Impact of influence

You are not incharge, your conditioning and influence is.

navigation america Jan 20, 2024

How many of us after watching the last Top Gun movie wanted to either become a pilot or wished we had become one when we were younger or thought about becoming one now or buying even a small plane and flying it?
I bet you did, even if you did a little bit. That was the influence that movie had on you in just a couple of hours. Now imagine if you lived in that town, hung out at those bars and restaurants in the movie and all you saw was the Air Force base, people in uniform and all the works . How likely will you be to want to be an Air Force pilot or at least serve in the military? Very likely. That's your conditioning telling you what to do

See, we humans are quite intelligent and quite dumb at the same time. We can make sense of just about anything we want to do. We decide what to do first and then find reasons why we decided that, which you could find the pros and cons to literally doing anything whatsoever and use them to either talk yourself into or out of that thing. So the decision seems to weigh more than the reasons why it seems like because you can justify whatever you do.

Ivan Pavlov's famous experiment where he would ring the bell and then give the dog food. After several repetitions, the dogs started to associate the sound of the bell with food. Eventually, the dogs would begin to salivate in response to the bell alone, even when no food was presented. This salivation in response to the bell was a conditioned response. Now think about the sound your phone makes when someone you have a crush on messages you or the sound of an IG DM, or the sound notification of money being deposited in your bank account. It produces the same effect in you because your brain recognizes it with happiness, joy, excitement, and releases dopamine aka your conditioning. Pavlov also discovered that dogs would respond similarly although with less excitement to similar stimulus like the bell but not the actual bell itself. An example would be that we get a little excited when we see a notification pop up on our phone just not as much when its not our favorite person or money hitting the bank.

Now that I got the basics across let me dig deep on this. The decisions you make daily are influenced by your conditioning to certain stimuli. Emotional responses for example are trained and you can track them back to early childhood or your adolescent years where those associations began to form. The consequences of any behavior or action form the likelihood of its recurrence which is why for business people, cold calling is so hard because the responses and consequences are brutal , getting cussed out by people and the fear of rejection. And so we hire other people to do the cold calling for us so we can hop on warm leads instead of cold. And even if you do like to cold call, that is because you have either seen that there is money on the other end first hand or you have been told (Influenced) by someone that you can make money cold-calling.

Social approval, rewards, or punishments have shaped many of our habits and preferences. These ingrained behaviors often dictate choices without conscious awareness. So if you lead people or want to lead people, then positive reinforcement in the workplace, like bonuses, promotions, or public recognition, can motivate employees to work harder and shape their work habits and priorities.
And fear of negative evaluations, demotion, or job loss can also dictate how employees behave, encouraging conformity and risk-averse behaviors and their relationship with work becomes tone deaf and so does your brand. The extent of social approval doesn't end there, if you hang around people who drink a lot at social gatherings, guess what you'll find yourself doing, drinking more often to get their approval and be liked. Your food choices, recycling, volunteering are all a way of getting social approval.The way we dress, our career choices, and even our opinions are reflections of the social conditioning we've been exposed to. And rightfully so, some of it can be very beneficial for you, I am not bashing anything here.

The point of this blog post is to control our conditioning instead of trying to control every choice we make, decrease your cognitive load, control the gauge in the theatre of your life instead of trying to provide every single occupant with a blanket and hot chocolate. 

So when you go through a hard time in life be it mentally, physically or spiritually step #1 is to do something that makes you feel relaxed, whatever that may be and then looking at why you're feeling that way. What conditioning or influence is making you feel that way. Did you consciously allow that conditioning into your life or did it creep up on you when you weren't paying attention?

So what does your brain actually play in making decisions? Decisions are often the result of well-trodden neural pathways formed through repeated behaviors. These pathways can become the brain's default response, dictating our choices.
Neuroplasticity shows that while these pathways are malleable, changing them requires conscious effort and repeated practice of new behaviors. Which is why a habit is the hardest to form in the beginning, the more regularly you do something, the better you are at it and the more easier and habitual it becomes. If you're speaking on a stage for the first time versus the hundredth time we both know which one will turn out better, the latter. 

