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whose first experience with a dog is a painful one, meaning that the first dog the child attempted to play with, out of his natural sense of curiosity, bit him. As a result of this one experience the child will "naturally associate" all dogs with the one that bit him. What he learned will then act as a mental barrier to anything else the environment may have to offer with respect to all other dogs.

I have used the words "naturally associate" to point out that the child will not have to actively think about the limiting way in which dogs will be characterized in his mental environment- The associations will occur automatically, as a natural function of the way our minds are wired. So he will not have to see "the" dog that bit him; any dog will cause him to remember the pain of his previous experience. As a result of his first experience with a dog being painful, he will automatically associate any future encounters with dogs with his one painful experience. Regardless of how erroneous his association is or how the environment may try to prove to him that most dogs are friendly and will not cause him pain, he wont believe it, because what he has already learned about dogs (not one dog, but all dogs) will cause him to block the acceptance of this new information into his mental system.

However, if the childs first experience with a dog is positive, he will obviously have no reservations to play with any dog until he has a painful experience. In this case, however, if he is bitten, he will not automatically associate all other dogs with the one that bit him because he has already learned that the environment has more to offer than this one painful experience. What he will learn, that is new for him, is that not all dogs are friendly and that he must use some caution when interacting with them until he can determine their disposition.

The child whose first experience was painful doesnt know that he can experience happiness and joy with dogs. He doesnt know it because he hasnt experienced it; it isnt something he has learned yet, regardless of the evidence the environment may be presenting him. Nor will he likely leam it until he is willing to step through his fear. All other information being offered to him about the nature of dogs will be blocked or rejected by the energy of what he has already learned

You can teach a child anything you please, regardless of how erroneous or dysfunctional it is relative to the environmental conditions. The child will believe what you teach him because what he

experiences becomes a part of his identity. Anything we experience will become a functioning part of our identity. When 1 say "functioning," I mean that once something is inside of us, regardless of what it is, it then has the potential to act as a force on our behavior. All these functioning parts that we call memories of experiences, beliefs, and associations, in turn then act as an internal force to shape our perception of the environment we experience out of what is available to experience.

As you already know, what each one of us fears as individuals is something that we have at some point in our lives learned to fear, as a result of our experiences. When we feel fear, it is because we have learned to perceive the environmental conditions as threatening in some way, whereas someone who hasnt had a painful experience associated with those same environmental conditions has learned to perceive the environment conditions in a completely different way, a way that corresponds with his previous experience. One person can perceive the conditions as a threat, the other as an opportunity, in the same moment, based on what is already inside of them. In other words, what they have already taken into their mental environment as experience will determine how they perceive the environmental conditions, whether as an opportunity to experience joy or as a threat to experience pain and all the degrees in between. What is really interesting is that neither one would be able to convince the other of the validity of his perception, because what they are experiencing at the moment is directly related to what they have already learned.

We will usually only question the value of something that is inside of us, if we are forced to, as an absolute last resort. What would be the ultimate proof that we need to finally make us acknowledge that there is something we need to leam? Pain! We will acknowledge the need to leam when we are experiencing the emotional pain of a great disappointment or stress and anxiety because we dont know what to do next, and we are finding it increasingly difficult to shift the responsibility for what we are ending up with.

If we go back to the "believing that trading is easy" example, why would we consider that trading is difficult when we already know that it is easy? What would cause us to question the usefulness of such a belief? The emotional pain of disappointment as a result of not being able to achieve our goals? Once we question the usefulness, what happens? A whole world of information opens up to us

on how we can learn to interact with the trading environment more effectively by increasing our level of correspondence. However, everything we would find in the environment to increase our understanding already existed, unless we think of something completely new on our own. The only thing that stopped us from finding it before was the energy of what we already knew, blocking what we havent learned yet. The problem is that if learning something new means that we have to change what we have already learned, we instinctively seem to refuse to do it, regardless of how inappropriate what we have learned may be relative to what we would need to know to experience satisfaction. Once we have learned something, it will act as a force to block other information that would result in the perception of other choices. Even children will resist the acceptance of information that is contrary to what they have already learned, regardless of how dysfunctional their knowledge may be.

All learning is synonymous with change, whether we are changing something we already know or learning something completely new. If we refuse to change (adapt) the inside-adding to what we know to create more distinctions and change our perspective-then we are not learning what we need to know to experience something different in the outer environment. If there is no change on the inside, there will be no perceived change in the outside, thereby locking us into recurring cycles of pain and dissatisfaction. Whats more, we will continue to suffer until the pain becomes so great that we are left with no choice other than to reassess how we go about managing our lives, that is, reassessing the usefulness of our beliefs.


Besides the cycles of dissatisfaction that our current set of limitations locks us into {what we know blocks what we havent learned yet), there is an even more practical reason for learning how to adapt. All of us are forced to interact with a constantly changing physical environment to fulfill our needs and achieve our goals. The way we interact with the environment, what choices we perceive in relationship to what is actually available from the environments perspective, and what we do in relationship to what we perceive are all a function of what we have learned. Now, if you will recall,

everything that constitutes the physical environment is in constant motion. Anything that is in motion (which includes everything made of atoms and molecules) is also changing over time. So change is an automatic function of the physical environment.

However, the mental environment is composed of positively or negatively charged energy that carries information about our experiences, what we have learned that forms into organizational patterns that we call beliefs and concepts about the nature of the physical environment. Energy is not made of atoms and molecules and therefore does not change over time. In fact, energy exists in a nonphysi-cal dimension outside of time as we perceive it with our senses. Electrical energy or chemically produced electrical energy can be stored just the same as in a battery and the information it carries is stored with it. That is, time has no effect on the quality of this energy (the degree of the positive or negative charge) and the ways in which it affects our perception of environmental information and how it acts as a force on our behavior.

Changing our mental environment to correspond with the constant external changes going on in the physical environment is not automatic. The information stored in our mental environment about the nature of the physical environment can remain unchanged for years or a lifetime, for that matter, regardless of how outdated, useless, or even harmful it may be. And furthermore this outdated knowledge will continue to act as a force on our behavior, causing us to interact with the environment in completely inappropriate ways relative to the conditions. So even if we are experiencing satisfaction in certain areas of our lives, we cannot take it for granted that the conditions that we have learned to interact with will stay as we know them to exist. The outside conditions are in constant motion, presenting us with different forces to learn about and adapt to. In the market environment, for example, the changes in conditions are highly visible and usually moment to moment, whereas in other types of environments that we typically operate in, the forces of change work a little slower and are less visible, but they are changing nevertheless. The problem is that the conditions will change and we wont necessarily recognize these changes even if we start to experience some degree of dissatisfaction, unless we are constantly vigilant that even though we have learned something that works, it can still become obsolete.

The extent to which we fulfill our needs and achieve our goals with any degree of satisfaction is, first, a function of our being able to recognize our needs and formulate our goals. This is not as simple as it sounds. Our natural sense of curiosity and our attractions are very powerful inner forces that create a state of need or put us in a state of imbalance with the physical environment until the needs are satisfied. When we feel these attractions to certain activities, people, or objects in the environment, it is often difficult to visualize the possibilities or formulate any plans because of other inner forces in the form of beliefs, associations, or memories that act as barriers. We need to understand the relationship and possible conflicts between what we need or feel very attracted to and these other inner forces that in a sense say no.

The extent to which we fulfill our needs and achieve our goals with any degree of satisfaction is, second, a function of the degree to which we understand the nature of the external environmental forces we have to interact with to fulfill our needs and achieve our goals. (The depth of our understanding will correlate directly with

The Dynamics of Goal Achievement

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