The Dynamics of Goal Achievement

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The extent to which we fulfill our needs and achieve our goals with any degree of satisfaction is, first, a function of our being able to recognize our needs and formulate our goals. This is not as simple as it sounds. Our natural sense of curiosity and our attractions are very powerful inner forces that create a state of need or put us in a state of imbalance with the physical environment until the needs are satisfied. When we feel these attractions to certain activities, people, or objects in the environment, it is often difficult to visualize the possibilities or formulate any plans because of other inner forces in the form of beliefs, associations, or memories that act as barriers. We need to understand the relationship and possible conflicts between what we need or feel very attracted to and these other inner forces that in a sense say no.

The extent to which we fulfill our needs and achieve our goals with any degree of satisfaction is, second, a function of the degree to which we understand the nature of the external environmental forces we have to interact with to fulfill our needs and achieve our goals. (The depth of our understanding will correlate directly with the way in which we express ourselves in the environment to create the effect that we want.) Third, it is a function of the repertoire of skills that we have developed to interact with the environment and, fourth, a function of our ability to execute those skills.

Any differences between what we wanted, expected, desired, or needed and what we got is simply an indication of the degree to which we haven't learned what we needed to know or evidence that we don't have the appropriate skills to do what needed to be done. Included as a factor in the first category—where we haven't learned what we needed to know—is our ability or lack thereof to objectively (without illusion) assess the availability of what we wanted or needed from the environment's perspective. In other words, what we wanted may have not been available to begin with or available in the quantity we wanted or in the time frame we wanted or needed, and we didn't have the mental framework to make the kinds of distinctions to indicate the actual availability beforehand.

We also have to consider that what we wanted may have actually been available but unperceivable, as a result of not having learned to make the appropriate distinctions, which would, in turn, give us the kind of perspective where we could notice its availability. In these kinds of situations we usually end up saying to ourselves, "I wish," or "If only I had known that then," when we find out afterward what we didn't know at the time would have made a difference on how we "saw" things. Often, however, we never find out that what we wanted and didn't get was only one minor shift in perspective. Not knowing, of course, that the reason why we didn't get it was because we just didn't know there was something more we needed to learn. If we had the mental framework to make the appropriate distinctions, we can assume that we would have, unless something was blocking our perception.

I might add here that when we interact with other people, if we use force and manipulation to get what otherwise would be unavailable, what we are doing is forcing them to behave outside of their beliefs. If their beliefs were consistent with what we wanted from them, then we wouldn't need to use force or manipulation because a state of harmony would exist. We don't need to use force or manipulation on someone to do something that they already believe in. Whenever we do, it creates a state of imbalance in them that they would normally rectify by some means of revenge that we would just have to deal with at some point in the future. As a general observation of the human condition that goes along with this, most of us spend our lives trying to change what is in front of us to suit the makeup of our inner environment, when all we need to do is change the way we think about what is in front of us and we will change the quality of our experience of it.

In the second category—where we don't have the appropriate skills to do what needed to be done—we may recognize the most appropriate set of steps to take and also objectively assess the availability of what we want, but that doesn't mean that we have the skills to execute those steps. It is possible to underestimate the skills required in relation to the conditions to accomplish what we want (i.e., we don't know any better) or we could overestimate our abilities in relation to the conditions. Furthermore, even if we have learned the appropriate skills, there may be any number of beliefs or fears that act as barriers or limiting forces that will prevent us from properly executing the steps leading to what we want to accomplish. These beliefs or fears can be something that we have a conscious awareness of, or they can be completely subconscious. I am defining subconscious as any experience that we don't have immediate access to with our conscious thought process. For example, someone could be afraid of going into the water, be conscious of the fear itself, but not have the slightest recollection of a painful experience associated with water to know why he can't express himself in that way.

There is a very important distinction here that you need to make between recollection and memories. What we experience in the environment becomes a memory. Our ability to bring that memory into our conscious thought process is recollection. Some memories are easy to recall because the pathways to wherever the memory is stored are used a lot. In other words, we remember how to remember certain memories. However, there are many other experiences that become subconscious. These are memories that we have either forgotten how to remember because we don't use the pathways or we were never really fully aware of what was being perceived by our senses in the first place. However, the point here is that none of what goes in to the mental environment disappears or no longer exists just because we don't remember it. Our ability to recall consciously any particular belief that we are taught as a child or our ability to recall any particular experience is not a factor in the dynamics of how any of these mental components act as a force on our behavior. Neither is physical clock time for that matter. Our conscious recollection of experiences may fade with time, but time has no impact on the electrical charge (quality of energy) or the amount of emotional force behind the charge. For example, the old adage that time heals all wounds is not applicable to the mental environment. Time will heal wounds to the body because the body is a part of a physical reality where everything is in motion and changing over time. However, time has no impact on the memories stored in our mental environment because the mental environment is not composed of physical matter. It is composed of stored energy that does not change with the passing of time.

