The Blue Hour

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Personal Development

Last week at a Neuro-Semantic Training that I conducted, I asked the participants this question, “What do you want?” Simple enough question, right? Wrong. 90% of them were not quite sure what they wanted while the other 10% acted like they knew but were equally lost. So I stayed with the question, gave them time to think and decide and then requested each to write it on a sheet of “Post It” and stick it on a white board. Step one accomplished.  

 

“The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you what”

- Ben Stein

 

Next I got them to declare their outcomes. Yes, declare. There’s a difference between “telling” your outcome and “declaring” it. To tell simply means to narrate, to notify or inform by either speech or word. To declare means to make known formally or officially with authority. It embraces the components of acceptance, acknowledgement and the intention of realizing it. Ok, now things got interesting. 75% of them simply told their intention while the other 25% screamed it out, both were not declarations!

 

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes”

-Andrew Carnegie

 

Then we got everyone to consciously look at their outcomes. The amazing thing about this was that about half of them had written down their dreams and not their goal while the rest had written down “blue hour” goals! Allow me to explain. Firstly dreams. Dreams tend to be unfocused and non-specific. Example, “I want to some day run my own business and be my own boss” or “I want to be a millionaire” or “I want to earn a five figure income.” These are broad stroked, highly generalized statements that have “no legs”, no clear intention and attention, strategies, resource analysis, details, benchmarks, deadlines, etc. Hence they have very little action attached to it. Hey, after all, it’s just a dream isn’t?  

 

“No matter how carefully you plan your goals, they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto.”

-W. Clement Stone

 

The rest on the other hand had what I call “the blue hour” goals.  The term “the blue hour” is from the French expression l’heure bleue, which refers to the period of twilight where there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness (Wikipedia).  “Blue hour” goals are goals that have details and strategies, they may get you started but will probably not see “the light of day” and be realized.    

 

 

“The rules themselves are clear enough, and within everyone’s reach.  But many forces, both within ourselves and in the environment, stand in the way. It is a little like trying to lose weight: everyone knows what it takes, everyone wants to do it, yet it is next to impossible for so many.”
— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

 

So what are some of the main characteristics of what I term “the blue hour” goals?  

  

Goals that have no vision.

“By vision we mean a compelling image of a highly desired future. Vision changes us as it awakens, attracts, pulls us forward…..out of our current situation and puts us on a journey” (Meta Coaching, Volume 1, Coaching Change, L. Michael Hall Ph.D, Michelle Duval, Master Coach.)  One of the critical elements involved in “goal realization” is change, the movement from our current reality to our desired one, and vision or calling or a sense of purpose is the force and emotion that propels this change. Vision defines the way one is alive and becomes “the compass” that organizes all our thoughts, feelings and actions.

 

What indicates that a person has a vision? Joy! “You can tell if you have a true vision by the power and joy it stimulates in you.” (Meta Coaching, Volume 1, Coaching Change, L. Michael Hall Ph.D, Michelle Duval, Master Coach.) Have you ever seen the reality TV show, “Live to dance”? Almost every one of the participants in this show operated from a vision that dance is a way to be alive! They simply radiate passionate joy on and off the stage! Now imagine the propulsion that this kind of vision creates!    

 

  • Do you have such a vision? What is it? What does it look, feel and sound like? 
  • Does you vision “pull on” you?  
  • Does it give you “passionate joy”?
  • Does it keep you awake at night? 
  • Is it a way of being “fully alive”, engaged and in “the flow”?  

 

Helen Keller was once asked if there was anything worse than losing one’s sight. She responded, “Yes, losing one’s vision.”

 

Goals that are either too challenging or too easy.

 A balance in the skill level of the person and challenge level of the goal or task is essential. (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life.)  When the challenge of the goal is perceived as too high and the skill gap too wide, anxiety, worry and fear is triggered. On the other hand if the challenge level is too low, apathy happens and both of these causes goals to suffer and stay in the “blue hour”! Goals on one hand should stand just outside your comfort zone, they should arouse and energize. However they should never stand outside the orbit of possibilities, for one must have sufficient confidence in attain the outcome.

 

“If you are bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things…you don’t have enough goals”

-Lou Holtz

 

Citing again the example of the reality TV show “Live to dance”, you may notice that most of the participants who received “red stars”, not the gold ones , were  folks who were unengaged in reaching new levels of performance, they did not stretch enough. Perhaps another example to reference this point is that of Liverpool’s new manager, Kenny Dalglish. Just a few days ago he commented that he is experiencing a “new zest for life” ever since taking over the manager’s “hot seat”. This is simply because his “new and challenging goal” provides him the right balance between the challenge of the task and his skill level. It arouses and energizes him; it stretches and produces “the flow” of self actualization!

