“Vinegar or Honey”

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Neuro Semantics, NLP, Personal Development

Last weekend I met an old friend at one of my trainings. The last time we met was about 2 years ago. She looked very much the same and as we exchanged pleasantries, she brought up an issue that we had discussed the last time we met; her difficulty and struggle in speaking English. She began telling me how hard it had been, her difficulty in understanding the vocabulary, her struggle with the tenses, her cultural background and studies that worked against her (she lived in a home that spoke only Chinese and did her primary and secondary education in the same medium), how she had faired poorly in her past English examinations and the fact that she still found it hard to “think” in English ( meaning that she thought in Chinese and then literally translate it in to English, making it “English sounding Chinese”). She concluded by saying, “I will never be able to speak English as well as you. I’m just not able.” 


As I listened to her, I was amused as how little things had changed since the last time we spoke about her “struggle” and devised strategies to help her improve. She seemed “frozen” in her struggle, unable to make any significant changes. What was more alarming was the self limiting belief that she had constructed about her ability to speak good English: “I will never be able to speak English as well as you. I’m just not able.”


So I inquire if she had carried out some of the strategies we last discussed. She said that she had initially done so but soon stopped because she believe that her “handicap” was much too “big” to over come. She felt that it had become “a part” of who she was. In such a state, there was little possibility for her to make any progress.


Allow me to ask, was her “real hang up” her lack of talent, her cultural and linguistic background, her “skill and strategy gap” or her weak intent to improve and speak better English? What do you think? I believe not, as there are many folks in similar circumstances who have learned to speak the language fluently. Her real problem was her unconscious habit of being problem focused: becoming an expert in her problem and all its varying dimensions and this habit produced for her the “evidence” to believe that her problem was her “permanent reality”- turning it into a self limiting belief. In other words, she made her problem part of her “life script”, a daily unconscious narrative that she told herself while every little set back became more evidence that affirmed her limiting self belief!  



“Focus on the solution, not on the problem.”

- Jim Rohn


Are we not in some way like my dear friend, experts of our problems, difficulties and struggles? Unconscious of our “unconscious competence” of being problem focused which produces the “evidence” needed to from limiting self beliefs? Habits that keep us tapped in our “problem focused – ness”, making us experts in creating our very own pungent “cognitive emotional vinegar”;   and then soaking in it our heart, our potential, our abilities, possibilities, talents and very future, believing the lie that “I’m just not able”!



“The way we see the problem is the problem”

-Stephen R. Covey


We developed such “competencies” simply because we live in circumstances, a culture, where “problems” have always been the main focus of attention, not necessarily the solution. We may have been brought up in a family where, on one hand little emphasis was put on reinforcing our strengths, gifts and talents and on the other, major emphasis on our weaknesses, “failings”, “oddities”, “inabilities”, insecurities and handicaps: a culture of “insecure comparison” which influenced our habits of thinking and perceiving .  Thus turning us into “problem focused” magnets, experts of our struggles, weaknesses and limitations; being seduced by its endless and exhausting destructive mental loops that drive us “insane”!   


We read books by “experts” on how things “should be” or are suppose to work, literature that highlights the lacks and gaps and which “over powers” us into passively accepting their explanations of “what is wrong” with us: nailing us shut in a passive and helpless role, locked into a problem narrative that we learn to rehearse over and over again, enhancing our problem focused competency!


“We were trained to look at the grades on our report card, rather than focus on the image of the grade we desired. We learned to let our results control our thinking instead of the other way around.”

-The Law of Attraction


Consequently, we developed the “unconscious competence” of focusing on what’s lacking, missing, absent, loss and wrong. We become experts on what we suffer and struggle with; we imbibe their negative presuppositions and then form limiting and toxic self beliefs which keep us locked in our own “troubled little world”. Highly skilled practitioners of our very own “cognitive emotional terrorism” and sabotage, proficient in knowing what is wrong with us, why we will most probably remain “wrong” and how, no matter what we do, our efforts will “always” remain futile; turning us into emotional zombies!



“Without the discipline of guarding the mind, what use are any other disciplines?”



 - Are you faced with similar issues? What is one of your pet “problems”, weakness and the limiting self belief(s) you have created behind it?    

- Do you have lots of “cognitive emotional vinegar” in your life, soaking up your potential and the possibilities for the future: keeping you leashed?

- Are you an expert in making your very own “cognitive emotional vinegar”?  



So what’s the solution? Being solution minded and developing a solution frame of mind. And how does one do that? By learning to focus on the “honey”, on what we WANT and PASSIONATELY DESIRE, not on what we don’t want or want to avoid!


Yes, it’s really quite simple, knowing what we want and learning to focus on what we want: soaking ourselves in its “honey”. This can be a pretty uncomfortable thing for many of us to do; nonetheless it’s a competency that we can develop, a competency that pays dividends in unleashing our highest and best, transforming us into what we truly desire to be, do and have.


The theory that we have to know our problems fully and entirely before we solve them is not true. In fact, on the contrary, when we delve too much on them, we become stuck in a “problem focused” mindset. Being solution focused, on the other hand, even if does not look like a fit to resolve the problem, is sufficient, as a small enough change is all that’s needed to send our negative way of thinking into a new and different direction.



“Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”



The transformative power behind such “focused-ness” lies in these 3 simple facts:


- It switches our focus off of what’s wrong and onto what’s right, stressing the resources and skills that we already have. It’s not about what’s missing and causes woe, but what’s present and can lead to happiness. This releases a different kind of energy within us, one that’s positive and embracing.


“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.”

- Anthony Robbins


- With a solution focused frame of mind, our entire neurology becomes “solution focused”; positively effecting our self beliefs and meaning frames, our internal dialogue which shapes our inner emotional states and our thinking patterns, unleashing creativity and possibility thinking.


“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.”

- Denis Waitley


- It maintain a future “ focused-ness”, enabling us to see with solution-seeing eyes, hear with solution-hearing ears and feel with solution-feeling emotions. This simply means we being to live with a new sense of enthusiasm, energy and passion, living for WHAT WE WANT that induces change with in us without activating the forces that prevents this change or triggering thoughts that may nullify it.          


“The past doesn’t equal the future.”

- Anthony Robbins


 So, what do you prefer: the vinegar or the honey?


 If it’s the “honey” that you want, then the following pattern can help you cultivate a new and empowering competency: the ability to know what you want, focus on it and to behave in ways that actualize it, one small step at the time. It’s about developing a solution frame of mind and behavior.  Here we go…



- What is it that YOU WANT? Answer this question in the positive, by stating what you want or want more of in your life and not what you don’t want or has stopped us. What we focus on increases in our life, that’s the power of this question, so become an expert on what you want!


“Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy.”

- Denis Waitley


- How will you know you have got it? Make it specific and measurable: what will you be seeing, hearing and feeling when you have got what you want? The answer to this question places us in the very place we want to be, “going there first” is what positive visualization is all about. Remember, make it specific and make it a “knowing” and get those details in.


- Can it be initiated and maintained by you? This is critical because if what we want lies in the powers, opinions and decision of other, we’ll be caught in a helpless pool of futility. We are more likely to achieve what we want when we ourselves can initiate and maintain positive action and steps towards it. Empower yourself by taking responsibility and ownership of what you want! You are worth it!



“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

-Albert Ellis


- Where and when do you want it? Ensure you know this so that you keep what you want real. Put a time line on it, tie it down and make it target! Anchor it!


- Does it keep the positive aspects of your current situations? If what we want somehow robs us of something which our current situation gives us, something that we value, we will unconsciously sabotage our efforts. So ensure it provides the “key empowering benefits” that your current situation delivers but do not make excuses to remain in your comfort zone. 


- It there anything you might loose as a result of getting what you want? This simply means that its positive consequences, of what you want, far outweighs the current negative consequences and is alignment with your sense of self and of who you really are. Create alignment and remain congruent with your higher values, beliefs, identity and mission.


- How does it effect your wider system?  This simply means if it’s appropriate with all the other aspects of your life, your relationships and socio- emotional- spiritual reality. If there’s a misfit, we will again unconsciously sabotage our efforts. We are social animals and what we want effects the “social and cultural” we live in ecology; so take account of it and if it ecological, move on.    


- What will you do? Make it specific and simple; outline a map of specific actionable steps. Make these sets achievable, simple and realistic, if they are too difficult and intimidating, we’ll procrastinate. Remember, simplicity is the key. Then turn these steps into new behaviors, new habits of acting.  


“If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you.
If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you.
Whatever good things we build end up building us.”

- Jim Rohn


- Is there any resources and skills that we may need to achieve our want? Access what you already have and take concrete steps to access what we need. Over and above this, you have to believe and act as though you have the necessary resources to get what you want: this empowers you to perform in the NOW as though you have already achieved what you want.


- Act, act, act! This is really simple, just act on what you have planned above: act on what you want with an intense focus on what you want! This is what having unlimited power is all about and living with a solution focused mindset! Do you not want what you want?


“Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.”

- Tony Robbins


   So, what do you prefer: the vinegar or the honey?


Your potential to actualize your highest and best; to express the purpose you were created for, depends on the answer to this question above. We may have become proficient in developing the “unconscious competency” of being problem focused but the price we pay for such habits is way too high and painful. Developing a new and empowering competency; focusing on what we WANT, on being SOLUTION focused, may take some effort but the payback it offers is phenomenal. It is how the “giants” who have gone before us became “giants”!       



“Many are stubborn in the pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in the pursuit of the goal.”

- Nietzche


“Focus your energy on greatness.”

- David DeNotaris


Be courageous enough to THINK DIFFERENTLY, to stretch beyond convention and soon, you’ll be among the few who have behaved differently and made the world a better place; a place of grace, where the impossible is made possible! THINK RADICALLY!     


May you be inspired by the examples that these “giants” left us! Enjoy!


Motivational video “Change your mind in just 2.50 mins”


Stay committed to transcending, transforming and transferring value back to your world!


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Conrad Rozario is the founder of Alchemy Resources, a cutting edge human potential and peak performance development company inMalaysia. He has more than 15 years experience in people development from the diverse fields of Sales, Marketing, Customer Engagement and Service, Business Management and Talent Development. He is a Certified & Licensed Neuro Semantics and Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP) Trainer from the International Society of Neuro –Semantics,USA, a Master Practitioner in Neuro Semantics and NLP (ISNS,USA) and a Language and Behavior Profiling for Coaching Practitioner. He holds a MBA fromGordon University,Illinois,USA.