Emotional wounds (negatively charged mental energy) will never go away unless we learn how to release ourselves from them or change them. People think time heals emotional wounds, because after years of experiences they either inadvertently let go of the pain or build a system of beliefs as a defense to shield themselves from it. In fact, our seemingly infinite capacity to resist acknowledging the injury and hiding the effects of emotional wounds makes them very elusive. We almost always know when we have injured our bodies in some way. If you break your leg, you know it because you won't be able to walk. If it doesn't heal properly, you will know that too because you won't be able to walk the same as before or it may still hurt to walk. Yet, emotional wounds are not always so self-evident, because we can always structure our beliefs to make it seem as if we are not responsible for the cycles of dissatisfaction and emotional pain we experience in our lives, thus insulating ourselves from the effects of our own negatively charged energy.

This is being pointed out because 1 have found that most people have a great deal of difficulty believing that something that happened to them in their childhood can stiil affect how they perceive their environment and how they express themselves now. Although, when you think about it, how could it be any other way? Everything that we experience becomes a component part of our mental environment. All the parts then act as an inner cause, affecting how we experience the outside environment. Again, we don't have to be able to remember why we learned to be afraid of something to feel the fear. We don't even have to consciously acknowledge to ourselves that the fear exists because we can always rationalize that it is something else or use drugs or alcohol to block our awareness of it. However, regardless of how hard we try to stop ourselves from feeling what is inside of us, the feelings are still there; otherwise our efforts to block them wouldn't be necessary in the first place. The fear will exist because the energy, somewhere in our memory of some previous experience, will cause us to feel it, regardless of whether or not we allow ourselves to have a recollection of the source.

Memories, beliefs, and associations do not go away with time, substance abuse, or trying to put them somewhere in the subconscious that makes it more difficult to gain a conscious awareness. They will continue to act as a source of energy for the way in which we pick and choose information from the environment and how we express ourselves, for as long as we live, unless we learn how to manage them. Did you ever wonder why it was so difficult to break an unwanted habit or why it can be so difficult to execute some well-thought-out plan you were really committed to? It is difficult because of what is already inside of us that acts as resistance to our intent. An intent to do something is not necessarily a belief. In other words, out of everything we intend to do, some of those intentions will be supported by our beliefs, memories, and associations, and some will not. When there is support, our efforts will seem effortless, because there is no conflict between any beliefs, memories, and associations and what we intend to do. However, if our intents are not in harmony with our beliefs, memories, or associations, doing becomes a struggle, where we can't stay focused, become easily distracted, or make what most people would characterize as "stupid mistakes."

Take, for example, someone who smokes, decides it's a bad habit, and as a result, commits himself to quitting. Thus his intent is to express himself as a nonsmoker. However, after he has smoked his last cigarette, his beliefs in being a smoker will immediately start drawing his attention to cigarettes until it builds to the point where he craves a cigarette and then has one. What we have here is a classic conflict between an intent that is not only in conflict with other beliefs but the intent itself has no real structural support. That is, there isn't a corollary belief that says, "I am a nonsmoker." The energy for his behavioT not to smoke will have to come from his conscious willingness to be a different person in this area of his life. However, his willingness doesn't instantly negate all the energy in the beliefs he has built up over the years in being a smoker. These beliefs will have a great deal of energy to act on his conscious atten-tion (noticing cigarettes in the environment and thinking about cigarettes) and his behavior (to pick one up and smoke it).

We could even have inner support (beliefs, memories, and associations) for what we intend to do and still have difficulties following through with our plans because of other conflicting beliefs. Behavior that would fall into the "stupid mistake" category is most often the result of subconscious or forgotten beliefs that are in direct conflict with our intents. Trading is a perfect example to illustrate this. Many people devote a great deal of their time, energy, and financial resources to expressing themselves as traders. They learn a lot about trading—they are even highly regarded by their peers for what they know about the market—but still can't execute their trades properly or the way they planned. There are traders who can consistently make money day after day until they get to certain threshold levels and then promptly give all their profits back to the market in one or two trades. The way they give their money back is completely inconsistent with their trading style while they were making money. After they have lost a sufficient amount of money, they go back to the way they normally trade and start the process all over again. This kind of behavior is no accident. It happens for a reason.

