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How to use Motivation to Change Old Habits | Psychology of Life Coaching Part 3

This is the third episode in our 6-part series on the Psychology of Coaching. Listen in as we explore the models of psychology used most in personal development and how they each create change. Uncover the benefits and limitations of each model to reveal which coaching styles create deeper, lasting change. This series will help you understand your options for personal growth and how to choose the right coach training.

In this episode we discuss:

  • A review of “Behaviorism” in psychology that includes Pavlov’s Dog, Motivation, the Skinner Box and more.
  • The power of conditioning – Reward and Punishment.
  • The limitations of just changing habits without changing your mind.

Watch the next Soul Session LIVE on our YouTube Channel.

Motivation to Change Old Habits

Transcript

Debra Maldonado  00:00

Welcome to Creative Mind Soul Sessions with Debra Berndt Maldonado and Dr. Rob Maldonado, founders of Creative Mind. Explore personal growth with us through Jungian psychology, Eastern spirituality, and social neuroscience in a deep but practical way. Let’s begin. 

Debra Maldonado  00:23 

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Soul Sessions.

Robert Maldonado  00:24

Welcome back.

Debra Maldonado  00:25

Today we are talking about— continuing our series on the psychology of coaching. And this is Segment Number Three.

Robert Maldonado  00:37

Behaviorism.

Debra Maldonado  00:38

We’re talking about motivation and behaviors.

Robert Maldonado  00:41

And yeah, all those related topics, which are habits, addictions, behavior modification.

Debra Maldonado  00:49

Fun stuff. And so one of the things we went to— the reason we’re doing this series is because a lot of people think psychology is just about therapy. But psychology actually affects so much of our life. Businesses use psychology, organizational psychology — for teams and advertising. Psychology is used in social media, as you may have seen in that social media show they have on Netflix, what was it called? The show— Social Experiment or something?

Robert Maldonado  01:23

Something like that.

Debra Maldonado  01:24

And so they’re talking about how they’re really designed to create habits for people and get you addicted to different things. And we’re very addictive people. So that’s the dark side of it. So we’re going to talk about all those things today of what causes us to be in these kind of bad habits or habits that we feel stuck in. How do we liberate ourselves? How do we motivate ourselves to change? We’re going to talk about Pavlov’s dog, and Skinner, and all the fun ideas that came through the study of behaviorism.

Robert Maldonado  02:01

There’s also some great positive things. In education, of course, when parents and teachers talk about timeout, they’re talking behaviorism basically. How we learn, how athletes are rewarded. Very powerful mechanisms or principles of behaviors.

Debra Maldonado  02:27

Getting people— behavior, getting kids to— parenting to getting your child to—

Robert Maldonado  02:33

Without having to spank them and those kind things.

Debra Maldonado  02:36

So let’s talk about what is behaviorism. How would you describe it?

Robert Maldonado  02:41

Yes. So a little bit of the history goes back to Pavlov, and Pavlov — notice, he’s a Russian physiologist, he wasn’t a psychologist. But he was looking at working with dogs. And he noticed that the dog started salivating whenever he walked into the room basically. So he started to set up experiments to see what is the dog cueing into that makes him salivate so much before even the food is presented. So he found that principle of classic— what’s called “classical conditioning” now, where our mind tends to pair things up. So if something happens when something else is present, guess what, your mind is going to associate those things. And it’s going to automatically be in there that you associate. Or for example, the dog was associating the ringing of a bell with the receiving of food. So when the bell rings, then he already starts to salivate, meaning he’s prepared for the food. And that is going on not only in dogs, but in every organism. The pairing of stimuli.

