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Self Improvement - Why Do the Results Take So Long?

Updated on October 29, 2011

The Coffee Shop and The Signal Controller

Remember, even when you consciously decide to do something, and consciously change a pattern, the 90% of you that is unconscious (programmed, doesn't think for itself) didn't get the memo yet!!!

It takes a while......There's no way of knowing how long it will take for anyone's unconscious to catch up with the conscious decisions. The only time you'll know is when you see some kind of result - then you'll know, ah, more of me has now caught up ; )

But the good news is, it won't be a case of all 90% all the time. Different aspects will change at different times and it will probably be gradual. And it will be different for different changes.

For example, imagine a coffee shop. Every day for the past twenty years, a particular customer has come in at 11am and ordered a black coffee with four sugars. All the staff know him, and he no longer needs to order. As soon as the staff see him, they make a black coffee with four sugars, and serve it to him.

Then one day, he changes his order. When they bring him the coffee, he tells them he no longer wants sugar in it. Now, the next time he comes in, one of two things happen: either, the same staff member serves him, but is so in the habit of putting four sugars in the coffee, she goes ahead and does it automatically and has to be reminded by the customer - no sugar. Or..... a different staff member - who hasn't been told about the change, will automatically make the coffee - black with four sugars.

So, it depends on how many staff members there are, and what kind of communication exists between them. It will also depend on each individual staff member, and their own individual ability to get out of the habit, as to how long it will be before it becomes automatic for the customer to receive a black coffee with NO sugar.

During this transition, he may sometimes get black coffee without sugar, and then get four sugars again. Sometimes he may get two sugars, because the staff member caught herself half-way through putting sugar in, and stopped.

But each time he comes in, he's getting closer to what he wants, because each time he comes in and the coffee is made - even when they accidently put sugar in it - the message is getting more and more ingrained.

And then one day, he'll walk in and his coffee will be automatically served without sugar, and the next day, it will happen again..... and so it will become the norm.

Now.... here's another example - and this explains the difference between the subject matter. Imagine a Railway Junction. There are two workers who control the signals at this railway junction. Both have been doing this for twenty years. Every day for twenty years, two trains come from opposite directions at 4pm. And every day for twenty years, the controller on duty has set the signal for the East-bound train to stop, in order to allow the West-bound train through, before then giving the green signal to the East-bound one.

One day, both controllers receive a message to say there's a new addition to the track, and from now on, you don't need to stop the East-bound train - there is a new track for it.

Now, imagine how long it's going to take for those controllers to trust that new instruction - considering that if it's not true, or if it's an error, the trains will crash and people will be killed.

So in this senario, unlike the coffee shop where it was just a case of everyone getting the message and getting into the new habit - in this senario you've got the Danger element as well!! And THAT will take longer. These controllers may need to receive that message many times before they believe and trust it.

And one of the controllers may be more trusting than the other, so he may one day allow the train through - and that will work fine. But the other controller may not hear about it, so he may continue to hang onto the old instructions for a while longer - "just in case".

But no matter how long it takes, if he continues to get the message, he will eventually trust that it is true and not a mistake, and/or he will hear about the success from the other controller. And he too will then make the change.

We have no idea of what our cells consider "dangerous" - for example, trusting may feel dangerous - that may be the equivilant to some of our cells, of changing the train signals after all these years.

After allllll these years of not trusting, now suddenly they're told they can trust, well it will take a while for that to get through. Whereas, getting into the habit of noticing the good stuff day-to-day would be more like the coffee shop - a habit change.

So the best thing we can do is to remind ourselves that this is what is happening behind the scenes, and to be patient with ourselves. Know that the message is getting through, and that the results will begin to show as each part of you receives, and trusts the message. The more understanding and patient you are, the easier and faster the changes will happen because the less stress, the more effective the changes.

So, if you're seeing erratic results, even though you have been changing your thinking and trying so hard..... remember, around 90% of you didn't get the memo yet - some of that 90% may have got it by now, some of it may need to be reminded a few times, and some of you may just need time to trust that it's safe to think that way. I hope this makes sense. But do let me know if you need more clarity on it.


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    • Supercellbaebe profile image


      7 years ago from LONDON

      Beautiful :) I am making big changes to my life at the moment. I suffer from horrific anxiety, phobias and panic and can't eat at all because I've switched off my digestive system as I am stuck in fight or flight mode. I've just begun to be mindful and the steps feel painfully small and progress is painfully slow. Its nice to have an explanation as to why!

      At times it seems so frustrating, you don't think things are improving, but actually every day you get closer to being well and healthy. This hub has given me new hope.

      Thank you very very much :D


    • Linc2010 profile image


      10 years ago from Whiting, IN USA

      Love, light and the magic of the subconscious mind. Know it will happen if you truly believe it is, and tie-in the strong emotions of it happening.


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