Making the change


When working on any program of change moving from one system (whole body, conscious or unconscious unity) to another, and designing the path forward (and this applies whether you are working on yourself, or working with other people); you need to consider the speed and rate of change in relation to the level of challenge your new ways present.

There’s a complex relationship between payoffs, perceived challenge and the intensity of effort required for a specific change to occur. We call this the gradient of effort.

If the gradient is too steep (the challenge is perceived to be too great, or the payoffs to effort are too small, or too distant) – frustration even to the point of abandoning progressive action is a possibility.

If the gradient is too steep – either raise the desire (by re-examining the goals for how they benefit other contexts, and higher goals or purposes, etc.) which then leads to re-evaluating use of resources, or lower the challenge level, intensity or complexity of action, or extend the timeframe of the work while sacrificing payoffs.

“But, but, but… I want it all NOW.”

“What are you willing to trade to have it all now?”

“Some money? (but not too much)”

“Money won’t buy you skill. Skill takes repetition over time. If you’re willing to trade greater frequency in sessions, and intensity of activity; we can get you there faster.”

“But, but, but… that sounds like WORK. I want it all NOW and with no effort.”

“Friend, where there is no gradient, no challenge, no frequency or intensity; there is no change.

Gradient is the sign of work focused on a goal. You like the idea of change but not actually changing.

What you get for some money now (or soon) is pizza, delivered to your door – if you’re lucky, there might be some change left over but otherwise… we have to set some goals, and figure out the best way to get them with your resources.”

EVERY form of change, including those that seem passive – massage, bodywork, hypnosis, etc. – have gradients with them.

What that gradient will be differs from person to person, goal to goal, and time to time.

Fortunately, you control the gradient for yourself with habit hacking – learning to push a bit more consistently builds capacity.

Too much push can lead to stress, and failure.

Not enough or no push at all leads to disappointing results and zero learning as the brain REQUIRES the difference between desired end-state, and present state (at every size of goal or goal system) to be significant enough and meaningful enough and promising enough to arouse action.

The gradient provides the feedback to how one is progressing.

Too much or too little hinders optimal performance. With regards to a planned series of work or a program you can adjust, amongst other things:

  1. Timing
    • Duration of activities
    • Frequency
    • Intervals between
    • Period of time
  2. Activity
    • Intensity
    • Complexity
    • Sequence
    • Attention
  3. Dynamic State response
    • “Desire for”
    • Eustress/Distress
    • Rest
  4. Payoffs
    • Immediate
    • Medium Term
    • Long Term

… in order to change the gradient of effort.

But where do you start?

You always start with the baseline. The baseline is where you are with regard to the required skills, abilities, capacities and resources for ANY specified goal, target or vision at a particular time.

You gauge the baseline after you have worked out the goals system, and the processes and resources that you are pursuing.

For example, if you determine that you need to “make cold calls” to achieve a particular goal, and you have no experience and great fear of the activity – the baseline is set low, and you will need to break the system of activities, and the application of resources down quite carefully in order to set a gradient.

This gradient (and your expectations) can then be managed so that you smoothly develop the skills and confidence you need while moving you as swiftly as possible to your goal activity, which sits in bigger system, which… etc., etc. the trade-off here is time taken to develop skill and confidence vs delay in larger goals.

If you want to work faster; you must… slooooowww down, and work smarter…

Awareness and skill with establishing baseline and gradient for any system of activities places you squarely in the driver’s seat.

You become more skillful and efficient as a learner and you also develop a deep appreciation for your skills and deficiencies.

Self-Knowledge like this allows you to know when you shouldn’t be calling the shots, and when you should ask for help, and when you’re simply not stretching your capabilities sufficiently.

  1. Take your last month’s output data on a key project.
  2. Review your outputs, the quality of each of your results within that project, your time to completion, and any other factors relating to your performance.
  3. Now look at the project goal over all – is your gradient in the project too steep, not steep enough, or perfect for balancing quality, speed, and increased capacity.

May you discover interesting things about yourself…

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