Like way, way before. What if you were told that you could focus on changing your thoughts and not worry about the behaviors you're trying to fix for awhile, and still make substantial progress... if not more? The A-Hole Guru shoves another M-80 of megainsight up your keister and covers his ears.

See, the problem with self-help books is that they're always trying to get you to DO shit.

Open up almost any one of them, and they're screaming at you, "GET THE FUCK UP OFF THAT COUCH AND GRAB LIFE BY THE COLLAR AND RAM ITS FUCKING HEAD THROUGH THE WALL!" Or something like that.

Oh, it's an admirable thing I suppose. Truth be told, there is absolutely nothing like taking action that will propel you towards your goal. Can't win that gangbanging title by only thinking about it, ladies.

However, like so often in life, there are complications that arise that probably make action-taking not the thing to be stressed.

That's right.

Why? Most of the people who read self-help are friggin stuck in the mud. After all, THAT'S WHY THEY BOUGHT YOUR CRAP. You don't think they've ever been inspired to jump right into what they want to do before they picked up YOUR sacred tome, Mr. Self-Righteous Author?

How far did that take them?

It is rather pompous to think that your rah-rah-go-get-em speech will have any lasting affect on all but a sliver of your audience.

Maybe you're ok with those statistics. I could see how an argument could be made for your case. You're helping those who want to be and can be helped the most.

What about all those others though? You know, the majority. Isn't there some way to TAKE them to that tipping point as well?

Inspiring someone to jump into the battlefield after only spending a small time learning almost seems like a cruel joke. "GO FOR IT! YOU CAN DO IT! ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE! ...OOPS!"

And what about certain types of goals where a person has a limited number of shots, OR MAYBE EVEN ONLY ONE, to make good? Say, a business venture of some sort. Wouldn't it be better to not taint your brand by making some dopey mistakes that could have been avoided by not rushing in right away? Get inspired enough, you might run out there and generate a whole lot of absolutely horrific word of mouth that could inspire the immediate death blow for your dream. But hey, you tried. You did your best.

And your best sucked.

"Come on, go ask out that girl you've been dreaming about humping for forever! Time's a-wastin'! Who cares if you're frightening to talk to, GET OUT THERE! CARPE DIEM!!! ...What? Oh... aw shit, sorry man."

Some things should not be hurried. I'm sure some self-help authors would retort, "Well, just because we strongly encourage taking action doesn't mean we endorse biting off more than you can chew. A person starting their own business should learn how to promote themselves properly first. The kid in love should probably practice asking others out on dates before he approaches the girl who means the most to him." Sometimes these addendums are attached to their advice, sometimes they are not.

Either way, they don't matter. It all amounts to the same damn result, most often. Practicing and learning, taking those slow action steps... that very often lead to the same type of slaughter. Because the person after going through those steps is all too often still too similar to the person that was there before they were undertaken.

There are fundamental flaws deep inside many, (if not most) people that tiny successes will not cure. Old sucky mental programming can sabatoge any and all progress.

How? In my first article I imparted how the overwhelming number of your thought processes are of the subconscious variety. You're not even aware of them, these things that control so many of your beliefs. As you try to act on new ones, "rookie beliefs" you might call them, on the playing field of your mind (meaning they aren't really even true beliefs yet) -- get their asses handed to them, chewed up and spit out by those old, seasoned vets who have been running the joint for years.

Wishy-washy hypotheses like "I think I can run my own business" or "I think I can ask Paris to go to McDonald's with me" get their asses sown to their face by "I am a whopping, mind-blowing imbecile".

What if you could re-wire yourself to a significant degree, get things right on that mental playing field first... before you ever placed a foot on the field of reality? Wouldn't it be easier to wrestle with your mind beforehand, rather than wrestling with it in the heat of fucking battle... where your hard-wired responses are pre-programmed to be poor?

Good news. You can.

Mental Rehearsal

Here's some info that might blow your nuts off.

Once upon a time there was a physiologist named Edmund Jacobson. He conducted a study where he had test subjects visualize that they were performing athletic activities. He discovered that the muscles usually involved in these activities would still be activated when merely visualizing them in the mind. The level of increased electricity measured in these muscles was small -- after all, the subjects were just fucking sitting there -- but increased nonetheless.

Later, Aussie psychologist Alan Richardson conducted his own experiment. He took a bunch of basketball players and seperated them into three groups. The first group practiced free throws for twenty minutes a day, for twenty days. The second group, they only shot on the first and last days of the the study. The third only visualized practicing free throws, no time playing with their balls as well.

The results? The first group that practiced each day showed a 24 percent improvement. The second group that didn't practice or visualize, they didn't improve at all. The third group that only practiced in their head?

23 percent improvement.

For mental rehearsal to work, you need to picture it in extreme detail. The players that mentally rehearsed in the Richardson study heard the bouncing of the ball, imagined the feel of the ball in their hands, gauged just how much force would be needed as they stared at the target from the free throw line. They saw themselves launching the ball in perfect form, the net swishing as the ball sailed through the rim.