Debra Maldonado  04:07

And I find it interesting with behaviorism that, in a way, the way our brain works is it’s always trying to warn us ahead of things. I think that’s what that classical conditioning is, to protect us and keep us. So, you know, when I was in hypnotherapy school, they told me the story about the cavemen. Two cavemen go on the hunt. And one of them, there’s a rustle in the bush, and a tiger jumps out and kills his buddy in front of him, and he freaks out, he has that flight or fight or freeze. He freezes and then he gets scared, and then he runs away. And so then the next time he goes out to hunt, he’s fine. Everything’s good. He’s thinking about his buddy, and he’s like, you know, hope that tiger doesn’t come out again. But then he hears a rustle in the bush and immediately that fight or flight response happens, and so his body and mind is responding to that stimuli and associating it with danger. And then when he realized the bird flew out, then he was relaxed again. So think about everything in our life that we’re triggered around is that we’re making assumptions based on something that was early conditioned in us to respond to things. So positive and negative. So there’s certain things that make us feel good. And we don’t know why. And there’s certain things that make us scared that we don’t know why.

Robert Maldonado  05:31

I mean, there are some ideas to why. If you think about survival from the evolutionary perspective, it’s a perfect mechanism for animals to go through their life without having to think through things. Because if you move towards what feels good, what gives you comfort, what gives you nourishment, and move away from what gives you pain, or discomfort, you tend to survive, you tend to stay out of trouble and define the good things for yourself, to take care of yourself.

Debra Maldonado  06:16

So this mechanism helps us find pleasant and unpleasant, without our conscious experience, like a choice or our will basically, like our body is responding. And I found it interesting that the cavemen didn’t need to see the tiger, what was stored was the moment before the tiger. So just like that with Pavlov’s dog, it’s the bell, that wasn’t the food, but the bell preceded the food. So it’s like the mind stores it because we know every time that happens, this is the next thing that’s going to happen. So it’s like predicting versus at the same time. And what I would think that the mechanism for that is for survival. So if we waited for us to get scared, when the tiger— it might be too late, but the warning signs— So a lot of us have these like anxieties and stress. And it’s from the stimulus that is happening from before.

Robert Maldonado  07:15

Right. So as far as the definition, we really need to talk about Skinner then to get to how we think about it now in psychology, because the classical conditioning model was very basic and more interested in physiology. Whereas once Skinner came along, he took it to a whole other level. And ironically, it’s very philosophical actually. Because if you think about conditioning, you start to question this idea of freewill. If we’re conditioned by our experiences, by the environment in other words, where does freewill come in? Are we really free if we’re acting out of those experiences that have shaped our behavior?

Debra Maldonado  08:07

So let’s talk about Skinner.

Robert Maldonado  08:09

Yeah. So Skinner comes along—

Debra Maldonado  08:12

And he wasn’t very popular, some of the things he did, because he did a lot of work to a lot of animals.

Robert Maldonado  08:18

Yeah. I mean, he was definitely controversial, because he was very insistent on making psychology an observable science, a measurable behavioral science. So what that means is, he started saying or suggesting that we not look at what we call the mind, because you can’t see it.

Debra Maldonado  08:50

Yeah. Okay.

Robert Maldonado  08:52

You can’t measure it. So he said “Why should psychology be—” The European Psychology at that time was basically Freud and his followers that followed him. Very introverted, very subjective, you know, your personal experiences are what’s important. Skinner wanted to wrench psychology from that and say “No, let’s make it a real science that can be measurable, that can be objective.” 

Debra Maldonado  09:26

And observed with five senses, and everyone can see it.

Robert Maldonado  09:31

And so for a long time, I mean, in the 40s, 50s, even into the 60s, he was big shot. He was not just on the fringes. He dominated American psychology especially for a long time. 

Debra Maldonado  09:56 

And he came up with operant conditioning. 

Robert Maldonado  10:04 

Yeah, so he comes up with is a different idea than the classical conditioning model.

Debra Maldonado  09:56

Which is you’re not doing anything, you’re just reacting. And operant conditioning is where you have to take action.

