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Three Words of Wisdom

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

By John Goetz

It is part of culture to pass down the knowledge we have gathered to future generations. We do so through stories, metaphors, books, song and a countless host of other methods. It is an attempt to help our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren learn from our experiences. With the help of some clever marketing I would like to pass on a bit of knowledge to you the reader.

Just Do It With these three little words Nike hit the nail on the head. You see in the field of psychology there are many theories and a handful of laws. One law of human behavior is, respondents lag operants. In plain English, "Feelings follow behavior". Take a moment to think about this statement. It implies that if you do not like the way you are feeling in life change your behavior and a different feeling will follow. Imagine a pre-teen sitting on the sofa saying I'm bored. They get up and go shoot some hoops for an hour. Now they may be hot, sweaty, and thirsty but not bored. I remember my Dad suggesting that the cure for boredom is manual labor. I would like to know the teen who is bored after working an eight-hour day.

Now, how do we apply this law to a person struggling with a problem or issue? First, this person names the feeling they are experiencing. Second, they answer the question, what is making me feel this way. By focusing on the what, a person is able to identify a behavior. The third step is looking to change the identified behavior. By changing the behavior they can change the feeling they are experiencing. This method is action orientated with conversation serving the purpose of identifying the feelings a person is experiencing, identifying what is creating the feeling, and then choosing a new behavior to create a positive change. Remember change is hard. People in general resist changing their behaviors and it requires a great deal of effort to try new behaviors. This makes it extremely important to accurately identify the feelings being experienced and their origin. Changes in behavior can then be effective. Actions will speak louder than words.
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