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Gabriele Oettingen – Rethinking Positive Thinking – interview – Goldstein on Gelt – June 2015
You’re listening to international investment, advisor Doug Goldstein on the goldstein on gelt show the financial show where we’ll talk about how you can make the most of your money with all the confusing financial chatter bombarding you each and every day, Goldstein on gelt.
We’ll, give you the practical information you want and need about living a financially stable life here’s, your host money, maven Doug, Goldstein, okay, we are back and very happy to have on the goldstein on gelt show Gabrielle Union, who Is a professor of psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg and she wrote a fascinating book called rethinking positive thinking inside the new science of motivation.
Gabrielle a real pleasure to have you. Thank you for having me so one of the things that someone would understand about your work. If let’s say he read. Just one article is that you’re, very critical of the whole positive thinking movement, but I think that one might be a little bit of an oversimplification.
Could you explain to us your philosophy there? Well, I’m, not critical of the positive movement or the positive thinking movement. What I am is I want to point out that if you look at positive thinking in a differentiated in a more sophisticated way, did you discover a lot of facets of positive thinking which can make your life better and which can help you get clarity about your Future about your reality about your connections, to others, about your work and about your finances.
So let me give you the example that a lot of people like to say and having sat through many many speeches that people have given at conferences. You’ll, often hear someone say, look where you want to go and think positively and you’re gonna get there.
Are they on track? Well, the problem is with only positive thinking in the future that, if you really want to achieve that positive future, that this positive dreaming and looking at the future, just in a positive way is not the way.
You should do that because what we find in many many studies is the more positive people they dream and fantasize about the future, the less likely it is that they actually reach that future. So, for example, the more positively overweight women fantasized about reducing their weight in a weight reduction program, the less weight they lost over three months over one year and even over two years, were little more pop and you can add on a lot of studies in other Areas which show the same relationship, the more positive people daydream, the less they get into gears to actually achieve these dates.
So what about the apocryphal study, which I have to say, I’ve, actually looked up and never been able to find, and I forget if it was Harvard or Yale where they said some class in the 1960s was asked, write down their goals and The three percent who wrote down their goals earned more money than the 97 % who didn’t is this.
I think this is a famous study that may not be true. Does this relate to or somehow correlate to your research? Well, you know, the interesting thing is that we distinguish between expectancies which are based on your past performance and which are a good summary of what you did in the past, and that gives you a guide for what you can expect for the future.
So that perceived likelihood that things will happen in the future. Now, if you measure that that it’s, a good predictor that you also will be successful in the future, meaning the more positive your expectations of success, the more you will be investing and the more success you will have you’re, Saying the more you expect to have success based on your past is past performance, so people who did very well in investing financially they can expect that they will do also well in the future, but the daydreams and fantasies are quite a different story.
They do not come out of the past experience, they come out of a person’s, wishes and needs, and these positive daydreams they actually are a hindrance in achieving the desired future. Well, what’s, the difference between being optimistic and being a dreamer right? We define optimism as expectancy a judgment on the likelihood that certain events will happen in the future, whereas daydreams are free thoughts and images about positive events in the future and when you measure both in one study, you find that the expectancies, the more positive the expectancies Of success, the more successful people are in the future, but these are based on past performance.
So only people who have done well in the past can expect that they will do well in the future and so past behaviors best predictor of future behavior. So those will predict in the positive direction, but if you just sort of say think positively just dream it and then you will do it.
That is detrimental because then you dream it and you feign already having attained your positive future and you relax them, because you feel, ah, you kind of experience the future as already having achieved it and that relaxes you and then you don’t, get Up the energy anymore to actually reach the positive future very interesting, very interesting.
We’re talking with Gabrielle Union, who is a professor at New York in New York and New York University, a professor of psychology and the author of rethinking positive thinking. I love the title by the way, rethinking positive thinking she’s been explaining to us that perhaps too much optimism could in fact be harmful and one of the things GABA is said, which really kind of struck me is that when people begin to Fantasize about how well they’re gonna do then it distracts them.
Let’s, say from the reality of perhaps even hard work, and one of the things that comes to mind right away to me is people who play the lottery, which sometimes I don’t know if you ever find yourself, but occasionally I’ll drive by a sign and it says a 100 million dollar lottery and then I begin to daydream and I fantasize.
What would I do with the money, and I understand how people then I don’t buy the tickets because I believe that they are a poor man’s tax, but I think a lot of people fantasize and then they act on It, which is probably a terrible financial decision well with the lottery, you know, if you just invest a dollar or so then positive fantasies are helping you to invest a dollar, but if it’s, a lottery where you don’t need To invest a lot, you are better off, you can’t fantasize about winning in the lottery, but then you were better off to understand what is the obstacle that stands in the way of investing money in the lottery, and then you will understand what Is your obstacle that is in the way of investing in that lottery? Well, your popsicle might be something like you know.
I’m afraid to lose a lot of money or you know. I need the money for something else or you know it’s, irresponsible against my relatives, who you know I need to support, so you might sort of spent a dollar, because a baller is just not much, but once you understand what it is in.
You that stands in the way to reach the desired future. Then you can make a good decision, a kind of clear, clear decision on whether you really want to spend for the lottery or whether you better get out of it and spend the dollar for something which benefits you and your family.
And unfortunately, I think we’re oversimplifying it, because the average person doesn’t just spend one dollar on the lottery than they spend tens or hundreds of dollars on the lottery. Now I’m glad. You mentioned the word obstacle because it’s, part of the the the four step process which you refer to as whoop wo, o P.
You described it in your book. Could you give us a little explanation of it here sure whoop consists of two psychological procedures. One is called mental contrasting of the future and the reality and the other one is called in meditation intentions.
Now forget all these complicated terms. Implementation intention has been discovered by Peter gollwitzer and mental contrasting has been done under my kind of hands in the past 15 years. Now, what mental contrasting does and that’s.
The W o of you formulate a wish, something which is actually very dear to you, that is in your kind of mind as something which is dear to your heart, so you formulate that wish and then you keep it in your mind.
And then you say what would be the best outcome if I fulfilled that wish. For me, what would be the best thing that happened very often it’s, an emotion or it’s, a good consequence. You identify the best outcome and then you imagine that best outcome you experience being already there sort of having succeeded in reaching that best outcome.
But then you need to switch gears, you say, but what is it in me? That holds me back from actually realizing my wish and experiencing that outcome. What is it in me that stops me from actually doing it from going for it, and you identify the obstacle that’s in the way of reaching the wish and experiencing that outcome, and once you identify that obstacle in you, no excuse just the Obstacle in you, do you imagine that obstacle, and while you imagine that obstacle, you will understand what you need to do in order to overcome that obstacle, or you might say you know that obstacle is just too formidable.
This is not worth pursuing the wish. So after that wo-oh, which we call mental contrasting, you have clarity about whether you fully engage in wish fulfillment you’ll love, it you go for it or whether you say no not, for today I alligator postpone it or maybe I even let go From the wish, so you get clarity and once you have that clarity, you can say if obstacle, if that obstacle occurs, then I will and then you can say what you will do in order to overcome that obstacle, that’s, the plan or implementation Intention that’s, a P in the in the book, okay opioids want to go over wish.
You wish him for his outcome and then you have to consider the obstacles that are in your way and then determine if you can make a plan to overcome those obstacles, correct exactly that’s, what it is so it’s, a Four-Step process based on imagery, which has it’s, a conscious process, it’s, it’s, a procedure you do in your imagery, but it has non conscious consequences, sort of it builds association in your mind and it energizes.
You so that, then you can actually behave in a way that you either really go for wish fulfillment or you say, okay now without bad conscience. I can let go from that wish. So you get much more clarity in your lives.
You can kind of tidy up your life, so you’re, not just living in a dream world, but you’ll. It’s. Okay, to have the dreams. You’re saying, but then you have to go through this procedure in order to make sure that they are achievable and then develop a plan to do it or just decide it’s not achievable and then move on correct.
That’s exactly it. That sounds like brilliant advice. Frankly, it sounds a lot like what I’ll, often tell people when they’re dealing with their finances, because sometimes they really do live in a dream world.
In fact, I & # 39, ve often made the joke, but now I’m gonna quote you on it. I’ll say there are two worlds in the world of finance. There’s, the real world, and there’s, the fantasy world and as a financial adviser.
I live in the real world and I often have to pull people into my world so that they’re. Not expecting some sort of unrealistic returns Gabrielle, we are just about out of time, but in the last few seconds just tell people other than buying your book rethinking a positive thinking which I assume they can get on Amazon and all over the place.
What’s, the best way for people to keep track of the work that you’re? Doing? We have a website which is called whoop, my life dot org, and we keep up that website with all the new findings and you can have access to the science and you can have access to an app which you can use in order to practice that four-step Process so it’s called whoop, my life org, w o o P.
My life one word dot org, and you can also write to us and have some comments, how you fare with whooping your life, and so we are. We’re eager and happy to hear from you all right and we will put a link to that at their show.
Notes of today’s, show at goldstein on gelt comm Gabrielle thanks. So much for your time. Thank you for having me you’ve, been listening to the goldstein on gelt, show with money, maven Doug Goldstein Doug’s.
Weekly radio show is pulled around the world, but if you miss it, you can download the podcast at wwl steam on yelp.com. The goldstein on gelt show gives you up-to-date financial ideas, so you can get on the path to financial freedom.
If you’d, like your questions, answered on the air or on send out an email to Doug at profile, financial.com, it’s. Your money for your future, so join us every week to build your wealth on the goldstein on gelt show.
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You’re listening to the science of making your dreams come true, an optimal living interview with Gabrielle Oda engine and Brian Johnson hi. This is Brian. Welcome back to the optimal living interview series.
Today I am thrilled to be chatting with Gabrielle oten Jen, who is one of the world’s, leading researchers in the new science of motivation. She wrote the phenomenal book rethinking positive thinking.
A ton of positive psychologists referenced her work. She’s written over 100. I believe articles and book chapters on the effects of future thoughts on cognition, emotion and behavior. She’s, a professor of psychology at NYU and the University of Hamburg, and I just fell in love with this book and immediately reached out to set up this chat Gabrielle.
