PART 1 : Why is The Method effective in creating positive change?
The short answer to this question is that The Method accelerates achievement of our aspirations through increased focus, awareness, commitment and strategic learning.
- The Method stimulates growth of brain cells, increasing the raw usable intelligence of the practitioner
- The Method increases the practitioner’s focus on what’s important.
- The Method increases the practitioner’s commitment for taking action.
- The Method increases the practitioner’s awareness of clues about what to do next.
- The Method accelerates the practitioner’s strategically relevant learning, thereby increasing effectiveness in making progress toward a better future
The Method stimulates growth of brain cells, increasing the raw usable intelligence of the practitioner.
Much of what we know about the human brain has come from animal research. Conventional wisdom used to be that our human brain stops growing before we reach our twenties. Rat research in the late 1960’s discovered that we can teach old rats new tricks and their brains become larger and heavier. This meant the old rats that were learning new behaviors were growing more brain cells, but the technology for confirming that wasn’t available yet.
Decades later Dr. William Greenough, award winning research psychologist at the University of Illinois [UIUC] made an important discovery. Using much more sophisticated technology in the late 1990’s, he separated out the effects of learning and exercise in the brain. He confirmed that learning stimulates brain cell growth such that the cells [neurons] grow in both length and number. He also made another discovery about what exercise does for our brain. Just as exercise increases blood flow [vascularization] to the heart and muscles, it does something similar for the brain in those areas that are activated during the exercise. Exercise increases growth of small vessel capillaries [vascularization] to brain cells, providing more nutrition for brain cell growth in length, number and complexity.
Again, this occurs in those areas of the brain activated during the exercise
So consciously using your mind during exercise grows your brain. Now, consider what’s going on in your brain when you use The Method. The aspect of the brain that controls physical movement is activated, along with the aspect of the brain that controls the conscious regulation of breath. Additionally the aspect of the brain that controls silent language, a particular form of thinking, is also activated. All of these aspects of the brain are fed an oxygen rich blood supply that brings increased nutrition to the brain. As a result, The Method stimulates brain cell growth, increasing the raw intellectual potential of the practitioner.
The Method increases our focus on what’s important.
When we repeat our own aspirational goal statement in rhythm with our breath and movement, we are focusing on what we individually define as important. This focus permeates our body and brain during each exercise programming session. This aerobic aspirational focus influences what we think about afterwards. Thoughts about our aspiration become more frequent. We have more ideas about how to make progress. Our ability to maintain focus in general increases, along with our ability to focus specifically on those goals and issues that we decide are most important for achieving our aspiration. Further, The Method gives us access to more of our native intelligence and puts it to use in helping us to move toward our most strategic and heartfelt aspirations.
Additionally, something else important happens. The less important stuff seems to fade away. Dr. Robert Kaplan, Harvard Business School professor and co-creator of a world famous methodology for strategy execution makes the point that a comprehensive strategy clarifies more than strategic goals, or what to focus on. It also clarifies what not to focus on, because individuals and organizations do not normally have the time and resources to do all the things they want to do.
Use of The Method yields an increase in the amount of time we spend on what we define as important. And the time we devote to less important issues tends to decrease as those issues fade in importance.
One of the reasons for our increased accomplishment is our increased commitment for taking action. During my consulting to more than two hundred organizations in the US and China over a thirty year period, one of the most common problems I found in these organizations was a lack of commitment. This was not unlike many of the individual clinical problems that I had encountered.
Employees and mid level managers often showed what looked like learned helplessness as they struggled to meet each organization’s increasingly challenging strategic goals.
During leadership training and individual leadership counseling sessions I began to more specifically consider what it meant to be committed to a goal and how to measure that commitment. What came to me was a way to separately consider three different aspects of commitment:
- Diligent Commitment refers to the time we devote to reaching an important goal that is aspirational. This can include gathering information to understand the root causes that are interfering with accomplishing the goal. It includes thinking ahead to plan what actions are required to make progress. And it includes, of course, the amount of time we spend on taking action to practically achieve the goal. There are multiple steps to achieving our most important aspirations. Diligent Commitment keeps us on the path to success.
- Opportunistic Commitment refers to the percentage of opportunities we take advantage of to move toward an important goal. If the door is open, do we walk through it? A more subtle aspect of this is perceptual. The Method increases our ability to detect [perceive] opportunities for action. The Method increases the likelihood we will take action once we detect an opportunity for action.
- Creative Commitment refers to the number and impact of new opportunities we develop to move toward our most important aspirations. The more we program for and focus on a critically important goal, we find more creative and effective ways to make progress.