 

  • Do you have a “red star” or a “gold star” goal(s)?
  • Is your goal challenging enough to arouse and energize you?
  • Or does it cause anxiety, fear and worry?
  • Does it match your skills and capacity?
  • Does your goal lie just outside of you comfort zone or beyond your “orbit of possibility”? 

 

“It is as if evolution has built a safety device in our nervous system that allows us to experience full happiness only when we are living at 100%–when we are fully using the physical and mental equipment we have been given.”

- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Good Business

 

Goals that lack neuro-semantic value and that have little or no intrinsic meaning and motivation to the individual.

Have you met the person who wanted to be “just like” a rock star, a Hollywood actor or famous personality? Folks who had their neuro – semantic value outside them? Here’s the thing about such folks, when challenges, set backs and disappointments come their way, they loose the meaning and value of their goals. They experience “the blue hour” effect! Don’t forget that human persons are neuro-semantic creatures; we are meaning making and meaning performing machines! Thus, when our goals loose or have little meaning, they are easily crushed by challenges.  

 

“You see, it’s never the environment; it’s never the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to the events – how we interpret them – that shapes who we are today and who we’ll become tomorrow.”

- Tony Robbins

 

 Many folks I know have claimed to want a “five figure income” or the lifestyle of the “rich and famous” but their intrinsic meaning is shallow and feeble, lacking the muscle and stamina to withstand the journey of “goal realization”.  The question of “What do you want?” needs to be followed closely by another equally crucial question, “What would that mean for you?” Would you do it, go out and strive for that outcome even for nothing externally because it means something to you internally?

 

A leader will find it difficult to articulate a coherent vision unless it expresses his core values, his basic identity…one must first embark on the formidable journey of self-discovery in order to create a vision with authentic soul.”

- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Good Business

 

Goals that have positive intrinsic meaning and value produce positive states in us.

They come from, as well as feedback into, a dynamic, positive and self actualizing world view within us. It points us to a bigger reality then us. That’s the recursive nature of our neuro-semantics and the “goal realizing” force it generates! It’s the force that makes us live unstoppable!       

 

  • Does your goal have a neuro-semantic meaning and value?
  • Does it have sufficient meaning to keep generating positive states even in the face of challenges and set backs? 
  • Are the activities and task of your goal(s) engaging you in meaningful ways?
  • Do these meanings keep growing and evolving, making you “resiliently resolute”?
  • Does it cause you to move beyond yourself, to actualize your highest and best intentions?

 

 

“…if we expended all our energies solely on taking care of our own needs we  would stop growing. In that respect what we call “soul” can be viewed as the surplus energy that can be invested into change and transformation. As such, it is the cutting edge of evolution.”

- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Good Business

 

Goals that have no clear direction, task structure and feedback possibilities.

Such clear directions, task structures and feedback are critical as they create in us an “order in consciousnessand give us control. This in turn produces concentration and attention. Together they take care of the business end of “goal realization”. Can you realize a goal that you have no control over? Can you realize a goal that does not order your consciousness and neurology?

 

Clear directions, task structure and feedback are about behavior, they are about generating new behaviors that actualize our goals. Have you ever planned a vacation before? You may have read or heard about the location, seen pictures, researched it on the internet and then made a decision to go. What did you do next? Did you just sit down and wait to be “magically” transported there?  Or did you come out with clear directions, a task structure and constantly monitor the feedback you received to ensure that your vacation was realized?

 

“Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about  making sure it doesn’t happen.”

-Alyce P. Cornyn

 

Blue hour” goals are goals that lack any clear direction, task structure and feedback possibilities and consequently provide no “order in consciousness” and control. I remember asking the participants in last weeks training this question, “How many of you deliberately planned and put to work strategies to get a job in the company you are currently working in?” You guessed it, nobody did. They were all there by default…and you can guess that most of their goals and outcomes were also on default mode!    

 

  • Do your goals have “legs”?
  • Do they contain the “WHAT”, “HOW”, “WHEN”, “WHERE” and “WHAT IF” continuum of the business end of goal realization?
  • Do they have feedback possibilities?
  • Do you have a goal realization “order of consciousness”?
  • Are you in control of your “goal realizing” behaviors?         

    

What kind of goals do you have? What kind of goals do you want? Do they flow from a vision that gives you meaning and gets you alive? The choice is really up to you. “Blue hour” goal or goals that get actualized while actualizing your highest and best intentions!     

 

“What one can be, one must be.” 

~ Abraham Maslow, Motivation and Personality

 

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

 
Conrad Rozario is the founder of Alchemy Resources, a cutting edge human potential and peak performance development company. 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 from Gordon University, Illinois, USA.

You can follow Conrad on facebook!