I really appreciate you taking the time and I’m excited to explore. Well, thank you for having me well, you’re, doing some important work for the last 20 plus years, and I’d love for you to describe just kind of in it on the highest level what it means to rethink positive thinking.
Then we’ll drive into some of the details. Well, positive thinking has had a very positive connotation, not only in the United States, but probably in the Western world and people who had been kind of looking at positive thinking as an anchor of reaching success and putting in the necessary motivation to actually achieve what they Want to achieve in their life and yeah, we thinking positive thinking means.
Maybe we should think twice if we want to reap all the benefits of positive thinking and not just assume that positive thinking has always positive consequences for our well-being and long-term development, which leads us to the downside of positive thinking.
Specifically, the downside of dreaming and and again to preface this all of Gabrielle’s. Work is is empirically based and in research tested, and just one of the reasons why I’m so excited about this – and you talked about in your book – is that a lot of the the popular self-help stuff, just hasn’t rigorously Tested and as you brought some of the ideas into your lab, you found that not only do they not work, they were actually detrimental in many ways right.
There can be detrimental when it comes to fulfilling our wishes and our dreams about the future. When it comes to just having a pleasure in terms of dreaming at the moment they’re. Having some good thoughts, then they’re.
Fine, and you know everybody who wants to improve his mood. A little bit is allowed to just dream about the future and about the positive things which the future might hold, but if it comes to actually implementing these wishes and actually going the hard way or fulfilling these these wishes, then there can be detrimental and they are Not only not helpful, but they actually can be really hurtful for implementing our goals and fulfilling our wishes.
I love it. So if you just want to feel good, then merely fantasizing about a wonderful future. You can achieve that end, but if you actually want to achieve that your wishes and bring them to fruition, then then, as you say, we want to kind of bring in some reality, but can you describe for us some of your research that the in particularly I Was fascinated by the work on the lower blood pressure and how quickly that occurred and how that led to less motivation and, ultimately less action? Well, we started off with simple studies where we just looked as how positive dreams and fantasies predict effort and success for the future.
So, for example, we started off with a study with women who wanted to reduce their weight and we had enrolled in a weight reduction program and the more positively these women had fenced fantasized about success in the program, the fewer pounds they had lost three months and One year, and even two years later or university graduates, those who had positively fantasized about an easy transition into work life they received fewer job, offers two years later and then earned fewer dollars two years later, and they also sent fewer applications out than those who also Admitted some negative thoughts about the future or, for example, people who had surgery on their hips or hip replacement surgeries.
So people who had dreamed and fantasized before they went into surgery about successfully recovering and having a kind of easy way out of the hospital. They could move their hip joint, less well after two weeks and they could walk fewest stairs and they had less good recovery.
As judged by the physical therapies than the people who, in addition to their positive dreams, also admitted to some problems in reality in their thinking, were in the more students fantasized positively about success in their exams, the less well, they did in the exams themselves.
So that’s, what we found we found or in another study, the more positively students fantasized about the future, the less depressed they were at the moment, but the more depressed them got over time. So we found, as pleasurable as these fantasies are at the moment they do predict low effort and low well-being and low development over time, and that led us, then, into these experiments.
You were talking about the the energy yeah that’s, fantastic. All that is astonishing, tell us more about the the experiments with the energy yeah. Then then we went on and thought now if we induce positive fantasies in green about the future in people as compared to negative thoughts about the future or as compared to sexual thoughts or as compared to no thoughts at all.
If we do that, if we induce these positive fantasies, but then people just get more relaxed and less energized, because we reason if these positive fantasies fane already having achieved the desired future, then people should relax because they feel they’re already there and Then they can calmly relax.
Don’t need to put in all the effort anymore needed to achieve the positive future and that’s, exactly what we found. So people who have been induced to fantasize positively about the future. Actually, their blood pressure went down and not only the blood pressure went down, but they also felt less energized than the people in the control groups.
Those who joins these positive future or those who were induced to produce petrol, sobs or no thoughts at all, which then, of course, is correlating the led to the the lower levels of motivation and, ultimately, the lower levels of action than the lower levels of performance and Success right exactly so, those who have been induced to positively fantasize felt less energized and this little energy then or the less energy mediated.
The success, for example, success in doing all your work in a kind of week of daily life, so those who have been induced to positively fantasize about success in the upcoming week felt less energized and this feelings of less energization actually mediated or predicted than the lower Performance during the wee, every time I mean we’re at it, thought about it.
That’s, amazing, and even as I hear you describe it, it’s. Just it’s, it’s astonishing. It’s; it’s so counter to what I think we’ve been conditioned to think and so powerful, and I want to get to what what you discovered.
You could add to the process to healthfully energize and just make a distinction. One of the things when I shared this. One of the comments I got was that is she’s, saying that we shouldn’t, relax and and kind of you know, take a take a breath and all that good stuff and thinking of the distinction is that that, of course, We want to oscillate and know how to relax, and you know, recover and take care of our immune system induced the relaxation response whatever.
But when we’re setting and envisioning our future, then we want to bring reality in which is less relaxing and more catalyzing. That necessity to act. Is that accurate, that’s exactly right and that’s? Actually, what we learn from our participants in these early studies, we learned that those who fantasized about the desired future but at the same time, also considered the obstacles and the hindrances and the and the temptations on the way to implement the positive future that those were The ones who were more successful so we actually observed our participants in the prior studies to actually come up with what we called a strategy and the strategy is called mental, contrasting mental contrasting of the future and the reality.
And what mental contrasting queenly is is very simple. People imagined fulfilling their wishes and attaining the goals, and they’re really imagined it. So that is exactly what we just talked about as positive dreams about the desired future.
So these positive dreams and positive fantasies, but then after they experience these positive fantasies about the future, then they shift gears and then they say: oh, what holds me back from actually achieving my goals and what holds me back from actually fulfilling this wish and the combination Of these positive dreams about the future and then saying to yourself what is it in me that holds me back that stops me from going all the way to fulfill these wishes.
What is my main obstacle and then imagining that obstacle? That will then make me aware whether I should actually go and invest and implement the desired future or whether I should actually sort of say up.
These obstacles are too big. They are just not worth actually taking all the effort of overcoming and then people will kind of let go or they will postpone to a better time or they will actually delegate so mental contrasting of the positive future of the desired future.
With the aspects of reality that are in me that stand in the way of actually implementing this future, what it does what it helps you is understand whether these obstacles can be overcome, and then I really fully invest.
Then I go for it. Then I’m determined. Then I really love it or whether the obstacles are such that I better let go because striving is futile anyway, and then I can let go without bad conscience and say: okay, I put my energies into the more promising endeavors.
I love that distinction and so to go back to the beginning, a couple of things that I want to highlight one. It is really important to start with the positive fantasy and the wish for the future, and your research showed that you can’t.
Do it the other way around right, clinked, you don’t start with the reality in the challenges and then try to imagine the deal future. You want to start with the ideal future and then rub it up against reality in the challenges, and I love the way you say discover the obstacle with not in the external environment but within us that will preclude us from attaining that wish and and then again You just made such the big distinction of then, when we’re willing to look at reality rather than just stared our vision board and imagine the ideal outcome and fantasize about it.
When we see the potential obstacles, we can either choose to engage or disengage, and that disengagement is really really important right yeah. That is important, because so many people are kind of fantasized for years and sometimes in decades about fulfilling some wishes they have and these fantasies never really bear out in action and that’s, where we actually are when we started off when we talked About the the detrimental effects of positive fantasies, but when you actually consider what it is in you that holds you back from actually fulfilling your wishes, then you understand what the obstacle, what the true obstacle, the real obstacle is in you and then you will understand whether You can overcome it and whether you want to overcome it or whether you want to actually say okay, come on this isn’t ridiculous, wish.
I have let’s, bury that and let’s. Go for something which is actually more feasible or more worthwhile pursuing and then so. Mental contrasting in a way is a way. Is a strategy to clean up your life to really go for these things which are worthwhile? There belong to you and you belong to them and they’re feasible and to let go from projects that are either not worth pursuing or just simply not feasible.
And then you can rid yourself of these kind of heavy loads of too many goals of too many wishes, and you can get free for new, but then also very promising a lot of projects yeah I love it. Can we go into a little bit more on the challenging but feasible, so the mental contrasting helps us that, but can you tell us why it’s so important that we have challenging goals that stretch us, but that are feasible as well yeah? If I want to implement a goal or if I want to fulfill a wish – and I have positive fantasies for the very easy wishes like just grabbing a donut or you know just going and opening the window or something some kind of routine things, the positive fantasy Or the fear image of that action is enough for doing it, but when it’s, getting a little bit more complex and our dear wishes most of the time are complex to fulfill when it’s getting more complex when it’s getting more challenging, then I need these strategies and then I need mental contrasting so for the easy wishes I don’t need any strategies I just do it, but for the more complex and more to come, complicated wishes that really needs Kind of thought and effort, then I need the strategy so that way we say: ok, a wish that is challenging, but then also it needs to be feasible.
If I want to fulfill that, wish needs to be feasible in the sense that I need to have the means of actually fulfilling my wish. So if you want to fulfill my wish, then you can sort of gear up or kind of sort of come up with a wish that is challenging because there you need the strategy and that is feasible, meaning there.
The strategy will work, so mental contrasting is good for wishes that are challenging and feasible if you want to fulfill these wishes. If you want to sort out your wishes, if you want to understand what you want to go for and what you want to actually let go, then you can say: ok, any wish should be thought of.
I can’t, come up with any wish in my life and then by doing mental contrast, I will discover whether it is feasible or whether it is not feasible. And then I can go for the feasible ones and let go from the from the unfeasible ones, that’s great and even break potentially, if you just have a big goal that you find is actually unfeasible in the near term.
Well then, break that down, extend it as a possible. Maybe but let’s. Look at it, as maybe a discrete chunk that you can meet the standard of challenging and feasible right and then kind of baby step.
