Old Habits Stick Like Oyster Glue!

I teach programs in Leadership and I coach business and school leaders. But I’ve noticed that ‘oyster glue’ often gets in the way of people’s goals, plans and intentions! To me, oyster glue represents the old habits, beliefs, anxieties and fears that stick in the subconscious mind. So what’s the big deal?

The secret to all of this is that our subconscious mind runs our behavior. The conscious mind would like to think it runs the show but it doesn’t. In every case, the subconscious mind will direct our behavior.

In fact, Dr. George Pratt in his book, Code to Joy, compares the conscious mind to a flea riding on the back of an elephant (the subconscious mind). If the flea (conscious mind) wants to go to the ocean, he says, and the elephant (subconscious mind) wants to go to the mountains, it’s obvious where they’ll end up. And the flea will have no choice about it!

Further, neuroscience tell us that the subconscious mind is a million times faster and a million times more powerful than the conscious mind. It takes over and reacts instantly to events and situations moving us into action or causing us to say something we may regret.

Our conscious mind may have a lot of desires for change:

  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to make more money
  • I want to stop procrastinating
  • I want to improve my leadership skills
  • I want to improve my communication skills

But in the moment, as life happens, the subconscious programming from the past, will run our behavior. These are the old habits, beliefs, anxieties or lack of self-confidence stored deep in the recesses of the mind. Once one of these is triggered, the amygdala lights up and causes a cascading of cortisol or stress hormone into the system.

oyster and pearlHowever, the pearl in the oyster is that the scientific laboratories around the world are giving us an in depth understanding of how the brain and body work together. This is like having a manual for your car. Through fMRI scanning we can see inside of the human brain as a person is thinking.

Plus, or maybe as a result, new books as well as tools and techniques are showing up every day. So how do we free ourselves from the ‘oyster glue’ in the subconscious mind so that we can be everything we want to be and do everything we’d like to do?

It does take self-work. So I thought I’d share some of my eclectic readings as well as the tools I use for my own development  (after all you can’t teach what you don’t know or don’t do). I invite you to look into any of them for yourself based on your interest areas and needs.

Oops! As I started to do this, I ended up with 40 books on the list. So I took out all of the business books and kept it to brain change books for success!

Here’s the really short list of the books that have touched me:

  • Jack Canfield – “The Success Principles”
  • Eckart Tolle – “The Power of Now”
  • Norman Doidge – “The Brain That Changes Itself”
  • Andrew Newberg & Mark Robert Waldman – “How God Changes Your Brain”
  • George Pratt, John David Mann, Peter Lambrou – “Code to Joy”
  • Nick Ortner – “The Tapping Solution”
  • Marvin Oka & Grant Soosalu – “mBraining – Using Your Multiple Brains To Do Cool Stuff”

Here’s the really short list of tools and Techniques I use for clearing subconscious barriers (for myself and others) that arise in the day to day living of life:

  • Breathing (and other) techniques from Yoga
  • Byron Katie’s “The Work”
  • Dr. Roger Callahan – Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT
  • Nick Ortner – Tapping
  • The 5 Step Clearing Method
  • Meditation and centering
  • Self coaching questions
  • Visualization

Although I cut both lists markedly, this should give you a good start. I would add my book Learning to Learn: How to Maximize Your Performance Potential to your list. If your lifestyle,  your relationships, or leadership style is being cramped by ‘oyster glue’, you may want to check out some of the books & tools I’ve listed.

And I’d love to hear about you – your challenges, the things you’re doing on your journey… as well as your use of any of the things I’ve shared.


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