Robert Maldonado  10:04

Yeah, so he says, if you look at the way we interact with the environment, we are emitting an action, we’re taking an action, and then the results that we get from the environment, meaning a positive or a negative, a reward or punishment, that has a conditioning effect on us. And so it’s our behavior that’s playing into that conditioning.

Debra Maldonado  10:32

Our mind records the response from our action, where classic is you’re just in the space and random things happen. Someone with a loud noise, if your parent was loud, you didn’t do anything, but you get that kind of jumpiness around loud people. This is if I take an action, if I speak up for myself, and then there’s a loud noise, oh, I don’t like that. So you’re participating in the conditioning in a more active way.

Robert Maldonado  11:04

Very much so. It is a kind of a— the organism is working in conjunction with the environment. And you can’t really understand the organisms behavior if you don’t understand the environment, right, because essentially, the way the organism reacts and acts is based on what the environment is feeding back to the organism.

Debra Maldonado  11:32

So this is how we train our dogs. We can’t really train a cat usually. But it’s training and conditioning our children to behave. For us, we learn the limits of where the end of our comfort zone is basically, what causes other people to be mad or upset. What gives us that idea of positive reinforcement that if we do something good, our parent would give us “Oh, you get a little reward.” And then the child will end up repeating it for the reward. And if they’re punished, then the child would say “You know, I better not do that again, I better not write on the walls, mom got really mad at a play.” So we’re learning that punishment-reward continuously. And so, you know, I think a lot of coaching in the coaching industry, there’s a lot of that punishment-reward I look at. And we’ll get into the limitations of this. But let’s go deeper into that. We’re talking about what is an extrinsic motivation that we’re tied to.

Robert Maldonado  12:40

Yeah, when you talk about behaviorism now, and it’s still used widely, you have to think about what contingencies, in other words, what feedback are you getting from your actions? Is it a reward, a punishment, a mix, etc. And then they look at schedules of reinforcement, like what’s more effective, if I reward myself every time I do something, or if I reward myself only and set certain goals at certain intervals, all those kind of strategies, very powerful, we still know that it’s, let’s say, conditioning. The power conditioning is one of the best documented phenomena in psychology still.

Debra Maldonado  13:32

And so think about just social media, you put a post up, and no one responds, and you’re like, you want to take it down. You put a post up and you get a lot of likes — it’s like that positive reinforcement, you’re conditioned to maybe do more. People that start a business or when ask the boss for a raise, if they keep hearing “No” — or someone who wants to move, do something more with their life. Think about actors going out and auditioning. And they keep getting No’s, No’s, No’s, No’s, No’s, a writer submitting manuscripts. And after a while you’re just like, why am I doing this, if you’re not getting that reward? And so if we just rely on that operant conditioning, most of us will just never really step outside of our— have a new life, have a change in our life, because we’re only going to do what feels good. 

INTERMISSION  14:28

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Robert Maldonado  15:15

Anybody that has tried to change a habit, a long-standing habit, they come up against this powerful force called conditioning. It’s very difficult to make real lasting changes. You know about dieting, the research shows, I don’t know, 3% of dieters actually get good results.

Debra Maldonado  15:38

Or people that win the lottery, they lose the money, they waste all the money they get.

Robert Maldonado  15:45

Absolutely. Conditioning plays into not only habits but addiction. Drugs, of course, have— they’re self-reinforcing in a way that they make you feel good, they trigger pleasure centers in the body and the mind that are very powerful. They override a lot of the logical thinking.