Your way to the bigger goal you can do that too I mean you, can use metal contrasting for these large life goals and if you want to get clarity, just think about a wish, which is kind of very dear to you and then apply mental contrasting to It and then you will get clarity or if you have a kind of funny feeling in your stomach about something, let’s, say a telephone call or a meeting or some relationship issue, or some kind of you know, project in your work or something Apply mental contrasting to it, and then you will understand what you really want to get out of that and what is your impediment to getting out of it? What you want and then you will understand just by understanding what the obstacle is.
You will understand whether you really want to overcome that obstacle or whether you want to actually sort of let go of the project and turn to something else. That’s great, so that’s. The first kind of half and obviously it evolved – and we’ll talk about how it did the emcee in the original MCI I so let’s.
Let’s, assume that we’ve mentally contrasted. We have a wish. We have the obstacle within us. We’ve mentally, contrasted that and then you’re working with your husband right and his work on implementation intentions to actually make a plan to achieve that.
Can you tell us about that right before our cut? Okay? Before I go to talk about to implementation intentions, let me briefly say something about how mental contrasting works. Mental contrasting is an imagery technique and you imagined a future and you identify and imagine the and what it does it.
Non-Consciously connects the future the wish fulfillment with the obstacle, and then it connects the obstacle with the means to overcome the obstacle, and it also helps you to interpret the reality as an obstacle.
So now the party, for example, on Saturday night, is not a fun party anymore, but it’s, an obstacle to getting a good grade on the exam on Tuesday. So once you imagine achieving a good grade in the exam and then you think about the party, the party is now an obstacle and not a fun event anymore.
So it changes the interpretation of the reality, the interpretation of the party, so all that happens non-consciously, including changes in energization and blood pressure. That happens not consciously as a consequence of the conscious, imager technique of mental contrasting, and the interesting thing is that these non conscious processes then mediate or then predict the behavior change, meaning the high effort you put into getting a good grade in the exam on Tuesday Or whatever wish you just had, so it is a conscious image technique leading to non-conscious processes.
That, then, will affect behavior change so that you can fulfill your wishes on the one hand, or let go from those that aren’t feasible, and we we know that these non conscious processes are important in behavior change.
What we also know is that the mental contrasting exercise links the obstacle of reality to the instrumental means of overcoming the obstacle. But if the obstacle is really kind of difficult to overcome and Peter gollwitzer, who is the creator of implementation intentions? And I thought we could actually put in addition to mental contrasting, add to mental contrasting implementation.
Intentions and implementation intentions are simple: if situation X, then I will behavior goal directed behavior. Why plants? So I would say if obstacle, if that obstacle occurs, then I will behavior to overcome obstacle, so that should strengthen that link, create deeper mental contrasting between the obstacle and the means to overcome the obstacle, the behavior to overcome the obstacle even more, and that then led To what we call mental contrasting with implementation intentions or m/c aii, in the scientific literature and in the in the world, it’s called whoop, because it is a four step process and tailing mental contrasting on the one side and implementation intentions.
On the other side, I love it. So MC III, for you, know, feeling businesslike and whoop fun with it. So whoop whish outcome obstacle plan. Can you walk us through that sure um whoop? Is this four-step strategy and before actually you do whoop, you might want to become a little bit calm and relaxed and you might want to say to yourself: okay.
This is a moment which I take for myself, and then you start and ask yourself actually what is a very important wish? I would like to realize I would like to fulfill what is a wish. I might have not thought about for a while or a wish, which is on my mind the time doesn’t matter, but it needs to be a wish which is actually very dear to you can be a wish for your life can be able For the next four weeks can be a wish for the next week can be a wish for the next 24 hours.
It can be a wish for the upcoming meeting. So the main thing is that you take a wish which is actually dear to you, which is important to you and then you could say. Okay, I take a wish which is challenging, but at the same time it is feasible, so something I actually could do.
I could achieve and then you formulate that wish in three to four words, so that’s, the W in Group. The next step is that you say what would be the best thing: the best outcome, if I fulfill myself that wish, what would be the best thing it can be, an emotion can be a result, can be a consequence, but one best thing and again you put It in front of your mind in three to four words, and once you did that you imagine experiencing that best outcome and you really go into your imagery and you let your mind go.
And then you take a few minutes to actually imagine that. So that’s, the first Oh in Boop, and once you imagined that best outcome, you change gears and then you say actually what is it in me that stops me from fulfilling that wish and experiencing that outcome? What is it in me? That holds me back.
What is my inner main and then again, you formulate that in front of your mind in three to four words, and once you did that we will let your mind go again like before with the outcome. You just imagine that obstacle occurring when you take a few moments to actually imagine that out that obstacle, that’s, the second goal in whoop, and once you did that when you have imagined that obstacle, then you come to the p4 plan and the First step there, as you say, what could I do to overcome that obstacle? What could I think in order to conquer to master that obstacle? What action could I take to overcome that obstacle and then you think about that behavior and you formulate it again in three to four words, and then you form a simple: if obstacle now you put in the obstacle, then I will behavior and now you put in Your behavior plan and then you repeat that plan once more in front of your mind, you say: if obstacle imagine that obstacle, then I will behavior and now you imagine that behavior and now you can repeat it once more.
If obstacle, then I will behavior and that’s, basically it so that was the P in the loop. So you had wish outcome obstacle and then plan and that’s. All that’s. The four-step process procedure of whoop.
Wonderful, we articulated, I actually walked through that guided imagery as we did. It was great so good and, as you said, you can we can to our lives. We can apply it to the next 12 months to the next month or a week or even day or even meeting, and I’ve been doing it on just kind of practicing on all of those fronts and it’s.
It’s, really really cool just to challenge ourselves to see what do we really want here? Okay, well, don’t feel great, and then what might get in the way? And then what would I do in that situation from the very mundane to the more significant it’s? It’s.
I’m, just loving practicing it and playing with it yeah. You can actually practice it yeah. You can utilize it in your life. What I did, what I do is I do my whoop in the morning and and then I go through the day and sometimes in the evening.
I feel this meeting went well today or I think, oh, I really don’t know, but I just needed to go jogging in the evening or I say you know we had my papers done. I just don’t know. How do I do that and then, when I really think about it, then I did that I formulated that wish in the morning and I moved it, but since whoop produces these non-conscious consequences, which I’ve, been talking about before I don’t realize that I actually act in line with what I formulated in the group exercise and that’s.
Fine, because later on, you say, oh my. I kind of acted that way, but it was effortless and that’s. A nice thing it’s. It’s, a kind of at the moment once you act, it’s. Effortless it’s a little bit. You need mental effort.
While you’re doing it in the in the imagery technique, certainly it needs some mental effort to go through the four-step process. But then, when you’re actually acting is it is effortless and you refer to the non conscious.
It reminds me of Heidi grant Halverson, who’s. Obviously a big fan of student of your work and references it and succeed. She compares our non conscious mind to a NASA supercomputer. In our conscious mind, it will post it essentially.
Is it almost as if we’re programming that non conscious mind to just do what needs to get done in and that operates it’s such a more powerful level than our our basic consciousness? Actually, Heidi is a student of us who worked with us here at NYU.
Oh, I forgot you said NYU with you, okay, there was fun. No sure I mean it is a little bit like you, you at the moment you I’m, determined how you will act in the problematic situation and by doing that, you conquer the situation in a way which we usually are not.
Usually we don’t. Have this help because when we say wish outcome obstacle plan, then we have all these non-conscious processes already in place once we actually think about this wish all this kind of runs off by itself and that helps us a lot.
We don’t need to decide again whether we want to drink water and let’s say we want to drink a little less wine or a little less alcohol, or we want to eat less. So we want to jar more or so we don’t need to think in this situation anymore.
We just do it and in that respect it is a little bit like we program ourselves to do that. What we think is good for us yeah and is that kind of basically the pre-commitment concepts of kind of willpower preservation or like itself yeah I mean whatever term you put on it.
I prefer to sort of you know, go and and just see what we found in the lab and and and describe it. You know the we know that the future and obstacle is linked. We know the obstacle is linked to the instrumental means to overcome it.
So in that way this you can say that is willpower yeah, but it’s, not conscious willpower. I love it. I love conservative. Let’s. Look at the data. Let’s, not go outside of that when you do just very practically when you’re doing your morning loop.
Is it imagining your broader goals, your life goals or more the day goals, or a little bit of both um? If I have a kind of life decision to do, then it’s, a life goal, but very often it’s. Just the day goal it’s.
You know what do I wish for today? What what is it that that I would be happy to have accomplished in the evening? You know maybe a nice interaction with some family member or some project I would like to complete or some Fitness issue or just having a good time.
Finally, I’m, worn or kind of not being rushed or um. You know whatever it is that whatever just falls for today and then I’m in the evening. I can say: okay, what did I do when those things which wish I completed great and those which er had been kind of tackling but but half completed, then that appears is a new wish on the next day, so it’s.
A companion would be the companion which you can take in your life and it will help you to to master your life challenges it’s, not something you know, a pill which you throw in and then you’re. Suddenly, the CEO of coca-cola or something um, that’s, that’s, not what it is.
It’s, a companion you can take in your pocket and you can apply to yourself. You don’t need a coach or a trainer or a therapist or any anybody. You can apply to yourself. You can emancipate yourself, so you have always somebody who is just sort of helping you to conquer the challenges in your life.
So good. Well, is there we covered a lot, and I appreciate how articulate and concise and clear your wisdom is. Is there anything we didn’t talk about that? You’d, like to make sure we discuss well, maybe um there’s, one thing: if, if you visit the book my life dot org website, you will be able to kind of follow what we’re doing.
What the new research was is showing we have a couple of gadgets on there like an app where you get all the instructions for Boop. We have a little kind of audio guide where you can actually do what you’re jogging lots of little little things or whoop cards, or something and and this is kind of all free.
So you can, you can just go there and visit it and enjoy it, and I really do hope that loop will help a lot of people to just you know lead a better life of a kind of more involved life involved. The family involved the friends involved in work involved in nature, and so that they can use the time they have to a more fulfilling way.
