I found myself counting, keeping score. This one discovery changed everything about the webinar I was attending, hoping to learn how to use a new tool to enhance my business productivity.
That was my supposed reason for being there: To unearth my subconscious mind’s hidden purpose, and expose the internal battle of unwitting inconsistencies that we all face as we live our lives. Of which, perhaps the greatest, is the idea that you and I live unconflicted lives internally.
The webinar continued and something different began to happen. I was learning something! Not bad for an “old dog.”
You know that saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Perhaps that saying should be something more along the lines of, “In order to teach an old dog new tricks, a deeper meaning is required.”
Old dogs have adopted a way of doing that has created a foundation for their success or failure. Most of us try to learn from failure and adapt toward success. Such an approach is easy for us to recognize as rational. It carries a built-in motivation. It works for sure, and this way of approaching change in life is incomplete.
Just because an old dog hasn’t tried a different approach doesn’t mean it won’t work. Linear thought is just that. It leads one to believe that there is only one way to do things. That would be a realistic belief if the only type of dog in our world was 12-inches long, short haired, 21 pounds and brown, white and tan in color.
Old dogs don’t need to despair because there are differences between dogs. Specific rules, laws and customs differ from place to place. What does not differ is that in all places, dogs, by their nature are creatures of habit. Yes, the same could be said about you and me. It means we hobble ourselves by pretending we are not living by habit.
Every dog, old or young, can pay attention to individual habits and use them as an advantage. My dog, Merlin, is always wary. He loves his freedom, home and routine. He also knows that when I call him to come with me, it could mean he gets to go out for a walk, or he could be going to the groomer. So, he has a habit of two-step obedience.
First, I call. He responds by coming part way so he can determine if I’m calling him to go out for a walk. He waits, to completely obey, depending on what he hears next. If he hears the door to the broom closet open, he knows his leash is coming out for a walk. Then, he runs over so we can go.
I know this about him, so if I want to be sure to get him to come, I use his habit to my advantage. I’ll call him and open the broom closet door just to ensure he comes. Then, I take him to the groomer, if that’s the plan. All habits can be used for good if we simply pay attention, identify them and then devise a work around.
When an old dog recognizes how an existing habit is creating internal conflict, she has stopped pretending. That’s when her approach to change becomes complete. She sees her habit and opens her mind to explore other options for success.
I find myself counting, keeping score, and looking for more routes toward success these days. This one discovery, about recognizing the role of habit, can transform everything about approaching change in life. Unearthing the subconscious mind’s hidden purpose, exposes the internal battle of unwitting inconsistencies that we all face as we live our lives. Of which, perhaps the greatest, is the idea that all dogs can indeed learn new tricks.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.