For as long as I’ve been alive, the world of self-help has struggled with the same problems and has always been held back by the same fundamental problem: it doesn’t work! As many of you know, the self-help industry has a 97 percent failure rate among its clients. Not only that, but insiders say that the 3 percent that do succeed in improving their lives probably would have succeeded anyway. So maybe the question we should be asking is, “what are those 3 percent doing differently?”
We’re going to be building today on last week’s topic of instant gratification vs delayed gratification, so if you haven’t read or watched that yet, you don’t necessarily have to go back to that first, but it might help you get even more out of today’s discussion. Today, I believe I have the solution that the self-help industry has been missing for as long as it has existed, and I want to share it with all of you.
When you strip it down to the absolute basics, the whole concept of self-help is making better decisions. Even if your problem is an unconscious one, the solution must begin as a conscious decision. For example, many of my tools such as Trilogy and Memory Engineering allow you to address unconscious problems, but you have to make a conscious decision to use them first. So let’s address that directly. Why do 97 percent of us (including me, by the way) fail to make the decisions that are best for us, even when we know what they are?
I should use a practical example, so let’s say that I’m trying to lose weight (because I am). Weight loss books are the top-selling category of books, not only in the self-help industry but in any industry, so this is right up our alley. But there’s a problem: I love ice-cream. Blue Bell is my personal favorite, and there’s sure to be a point in my day where I think about how good it would taste. That image in my head is instantly compared with every image in my memory banks from throughout my entire life, and I conclude that a bowl of Cookies and Cream would taste really, really good.
But that’s not the only thought I have. Remember, I’ve already made a conscious decision try and lose weight, so now I have another impulse, what you might call my conscience, or a deep gut “vibe,” as Dr. Bruce Lipton calls it. My instinct for pleasure is up against what I believe is right for me, a classic self-help situation. But here’s what they don’t tell you. See, if there was something about the situation or about the thing I desired that was recorded in my memories as a trauma, then my brain would take that as a cue to send me into physiological stress. But that’s not the case here, right? Ice cream is about as innocent as it gets, and even if I went against my conscience, it’s not like it’s a crime or a sin or anything, right? Not exactly. As far as your conscience is concerned, if you believe that it is not the right, good, loving thing for you at that moment, it might as well be a crime or a sin—and it can often create a physiological effect similar to experiencing a real trauma.
What’s worse, when you imagine doing something you believe is wrong—say that I resist the urge to eat the ice cream right away, but I can’t stop myself from thinking about it—your hypothalamus releases the brain chemicals associated with both positivity and negativity, oxytocin and endorphins plus adrenaline and cortisol, etc., etc. This chemical cocktail is overwhelming, almost like cocaine or heroin. Not only does it make you far more likely to do the thing you believe is wrong—almost to the point of being irresistible—it is also very addictive, so it becomes much more likely that you’ll make the same mistake again.
Now, the same sort of thing can also occur when you don’t do something you believe you should. You may not get the positive chemicals from indulging in a temporary pleasure, so it may not be as chemically addictive, but the choices you make are still habit-forming and can still put you into stress, or not. For example, if I see that the garbage needs to be taken out and feel a prompt from my conscience or vibe or whatever you want to call it, it’s very easy for me to rationalize that I’m busy this morning, or that I did it last time, or that it’s more Hope’s thing than mine. But what is going to make the difference to me, chemically and physically, is that deep, subconscious belief, and whether I choose to abide by it or not. You might think that it doesn’t really matter since it's such a small thing. But the truth is that the difference in our daily life experience is determined by small things much more often than big ones.
It’s easy enough to talk about the biology behind all of this, and another thing to put it into practice. Unfortunately, many of you out there have probably been caught in this chemical cycle for long enough that it may not be possible to suddenly start swimming against that current. That’s what our tools are for. Use Trilogy and use Memory Engineering to clean away the unconscious responses that are holding you back. But even more importantly, make a vow to yourself that you’ll start living according to what you really, deep down, believe is right.
In life, I believe we have two choices. We can choose to live according to “what’s in it for me?” Which brings sadness, anxiety, anger, and pain. Alternatively, we can choose to live according to love in the present moment, which brings love, joy, peace, and pain. There is no path without pain. The key is something meaningful that makes the pain worthwhile. That in turn will determine your daily life experience, whether you experience primarily positive or negative thoughts and feelings, and to a large extent, even your physical health.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!