Debra Maldonado  16:18

Well, it’s interesting with addictions, because it’s a cycle because you feel deprived, so you want to feel good. So you partake or imbibe in food or drink, and then after that wears off, you feel guilty, and then you feel worse about yourself. And then the only thing you can do to feel better is to go back to that thing. And so it’s this cycle of punishment, reward, punishment, reward, punishment, reward. And think about in life even, the whole idea of— we’re conditioned to have a paycheck, go and get your corporate job, papa bear at the company is going to take care of you. You hate your job, they say that 86% of people are actively disengaged with their work, why do they go, they go because they’re getting that paycheck at the end of the week. So they’ll do all these uncomfortable things but there’s a motivation there, there’s something there, there’s a positive reward. And I’ve seen so many people, especially what we do with the coach training is we get a lot of people that are in the corporate world and want to switch and work for themselves. And if they’re in the habit of getting that paycheck, to let go of that and just start something new and to build it themselves takes a lot of courage. And the ego mind is always trying to put you back to “Don’t you want to have that comfort?” And then they end up— and especially for me and a lot of the women that I’ve worked with over the years, they make a lot of money in the corporate world. So it’s like the payoff for them to start over. But I remember when I left, that motivation for that paycheck would just wear off, it was like “This isn’t worth it, my life is worth something else, I want to do something meaningful, I don’t care if I have to live in a tiny little apartment and sell my car and sell my beautiful condo and just, you know, cut back because I want to do something I love.” And so that was the reward, I found another kind of— something else to motivate me besides the old thing. And that takes courage. And so when we think about changing behavior, and we don’t think about the mind itself, and we just think in Skinner’s terms, think about how limiting that would be, it’s like “I’m going to just eat differently, or I’m going to work out every day or I’m going to work really hard to build a business”, but there’s no mind and there’s no meaning and no heart into what you’re doing. You’re just reprogramming yourself for some other goal. And so it is limiting in that way.

Robert Maldonado  18:42

And just to finish off the idea of Skinner’s work, he wrote a couple of books that were really ground-breaking because he was questioning what is human dignity, what is freedom, these ideas that we have about society. He was thinking, maybe we could engineer society to where we can control behavior.

Debra Maldonado  19:07

I think someone read that book.

Robert Maldonado  19:09

I mean, you can see why he was controversial in some regard. See, he was talking about, seriously thinking about engineering societies to make them better. I mean, his intention was to make it better obviously. Where behaviorism ran into problems was that it couldn’t address imagination, it couldn’t address language, it couldn’t really address the deeper sense of ourselves as human beings. Because if you only focus on external behavior, it’s like you say then motivation is simply about obtaining some external goal. And you’re handing over all the power over to the external to tell you who you are, and how you’re going to be.

Debra Maldonado  19:58

I know a perfect example of that. I know a lot of people who went off and started their own business as a coach or a business coach, and they leave their corporate job, and then they go and build up their business, and they are really successful. But they’re working just as much as they were in the corporate job, they’re not as fulfilled. And then all of a sudden, you know, after they make a couple million dollars, they’re like “I really want to get into coaching to help people and to do more deeper work and spiritual work.” And then all of a sudden, you see them pivot to do more the spiritual work and to make that change, but then they’re still like “But the business coaching is what’s bringing in so much money, and how do I do that.” And so I see a lot of people, they can do one thing like change behavior to maybe not work in the corporate world, but they still haven’t worked inside themselves to really find that meaning and purpose and what they’re really doing. And so also, when we do change behavior, and we don’t include the mind, we actually have to work harder to change, to shift that behavior, it just feels like we’re working against this external mechanism, and we’re looking for that carrot that we’re chasing all the time. And we’re really caught up in it. And it’s stressful, and it’s hard. That’s why I think, when we do the inner work, most coaches start to talk about inner work, that’s when the change happens. Because we can’t just behave our way to get our goal. A good example would be a dating coach. I see so many coaches out there that are dating coaches, but they’re not really working on the mind or the person. They’re saying “If you go out and go on 50 dates, and if you have your profile, look this way, and you act a certain way, you’re going to get a positive response from someone.” And so the woman or the man is connected or attached to that positive response from someone, they’re not even being who they really are. And they’re just kind of getting that response. So they’re kind of robots trying to get the prize. But then is that prize what they really want? Who am I? And is the relationship what is going on underneath that? So it’s more complex than just behaving in a way so you’re good and then a guy will love you, you know, if you do all the things that they tell you to do? So that’s why I got frustrated when I was getting into the relationship coaching. And when I first started with— there needs to be something else besides just changing behavior.