In each of these situations these traders certainly had developed effective, workable strategies to be successful—they definitely had some highly structured beliefs to support their expression as a trader. However, what they haven't done is identify and decharge a whole host of other beliefs (both conscious and subconscious) that are in direct conflict with the endeavor of trading or mak ing money as a trader. For example, there are many beliefs related to one's religious upbringing that are in direct conflict with the whole concept of speculating. And what is trading but taking money away from other traders with no services rendered? This kind of activity isn't consistent with most religious teachings. Another typical example is most people grow up with very powerful beliefs related to the work ethic. They have very rigid definitions about what constitutes work and how one earns one's money. Trading doesn't exactly fit into most of these definitions either.

So regardless of how highly developed one's trading strategies become, the act of trading will still violate the integrity of any belief that is in conflict with the act of trading or making money from trading. Eventually the unexpressed energy accumulating in these conflicting beliefs will build to the point where the trader will find himself behaving in a manner completely inconsistent with his trading rules or intent to make money. Often, he will even be aware that he is about to make a trading error, watch himself do it, and at the same time either feel powerless to stop himself or won't stop himself until he has lost enough money to compensate for the imbalance in his mental environment.

Now when these kinds of things happen, if we don't understand what is going on, it could cause us to feel inadequate in some way, if we judge ourselves harshly. Or we could be overcome by a sense of powerlessness and fear because we seemingly have no control over these unidentified internal forces that can exert so much control over our behavior. Without any awareness of the problem or effective tools for dealing with it, most people will attempt to build mental barriers to try and block these forces from manifesting in their behavior. Obviously, they don't work, which makes the whole situation even scarier. This is where the substance abuse comes into play. For example, a person who is an alcoholic knows he is a heavy drinker. At the most fundamental level a person drinks obsessively to separate his intellect from these inner forces he believes he has no control over. The more he blocks, the more the forces build and the more he has to drink to block. The more he drinks, the more everything deteriorates in his outer environment as a reflection of his inner environment. Eventually, the physical environment, his body, or both deteriorate so badly that he can no longer block the true state of his condition. He then acknowledges that "Yes, I am an alcoholic, and I need to change," meaning that "Yes, 1 need to address the issues in my life that caused me to start drinking in the first place."

The point of all this is: learning how to forget our painful memories or ignoring the existence of beliefs that don't support our intents does not in anyway reduce their potential to cause us to behave in certain ways. If we want to change unwanted behavior, we have to change the internal source of that behavior. Releasing ourselves from the limitations of our fears by healing our emotional wounds, changing the polarity of a belief, or decharging it altogether is something that we have to learn how to do by learning how to manage mental energy. If people knew of some way of managing their beliefs, memories, and associations, then the kind of painful cycles of forced awareness described earlier would never get started in the first place.

Thus far I have identified three forces in constant operation in our lives. First are all the external environmental forces that have the potential to act as a cause, where we, as individuals, experience an effect. Some of these outside environmental forces we will have some degree of understanding of and others we will not. Our degree of understanding and insight along with the extent to which we can act on what we know is directly proportional to the degree of satisfaction we will experience as we interact with the environment to fulfill our needs and achieve our goals. Implied within all the external forces—whether we understand them or not—are all the forces of change that automatically alter everything made of atoms and molecules consequently making what we do know—in terms of usefulness—obsolete at some point in time. For example, the chair you are sitting in to read this book is deteriorating over time. At some point it will no longer be able to support any weight, making your belief in its stability obsolete.

Second are the deep inner forces of curiosity and attraction that compel us to explore, learn about, and interact with the environment in seemingly predetermined ways. For example, there are things that we are naturally interested in learning about or learning how to do in relationship to all the other things that are available to learn about in the environment, but we have no natural interest— like someone who always wanted to be a musician, fire-fighter, actor, or doctor and pursues these vocations resulting in feelings of deep satisfaction about their lives. However, if the environment forces us into areas where there is no natural interest, we will experience an emptiness that can be very difficult to identify, only that it feels like something is missing in our lives. What each of us as individuals is naturally curious about and attracted to in the environment come from the deepest levels of our existence. They act as very powerful forces of self-expression, compelling us to create in the physical environment the object of our imagination or to pursue in the physical environment the object of our interests, often in direct conflict with outside environmental forces as well as inner mental forces in the form of what we have been taught to believe.

Third are the mental forces represented by our beliefs, memories, and associations. Even though beliefs, memories, and associations are mental forces, they are not the same as the forces of curiosity and attraction. Beliefs, memories, and associations exist exclusively as a result of the kinds of experiences we have with the physical environment. This is in contrast to the forces of curiosity and attraction that are in us before we are born and would seem to be either predetermined in a spiritual sense or genetically encoded. Some of our beliefs, memories, and associations will act as positive resources for interacting with the physical environment effectively and with some degree of satisfaction. Others, however, will have just the opposite effect. Many of our beliefs, memories, and associations are resources for failure, pain, and dissatisfaction because they lock us into only perceiving what we already know as well as cutting us off from our natural sense of curiosity. In other words, they specifically act as forces to prevent any further mental growth.