That’s, fantastic and it was definitely excited to make sure people know about whoop. My life org, a bunch of cool things and tools, and the apps, and I’ve already had people giving me feedback that they’ve, already downloaded the app and they’re, loving it.
The idea of the card is so cool and then that I didn’t know about the audio little thing you can go through while you’re going through the jog and other things such good work again. Thank you. I appreciate all the energy and the decades of work that you’ve, put in to help us get more clarity on this and just really happy to be connected.
Thank You, Bryan. Thank you a lot for having me. We hope you enjoyed this optimal living interview.
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Our culture in Europe, but especially in the United States, is very much based on that. Problems are solved by positive thinking, and our data really show that you need to be much more differentiated in order to reap the benefits of positive thinking and that you need to actually incorporate in this positive thinking.
Also a clear sense of reality and that some people have a hard time to hear that, and we know that since since a while also in the scientific community, we encounter resistance. And here we can encounter a lot of welcoming arms.
Because people understand that there needs to be something more than just positive thinking, but certainly a little bit of resistance too, which is understandable because we’re talking about change and change is always difficult scientifically.
We call that strategy, mental contrasting with implementation intentions, so mental contrasting of a positive future with the obstacles of reality. If you, with your personal obstacles of reality and forming implementation intentions, are then the plans to how to overcome this obstacle in order to reach our goals? So that’s called mental contrasting with implementation intentions or mci.
I playfully. We call it. Whoop wish outcome obstacle plan so that’s, a strategy which we have been investigating now for the past 15 20 years, and we know the processes which are going on in order to make the strategies are helpful for behavior change and for motivationally, smart Decision-Making, there are many cultures which are less based on positive thinking, but it’s.
It’s, not really our tasks, who sort of you know evaluated whether one is good. The one is bad. Our task, as we see it, is to discover and then to thoroughly scientifically investigate strategies that help people to actually change their behavior in the direction that would like to change this behavior so basically to help them to do more good and less bad.
And what our concern also is that we give it to the people so that they can use it as an elegant tool to change the behavior by themselves. They can learn it so that they don’t need a coach or a trainer or a therapist at the end of the day, so that it is a skill which you can learn and then you can apply to any wish.
You have in your life, it is a strategy which we investigate it in individuals which the individual can apply, but certainly you can apply it also in a diet. Together with another person, you can apply it in a group and you can apply it to actually make a whole organization change by understanding.
Actually, what’s, what your vision is and by understanding what is the obstacle or what prevents you or what holds you back from actually implementing the vision. You can do that. As I said, there’s any individual or in a diet or in a group professor or investigates what is actually that we should change.
So what kind of changes do we need to make in order to slow down chronic disease or even reverse chronic disease? And these changes are sometimes not easy to make and that’s? Where we come in and say, okay, here’s, a strategy you can use in order to make exactly those changes.
Professor Hornish is talking about. If you measure what people spontaneously do, they do generally more positive dreams than what we call mental contrasting, but when there is a specific task they solve what they need to solve, then they spontaneously increase there the likelihood that they actually do this mental contrasting.
So it is dependent on the situation how much people spontaneously do mental contrasting, but even if there is a task which they need to solve, they don’t do enough mental contrasting in the sense that lots of people are still dreaming along.
So there’s, a need to actually teach people, this mental contrasting with implementation intentions to achieve behavior change in in their life. There are some spontaneous mci going on, but there’s still a lot of room in order to in order to, in order to reach a behavior change and effective behavior change there’s, lots of room for still teaching them explicitly.
That strategy, we are experimentalists, weird experimental psychologists, so we in in strictly controlled experiments investigate the effectiveness of the strategy and the processes of the strategy, and so we did experiments in all life domains and the professional life domain with respect to succeeding in work or succeeding.
In school and the academic life to man succeeding in the interpersonal life to man with respect to you know, solving interpersonal problems such as you know getting along better with my mother or getting along better with my roommate, or you know, sorting out a conflict one had So interpersonal or be more tolerant, for example, or in the house timing, and anything from reducing snacking to eating more fruits and vegetables, getting away from alcohol getting away from smoking and doing more access.
Hi, this is Brian. Welcome back to philosophers, notes TV. Today we have another great book: rethinking positive thinking by Gabrielle ode engine, rethinking positive thinking, subtitle inside the new science of motivation.
Now you have a hard time seeing it, particularly if you’re listening to the podcast, but this book is captured by a creative little image on the cover rose-colored glasses, with one lens that’s broken one that’s.
Fine, the other that’s, broken fascinating research into the power of bring a little bit of reality or a lot a bit of reality, and some quote negativity to our dreamin, slash, positive thinking in order to catalyze much better results in our lives.
So philosophers note a bunch of big ideas: five of them here we’ll jump straight in gabrielle, o dungeon is one of the world’s, leading researchers in the new science of motivation. She worked with Martin Seligman decades ago, has spent the last twenty years, basically her entire career, studying the science of dreaming and the science of wishes and what she found out early and her career was, to her surprise, dreaming by itself positively fantasizing about an outcome.
You want to see in your life, she calls them wishes. If that’s all you do. It actually reduces your motivation and reduces the likelihood that you’re, going to achieve the things you want to see in your life, which runs counter to things like this secret in other authors and self-help, who just talk about positivity as if positivity in Of itself is enough now, of course, we know we need to take action, but she makes a distinction that if you want to take action, you need to make sure you do something else in the process of dreaming than what most people teach, because her research has Shown unequivocally that if all you do is positively fantasize, you’re, going to be less motivated and you’re, going to do less of what it takes to actually achieve your outcomes significantly so scientifically proven to be significantly so so here’s, the deal she brings people into her lab.
This is a very, very short version of the deal, but she brings people into her lab and she actually measures their blood pressure right and she has them positively fantasized and in a matter of minutes, when individuals just focus on the positive aspects of their outcomes, their Blood pressure decreases now remember the precise measurements, but basically as if half as much as smoking a cigarette smoking, a cigarette reduces your blood pressure quickly right well, just fantasizing reduces that half as much as smoking, a cigarette which is fascinating and she says now you can Relax in a number of ways right, you can get a massage.
You can do some meditation. You can do a lot of things to relax and, as it turns out, you can close your eyes and imagine your ideal outcome and just fantasize, and that will relax you extraordinarily now.
Of course, we know we need to oscillate and make waves and take time to relax. But if you want to achieve your outcomes, you don’t want to leave your brain storming at the whishing stage, where you just imagine the positive stuff, because what happens is not only did their blood pressure go down if they positively fantasize by itself, But their performance went down, they had less energy less like reason to act because they kind of tricked their brains into thinking that they had achieved what they wanted to achieve.
So what she learned was next big idea. You need to mentally contrast. She was looking at this research and she was actually disappointed and bummed because she wanted to show how dreaming can be an effective means to achieve the things you want to achieve in your life.
Then her research showed that by itself, actually the opposite happened. So then she went to work and said: well what can I do to create energy so that they’re, not left, lethargic and too relaxed to take action, but they’re left energized and what she came up with was something called Mental contrasting so MC here equals mental contrasting huge idea, and this is where we get those rose, colored glasses, one of which is clear.
The other is broken right. So you imagine your ideal outcome that’s still really important dreams are important, but you don’t leave it at that. You then mentally contrast that with something that’s going to get in the way of you achieving that outcome, you bring reality into the picture.
You allow yourself to think of some negative things that might happen. That would derail you from achieving your outcome. That mentally contrasting and what she found was when she had people do mental contrasting versus just the positive wishes they totally outperformed them.
With one caveat, if the individuals didn’t think they could achieve the outcome they wanted, then they actually performed less well than the people who just fantasized, and she makes the really important point that that’s, actually really good that their Motivation goes down if they didn & # 39.
T think that her goal was feasible. So when you imagine your positive future and then you imagine the obstacles, it’s going to help you see if you should disengage from a goal. Now we get in trouble again if we just follow the kind of self-help rule of just imagine the castle in Spain or she jokingly, says, living on Neptune or being a billionaire in the next year you can’t.
Imagine those unfeasible goals and expect to feel motivated. It’s, not how it works. So when you do the mental contrasting, if you realize wow that’s just too much of a stretch, then you find a goal that’s, feasible, challenging but feasible, and then you contrast it with obstacles that might get in the way That’s, really powerful stuff.
The research is amazing on this, and then she continued working and she collaborated with her husband who came up with something which is equally powerful, that we’ve talked about in our work on procrastination, call of implementation intentions, we’ve, got Mental contrasting and then we have implementation intentions.
Now these are basically what you’re, going to do when certain things happen in the future. You want to keep this in mind. If this happens, then I will do this. We talked about it with procrastination, where the idea was.
If I find myself distracted by the internet for example, then I will get to work immediately. If, then, if there’s an obstacle, then I will do this right, so we have mental contrasting and that implementation intention strategy stuff is shown to be extraordinarily powerful.
The research on that is amazing, and there’s. A ton of research in this book 20 years worth, if you like that kind of thing, I think you & # 39. Ll love it. So then she started talking about this in her work and she called it MCI.
I MCI I and she’s. You know mental contrasting + implementation intention. Then she realized that doesn’t really roll off the tongue and they came up with this whoop capital, W capital, o capital, o capital, P whoop, which is short for wish.
+ outcome, + obstacle + plan, and this is the whole point of the book – is to get us to learn how to operationalize whoop in our lives. Wish outcome obstacle plan and again the science behind this is really really inspiring.
We talked about it a little bit more in the note and of course she goes into depth on it, but here’s, the basic way to do it, and in the note I have a bunch of different examples. Imagine something that you want to see a wish that you have right what’s, something that you want to see in your life over the next.
It could be day or week or 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months or whatever. What’s? A wish that’s, both challenging and feasible? Think about that right now, what’s, a wish that you have that’s, both challenging and feasible, that’s, the W in whoop right.
So when we have our wish, then we move to the outcome and now come is really kind of the number one benefit number one benefit. What’s? The number one benefit that you want to receive from that outcome right.