Your emotions and having good emotional regulation is important for making good decisions, if you consistently make poor decisions, it's not your fault in the moment, it's the lack of overall emotional regulation, example would be that if you wake up one morning and decide to run a full marathon with zero preparation and never having ran more than 3 miles at one time on your entire life, you can't blame yourself if you fail miserably at it , you can however blame the lack of conditioning.

Let's talk more science, think of the amygdala like an alarm system. It reacts to things that make us happy or scared. When making decisions, if something feels wrong or dangerous, the amygdala reacts strongly, and this can change our decision. And if your amygdala is weak, that means it's extra sensitive and reacts too strongly in a lot of situations often talking you into doing something you shouldn't or talking you out of doing something beneficial but difficult. 

One more science word, the hippocampus is like our brain's memory bank. It helps us remember past experiences. When we need to make a decision, it reminds us of what happened before in similar situations, which helps us decide. So if you haven't reflected on past experiences and learnt from them, you dismiss anything remotely similar to that even if this one will be very beneficial for you. It's like me saying that "One time this white guy called me a Sand-Ni**er so now I hate all white people forever" sounds dumb right? It is so. PS: That actually happened with me about 10 years ago. 

I love white people, I love black people, brown people, asian people , I love ALL people I don't care what your race, gender, sexual orientation , political leaning, or anything maybe. I love all people even if I disagree with them.

Continuing on conditioning and Influence, I like to say this phrase "Monkey see monkey do",mirror neurons activate when observing others, playing a role in learning through imitation. They contribute to how social environments and behaviors observed in others influence our own behaviors and decisions. So again, don't try to control everything you do, control what you watch, what you listen to , who you hang out with, what events you attend, your nervous system does not know the difference in real vs a movie, watching stressful Tv or being in those situations will increase your stress levels guaranteed, once that happens, that opens a can of high cortisol and low dopamine which is how depression starts. 

Now we talk about my favorite part, how do we break free from unfavorable conditioning?

Practice mindfulness to become more aware of your automatic thoughts and behaviors. Reflect on your actions and decisions to identify patterns that might be results of your conditioning.
Keeping a journal can help in tracking thoughts and behavior patterns, providing insight into how conditioning influences your daily life. I want to encourage two types of writing, descriptive and prophetic. Don't fill your journal with just how bad things are, fill it with how you see them in your ideal world.

Delve into your childhood experiences, education, and significant life events to understand the origin of your conditioned beliefs.
Analyze the impact of your family dynamics and cultural background on your belief system

Challenge and reframe irrational or limiting beliefs developed through conditioning. Replace them with more realistic and empowering thoughts.
Test the validity of your conditioned beliefs by engaging in new behaviors that contradict these beliefs and observing the outcomes.

Seek out new experiences and environments that differ from your usual ones. This exposure will broaden your perspective and challenge pre-existing conditioning.
Interacting with people from various backgrounds can provide alternative viewpoints and challenge your conditioned beliefs.

Educate yourself on topics outside your comfort zone. Understanding different perspectives can help break down conditioned thinking.
Participate in workshops or seminars focused on personal growth and breaking free from conditioning. A coach can provide guidance and support as you work to break free from conditioning and achieve personal goals.

Learn to express your thoughts and needs effectively without being influenced by external expectations.
Practice making decisions based on your values and judgment, rather than relying on conditioned responses. More you repeat them, stronger they will become.

Surround yourself with people who support your journey of breaking free from unfavorable conditioning.
Cut out the losers who want to stay the same and pull you down at the same time from your life.

Breaking free from conditioning is not a one-time event but a continuous process of self-discovery, learning, and growth. It takes willingness to question deeply held beliefs, the courage to step out of comfort zones, and a commitment to personal development. By taking up this journey, you can lead more authentic and fulfilling lives, making choices that are truly your own.

This is part of what specialize in when we take our clients through the 90 day Peak Performance Mastery.

If you want to be considered for the next cohort, reach out to us at [email protected] and either me or one of my team members will get in touch. We only allow a certain number of people in each month and we work hard to maintain the quality and integrity of who gets in.

Aside from that, I hope this helps you in your journey. 
As always, you are loved, you are enough, go conquer the world.


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