Now, since we have to interact with the physical environment to fulfill our needs and achieve our goals, the key to doing it to assure ourselves of experiencing greater levels of satisfaction is to acquire deeper levels of insight and understanding into the nature of these forces. That is, we need to stay in a constant state of learning. The only thing that really stops us from continuing to learn about the nature of these outside forces is the mental forces in the form of beliefs, memories, and associations that build up and as a result block our natural sense of curiosity, sometimes to the point of shutting down the learning process altogether.

There is some element of truth to the saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, except that it should really read "An old dog won't learn new tricks," It's not that it is impossible for someone regardless of their age to learn something new; the issue isn't ability. It is more a matter of resistance and refusal. That refusal comes from the sum total of everything we already believe, in essence saying, "Forget it—I already know everything I need to know." Of course, the consequences to such a stance toward the environment can be and often are devastating. And it invariably always takes some truly devastating event or a series of them before someone who has this kind of attitude will acknowledge that the reason for their plight is that they just refuse to allow any changes in their mental environment. Of course, this know-it-all attitude is very easy to recognize in someone else; the trick is learning how to recognize it ourselves, because it exists in all of us as a natural function of the ways in which beliefs, memories, and associations manage information.

To stay in a constant state of learning we need to learn how to adapt. To adapt we need to learn some specific mental techniques on how to consciously apply our thoughts to upgrade, modify, replace, or change the polarity (electrical charge) of various components in our mental environment that act as limiting or inhibiting forces on our perception and behavior, preventing us from gaining greater levels of correspondence with the physical environment. By consciously adapting, we are making ourselves available to learn how to fulfill our needs and achieve our goals in increasingly more satisfying ways. Note: Implied within fulfilling our needs and achieving our goals is the need to explore the object of our curiosities and attractions, which also get blocked by our beliefs, associations, and memories.

To adapt, we need to choose not to resist learning and change. This requires a willingness on our part to think outside of the limitations established by our beliefs, associations, and memories and a willingness to learn how to manage mental energy so we can release ourselves from the negative effects of our painful memories. "When we learn how to change the polarity of a painful memory, it isn't painful any longer. When the memory is decharged or drained of the negatively charged energy, it will no longer have the potential to generate fear. Fear always limits the number of choices we perceive as available from the environment by the way it causes us to focus our attention on the object of our fear. The net effect is we end up creating for ourselves exactly what we are trying to avoid. It is important for you to note that, when we change the polarity of a memory, it doesn't actually change the structure of the memory. In other words, we don't forget the experience, so we can still use it as a part of our repertoire of what we know about the nature of the physical environment. When we change the quality of energy of a memory from negative to positive, we negate the memory's potential to generate fear, thereby allowing us to perceive all the other choices for experience available from the environment in the same moment.

Preferably this willingness to change will come from somewhere other than out of desperation. The idea is to learn how to recognize what we need to know long before the conditions deteriorate to the levels of desperation. To do this requires that we incorporate into our mental system three very fundamental assumptions that will help us to maintain a healthy relationship with the environment and generate the energy behind the willingness that we will need to start such a process, after which experiencing the benefits will act as the driving force behind our willingness.

The first assumption is that we haven't learned everything there is to know. And, as a result, there are always going to be unknown forces acting upon us until our understanding of everything outside of us evolves to the point where we have simultaneous awareness of everything going on in the environment. The implications here are that we need to be in a constant state of learning from the moment we are born to the moment we die because our intellect has not yet evolved to the point of simultaneous perception of all information that is available in any given moment. Until then, we are forced to pick and choose the information we experience based on what we have learned to believe.

The second assumption is that what we have learned to believe either by force—unwillingly thrust upon us, as an expression of the outside environment—or by choice—as an expression of inner forces that operate within us like our curiosity and attractions—may not be very useful with respect to fulfilling ourselves in some satisfying manner.

The third assumption is that what we have learned that is useful and works to our satisfaction is still subject to change because of the changing environmental conditions. In other words, what we may need to know to experience more satisfaction and happiness in our lives will often have to replace partially or invalidate completely what we have already learned. Refusing to change what we have already learned is virtually the same as saying that we already know everything there is to know and don't need to learn anything further, Of course, we could easily know if we didn't need to adapt because we would be in a perpetual state of satisfaction. Anything less than a feeling of satisfaction from our interaction with the environment is an indication that we need to leam something.

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