So let’s say that you want to exercise consistently. I’ll. Do this because I’ll use my example, so I’ve, been using this through the day right in kind of big things, big goals that I have creatively and business-wise and otherwise right and then little things my meditation this morning, I Was having fun at the end, just kind of imagining my day so, for example, I had a wish of after my meditation completing a note worked on a note this morning, and I imagined that what I’d be cool.
What would the outcome be? Well, the outcome of that would be that I’d, set myself up for Monday. I’m. Recording this on a Friday. I’d, set myself up for Monday, so that I know that I can do one of these TV episodes in the mp3 and the micro classes and stuff like that, and I’m like that, would feel great.
I’d, be awesome to know that I’m. The head feels good right. Wish, get the note done outcome while that feel great? I’d, be ahead, feel inspired. Know I’m on track right. What would the obstacle be that would get in the way of me achieving that that’s, our next one right, I’ll, walk through mind, then we’ll, walk through your example.
The obstacle for me that might get in the way is me doing something other than working. On the note after I finished my meditation, I used to be tempted by the internet. I’m no longer tempted by that, and I knew what I was going to do so.
Actually that was a pretty straightforward one for me of okay, that’s. What I’m gonna do then the plan. If, then, if I finish meditating, then what well then technically I do five minutes of stretching and yoga right.
Then I work on my note and I won’t. Do anything until I’m done with it cool I’ve got my whoop. I’ve got my wish. I’ve got my outcome. I’ve got my obstacle and I got my plan now back to you. What’s? Your wish challenging feasible.
What’s? Your outcome? What’s, the benefit? You’re, going to experience and then think about the obstacle. What’s, the obstacle that’s, going to get in the way of you achieving that wish and experience in the outcome, an important distinction here.
The obstacle is within you not in the world. We’re, not talking about your boss or your upbringing, or anything else that is outside of your control. What within you is going to stand in the way of you attaining your wish? Pretty exciting juxtaposition? Mental contrasting there, then we look at it and say: okay, what’s, the plan? How am I going to deal with that challenge? Okay, that obstacle is going to come up.
So then, if this happens, then I will do this. If six, you situation X, then behavior Y, if this happens, then I will do that in the book. She does a great job. She’s, got these little cards right that have loop in it, and you can actually just write it down three to six words: you can capture these things.
You don’t need to write a long essay about it. Although she has a guided, meditation or visualization kind of thing, you can do and then a written one as well, but you can capture this in a very, very straightforward, little piece of paper or card or whatever, but that’s, woop really really powerful Stuff, I hope I sold you on it.
Try it out once twice again and again again her intervention work with people looking to achieve higher levels of health via exercise or nutrition or weight loss, for whatever is extraordinary when people actually walk through this loop.
That brings us to the final big idea, two questions. She says. Well, good luck on your journey. I hope that you try out whoop. She says, and here are two questions. I leave you with one. What is your deepest wish and two? What stands in the way of you achieving that, and again too often, all we want to do is think about the positive she says we need to rethink positive thinking by bringing in a little more reality.
Juxtaposing is such that we can truly cultivate the motivation required to consistently perform over the long-term term to achieve our goal. So two questions woop implementation intentions, which is the core of the p4 plan: mental contrasting of the positive and the negative, and then the remember dreaming that yeah it’s, nice to feel that it feels good in the in the immediate term.
There’s, no question about that, but it is disastrous for long-term. She has more research on the effects of people who are depressed, who just positively imagined it feels good immediately for them, but it actually makes them more depressed over the long-run visa vie.
The people who imagine an ideal outcome very important again, I’m, not saying get rid of dreaming that’s, not what Gabrielle says but bring it back with reality. Energize yourself such that you feel a necessity to act and go out and do what you aspire to do there.
You go hope you enjoyed highly recommend the book, particularly if you’re into the scientific underpinnings of this new science of motivation, and I look forward to sharing more have another awesome day, see you hi.
This is Brian. I hope you enjoyed that P and TV episode a lot of people don’t know all the stuff. I do be on these free videos. I share on YouTube, so I thought I’d. Do a quick video to give you an overview of our membership program that you can get access to and get a ton of other stuff.
So here’s, the quick look! Ten bucks a month joined the optimal living membership program. You get instant access to 250 philosophers notes on some of the best optimal living books out there, old-school classics, positive psychology, modern stuff, mindfulness, peak performance, purpose, neuroscience wealth, etc, in which you may not know is that, in addition to the p-n TV episodes, I create PDFs On all these great books, so 6 page PDFs, which take a look at one of them, Joseph Campbell, you want to figure out how to live your hero’s journey.
Well, this is a great place to start. I basically pull out my favorite Big Ideas, riff on them, connect them to other books and other ideas and help. You apply this wisdom to your life today that’s. What the PDF looks like again, we have 250 of these on all these different great books, and then I record those PDFs as an mp3.
So you can listen to that mp3. While you’re on a walk or working out or doing these commands or whatever, that is, philosophers, notes a lot going on there and then, in addition to philosophers, notes you get access to optimal living classes off to women.
101 idea here is that all those great teachers come back to the same big ideas. Again and again and again, I distill those ideas into classes, super practical fun, inspiring classes ranging from habits, 101, confid, 1:01, getting stuff done, 101, meditation, 101, instant access to all those classes and, in future classes include relationships, 101, energy, 101 purpose, 101, business goals, etc.
Those were our full-length classes and then I create micro classes, two to three to five-minute. Little bursts of wisdom on my favorite great ideas from these great books across the domain is that you want to optimize in your life, so we have dozens of these so far.
I created 50 new micro classes every month and 10 new philosophers notes every month for 10 bucks a month. So we’re blessed to have thousands of members who are enjoying the program and sharing some incredibly kind words with us and super simple.
Ten bucks a month, cancel anytime would be honored to be a bigger part of your life, and I appreciate your support and here’s to optimizing and actualizing
Ramon here and welcome back to brain first radio. In this episode I talk with Gabrielle Mouton gabrielle is a professor of psychology at New York University. She is the author of more than a hundred and fifty articles and book chapters on thinking about the future and the control of cognition, emotion and behavior.
A major contribution to the field is research on the perils of positive thinking and on mental contrasting, which is a self-regulation technique that’s effective for mastering one’s, everyday life, Gabriella’s.
Work is published in social personality. Developmental educational, health and clinical and organizational and consumer psychology, as well as in neuropsychological and medical journals. I know you guys are gonna love this episode and it contains such a powerful research backed tool that you can implement straight away.
So welcome to the science of making your dreams come true, enjoy the show [ Music ]. Thank you very much for coming up to brain force, radio. It’s great to have you on the show. Well, thank you for inviting me.
It’s. I’m, really excited actually to dive into much of the research. I know our listeners are really going to love a lot of your work as I do, and one of the really the aims of brain first is to provide research backed practical advice that people can use that they can implement, and what I love about.
Your work is that not only you have the research and a lot like there’s, a ton of research, but you have the the real practical element as well. You have a strategy that works so well in many different contexts and I’m sure.
We’re, going to get right into that towards the the end of the show, but one of the things I think that will strike our listeners immediately is that this idea that you have about rethinking positive thinking is kind of counter to much of The traditional kind of self-help world, and even though I think many of our listeners are starting to to catch on to this idea that positive thinking and positive, fantasizing and daydreaming about the future isn’t all it’s, cracked up to Be there are still many people that hold these sorts of beliefs, and I’d love you to share your journey that you went on to really come to the point that we’ve arrived at now about this idea of rethinking positive Thinking and where positive fantasies sit and things of that nature well, yeah that that sure was a journey because at first we thought, like many many others.
Positive thinking is positive, is neckbeard to everyone. But then we looked at the data. Looked a little bit more complicated than we thought at first, so positive thinking in many ways is positive in the sense that if you positively daydream about your future, you can explore all the different possibilities of the future or you can put yourself in a good mood.
Think positively about the next day, the next week, the next year yeah you’re in a good mood, so that’s, all nice, but the problem is, if you want to reach your desired future in reality. If you want to fulfill your wishes about the future, then positive thinking and positive daydreaming about the future is what we call positive fantasies damages are a problem and they are a problem, as we saw in many studies the problem in the academic professional area, the problem In the interpersonal area – and there are problem in the health area so, for example, the more positively people enrolled in a weight reduction program fantasized about their success in the program, the fewer pounds they shed later on three months later, one year later and even two years Later or the more positively university graduates fantasized about an easy transition into workers, the fewer dollars they are in two years later and the fewer job offers they had gotten and importantly, the fewer drop our applications.
They have sent out and students the more positively they fantasize about their success in an exam, the less well, they did actually in succeeding in the exam and also indeed the personal domain. Take students.
You know those who positively fantasize about getting together with their crushy, meaning with a person they really like the less likely it was that they actually got to into a romantic relationship, but also for the elderly.
The more positively, for example, hip replacement surgery, patients fantasized about an easy recovery after surgery, the less well. Could they move their new joint, the fewer steps they could walk and the less well was the general recovery is judged by the physiotherapist.
So it seems, then, that as pleasant as these positive day, dreams and fantasies and positive thinking about the future are they are a handicap when it comes to actually attaining the positive future. So positive fantasies thinking positively about the future can make us feel good and, and one would think then, that the positive effect or positive emotion associated with that would motivate us more to move towards the things that we want.
But what you’re saying is that people that positively fantasize about the future and only that don’t actually accomplish their goals. They don’t. They don’t, get what they want across many different domains.
Yes, and not only in terms of that they don’t realize they’re, positive fantasies and daydreams in different domains. It’s, also a problem for mental health, so the more positively adults and children of different life situations.
Fantasize about the future, the better they feel at the moment, but the more depressed they get over time and which is partially due to the less success they achieve in their lives. And the problem, then, is that these positive fantasies and daydreams they seem to SAP the energy because we asked ourselves.
Why is that? That these positive fantasies in day dreams actually lead to low effort and low success, and we did then experimental work on that where we induced one group of people to positively fantasize about the future and in the control group.
