Why We Do What We Do

Do you ever wonder how the dimension of time seems to be so dynamic and unpredictable? Well, I have an answer but that isn’t what this post is about. 🙂

Do you know why you do the things you do? Do you ever wonder why you continue doing things that aren’t good for you? For those of you who always do everything right, whose only actions are those that support your health and happiness in every way, please pat yourselves on the back and write a comment to me about why you think that is and how you have come to be so good. For the rest of you, you can keep reading.

One of the presuppositions of NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) is that every behavior is supported by an unconscious belief that the behavior provides a benefit. We also know that every action is based on a motivation to either gain more pleasure or to experience less pain. The NLP Communication Model further explains how our behaviors are created by how we process the millions of bits of information coming at us every second, even though we can consciously process only about 134 bits of information per second. Ever feel overwhelmed?

Can you think of a behavior you exhibit that you wish you could eliminate from your repertoire? If so, would it help to understand why you do what you do? Every behavior is a result of a decision to act, driven by your physiological state (which alters brain chemistry), and based on an unconscious belief. Have you noticed that the best advertisements are those that are designed to evoke an emotion in you? There are many catchy ads that you remember, but those usually don’t cause you to go out and buy the product. Think about the process of buying a car. The salesperson always encourages you to go for a test drive (if she believes in the car she’s selling) because she knows that once you drive it and experience the feel, the quiet, the sound system, etc., you are no longer in a strictly analytical state, your are in an emotional state. Every “buy” decision is an emotional decision. Emotion is the reason you do what you do.

Of course, in this limited space, we can’t get into the details of why we do what we do, but this gives you a good primer that can help you pay attention and listen to the cues that you have about why you do certain things. When you find yourself doing something that results in an undesirable outcome, you can now ask yourself how that behavior is serving you by asking, “What am I gaining from this behavior.” Also, notice the emotion you were feeling right before you exhibited the behavior. I think it is also important to ask yourself what you could gain by no longer performing that behavior. An example might be to ask yourself, “How might my life change if I no longer….?” Finish the question with the behavior or condition that results from the behavior.

Once you have begun to notice more about your behaviors and how they serve you and you begin to behave in ways that do support you, your life will begin to unfold in ways that will bring you more energy and more joy. It will become easy and natural, and after a while, you will look back with pride and awe at how much you’ve accomplished. How cool is that?!

All the best,

Karl
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