These three measures of commitment blend together for those of us who regularly use The Method. We show strong commitment to creating a better future for ourselves and those we care about. This often begins with diligent commitment, expands opportunistically when new opportunities for action are detected, and eventually becomes more creative with greater impact.
The Method increases our awareness of clues about what to do next.
As we aerobically focus our brain/minds on what we define as important, we spend more time working on our goals. We take advantage of more opportunities to make progress and we become more creative in solving the inevitable hurdles and problems that arise.
A more subtle aspect of this is the increased awareness that results from an aerobic focus on goals. Think of our sensory organs as a type of perceptual apparatus or equipment. From the moment of birth we evolve in learning how to use this perceptual equipment to sense and respond to our world. As we go through what is often a highly structured educational process, we are told what to pay attention to and what to do to make the grades we desire. This institutionally structured process narrows our attention span because we have to pay more attention to a relatively small number of variables that are defined as important by our teachers.
Something entirely different takes place when we individually program ourselves toward creating a better future for ourselves by using The Method. The clues for what will make a difference are not always so obvious. If we knew what to do and how to do it, we probably would already be on the path toward a better future. In today’s complex society, it is not so clear for most people.
Using The Method has a somewhat mysterious but welcome effect. Our perceptions become more sensitives to clues that if acted upon, will lead to progress, sometimes surprisingly so. The more we use it, the more we are able to detect clues that point a possible way forward in the direction we seek. Those clues can be checked out further. They can be tested for their usefulness by taking whatever actions seem most appropriate and effective. As we do that, we discover which clues point the way forward and our progress accelerates.
The Method accelerates our strategically relevant learning, thereby increasing effectiveness in making progress toward the better future we aspire to.
The major benefits that accumulate from using The Method — increased focus, awareness and commitment — begin to merge together over time. The result is that The Method fosters strategically relevant learning. We learn what works better and what does not work so well through the actions we take and through our observations of what works well and what does not work so well.
That learning increases our effectiveness and helps us to be more efficient in taking action. As we master use of The Method over time by applying it to the variety of goals and issues we aspire to, we begin to move toward better mastery of our own lives. As that strategic learning unfolds, there may arise a more open heart, with greater compassion for the suffering of others. In this manner we become more effective in creating a better future for ourselves and those we care about.
PART 2: Why is The Method effective in creating positive change?
In Part One of the answer to this question, we gave you five practical reasons for why The Method is effective in creating positive change. Those five reasons are sufficient to explain increased personal effectiveness because of increased intelligence, focus, awareness, commitment and strategic learning.
Those five reasons do not, however, explain pleasant surprises [serendipity] and meaningful coincidences [synchronicity]. How do we account for an increase of these meaningful favorable events in our lives? What causal principles could be operating?
When we silently repeat our aspiration to ourselves in rhythm with our breath in rhythm with our movement, we are sending an information message throughout our brain/mind/body. Let’s simply add one more factor to this information transmission. Consider that in addition to the information traveling inside our body, let’s suppose that it also travels outside our body, as well. There is evidence for that from a variety of sources. The most basic scientific evidence is that random number generators around the world are influenced by significant external events that involve intense emotional reactions of large numbers of people.
Let’s suppose that when we use The Method that information is being projected out from our brain/mind/body. The predicted increase in pleasant surprises [serendipity] and meaningful coincidences [synchronicity] can be viewed as the Universe’s response to the aerobic projection of our silently stated intention.
By consistently repeating a clear statement of our intention over and over under conditions of aerobic movement, we send that message out [to the Universe] in a more powerful manner. The Universe sometimes responds to our clearly and repeatedly stated intention, and it does so in unexpected ways. This is how it tends to operate. What we get back is sometimes a complex result of what we put out, in relation to the turbulent environment that surrounds us.
Serendipity and synchronicity are how the world we live in communicates to us that we are on the right track, the right path toward a better future. It’s a future that we define for ourselves. It’s a future that we have to work for, move for, gather information about, and then practically take action in to create progress.
This means we are operating within two realms that are likely governed by different principles. The tangible world tends to conform to basic principles of Newtonian physics that were known before we discovered that inside the atom there is no-thing; it is mostly empty space. Newtonian physics is what has enabled us to build bridges and huge skyscrapers, as well as fly into outer space.
What governs the intangible world? There may be multiple variables governing the intangible world of pleasant surprises and unexpected events. We submit for your consideration [and for your personal private testing] that intention is the most powerful and controllable variable for creating a better future.
You can use your intention to create a better future for yourself and those you care about. Putting your intention into words as a positive goal, and repeating that aspiration in rhythm with your movement and breath, is an enormously powerful path toward a better future.
There is much to learn for each of us as this Journey unfolds.