Robert Maldonado  22:33

Yeah, we know, just changing the behavior, often, as soon as the environment goes back to the old environment, your behavior will revert back to the old patterns. Because again, you’re simply depending on external circumstances to kind of guide yourself by.

Debra Maldonado  22:56

I’d like to talk a little bit about negative reinforcement. You know, we talked about positive, like getting that result. But how many— Let’s talk a little bit about someone who keeps getting that no, they audition, or they try to start a business, or they try to lose weight, and they’re getting that negative response, they can kind of get into this place where they don’t have power, this powerless place.

Robert Maldonado  23:22

Well, yeah, that can be reinforcing for people as well. So if you think about somebody, the actor not getting the job, they could be invested in not succeeding because staying in their comfort zone is reinforcing. Also, when you think about people that are anxious, avoiding situations to them is reinforcing, that meaning it rewards them because they successfully avoided anxiety provoking situations. So it increases their anxiety, they get more entrenched in that response to life, being anxious and avoiding situations, not taking risk, not really going for success. So even when they get a break, they’ll sabotage it because they want to go back to their comfort zone. It’s more reinforcing, it’s more pleasant for them to remain small and to play small than to have those big opportunities.

Debra Maldonado  24:31

You know, we just watched on Netflix, the Tiger Woods series, and he was basically— they were using conditioning to get him to be this excellent player. He practiced a lot. It wasn’t his idea to play golf, it was his father’s. And it was very interesting how he ended up sabotaging it. And then you’ll have to see the series to see— well, you know, he turns out better. But I love the concept of him— he had to find himself, he had to find his own motivation within himself instead of just winning the game, it had to be more than that. And, you know, that’s why I see this a lot in the coaching industry, there’s a lot of people, I mean, I know you probably all see, those are your coaches, everyone’s talking about how much money they’re making, but not how much lives are changing, you know, and they’re getting caught up just like they did with the corporate world of the money. And the yachts and the fancy cars, and a lot of it is just fluff. And they’re losing touch with their meaning. And they’re working crazy hours and stretching themselves and just kind of chasing this kind of “one day I’ll get there.” And it’s never enough, and they keep building and then they look back “What am I doing?” And so we all have this mechanism of conditioning — what is giving us pleasure? And is it really giving our true self pleasure? Or is it just our ego getting pleasure from it?

Robert Maldonado  26:00

I mean, for me, thinking about coaching, the behavioral model — and here I’m speaking strictly of behaviorism, not cognitive behavioral, which is a different model we’ll talk about next time, but just looking at observable behavior and trying to change that. The reason it didn’t work or it doesn’t work as a coaching model is because, in essence, it’s saying we can’t really be free. If you look at the model, if you look at Skinner’s work, the ultimate conclusion is that we can never be free, the only thing we can do is change the contingencies of the environment, meaning change the pattern of rewards and punishments.

Debra Maldonado  26:55

You’re still operating in that dynamic.

Robert Maldonado  26:57

Still being conditioned, in his model. In his model, we can never have real free will. Because we’re always depending on how the environment is going to respond to our actions.

Debra Maldonado  27:15

And in Eastern traditions, they talk about non-attachment, and that’s one thing that we always have is that kind of — if we can let go with that temporary reward, we can free ourselves, but if we’re cooked into it, it’s pulling us along. And most of us, I would say— they did brain scans, and they said that we make a decision around eight seconds unconsciously before we actually do it, because our brain already has all the decisions already made. So we’re really trapped in. And so that’s why, you know, doing deeper work besides just changing behavior. You know, a lot of times we’re coaching, someone will be like “Well, maybe I’ll do this, or I’ll stand up to this person, and I’ll take action, and I’ll tell my boss, you know, I don’t care”, and it’s like “Great, but you’re still hooked in, you still want some kind of result, you want your boss to say I’m sorry, you’re such a great person, and I messed up, you know, you’re still kind of caught up.” And you think just shifting behavior and moving objects out here is going to change your life.