A Culture of Self Destruction

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

The Star newspaper (Malaysia) today, the 10th of February 2011, carried a troubling headline; “Scary Trend”. It stated that an average of 60 suicides happens in the country per month, with the majority of them being committed by teenagers and young adults!

 

“The National Suicide Registry Malaysia (NSRM) estimated that between January and August last year, a total of 425 people committed suicide, averaging 60 per month.”

-The Star, Thursday, 10th February 2011

 

The Ministry of Heath identified this “high risk” age group as being between 16 and 25, an average rate similar to that of the United States! The frightening fact is that these figures may not reflect the true numbers of suicide cases as about 30% are probably classified as undetermined deaths, a move made by families to avoid the stigmata of suicide.

 

Globally suicide is the tenth leading cause of death worldwide with about a million people dying by suicide annually. (WHO Sites: Mental Health. World Health Organization, February 16, 2006.) On the other side of the coin, there are an estimated 10 to 20 million non-fatal attempted suicides every year worldwide! (Bertolote JM, Fleischmann A, October 2002, “Suicide and psychiatric diagnosis: a worldwide perspective). Yes, these numbers do send a chill up our spines!  

 

“Suicidologist Adnan Omar believes the suicide trend amount the young is getting more serious here and is fast catching up with Japan that has a rate of above 30 per 100,000 people.”

-The Star, Thursday, 10th February 2011

 

Does it not sound ironic that as we evolve into a “developed nation”, the era of the high income economy, with significant increase in technology and efficiency in the fields of communication from the internet to facebook and twitter, medicine, health and supplementation, higher education, housing, economic opportunities, etc. we are faced with a crisis of life, of esteem and meaning. As Neuro-Semantic practitioners, we believe that human persons are always performing meanings. That is part of our nature as a semantic class of life – meaning making machines. So what meanings are these individuals performing by committing suicide?  What could be the cause?   

 

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

-Albert Einstein

 

To an extent, it is due to the decay of foundational institutions like the family and family relationships, nurturing parenthood, faith, religion, culture and holistic education.  These foundations have, in the past, been the channels that nurture esteem, install and demonstrate “being and transcending” values that provide quality meanings for growth. They provide the physical and emotional security, safety, significance and certainty to help one grow into fully alive and self actualized human persons, performing our highest and best meanings and intentions!

 

 

In its place artificial substitutes have risen and become empty symbols of esteem, meaning and value. We may call these substitutes “the props” of life that seduce us to define our self worth and meaning by our job, status, brands, labels, political or religious affiliations, economic and social worth, gender, race, family status, money, etc. We may no longer feel that we are made in the image of God, but in their images, hence the meaning to “identify with”, we find self identity in, and as a consequence they hold transcendental meaning, value and self worth for us!    

 

“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all.  No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed.”

-The Sickness Unto Death

 

This then results in the performance of the meaning. Individuals unconsciously step into an endless, stressful and highly pressured roller coater ride to nowhere, to endless striving to prove ones self worth, gain approval and esteem in being the fastest, smartest, brightest, richest, prettiest, biggest, etc. Modern society as a whole seems be built on this dehumanizing culture!

 

When becoming the “smartest”, the “best”, the “prettiest”,etc. is unreachable,  isolation, a deep sense of “failure”, disillusionment, meaninglessness and worthlessness seeps in and this meaning may be performed in the act of suicide!  If they are attained, then the illusion is encountered, these do not deliver the promised meanings! Meaninglessness, depression and emptiness sets in, a schism is created. This could either result in a person being “leashed” or addicted to them indefinitely or to suicide, the “best solution” to a painful existence! So what possible solutions are there?  

            

“In the nineteenth century the problem was that God is dead.

In the twentieth century the problem is that man is dead.”
- Erich Fromm

 

Perhaps we need to be reminded of the profound teachings left by one of the giants of Humanistic Psychology, Abraham Maslow, of the hierarchy of needs. They essentially point to the “needs of the human personthat must be met in order for self actualization to happen. Being hierarchal, they move upward from the lower needs up to the pinnacle ones. If the lower needs are not realized or deficient, the higher ones will not be either. Society, culture, businesses, economies, families, etc. should be founded on these needs; they give meaning, purpose, nurture esteem and facilitate the unleashing of potential – self actualization! Our current culture seems to have forgotten these fundamental hierarchal needs. Could they be part of the solution to the “Scary Trend” mentioned above? Let’s explore them.

 

“Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.”
- Arnold J. Toynbee

 

1. Physiological needs: air, water, food, sleep, rest, sex, excretion. For most folks in developed countries, this is not much of a problem. They nonetheless need to be met constantly for esteem to be felt. If they are suddenly threatened, chaos ensures. This is seen in the many economic – social – political melt downs globally. They result in street protest, riots and civil unrest!