We induced people, for example, to negatively fantasize about the future or to produce questioning fantasies or factual thoughts or no thoughts depending on them on the experiment. And what we found is that the more positively people fantasize so those in the in the positive fantasy groups that they feel already accomplished.
They already arrived in their mind and thus the energy went down so they relaxed. And you can measure that by looking and yet the systolic blood pressure or you can measure it, but simply asking people how energized do you feel with respect to implementing that positive future? So we, which we found that these positive fantasies, their SAP, the energy and that’s, exactly the energy people need in order to implement the future to fulfill their wishes mmm.
So it’s almost like creating a simulation. I guess in your in your mind, where you have attained the outcome that you wanted and the system relaxes huh you feel like you’ve accomplished it and then you don’t actually take the steps necessary to move forward towards.
You know taking the actions and doing the things you need to accomplish the thing exactly that’s, exactly right are there times when, apart from just making us feel good, are there cases where positive fantasies are useful? Yeah, like I said at the beginning, I mean the few if you want to try out in your mind the various possibilities and the various options and the various venues you have for the future, that’s.
That’s helpful. I mean you, can you can live your future in your mind and you can see you know um? How would it feel to go here or how would it feel to go there and and that’s? That’s really helpful. To understand what the future holds and when, when we got these dinners sort of showing that these positive fantasies and daydreams that they’re hurtful for bringing the energy to actually implement them without hmm, maybe it is enough to just you know, take negatively About the future, but then you need to be careful because going from just positive thinking to just negative thinking that’s too short-sighted.
Because you need to really ask the question: why do we have these positive fantasies and daydreams and with his experiments on that and we reasoned that these positive fantasies and daydreams, they might stem from our needs from our states of deficiency, and they might have a very Important function, which is to actually keep us at least minimally motivated, so that we want to satisfy our deficiencies.
So, for example, what we did is we asked participants in the lab to not drink water for quite a while, and then we gave them some salty pretzels. So that they would get actually deficient of water kind of thirsty and in one group, then we gave them a good glass or bottle of fresh water and the other group.
We didn’t, and then we asked them to think about the future. To fantasize about the future and what you’ll find is that in the group which still needs water, that people’s kind of positively fantasize about getting to the waterfall drinking the water, enjoying the water, meaning these positive fantasies daydreams have An important function because they reflect our states where we need something they reflect our needs and we did more experiments in the in the same way with psychological needs.
So if you make people yearn towards or deficient words interpersonal relationships, for example them they positively fantasize about getting together with family and friends or if you deprive them of meaning as compared to the control groups, they start fantasizing about obtaining a more meaningful job.
So these positive fantasies daydreams have a very important function, which is they reflect our states of deficiency? They they understand, make us understand. Where do we have our depletion and therefore we cannot just dismiss them and say you know they prevent us from going the hard way to realize these positive fantasies and therefore we were just dismissed them.
Now we can’t dismiss them because they reflect our needs and our states of deprivation and therefore they are very important and at the end you could say they give action that direction. Therefore, they are so important, so they give us the direction where to go and that’s.
When we then said now, we can we need to work with these positive fantasies. They are very important in people’s lives, but what we need to do is we need to give people the energy which these positive fantasies SAP and if we give them the energy, then people have both.
They have directions the direction in which to act, and they then have the energy to actually go the hard way into the positive future and to realize this positive future. But how would you actually give people the energy and we reasoned? You need to complement these positive fantasies and daydreams with a sound sense of reality.
So if you complement these positive fantasies about the future which give action the direction with the obstacle of reality, that stands in the way that they actually realize the positive fantasies, then people understand hmm, I’m, not there.
Yet I need to still work towards overcoming the obstacles of reality. If I want to in fact, enjoy and and reach the positive fantasies and that’s, what we then called mental contrasting of the positive future of the desired future with the obstacle of reality that stands in the way.
So we could say, for example, that these positive fantasies, perhaps a little bit like a tasting plate of the things that we desire or the that we feel that we are lacking in and they’re. The the the little foods that we perhaps enjoy and we get to sample all of these little foods from the tasting plate and perhaps select one of them that we would want to have, as maybe the meal for the banquet.
That’s. Coming up, and but we still need to take the action to get from the little tasting plate to go out to organize the banquet and to do that is to do that effectively to be energized to taking those steps to making that thing happen to accomplish the The goal or the outcome, this idea of mental contrasting, is what then increases the energy loss that we might have if we just settled on the the tasting plate as an example yeah.
Actually, this is very nice that you say that it is a testing plate, but it just really feel like a tasting plate. It feels very central and very dear to your heart. If you discover what kind of taste is really belonging to you and and that’s, the more you’ll have the need to go into a certain direction, the the more central and the more important it feels to you to have These fantasies, and sometimes these fantasies can be very central to you, such as, like I just said you know, I want to make more meaning in my life, where I want to improve the relationship to a certain member of my family or to a certain friend work.
I want to focus more, I want to be more present or I want to you know, take more care of my child or something it can be very. It can be very central and very important to you and – and I think that’s, so these these fantasies about the future is it kind of these positive fantasies about the future? It can be an expression of something which you might not allow yourself to think, because you’re so busy in your life, but once you actually calm down and you and you just give yourself a little time, it doesn’t need A lot of time, but you give yourself a little time and you kind of feel out what comes up in my mind, then you will understand.
Oh, this is really what I really want. What I really wish and and therefore these positive fantasies and angels are actually there is there – can be very central and – and we need to take them seriously because they reflect our needs.
Hmm, it’s almost like going on a little bit of a mental exploration of these things until we find something that perhaps reflects our core values, or that is something that we are going to gain a lot of meaning and fulfillment from, and these Are things important things that we need to pay attention to? Yet if we just stayed there and didn’t, take it any further, then we wouldn’t necessarily be taking the actions towards accomplishing those things that would actually give us the meaning and makers feel fulfilled exactly exactly that’S that’s, that’s exactly right.
So when you use the strategy of mental contrasting, then you have both. You will discover where you want to go and you will discover what is it that it is in your way and in recent research and also applications.
We say what is it that is in your way, that is in you, because you will then understand what is it that holds you back or might stop you from tackling aversion and drawing the outcome of wish fulfillment, because if you say what is the obstacle in Me what holds me back in me, then the possibility that you can change it.
Is it’s pretty high and by understanding? What is it in me that stands in the way? You will also understand how to get over that obstacle, and sometimes you easily understand that you might not be able or that to get over it or that it might be too costly to get over your obstacle, and then you could say: okay.
Well, this is an obstacle that is not here for me to overcome, or I cannot overcome at the moment. Then you cannot just you wish you could say okay. Well, maybe this is too aspirational. What I’m doing now, just to wish a little bit and then the obstacle will be also more likely to be overcome, or you could say: okay, I postponed wish fulfillment to it better point in time, or you could also say, okay.
Well, this is this: obstacle is such that I do not want to overcome it or that I do not it’s just too costly, or that I simply cannot overcome it, and then you could say okay with good conscience. I will now let go from fulfilling my wish, which frees up the energy to follow up on more feasible and more manageable wishes, which are also dear to my heart, so what mental contrasting does it gives you the opportunity to understand what is in your way and To understand how you can overcome what is in your way, but it also gives you the opportunity to just say: okay, I’d set priorities, and that wish is not my priority and and to let go with good conscience, which gives you a lot More clarity in life, so, in other words, insurance.
If the obstacle is manageable surmountable, you will now fully commit and will say yes. This is the positive future. I want to follow up, but if the obstacle is such that you say are no way, I’ve, really more important things to do at the moment, or I just simply cannot overcome it.
Then it gives you the freedom to say, okay. Well, I better invest my energy in more feasible projects, so it helps setting priorities and to really go what you love and can do and to let go from wishes and fantasies that are either not so attractive of, after all or simply too costly or just simply Not attainable, which will make your life much more manageable, because you now know exactly what you love and what you can’t believe mmm.
First of all, I love that distinction about it’s, not just thinking about the obstacles. It’s. Thinking about the obstacles in you which brings back that level of control, because you know, rather than things that are outside of you – that perhaps you don’t have any control over.
It brings things within your within your reach within your grasp, and one of the other things I found really interesting about that is. This is a. This is almost like a great way for being able to make decisions around opportunity cost.
If I’m, investing – or I’m – going to need to invest a lot of energy and time into this direction. Well, what’s, the opportunity cost of that? But with this mental contrast thing, I can come to a more effective decision around whether that particular course of action is actually worth pursuing or whether I should give it up for something else, because I’m sure you know many of us have pursued A a direction for an investor, an enormous amount of energy and time in a particular direction, only to find out later on that perhaps it wasn’t, something that we necessarily really wanted or was in alignment with our values.
And so I think this is a great way of being able to Tim, I think, make more effective decisions around which directions to pursue. But one particular point that I found really interesting is this idea of only if the wishes are feasible.
So I know you & # 39. Ve got some really beautiful tightly controlled studies that that demonstrate this well. Is there one in particular, that really demonstrates this idea of people pursuing wishes that are feasible versus not feasible yeah? Actually, mental contrasting can be done in two ways.
One is like I just said you said you just have a wish that is very dear to your heart and then you’d. Think about what would be the best outcome and you imagine the outcome. I mean what is important to say is that mental contrasting is an imagery strategy and it works by us having this imagery that is kind of gluing us to the future, because only then you find the direction to act because you need to feel out.
Is that really the wish that is so dear to my heart? So when you actually feel out what is my wish that is very dear to my heart, then the next step would be to say what will be the best outcome. The best thing, if I fulfilled myself that wish and very often that is an emotion or a very good result, and then you imagine that best thing and that that kind of lose you to the sky in the sense that now you can feel out whether this Is actually really you wish and the outcome feels that you did you very strongly attached to that and once you understand that, then you you know.
Ok, this is really my wish. This is really what I want and then the obstacle part when you then change gears, and you say but but what stops me tackling the tuition and feeling that the outcome, then the obstacle part will make you understand whether this is feasible or not.