For this technique it appears that SOME hands on experience is required for maximum effect. Note that the subjects were already basketball players. So it would be best if you had some knowledge of all the practical ins and outs of what you want to do in order to create a more vivid mental experience.

Which means yes, knowing how to shoot free throws beforehand would help immensely. But having to invest as much time in the gym to try and be crowned champion of that free throw shooting contest down the line? Not necessary.

Changing Your Perspective

Being able to see things in a different way beforehand can save you a whole lot of pain in the long run. A shift in consciousness can make the struggle to change almost nonexistent sometimes.

A shift in consciousness is the point of therapy, essentially. You jibberjabber about your problems, then therapist almighty suggests ways of looking at your problems differently. Armed with your less shittier outlook, you are able to deal with your problems in a more productive way.

Strong consciousness shifts can happen in the real world as well. Like say a father who finds his kid's pot stash. He confronts the kid. "Who taught you how to do this stuff?" he angrily demands. "FROM YOU, ALRIGHT!" the kid screams back. "I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU!"

Well, actually that's not a real-world example at all. It's one of those cheesy drug PSAs from the 80s. Had it been real however, and maybe if the drug involved was actually harmful, the power of that moment might've been enough to change the father's ways for good.

A fatty might see a parent, or worse -- a friend, dying of lard-related causes. A dietary change could be almost effortless for some to make facing the reality of that situation.

That is sure some high-priced perspective though, ain't it? Most people aren't "lucky" enough to have these kind of motivators cracking the whip at their assholes. So what do you do then dammit?

Well, you could dedicate yourself to visualizing ugly scenarios about the ramifications of what would happen if you continue on the same course you're been on -- again making it rich with detail (especially the emotions involved). As well as also picturing in great detail how wonderful life would be if you took the new course you've been plotting.

You could seek out more info. Information that SUPPORTS what you want to do. It's out there. Then constantly refer to it in your mind. A smoker who keeps reminding himself about the gillion of people who die a year from lung cancer, recalls the family members who have died because they weren't able to quit, focuses on how his hacking cough is getting worse and worse is a smoker who will have much more difficulty lighting up.

Yeah, so often the information isn't in some book, it can easily be found in your environment or your own innate wisdom. Take Laqueesha, who wants to end her relationship with her boyfriend so badly but can't find it within herself to make the break. So much of the focus of her thinking is centered on the good times they shared. If she put more emphasis on the bad -- how he'd grab her head and fart in her face in front of his friends, or piss in her drink when she wasn't looking -- the decision would be a lot easier.

Finally she gets up the nerve and kicks him to the curb. Months later, bumping into him on the street, the silliness of what a no-brainer that decision should've been becomes apparent. She doesn't miss him at all, because she's moved on. The things he did that she enjoyed are being done better by someone else, and the ridiculousness of how wrong he treated her is now glaringly obvious.

If she found that perspective BEFORE she wanted to break up with him, she wouldn't have wasted an entire year accepting intolerable behavior.

Changing Your Identity

Your identity is the most important perspective you have to fix, most friggin likely. How you view yourself. What you feel is possible that you can truly accomplish.

An overwhelming majority of people are self-limiting bastards. Just about everything outside of their basic realm of existence is impossible for them to fathom doing or having. In reality there's almost always so much more.

Self esteem is often a significant issue. Aw shit, I suck. You HAVE to get that under control if you're going to be successful at what you do. While it's true taking some action might increase your confidence, it may not be enough. If your poor self-image has tainted other facets of your life, chances are it'll piss on any new one as well.

What happens to the businessman who believes he sucks at business? Most likely goes out of business, or at least does poorly, no matter how much training he gets. Or the boy who thinks there's no way in the world the girl of his wet dreams could dig him? He probably isn't able to prove to her otherwise. The smoker who believes he doesn't have the willpower to quit? Odds are he stays smokey.

Your identity is the root of the glorious plant that is you. It is from which everything else springs. If the roots are infected it will infect other parts of the plant that come forthwith, aka whichever ways you try to grow. Shit won't work right.

Going back to the Laqueesha example, and how she was torn in two about dumping her awesome man-catch... within her was that voice that told her what she needed to do, the "good" voice. Even if you're not split down the middle, maybe you're getting your ass kicked in more like a 25/75 or 5/95 ratio -- there is always that little voice in your head that is truly on your side, however small, that offers up all the positive bullshit you ever need to overcome what you have to. The most important thing you need to do is recognize is that it ain't bullshit.

If you could magnify that little voice within you, that really believes you can do it... how much better could you be?

And, best of all... how much easier would it be to change then?

Focus on making that voice grow by repeating the thoughts it offers up, those ones that you would like to have. New thinking habits will form and become a part of you. A new you will be formed. Then you will be much more able to handle the challenges that come your way, instead of being much more susceptible to them defeating you.


bang or BANG!!!!!!!!!!

A mind that shows up divided amongst itself to perform a task is like a Wet Firecracker. Diluted. Maybe it'll go off, but the pop often isn't going to be as powerful.

Or maybe it won't ever go off at all.