Robert Maldonado  28:24

Yeah, and it’s interesting that in the Eastern tradition, or the wisdom traditions, they were well aware of the conditioning force at play in the environment. But the way they conceptualize it is that you’re only conditioned if you are attached to the result of your actions. They simply say, if you drop the attachment to the results of your action, you’re free. And that’s experimentally proven. If you’re not attached to getting a certain result from the action that you’re taking, then the environment has no conditioning power over you. So that is freedom, you’re free then to act despite the circumstances. And that’s really the only freedom that we have. If you succeed by kind of creating those external goals for yourself all the time, then you’re locking yourself up in that conditioning model of that experience.

Debra Maldonado  29:41

If the external is the only thing that can motivate you, then really from a spiritual standpoint, you don’t matter. It’s those objects and material things that make you happy. And you know, if you think about Buddhism, they always say that person doesn’t make me happy or sad. That object, an ice cream, isn’t making me happy, it’s my mind. But in behaviorism, they don’t even count that, they just assume you’re just responding. Extrinsic motivation is what you’re talking about. So how do we motivate ourselves to change these habits, besides just changing behavior? Is that we have to have intrinsic motivation?

Robert Maldonado  30:21

Yeah, so a simple way to think about it is, if you’re working for the money, that’s an extrinsic motivation. The reward is outside of you. But if you’re working for a higher purpose, that’s an intrinsic motivation, meaning you’re doing your actions and you’re doing your best work not just to get the money, I mean, the money will be there, because by principle, anytime you take an action, there is a result. But that’s not the primary motive for you. You’re focusing more on creating something, right, an internal vision that you have, you’re working towards creating that. That’s a higher purpose.

Debra Maldonado  31:07

They did this famous experiment where there was this kindergarten or preschool, I think it was, and while the kids were waiting for the parents to pick them up, they would just have paper out. And so the kids would be, you know, just drawing, and they were making all these cool drawings, and they were really excited. And then the preschool teacher said “Oh, I have a good idea. Since they love drawing, why don’t we make it a contest and give a prize to them? Every time whoever has the best drawing.” And they thought that that would motivate them by getting “Oh, and now I’m going to give you a prize on top of it.” But what happened is it decreases their motivation. It actually made what they were doing work versus play. And so I want you to think about that for you, what’s motivating you. If you have to wait for the prize, like if I have to celebrate when I lose 10 pounds, or if I make a certain amount of money by the end of the month and get 10 clients, if I’m a coach, it’ll feel like you’re working. But if you’re doing it because you love it, because you feel like, I always say, this is what you were meant to do — I love to coach, I love to teach. And you let go of the attachment to what that looks like. But you have goals and all those things, but you’re not attached to them. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the goals, or that you don’t have goals. But the way you approach them is from a place of play and creativity and from your heart, then it just doesn’t feel like work. And so that’s where that intrinsic— the action itself gives you joy versus the result gives me joy. So you’re taking that results out of the way and saying “I just love what I do.” And it’s so weird, but it seems counter-intuitive. But when you take away the external motivation, you end up feeling happier, you are wealthier. Even in relationships, like dating, I always tell when I was doing a lot of dating coaching “Just enjoy meeting people and just enjoy talking, meeting interesting people. You never get this opportunity once you’re married to meet all these different interesting men and women, go out to dinner and have fun”. That process can be joyful versus “Okay, he’s not the one, next. He’s not the one, next. Oh, I hate dating. It’s a lot of work. It’s so much work. I just can’t wait for that one guy to come.” And it’s like you’re not even enjoying the process. How do you think that other person’s gonna feel across from you? And I think that’s what’s missing in a lot of our lives is that we don’t have any meaning to what we’re doing. We’re just doing it for that goal.

