Aug. 5, 2011: Pattern Interruption Strategies

[Previously, we have explored awareness of old, rigid responses and the importance of new alternatives. ]

I  have already explained  that new alternatives can be chained right onto old stress responses.  This is the most reliable way to have these new responses available when we need them.  A further way to strengthen our abilities to break old patterns consists  of attaching “pattern interrupters.”

Remember, an essential principle for change is that we cannot subtract or erase old learning, but we can add or attach new learning onto old learning.  This is an elegant option, so we will illustrate it with an example, taught to me years ago.

I especially enjoy this example because the technology referred to is itself so outdated today, just as old patterns become outdated.  Before MP3’s, before CD’s, before tapes, there were vinyl records.

They were played by a turntable and read by a diamond needle.  Not surprisingly, a track could easily develop what was called a “skip.”  When the record skipped, it would play the same phrase repeatedly.  Imagine if the phrase was, “You’re really a jerk, and no one will like you.”  Even worse, the electrical cord attaches to your own emotions, so that the more upsetting the message, the more loudly it will play.  “YOU’RE really a jerk, and no one will like you!”

The recording is rigid, indelible, and unchangeable.  However, the solution is contained in the rigidity itself.  If one were to drop even a little clump of dust on that track of the record, it would interrupt the playback.

Our “clump of dust” will be any phrase, emotion, or behavior that is incompatible with the rigid pattern.  We are going to short-circuit it.

Next week, we  will explore six examples of pattern interruption, including a mnemonic to help us remember them.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 5th, 2011 at 12:04 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Aug. 5, 2011: Pattern Interruption Strategies”

  1. Dave H Says:

    One course I took (Imagine 21 put on by Lou Tice) suggested wearing a rubber band. Every time you indulged in negative self talk, you snap the band as a reminder not to do that. I saw the guy in the halls who brought the program into our company. He had just gotten a huge promotion. He had his head down and look distressed. I asked him if it was a bad as it looked. His answer was,”Much worse”. I later sent him an email suggesting that he get his rubber band out. He replied how much he appreciated someone telling the truth.

  2. Dr. Rick Blum Says:

    I enjoyed several aspects of your comment, including the way that we can lose access to what we need to know, when we most need it. That’s the reason that I have been developing the the theme of these series of posts. Thanks for a great illustration.

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