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Are you experiencing a recurrent theme of starting, then stopping, and then starting, only to stop in your tracks once again.  Are you frustrated and feel that you will never make any changes?  So many of my clients start coaching when they feel stuck.  All their previous efforts haven’t worked.  Many books tout the importance of affirmations and a positive mind set to move forward.  Yet, for whatever reason, every time you want to make a change, you don’t get very far. 

Many of us believe we should follow Nike’s slogan and Just do it.  We blindly accept that if we are motivated and set our minds to change, we should be able to make massive sweeping changes without difficulty.  So, why do we keep getting stuck?

Why Your Mind Keeps You Stuck

How many times have you heard:  the mind is your worst enemy?  The reason is that we evolved to handle all kinds of strife.  However, when was the last time you faced the danger of a dinosaur or a saber-toothed tiger in your driveway or crossing the street? 

According to Dr. Robert Maurer, Associate Clinical Professor at UCLA School of Medicine and author of “One Small Step Can Change Your Life: the Kaizen Way,” change is frightening. This fear of change is rooted in the brain’s physiology, and when fear takes hold, it can prevent creativity, change, and success.” The amygdala located within our midbrain triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response when faced with danger. This instinctive process slows down our rational and creative thinking patterns. When we’re in ‘fight or flight’ mode, logical reasoning goes out the window. What are we left with? Our fear. This fear triggers anger, which ensues in attack posturing or escapism. How do we find the secret trap door to get out of this place and stop the discomfort?

However, what is even more common in our society is what I call the “freeze.” When we want to make even the slightest change or improvement in our life, the amygdala is triggered, or our natural alarm system is activated stopping us right in our tracks. We become immobilized and nothing gets done, no self-improvement.

Maurer suggests an alternative. The kaizen way is outmaneuvering this natural pattern. Instead of making sweeping massive changes that will overtax and engage the amygdala, he recommends small baby steps. Tiny minute actions guarantee success. For example, he suggests removing and organizing one paper clip off a disorganized, cluttered desk to start this process and whiz right past the amygdala. Soon, by repeating these baby steps, your brain slowly starts reformatting its hard drive and you will start seeing change at a comfortable pace.

So what does this all mean? All of us have built mental structures that frame how we perceive the world and ourselves. In order to change, we need to break down these structures and reformat our hard drives (our minds). This would be very difficult unless we had support and adopted the kaizen way.

Are you stuck?  

In a recurrent pattern of starting then stopping?

Would you like to stop the merry-go-round of frustration?

Click here for immediate help to learn creative approaches.

Ready to join me and play?

Your Creativity Coach, Wanda.

The Quicksand of Your Mind

Are you in struggle?
Your mind a puddle?
Are you stuck?
What luck?
In the
quicksand of your mind?

Are you out of flow
And problems just grow?
What to do, to solve this riddle?
Stuck in the middle
In the
quicksand of your mind.

There’s only one way
Out of this unwanted stay.
Resolve to clearly see
And not live by some false decree
In the
quicksand of your mind.

Wanda Ropa

Copyright ©2005 Wanda Ropa

2 Responses to “Are You Stuck in the Quicksand of Your Mind? Tips from Your Creativity Coach”

  1. cwicks says:

    This an interesting stratgey. This could help me significantly with improving the pace in completing tasks and or change. I seem to be the eight ball most of the time as I move within my career path.
    This seems like an easier way to initiate postive movement.

  2. Dyana says:

    I think I have an overactive amygdala but if baby steps work to ‘desensitize’ it its worth a try. However, this does seem like an agonizingly slow way to make change but I guess some change is better than none.

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