Rubberband Reactions, and How to *Snip* Them

In the monastery we learned about something called habitual programmes of perception.

You know, the default way we have of perceiving things.

And part of that is the default way we react to events.

Like when you stretch out a rubberband let it go, and it snaps right back to it’s original length.

Many of our reacitons are exactly the same.

Someone tells you something less than positive, and *snap* you feel unworthy.

Or an unexpected bill comes in and *snap* you start to feel stressed and worried.

Or you put out a brilliant offer of your work that nobody buys and *snap* you doubt you’ll ever have a thriving business.

Here’s the thing: you can’t contrl what happens to you.

Life has an uncanny way of happening.

But whatever happens, you can control what happens next.

in other words; your reaction to the occurrence.

And it’s not that difficult.

Let me show you how:

Step 1: Develop self-awareness

Accept that you have those reactions, don’t fight them, but start paying attention to them.

Over time, you’ll get to know yourself really well.

Step 2: Ask yourself: “Which different reaction would serve me better?”

The default reaction is never the best. There are 1000’s of other reactions you can choose.

Dance, sing, work, read, walk, smile, hug, stretch… whatever better reaction you want to connect to the trigger.

Pick one and resolve to practice it.

Step 3: ‘Practice’ is the operative word here.

You can’t just replace a reaction with a different one. It takes time.

At first, you’ll notice way after the default reaction that it happened again.

At that moment, bring back your resolve, and activate the new reaction.

Keep doing that.

Over time you’ll see the space between the default and the new get smaller.

At some point they’ll be simultaneous: You’ll see yourself reacting in the habitual way, but from a meta perspective, a distance.

And you’ll see the new reaction competing with it.

That’s when you’re making progress, because the next phase is where the new reaction becomes so automatic, it jumps in before the default reaction even shows up.

We may be creatures of habit and live with programmes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reprogram ourselves.

And if you want to live a fulfilled life, you owe it to yourself to give it your all.



So let the reprogramming begin. Now would be a good time.

Take a moment to identify a particularly obnoxious habitual programme, and decide on which other reaction you would prefer. Make the resolve.

Get set, go, and all of that.

And as always, I’m here if you want my help.



Also published on Medium.

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