Whether this is actually what you really want or not, and and how to overcome that that obstacle, so it helps you prioritize now, if you want to have a wish that is feasible, you can start the exercise differently and you say: okay, what would be a wish That is feasible for me, then the likelihood to find an obstacle that is surmountable.
It’s just much higher. So if you want to have only wishes that where you can actually identify the upsetting that is surmountable for you, then you start off with a feasible wish. But if you want to use mental contrasting in order to decide whether it is feasible for you or not, then you start with any wish and the obstacle will show you whether it is feasible or not.
So it can be used to implement or to fulfill the feasible wishes which you defined as feasible a priori, and it can be used to decide whether a wish that you have that is dear to your heart is actually feasible or not because by understanding what the Obstacle is in the way you will understand whether overcoming the obstacle is feasible or not, so it can be used for making good decisions in terms of understanding.
You know what I can do and what I can’t do and it can be used to implement with full force the wishes that are a priori feasible, and one of the things that I read in your book was this idea of mental contrasting.
For things like negative feedback or for a negative future as well, can you unpack those a little bit more for us, because I think this is? I have to say that if all of this research has led to creating this strategy that I’d like to talk about in a moment, but if there was ever a magic pill, a one size fits all strategy.
I think this is about as close as as we can come to, having that this strategy that you’ve, created from all the research you’ve conducted, and I don’t say that lightly and I think it’s, something that listeners, you really want to pay attention to all of the the detail and maybe go back over this podcast episode again, because there is so much information in here that can be used today easily, and that is going to affect you in Many positive ways so just going back to the mental contrasting for things like a negative future or for negative feedback.
Could you please unpack those a little bit more for us? I could. I think we need to talk about the magic pill. First, yes, yep. Okay, then, to spin off from the magic pill, what what mental contrasting about the negative future would mean, but but let’s, get back to the negative future in a minute now.
The magic pill actually is the first time that it that you know somebody used this term and said it’s, a it’s a nice term, because you can elaborate nicely what mental contrasting is around that term.
So it is magic in three ways: one it is context and content independent. So it is a strategy which you can use basically for any kind of wish. You have meaning in them man the professional demanded the personal domain, the Health’s domain in the personal advancement domain in in anything.
So in that respect it’s, like you know, like a bicycle, you learn how to ride the bicycle, and then you go with the bicycle wherever you want to go so in that aspect it is a little magic, but but the real magic are The consequences of metal, contrasting and the consequences of metal contrasting are non-conscious, meaning metal, contrasting is a conscious exercise.
It’s, an imagery exercise and you do it. You know you take five minutes, you do the exercise, it’s very conscious. It’s, an imagery you guide yourself through it or you’ve got someone else through it, but then the consequences are non conscious and these non conscious consequences, as we found out in our experiments, actually leads to behavior change, meaning the Hey they’re, changing sort of whether you go full force to fulfill your wishes or whether you say you know I put it on hold for a while or I actually let go whatever you you you find out, but the the consequences are non.
Conscious and they lead to automatic behavior change, and let me elaborate a little bit on the non conscious consequences when you do mental contrasting of feasible wishes of the wishes you actually can surmount the obstacles.
Then there is a very strong [ Music ] associative link between the future outcome and the obstacle. So you can & # 39, t really think about the future, any more without thinking about the obstacle. So the obstacle, without that you know just comes right in – and there is a another, very strong associative link, non conscious between the obstacle of reality and the behavior to overcome that obstacle.
The action you can take to overcome that obstacle and that is to associative links. Then mediates or predicts or is responsible for the behavior change, meaning for you going in real life full force to fulfill your wishes.
In addition, mental contrasting leads you to recognize and interpret the rarity as an obstacle. So, for example, if your wish is let’s say to give a good presentation next week, then the invitation or your urge to go to a party on Saturday night will be not you know.
Oh it’s, fun. I go to the party on Saturday night, but it will now be an obstacle to doing enough work, so you give a good presentation next week, meaning you recognize the obstacles in your context and the obstacles in yourself that might impede the fulfillment of your wishes.
So you’re, getting creative and understanding what is in your way and then getting back what you said in terms of negative feedback. It also puts you in a position to get the information of the negative feedback or of the setbacks into your plans and into your action towards wish fulfillment.
So if someone criticizes you, you think. Ah, this is interesting. This is what I can use in order to fulfill my wish or to actually go in the direction of my desired future, rather than taking it personally and getting defensive.
And we show in these experiments that people have a better processing of the information, entails in setbacks and negative feedback, and they don’t. Take it so personally, so their sense of self confidence is not diminished.
They hold up. They’d. Think they’re still, you know doing well and and and don’t take it personally, but they process the information, so they have a double advantage and these processing of the information and not taking things personally then again translates into more Constructive and productive action towards wish fulfillment so in, in other words, these non-conscious processes.
They help you without that you even realize to fulfill your wishes and, at the same time the energy goes up, so your body gets prepared to actually get going and again we measure the possessed or leap grab pressure and by feelings of energization.
So it has cognitive and motivational energy and feedback related non-conscious processes that then translate into a net energy effort and constructive action towards wish fulfillment and that’s, a real magic, because we can actually rely on these non-conscious processes that they help us fulfill.
Our wishes so that’s, that’s, the second one and then the third one would be that you can learn it. You can. You can just learn it by. You know practicing a little bit and and taking the steps which we describe in what we call boot, which I will talk in a minute and you can learn it and you, then you can use it wherever you are in your daily life in the subway.
When you have you know, if somebody lets you wait a little bit, you can use the time you can use it in the morning and your lunch break and the evening before you go to bed, you can use it with others or you can use it alone.
You can share it with your family members or with your friends, or you could keep it private, because you know sometimes it’s. Finding out about the obstacle might not be too flattering, so you keep it to yourself and it actually works in order to make your life easier to find insights about what you really want, and what is it in you that is in the way and by finding These insights, you have discovered it or I’ve discovered it in two senses.
Then you discover what you. What you wish is really are. Not what other people say that you should do and but what you really want, and you discover what sometimes for years has kept you inside you from doing what you really want and then the second discovery is metal, contrasting and then also whoop is a imagery strategy That will take you out for five minutes or you know during this short exercise will take you out, but then it makes you really go into life again in the sense that you engage in a very new way.
So you discover new relationship, so you discover new facets of your life, of your professional life, of nature, of your context and and that’s, fun and it’s, fun to just get involved in life in an in a in a New sense so discovery for the internal processes of wish and obstacle and discovery in terms of external processes that you actually get going in a different way mmm-hmm.
I can certainly attest to the the power of this this strategy, this associative non-conscious thing. In fact, I remember the very first time that I that I used it. I’m. I’m, finishing off a pretty big research study at the moment and back when I was trying to get started, I was procrastinating and putting things off and I just knew the amount of reading and analysis that I’d.
Have to do – and it was like – oh god – and I think I’d – put it off by about another month, and I’m like I’m losing time here. This is getting out of control and I think it was like nah. I remember I was walking back from the gym and going through the app because it’s a nice.
You know the prompts are really good too, especially when you’re first, getting started to go through the actual process, and I remember, after going through the process, I just felt different and I felt more content but more motivated.
It’s. Not the right word: it’s hard to put the words on it, but I just felt like I can just slip into this right now. My behavior changed instantly and I came home and I got through a few hours of work and I think I’ve been working on.
I’d, been working on the study for a few hours every day, since my behavior changed within a few minutes after a month of procrastinating, so it’s, certainly a very powerful strategy and one that I think just practicing here and There from time to time gets us into the habit of of using that mental imagery and then the contrasting and then figuring out the steps that we need to take to move forward on our wish.
So I thank you very much because you’ve. Really helped me to overcome those problems in three to four minutes. This is great to hear actually that the fun thing in in mental contrasting and in group, which which I really need to explain, is that that you can use it short term and long term.
So you can have a short term wish, like you know what what is my wish for this podcast or what is my wish for the for the next meeting or what is my wish for a conversation with my son or what is my wish for? You know for today, just for today and and you you can – you can use that – that strategy to get so much more clarity on on what you really want and at what is standing in your way.
But you can also use it their stressful times when, when you, when you feel I just don & # 39, t understand things and more or you can use it when you have big decisions or when you have small decisions, you know.
What do I want to do tonight or so or you can use it when you have a life decision and to do so that you say what do I want in life, but you can also use it when when things are good and you want to make It a little better, so I want to have a fun evening, so you can use that mental contrasting for any wish.
You have and and decide how to proceed with with that with that wish, so that’s, that’s uh. It’s, it’s, it’s very practical, and what what you just need is basically five minutes of quiet, of calm and of slow.
You need to be really slow because otherwise you can’t develop the imagery and you don’t understand what you wishes are, so you need to be really focused and slow. So you can’t, do double tasking. You come to email or or the conversation or anything parallel to it, but once you you put yourself in a spot where you can reserve five minutes and everything in the world can wait these five minutes, then you can do mental contrasting or group.
Actually we, when we had all these laboratory and findings and and the findings from the intervention studies within from the different areas and where we understood the mechanisms which we just described this kind of non conscious mechanisms.
Then then I thought let’s. Let’s, get it out to so that people can use it, and we came up with this kind of acronym for mental contrasting together with if-then plans, and that acronym is called Boop which stands for wish out obstacle and plan and and that whoop Strategy which is easy to remember, because loop has these four letters and they give you guidance on how to use metal contrasting they.
They are really there to to take for everyone who is interested to have a strategy and metal strategy that eases their lives and what we did this. Actually, we reasoned that wish outcome obstacle is metal contrasting, but then we thought okay.
If the obstacle is really hard to overcome, so let’s say the obstacle would be a really bad, ingrained habit or would be very strong emotion, which is very hard to control or a super strong impulse. And then we thought.
Okay. Maybe if we combine mental contrasting with a strategy which was actually discovered by Peter gollwitzer, also from New York University, if we combine that with these East End trans or implementation intentions, then we might be even more successful to give a strategy to people that that that Helps to overcome even these very strong impulses and the implementation intentions.
They come basically in the form of. If situation X occurs, then I will perform the behavior Y to reach my goal and in the context of mental contrasting, we thought that we use these implementation intentions or is been planned in the following form that we said you know if the obstacle X occurs.
