On Collecting States

Eighteen years ago I read Frogs Into Princes, and gained immensely from the concept of states and anchors. Since then I have written about states and I have taught state mastery. When one reflects on what it actually means to be the master of your state, it is apparent that this is one of the most valuable skills that we humans can have. Many problems in life stem from unresourceful states: stress, anger, depression, anxiety, fear, worry, being blocked or stuck, and the list goes on and on. Many other problems stem from unhealthy, illegal, or otherwise counterproductive ways of trying to escape from the clutches of unresourceful states or attaining enjoyable and pleasurable states. Addictions of all types fall into this: overeating, overdrinking, taking drugs, gambling, putting other people down, griping and kvetching.

Over the last seventeen and a half years, I have gathered a collection of about 130 to 150 of my favorite states. But recently I have looked at collecting states as a hobby. The number of states on my computerized list has grown by leaps and bounds. Each state is like a precious object in a rare collection. This has made a major impact in my life and in the lives of those I have influenced to keep their own lists.

My original list consisted only of resourceful states. Many were generic terms such as: joy state, self–mastery state, serenity state, courage state, confidence state, empowerment state, creative state, assertive state, and centered state. By acting as if you were in any of these states, by remembering past moments when you were in any of these states, by imagining what it would be like in the future to be in these states, by firing anchors, and by modeling those who are or were the personification of these states, you access them. Some people found this relatively easy to do. But many more didn’t keep it up on their own. When a coach was there, the coach motivated them to take effective steps. But afterwards they let it slide.

I would like to share with readers the process I now use to help people help themselves to gain greater state awareness and expertise in accessing the states that will enhance their lives. In my forthcoming book, I have a section on how to collect a personal library and archives of states.

I have found it effective to help people begin to collect two lists of their personalized states. One list contains resourceful states that they have experienced and the other list contains unresourceful states. Both lists are kept in alphabetical order. Every time you are in an especially resourceful state, give it a unique name. Let this label remind you of the specific occurrence or incident. It could be states named after songs that inspired and moved you. States can be named after your role models for specific states: great speakers and communicators, the most serene people you’ve ever met, those with indomitable courage and nerves of steel. They can also be the names of peaceful lakes, calming gardens, exciting games, thrilling victories, times when the crowd went wild, times of spiritual illumination, and times of mental clarity. If you find yourself having courage in the presence of a specific individual, name the state after him or her. If you had teachers, mentors, or coaches in whose presence you feel great about yourself and think and act at your peak, name the states after them.

Keep adding to your resourceful state list all the time. This makes you more aware of moments of appreciation and gratitude, moments of strength, moments of transcending limitations, moments of victories of all types.

You will find yourself remembering past incidents of resourceful moments. Give those moments a label. Go all the way back to early childhood to recall your most positive memories. Some people specialize in remembering their worst memories. This is great for those who want to build up their list of unresourceful states. This is even better for those who presently want to add resourceful states in the present to those ancient memories. By doing so, in the future when you recall those memories they will be upgraded as resources and assets instead of liabilities.

I have found that it’s highly beneficial to also keep a list of unresourceful states. This will reframe those states into entities that empower their owner. Probably more people use the word “mood” than “state.” Hopefully the statistics will change and eventually more and more people will be speaking of their “states” instead of the limiting consciousness of “bad moods.” You might hear people who speak in terms of “moods” saying something like, “I am in a bad mood today.” Or, “I can’t help it, I’m just not in the mood.” Those who talk this way often feel helpless about taking proactive steps to change their “moods.” When one uses the word “state” for unresourceful moments, however, this can easily serve as an anchor to search one’s resourceful state list. At first one might do this with a written list. In a short time, one’s brain will do this automatically.

Not too long ago, I took a few of my grandchildren to the zoo. The older children enjoyed seeing all the animals. And for their grandfather the entire trip was a “Taking my grandchildren to the zoo state.” I added a, “Penguins swimming underwater state,” and “Seeing monkeys swinging freely from tree to tree state.” Imagining oneself as a penguin or monkey creates the state. A three year old, however, kept repeating the mantra, “I want to see the zebras.” This was a strategy that enabled her to focus only on what she wanted to see in the future, while avoiding enjoying the present moments. I have now added a, “I want to see the zebras state,” in my unresourceful list.

I have shared the metaphor with some adults who could use the underlying message. For many who are new to the concept of “states,” what enables them to internalize the value of states is when they come up with their own personalized states. This gives them a “Now I’ve really got it!” state. Some of my favorite states are:

• When waking up, I access the “I am grateful for being given another day of life” state.

• When something drops from my hand and hits the floor, my brain accesses the “How wonderful that gravity is still working” state.

• When breathing, “I appreciate each and every breath” state.

• When hearing a power drill, “The drill is making my favorite concepts go deeper and deeper in my subconscious” state.

Some states that will make the biggest difference in people’s lives are: “Learning from every single person” state. “Upgrading my brain with all states and resources in all contexts” state. “Centered, focused, and flowing” state. “Full of vital energy and fully alive” state. “This moment is the first moment of the rest of my life” state. “Transcending insults and negativity” state. “Instant rapport” state. “I feel good. I feel great!” state. (It helps when you snap your fingers as you chant this.) “Winning billion dollar lottery” state. (You don’t need to actually win a lottery to access this state, just as worriers access an anxiety state even when their worries never happen.)

Habitually read and reread your list of resourceful states. As you read the labels of those states, you will experience aspects of those states. Having them at the forefront of your consciousness makes it more likely that your brain will spontaneously access those states for you time and time again.

I will finish this article with wishing our planet states of peace, healing, joy, kindness, and compassion. Those who share this vision will be partners in making this an eventual reality.

From the March, 2001 issue of Anchor Point
© 2001 Zelig Pliskin

by  Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
Posted in: Personal Growth