WT 706 The Rider and the Elephant

It’s the start of a new year and most of us find ourselves looking forward to a bright sunny year ahead.

Consciously we set intentions or goals for the year ahead and for many of us, soon become disappointed as the year progresses and we have not achieved what we wanted and we give up.

For some, they know this is going to happen so they go straight past the disappointment stage and refuse to set goals, a.k.a. “new year’s resolutions”.

So what does “the rider and the elephant” have to do with setting goals?

As it turns out, everything.

The rider and the elephant is a metaphor used in the book, “Switch” by Dan and Chip Heath. It’s an amazing book that explains the obstacles to and strategies for change.

Imagine a rider sitting on top of the elephant.  The rider guides the elephant in the direction he or she wants to go. Everything goes smoothly, as long as that is the direction the elephant wants to go. If not, the rider does not have enough strength to overpower the elephant and is at the mercy of the elephant.

In their book, Dan and Chip explain that the rider is our willpower and the elephant our emotions/motivation and I’m suggesting, also our unconscious mind.

This helps to explain how come we consciously set goals and yet fail to achieve them. The reason is because our unconscious mind is not in alignment with the goal.

This is really tricky, because by its very nature, unconscious means just that. We are not conscious of what’s going on inside and as Silva Method Facilitator, Jeanine Sciacca says, “our brains are self-correcting machines”.

As an example, say you want to double your current salary. You set the goal. You devise a plan. You start to take action. Your income hasn’t increased. You get discouraged. The reason is because your unconscious wants to keep you safe and protected at your current salary. It self corrects.

In other words, for things to change, they must change in your unconscious first. You must be able to see, hear, feel and act as if the change has already occurred. Personal development guru, Jim Rohn used to say, you need to “become” the type of person that has what you want. He is often quoted as saying, “If someone hands you a million dollars, best you become a millionaire”.

You might have heard, “fake it til you make it” or for children, “play make believe”.

This is exactly what we need to do if we want to achieve what we consciously desire. And just to ram it home, David Bayer explains that most of us think we need a strategy to achieve our goals, but if our beliefs are not in alignment with our goals, we won’t execute properly on the strategy.

If there is something you want to achieve this year, please invest some time to check in with your unconscious and start “acting as if”, so you can rewire your brain so that it is in alignment with what you want.

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