Whatever you have identified, then I will behavior to overcome that obstacle. So remember the said in metal contrasting: there is a strong associative link between the obstacle of reality and the behavior to overcome the obstacle that already is established by mental contrasting.
But we thought with these if-then plans, we even further strengthen that link between the obstacle and the behavior to overcome the obstacle, and that should be particularly helpful in situations where the obstacle is so sticky, like impulses or strong emotions or of bad habits.
So for decisions, if I need to decide something or get clarity in my life, then the implementation intentions are not so important, but for things where, where I know the obstacle is really sticky, then to add the P of the wo, the implementation intention would be helpful.
So that that’s, then the the acronym of OOP, which outcome, which is the positive future, which gives action that direction and then the obstacle in the way which gives the energy and which shows how to overcome that obstacle.
And then the plan. If the obstacles really sticky, then if obstacle, then I will overcome obstacle and that is Boop and we then sort of went and did a website where we put everything on there. Some research on the background of metal, contrasting and implementation intentions, that’s.
The name, the scientific literature or whoop, and then also instructions on how to use whoop for different kinds of wishes and in different situations. And then we did some videos and we did some written instructions and there’s.
A rootkit. You can download from the website which has all the instructions. You can also share your whoops and your thoughts on the website, and then we also came up with the app the app the whoop app, which leads you through the instructions.
So you don’t need to think twice. You just are guided through the instructions of warplane. What what really is is it’s? It’s, a five minute, little exercise where, where you actually define your wish, you look for you wish.
What do I really want? What is it that is really important for me? Let’s, say it the next day. Whatever timeframe you choose or in the next four weeks or maybe in my life, then once you’ve found that wish you summarized it in few words and you put it in front of your mind and then the Oh would be the outcome.
Do you think about what would be the best thing, the best outcome? If I fulfilled myself that wish, you would think what? How would I feel, as you think, ah maybe I feel happy or leave, or I would feel just a little proud whatever it is, find the best outcome and again summarize it in a few words once you did that, then you imagine that best outcome and that Imagery is really important, so imagine it and feel it out and think about how wonderful it would be, and after you imagine the best outcome, then you switch gears and you say what is it in me that stops me from tackling my wish and feeling that outcome? What stops me, what is it in me that is in the way here can be an emotion, can be an irrational belief, can be a bad habit, can be something somebody said it’s important.
They’ll, find it. What is it, and here you can go a little deeper you? What is it really? Let me get rid of the excuses. Ah, what is it room really? I might have not time, but I don’t. I have time so you can dig a little deeper and very awesome.
It is an emotion and nobody else can tell you you need to find what is it in you? Because you are the expert of your life, sometimes a little embarrassing, but with a little humor and not telling anybody you get over it, and then you can understand.
Okay, that’s. What it is in me, you know, can be resentment or some anxiety, or it can be some kind of false pride or whatever it is, and once you find that, then, ah, you think hmm that’s. What it is in my way – and you summarized it again in a few words and then you imagine that obstacle occurring you imagine how it feels that can sometimes sting a little bit in your in your stomach, because that might feel sometimes a little a little.
A little funny to imagine that, but that’s, been you’re on the right way, and you imagine that obstacle, and why are you imagine that I’ll still agree? You very often discover how you can overcome that upsetting.
Oh yeah then anxiety. I know how I could overcome that or that resentment come on. I could overcome that by doing this and that so and after you imagined that obstacles, then you ask yourself: what could I do to overcome that obstacle? What would be an effective action I could take or an effective thought? I could think to overcome that obstacle.
What could I do, then? You and the action or the thought to overcome that obstacle and again you summarized it few words and you put it in front of your mind and then, if you want, you can do the if-then plan and the if-then plan would be very simple.
You would say if and then you imagine your obstacle again, then I will and now you imagine the behavior or the thought to overcome the obstacle. And then you repeat, you say: if obstacle pageanty obstacle, then I will and now you imagine the behavior of the thought.
If obstacle, then I will behavior or thought and that’s. Basically, then the whole exercise, so I just wish identify the wish. Then its outcome identify the best outcome. Imagine the best outcome and then there is the obstacle identify.
What is it in you that stands in the way get rid of the excuses? Imagine that inner obstacle and then do the if obstacle, then I will overcome obstacles plan and that’s. What and what you can do wherever you are, and you can take whoop as a friend and when you practice it and you when you play with it and when you customize it to your own wishes and obstacles, then it can be a lifelong friend which gives You clarity about what you want and what is in your way and clarity about where you should set priorities and how to fulfill your wishes.
I love it. I love it and I think it’s. Not only can it be applied to I’m, pretty sure it can be applied to just about he domain in life, although I should note that, as you can probably tell it can be a very hypnotic process, and so you don’T want to be driving or holding a sharp knife in your hand, as you are getting into this state right, no double tasking so leave the world out.
I mean you can when you do draw quarry or you do some some kind of yeah when you, when you walk that’s, really nice. You can do that, but work not in traffic, then, because you really need to focus. So when you do woop, you only need five minutes, but you need to fully focus and you can’t be interrupted.
So when, when you are interrupted, then start up all over and the interesting thing is, you can do as many whoops as you have wishes and and think about where the wishes come from and with we said wishes come from our state’s.
Of of the efficiency of depletion of deprivation and and they that they vary from Thursday to Friday to Saturday they vary from evening to to morning, and they can vary. You know dramatically, you’re in our life, so so these wishes tape.
They pop up a new and a new and a new, and that’s. The reason why you can always make fresh whoops, because what is important is that the wish you identify that this wishes. Where is something which is dear to your heart and which is important to you so in that respect in humans, you want to hear through your inner voice and say what is it that is really important to me and can be something which is very interpersonal or It can also refer to some other people.
In terms of you know, I’ve wished it. I have a good relationship to hell more. I wish that I do everything in order to make him happy. You know what I’m, so so it’s. Not it doesn’t need to be selfish at all, but but it needs to be something that you feel kind of strong and in a way, passionate about and as we’re coming to the end of the show.
I do have one more question for you that perhaps could be similar to some of the things you’ve already been talking about, but it’s, a quite a specific question, and that is based on all of your experience and all The research you’ve conducted what are the top three things that you would suggest that people either focus on or place more attention on or prioritize to improve the quality of their life.
More generally mm-hmm, that’s, a big question. Hmm, I would say focus on renewal and change, and I mean from our research and from experiences. What metal contrasting in Boop taught me is that constructive and and cooperative action and constructive and cooperative thought is possible and that we are much less constrained than we think.
So we have a lot more possibilities of constructive and cooperative action. Then we are sometimes made to believe and and and whoop legs. You understand that, because it is such a powerful tool to go in the direction you would like to go, then you suddenly see that you can change and you can be more constructive and more interactive and and and spreading more than the the things that that you Really care for so in that respect, change towards more constructive and cooperative action is possible.
You just need to try it out and you need to practice a little bit like you practice, riding a bicycle, but that that will show you that you can do a lot more, that you have been thinking. So I think, by using these mental strategies, which which are based on non-conscious processes, we have a big resource or we tapped into a big resource which otherwise have been.
I’ve, been sort of lying dormant and I think in that respect it can. It can help enormous ly2 to improve our lives that that’s, probably one thing and then the other thing is. You can use the strategy really for improving your interactions with others and to improve your your personal interpersonal life apart from professional life, but but especially in funny interpersonal life and for the for the understanding of others, you can.
You can use that that strategy really well and and then also probably for for discovering the beauties and of nature and the beauties of getting involved in in things you really care for so in the different in the different areas.
So, focus on change, focus on constructive and cooperative change, focus on interpersonal relationships and and how you can use this change to improve your interpersonal relationships and then also you know, tackle and tackle the things you thought might not be so so possible, but but explore them And and find creative solutions of, of improving your daily lives, but also the the long-term decisions beautiful take book as a friend yeah, absolutely take as a friend.
They take poop as a kind of you know, friend you can consult with and when things are getting hard. But also when things are good and you want to improve them even more and if you’re just getting started, you probably take your phone everywhere with you, so you can loop on your phone until you have got enough practice under your belt.
To be able to do it without it, and perhaps just when you’re going out for a walk, you can continue practicing the process. You know the funny thing is. I use the app all the time because it forces me to be very specific and very kind of precise in terms of formulating my wish, my outcome, but my obstacle in my plan.
At the beginning years ago, when we started the app, we had some technical difficulties and um, you know when you, when you design an app and you have technical technical difficulties, it kills you, so it’s so difficult to because you think oh, this Is not what you want to give to to people in an app which is faulty, but at the same time I was also kind of distraught that I couldn’t.
Do my whoops on the app anymore so try to use the app do it mentally? Do it in written form, whatever suits you and that’s? All you’ll, find that on the website and – and you can just load it down – and you know, Boop doesn’t cost anything.
You can do as many boots as you have wishes, as I said, and just try it out play with it, and don’t forget to give us feedback whether whether you get along well or if you have difficulties, tell us on the book.
My life website how you feel and and share with us your experiences because it can be pretty emotional once you get into it. Mm-Hmm-Hmm it’s. Definitely one of my go-to tools and I absolutely love it so gabrielle.
Thank you very much for all of your work and thank you very much for being on brain first radio. I’m sure our listeners will really appreciate all the insights that you’ve shared. I know I certainly have and thanks again well, thank you thanks all the listeners for learning about loop, hey guys Ramon here.
I hope you liked that episode of brain first radio, you can find out more about Gabriella’s, work at whoop, my life dot, org, that’s; w WP, my life org, where you can also get the app and links to the Book rethinking positive thinking inside the new science of motivation, and if you want more amazing guests on the show there’s, three things you can do to help make that happen.
First, subscribe to the show, preferably on Apple podcasts, then drop a review and then take a screenshot of the episode and share it. You know post it on Facebook or your Instagram stories, because the more listeners we get the more guests I can bring on for you.
So I’ll, speak to you in the next episode of brain first radio, with more tips and training on brain health, happiness and higher performance.
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