Power of conditioned responses
By George W Nyabadza
HAVE you ever walked past a complete stranger and got the slightest whiff of their perfume or deodorant that suddenly pulled you ba
ck into memories of someone else? Or have you gone for a walk when you are pleasantly filled from your last meal and walked past a restaurant, smelled the sweet aroma of grilled food and suddenly felt hungry, even though you really were full?
For you sporty ones, if you ever played really competitive sport at school or national level where matches were preceded by a war cry or the national anthem, do you ever marvel at the sense of thrill and excitement you feel every time you recall these pre-match rituals, even if you have been away from the real thing for a while? How about the unique feelings evoked by a lover’s unique smile, touch or whispered secret “code”?
If you have experienced any of these conditioned responses to external stimuli you are subject to one of the most powerful mind-body phenomena known to mankind. Perhaps the most well-known record of conditioned response was the Pavlovian experiment. Pavlov, by way of a well-timed feeding programme linked to a ringing bell, succeeded in linking the mind of his experimental dogs to the feeding of their hungry bodies to such an extent that he would ring the bell at odd times and the dogs would respond to the call and come to him, salivating and seeking to be fed, irrespective of whether they had been fed or not.
If you have ever been to a circus show and watched the elephants doing their powerful tricks, you may have wondered what it is that stopped them from breaking free during the overnight breaks, from the flimsy ropes tied to their legs and stumps in the ground. The reason is simply the power of conditioned responses.
When the elephants are young they have large restraining chains tied around their legs and then around massive tree trunks. The young aggressive elephants literally wage a war with the chains and the tree trunks in a bid to break free. But the chains remain unyielding and through the terrible pain of the chains eating into their bloodied legs, they eventually associate excruciating pain with being tied down. In due course they cease the fight and settle down in the circle of existence defined by the length of the chain.
The mind-body link has been established. From then on whenever there is a restraining around their legs they refrain from moving beyond the bounds of the restraint. Because of the associated pain, they have been conditioned to respond in a certain way. Conditioned responses reveal a powerful technology called anchoring, which simply means that there exists a fixed set of complex behavioural responses that can be triggered into manifestation by specific external stimuli. This is both positive and negative.
If you have a set of negative anchors it means that you are likely to trigger, unknowingly, negative behaviours because anchors operate at the level of the subconscious mind. On the other hand anchors can be positive because it is possible, by associating powerful and enabling responses to specific stimuli, to enter, at will, into a powerful resourceful state. Because anchors operate at the level of the subconscious mind, one needs to master the process of identifying negative anchors and the associated behavioural responses, and working at that level to establish new anchors that trigger powerful and resourceful states.
If one can do this, it then becomes easy to be instantly motivated, enthusiastic, happy, confident and courageous in the face of any task.
Anchoring, a key part of the process of self-mastery, is one of the many tools that form part of my upcoming programme, The Personal Revolution System™. I hope to engage with you at the seminar.