Robert Maldonado  33:50

Yeah, we’ve certainly had our share of working with people that are very extrinsically motivated. They have certain goals in their lives. And there’s nothing wrong with having goals. But in thinking about what really motivates you, what makes you tick, what makes you get up in the morning? And is it exciting for you? And most importantly, is it meaningful? Because a lot of these goals, they’re just [inaudible]. It’s just money. It’s just things, they don’t really bring meaning to the individual.

Debra Maldonado  34:25

And maybe in the beginning, there is that mechanism for that initial attachment. I mean, it does serve a purpose in a way but you have to watch not to get too attached. And I remember when I first started, before you and I worked together, I was at this event and the coach had all those successful coaches on the stage. And I remember I was in the audience and I was like “Ah, next year I’m going to be on that stage. I’m going to be one of his success stories.” And I was like “I’m going to be a millionaire coach” and all this stuff. And turns out the next year you and I started working together and he had me on stage. And I had all the badges and it was like “Here, this is what I’ve been working for.” And then I was like “Yeah, this is what I’ve been working for?” It was like, what was that about? It was all ego, it was all like I need to prove something. And I took the badge off, and I put it down. And I had all the VIP slaps on it, you know, VIP and a speaker and all this stuff. And I said “I’m still me.” And then that’s the point where I said “You know what, I gotta do this different way. I need a different motivation. This is not enough.” In the coaching industry, there’s a term they call the seven figure blues, it’s like everyone wants to get to that seven figure mark, and then everyone I know who’s gone there, says “I got so depressed afterwards because it’s not really what I was looking for, I thought that was going to make me happy.” They also did some studies with people who were rock stars, and they, you know, played in bands, you know, local clubs. And they finally had their big hit in their 40s. And then they started doing drugs because they were like “This isn’t what it was meant to be like, I was looking for that one day that I’ll feel complete.” And think about our life. If we’re living our life that one day I’m gonna finally get that carrot, one day in the future that carrots gonna make me feel complete, that person, that money, that ideal weight, it’s like you’re chasing an illusion. And then you end up 90 years old or 85, going “What the heck was I chasing?” I remember when I first met you, you used to say to all the time — I’d be stressed out about something and you’d say “Where are you going?” OMG, where am I going? And it was that question of where are we, what is motivating us. And the world is all filled with this extrinsic motivation. We have to wake up to know it’s there. And maybe it’s good to have it a little bit, give us a little kick. And if we didn’t have it at all, I don’t think we would do anything to improve our life. But that’s not the end zone. It’s like realization to know that there’s a higher purpose for why we’re here, not just to gather stuff and collect certificates and annual awards and accolades.

Robert Maldonado  37:25

Yeah, so from the Jungian coaching perspective then, we would say, you don’t have free will in the beginning part of your life, because you’re acting out of conditioning. But that’s okay. Because at that part in your life, in the beginning, you have to build up an ego, and you have to build up this persona, this ability to survive in the natural world and in the social world. So you need that conditioning power. But in the second half of your life, Jung says, you’re objective. Now your challenge is to free yourself, to free your mind from that conditioning, to transcend that conditioning. And that’s where you find yourself. That meaning that kind of purpose in your life that can only come from that internal search.

