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.

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