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Do You Need A Beliefs Makeover?

Posted 1774 Days Ago in: NLP Articles, Tips

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Albert Ellis, a giant of modern psychology and one of the pioneers of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy observed that our beliefs are often absolute and rigid. As a result, the demands we make of the world are littered with words like ‘should’, ‘must’ and ‘have to’

Albert Ellis, a giant of modern psychology and one of the pioneers of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy observed that our beliefs are often absolute and rigid. As a result, the demands we make of the world are littered with words like ‘should’, ‘must’ and ‘have to’. Ellis coined the rather splendid word ‘musturbation’ to describe those inflexible demands. To overcome procrastination, we need to listen to these musturbatory demands and then, consciously and deliberately, replace them with instructions that are less obstructive and more helpful. Doing this is a two-step process:

Step One: Replace rigid demands with softer alternatives.

Step Two: Add a get-out clause.

Step One: Replace rigid demands with softer alternatives.

Identify the parts of the belief that include the words ‘must’ / ‘should’ / ‘ought’. Now replace them with the words ‘I’d like to’ / ‘I’d prefer’ / ‘it would be nice’. Immediately they begin to sound more like friendly suggestions rather than harsh instructions. Here’s what some of the earlier demands would sound like after a makeover.

Rigid Belief

I must get a perfect result.

I must know everything about this.

I need help. I must not fail.

I should do this on my terms.

I must be under pressure

Softened Belief

I’d like a perfect result.

I’d prefer to know everything about this.

It’d be nice to have help.

I’d prefer not to fail.

I’d like to do this on my terms.

I’d prefer to be under pressure.

Just changing the wording of your beliefs in this what may do the trick. You are less likely to stall if you ‘prefer’ perfection than ‘must have’ it. Adopt this softer language and you may find your reasons for procrastination evaporate. But just in case they don’t, here’s step two.

Add a get out clause

Having transformed ‘I must get a perfect result’ into ‘I’d like a perfect result’ we now add a get out clause using ‘but’: ‘I’d like to get a perfect result but if I don’t get one it doesn’t matter.’ ‘I’d like a perfect result but a good result will be great’. In effect, we are minimising the demand. We are no longer setting ourselves up to fail. If we get the perfect result: magnificent. If we don’t: well, we’ve already decided that is doesn’t matter that much.

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