 

On the other hand, if we are too stressed with work, our careers or studies, these basic needs for good rest, recreation and quality food get neglected and an imbalance occurs. Deficiency happens. Does not this happen today? Do we not see the performance of this deficiency?           

 

2. Safety needs: secure country, community, job, family, health, resources, these provide safety and security in order for one to feel free from physical and emotional harm or threat. Again if this is not met, esteem is affected.

 

It is here that much deficiency is experienced today. In a highly commercialized “rat race” work culture, economic uncertainty, lay offs and down turns, job security diminishes. Inflation leads to the increase of prices of essential goods and the needs for health, education, etc. and this result in more uncertainty and insecurity. Uncertainty builds on uncertainty which results in a vicious circle being created. Does this trend not effect the young graduate entering the job market?

 

3. Love/belonging needs: family, friendship, and sexual intimacy. Once the earlier needs are met, these needs are now fulfilled. Social needs are those related to genuine and quality interaction with others and include needing friends, belonging to a group or larger community and the need to give and receive genuine love.

 

 

Here too there are challenges and deficiencies. Families today have very little time to be families! Parents are too busy, children are put into high pressure situations to perform and produce A’s. Genuine “face to face” friendships, “belonging” and connection is substituted by facebook.

 

The deficiency is evident in the performance of deviant sexual behavior resulting in growing abortion rates, unwanted pregnancies, and abandoned babies. Gangs start to become the viable alternative for these needs to be met. Marriages break down and divorce rates go up. Loneliness, social anxiety and depression set in, symptoms of deficient meanings and unmet core needs! What can a young mind do when it experiences these deficiencies? Suicide may just be the “logical” performance of this toxic meaning.  

 

“We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies.”

-Roderick Thorp, Rainbow Drive

 

4. Esteem needs: confidence, achievement, respect of others, and respect by others. Once a person feels “belonging”, the need to feel important, desired and accepted by others arises. It is the need to engage oneself to gain recognition and have an activity that give a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and self-valued; be it in a profession, job, vocation or hobby.

 

“The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.”

-Abraham Maslow

 

Maslow cited two versions of esteem needs, a lower one and a higher one. The lower one is the need for the respect of others, the need for status, recognition, fame and prestige. The higher one is the need for self-respect, the need for strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence and freedom. DEFICIENCY of these needs can lead to inferiority, weakness and helplessness. Today we see the lower esteem needs being widely commercialized and politicized as “the higher need”. One is set on the quest to seek the “higher esteem need “by impressing and performing for others to earn esteem, competence and self respect. Unless a person can learn to give this “significant value” to himself, emptiness, isolation, and meaninglessness occurs. When this happens, physical, emotional and relational suicide is perhaps inevitable!   

 

“Classic economic theory, based as it is on an inadequate theory of human motivation, could be revolutionized by accepting the reality of higher human needs, including the impulse to self actualization and the love for the highest values.”
- Abraham Maslow

 

5. Self-actualization: creativity, spontaneity, problem-solving, acceptance of reality, lack of prejudice. It’s the summit of the hierarchy of needs, the quest to reach one full potential. It is never fully reached; rather it is a life long quest.

 

Here one has acquired autonomy and freedom, is spontaneous and resilient, “reality” centered, humble, accepts self and others, stretches and takes risk, and contributes to the larger outcomes of life. The ego is got out of the way!  Some of these self- actualized individual studies by Maslow included Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Adams, William James, Albert Schweitzer, Benedict Spinoza, and Alduous Huxley.

 

 “If you really put a small value upon yourself,

rest assured that the world will not raise your price.”

-Author Unknown

 

Today we do have a choice and the opportunity to reverse this “Scary Trend” and starve off the culture of self destruction. . Perhaps the answer lies in reeducating, realigning and reintroducing these hierarchal needs back into the very foundations that were designed to make us better human persons. This “crisis” is an opportunity for us to make them the central driving force to unleash human potential once again, to give richer meanings and foster a society, culture and economy that is on a the quest of self actualization, both individually and collectively. The choice is up to you and me. Do choose well.   

 

“The symbol in Chinese for crisis is made up of two ideographs: one means danger, the other means opportunity. This symbol is a reminder that we can choose to turn a crisis into an opportunity or into a negative experience.” 

- Virginia Satir

 

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

Conrad Rozario is the founder of Alchemy Resources. He has more than 14 years experience in Sales, Marketing, Business Management and Talent Development. He holds a MBA from Gordon University, Illinois, is a Certified & Licensed Trainer of Neuro Semantics and NLP (ISNS, USA), a Master Practitioner in Neuro Semantics and NLP (ISNS, USA) and a Language and Behavior Profiling for Coaching Practitioner.  You can follow Conrad on facebook!