Celebrate — Every time you fail!

high jumperOkay Debra, now you are taking this pat yourself on the back stuff a little too far! What do you mean — celebrate every time you fail?

When I first started into this field of personal development I was lucky enough to have a friend and mentor who was (and still is) one of the best in the industry. You may know that tall guy with the big teeth who does firewalks 😉  Well, back in the day he used to do a lot of personal coaching and had been called upon to work with an Olympic High Jump hopeful who was struggling badly.

Tony watched him for a few minutes and saw the pattern the young man was in which was to jump, miss the mark, come down to kicking the mat, muttering curses and generally being as frustrated and angry with himself as he could muster. Well, that makes sense as a response to “failing” right? But does it help you progress?

My friend challenged the high jumper to shift that pattern immediately. He told him that when he hit the ground he was to IMMEDIATELY jump up and CELEBRATE  for a minute, then stop and say what he had learned. The young man was very dubious about this approach and had a very difficult time with it at first but finally gave into the big guy and did it repeatedly.

Within about one hour our young high jumper had BROKEN HIS OWN RECORD! And that was the ONLY thing they did!!

Hummmm, something to think about!

Spread the word,

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Now, Later, Never – When to Use Positive Reinforcement

0DelayPositive reinforcement can be very effective whether that means giving yourself a simple pat on the back or using some other type of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is widely accepted as a powerful method of teaching, training and building positive habits and behaviors.

But WHEN should you give it to yourself (or someone else)?

Utah State University published a behavioral guidelines checklist which confirms that  positive reinforcement is most effective when it occurs immediately after the behavior. The guidelines also recommend the reinforcement should be presented enthusiastically and should occur frequently. One of the beauties of a pat on the back (and the iPhone APP that makes it even easier) is that it can easily be done in the moment and the applause setting on the app definitely adds a fun sense of enthusiasm!

The shorter the amount of time between any behavior you want to reinforce and the subsequent positive reinforcement, the stronger the connection will be in the brain — remember the brain tells us to move TOWARD pleasure and AWAY from pain.

Delay of positive reinforcement…

If a long period of time elapses between the behavior and the positive reinforcement, the connection will be weaker from the behavior to the brain and heart. So as the delay increases, the effectiveness of the reinforcement decreases. The scary thing is that I find many people aren’t giving themselves much, if any positive reinforcement, ever – urghh! And then they wonder why they aren’t feeling motivated!

So the important message here is catch yourself (and others) engaged in behaviors you want and find lots of ways to enthusiastically reinforce them as quickly as possible.  You’ll be building connections from the behavior to the pleasure center in the brain. It just makes sense 😉

Spread the Word,




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