The Science of Making Your Dreams Come True, with Prof. Gabriele Oettingen | BrainFirst Radio

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.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap