doing it for centuries though gladly, hypnosis isn’t required! So, what’s the magic? “Replacement Pictures” are a way of conditioning one’s subconscious to see a different self-portrait based on this behavioral fundamental: Our mind cannot tell the difference between what is “real” and that which is vividly and repeatedly imagined! So the message becomes a lens into tomorrow, next week, and next month: “I’m seeing myself after losing thirty pounds!” or, “I’m going to stop grousing about small stuff around the office, starting now!” 

Try working this list of observations of the human condition; though never engage them as manipulation. People move to what they picture; being part of success is more important than being personally indispensable! Success breaks down when relationships break down. It’s often the difference between a team’s rebirth or its extinction.  

“On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions, who at the dawn of victory sat down to wait and waiting there-died.” (George Cecil)