We can’t exactly measure our states but we know when our state is changing. However, it’s not true to say we have no control over our states – not only that, it’s a limiting and unhelpful belief.
Everybody manages his or her state to some extent. For example, ‘I will take a long bath; that will make me feel better’ or ‘I will go out for a run’ are both strategies to change our state.
As we pass from state to state, we think of them as good or bad and we know the states we enjoy and the ones we don’t, so we have a basis for deciding whether to maintain a state or change it to something quite different.
We usually think that a state happens as the result of an external event, however, a state is not always directly linked to the external event, and it only occurs after some other processing takes place. This processing is unique to each of us, so the state that results from an event will be different for each of us.
Events themselves are neutral, it’s only after we have processed them through our filters that we label them as good or bad. If the majority considers an event bad, this does not make it so. It simply means the majority have filtered the event in a similar way and come to the same conclusion.
The good news is that just because we think an event is ‘bad’, this does not mean it cannot change for us if we change our filters.
Another way that states arise is when we imagine something or replay a memory. This can be completely unrelated to what is going on around us, yet it can still generate a powerful state. If we really get into the process, an internal movie can generate just as powerful a state as an external event.
Our state is affected by activity, even a subtle activity. How do you stand when you put on that really expensive and sharp-looking suit? You are power dressed and you know it. If you stand that way right now, even without the suit, how do you feel?
We can change our state in the moment by changing any of the above things that affect state and we can make more permanent changes to the way we generate states by changing our filters.
What state do you want?
Your state influences everything you do. If you are clear about the optimal state for doing something and then access that state, you will be making it much easier to achieve your outcome.
Whatever your planned activity, you might start by considering the following:
- What state you want to be in?
- What state do you want other people to be in?
You then need to plan how you, and others, can achieve those states. It may well be that you can’t do it all in one jump, so what intermediate states would you or others need to go through?
Many states are fleeting or transitional, but each of us usually drops back into a state in which we feel ‘at home’ – your baseline state. This may be balanced and harmonious or it may be out of balance and uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it has become habitual, even if it is one of continuing anxiety or depression or dullness. The quality of your baseline state contributes hugely to the quality of your life, since you spend so much time in it.
Eliciting states in others
We are always eliciting states in others whenever we interact with them. Another person will always pass what they experience of us through their filters, coming up with a meaning which will affect their state.
The simplest way to elicit a particular state in another person is to ask them to remember a time when they were in that state as vividly as they can. This works best when you are in rapport with the other person, and you are already doing your ‘version’ of the state you want them to access. If you want them to access confidence, be in a confident state yourself, with all the voice and posture signals that exude confidence.
Post courtesy of People Alchemy – for access to the Alchemy for Managers online resource visit http://www.peoplealchemy.co.uk/catalyst