Debra Maldonado  38:21

It’s just like this kindergarten, just to be creative and just to love life for itself. You know, that’s the rewarding fulfillment, because then you don’t have to wait for the reward to feel fulfilled. You’re fulfilled right now, like the process of painting a picture, of writing a song, or writing a play or a book, that process can be just so life-transformational, you know. Like in our coach training, the process of getting trained, the process itself is really not just the end, you know, it’s fulfilling in itself, to understand. I think it’s really important for people to recognize because you don’t want to spend your whole life chasing mirages that one day, when everything, you know, falls into place, there’s going to be a moment where everything’s perfect. And life isn’t that way. Life is messy. And it’s full of joy, and it’s full of pain, and it’s full of heartache, and it’s full of love, and we have to take it all in and love all of it. And that’s really what Jung talked about in individuation. It’s not about making a perfect persona, I’m going to be confident, and I’m going to have this great presentation to the world, and I’m going to be kind, and I’m going to be generous with my time and help people and save the world. It’s about also including all the dark parts of ourselves that we don’t want people to know and that we accept and love. Even the parts when we’re down and we don’t feel like we’re enough, or we’re sick and we want to be in our jammies all day, or we have a tragedy in our life, we don’t want to keep on a happy face, we want to be real. That’s really the freedom just to be in life and integrate all those parts instead of just always propping up that persona, and gathering items, gathering material items for your collection.

Robert Maldonado  40:18

Yeah, so if you’re playing along at home, think about what motivates you. Is it a somewhat extrinsic object, money, fame, success, admiration from peers, any of those things? Again, there’s nothing wrong with them. But if you let those be your sole motivators, you’re giving your power away, because as soon as the circumstances change externally, and they will change—

Debra Maldonado  40:53

Well, isn’t there also a numbing effect of that once you get enough, like if you ate ice cream every day?

Robert Maldonado  40:58

Yeah, the only thing you can do is increase the payoff.

Debra Maldonado  41:02

And that’s why people get addicted, because they need a bigger hit, bigger hit.

Robert Maldonado  41:06

And it’s never enough money, it’s never enough fame, it’s never enough. And that satisfaction, that meaning is not there. Whereas when you reach those goals, but from an internal motivation, that higher purpose, that sense of contributing, of developing yourself, that’s a very different story. It leads to happiness, it leads to fulfillment, to creating meaning in your life.

Debra Maldonado  41:34

I have to say that this year has been, even though with COVID and everything, it’s been one of the most rewarding years for myself, of feeling truly connected to our work more than ever before. Because it’s almost like all the external has been shut down. I love to travel and have our live events. We’re kind of stuck here, you know, hunkering down and having to rethink things, who do we want in our world, what kind of work do we want to teach. And coming from that true place. I mean, we’ve always loved our work. But I feel like this year has just been so different in a deeper way of really appreciating, and in that non-attachment, because everything’s so unpredictable that it’s almost like it benefits you to not be attached, because then you’re open to creativity. When you’re too attached, you limit your options. There’s no creativity, and you end up just repeating the past, you stay in that comfort zone.

Robert Maldonado  42:33

Yeah, I would also invite people to think about your habits and try to figure out how they got conditioned into your system. And be aware that you can free your mind, you can free yourself from those habits, that habitual responding to life. There is a way, we’re not trapped in our circumstances. We’re only traveling, we don’t believe there’s any way out. And that’s what I saw in Skinner that he was being irresponsible in that regard that he was giving people the message that there is no way out of conditioning, the only thing you can do is kind of live with it.

Debra Maldonado  43:23

And from a non-spiritual, biological point of view, I would see if you just saw the Indian incorporate the mind or spirit. It would make sense. But we’re now having this. We know that there’s more to us than just our biology. So yeah, great topic. Next week, we’re going to talk about cognitive behavioral. So we’re adding where we have the behavior. Now we’re adding the other low level of this on top of it, which is a more elaborate way. And this is very common in a lot of coaching models. It’s still just working on the conscious level. But it’s how we think and act and feel to get results and those patterns in a more complex way. So it’d be interesting to have that conversation next week. So have a wonderful weekend. Thank you for joining us.

Robert Maldonado  44:16

Thanks for watching, guys. 

Debra Maldonado  44:18 

We will see you soon. 

Robert Maldonado  44:19 

Stay well. 

Debra Maldonado  44:20 

Bye bye.

Debra Maldonado  44:21

Thank you for joining us. And don’t forget to subscribe to Creative Minds Soul Sessions. And join us next week as we explore another deep topic where you can consciously create your life with Creative Mind Soul Session. See you next time.

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