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same is true for our thoughts. Most of the time, they will originate out of our current set of beliefs and memories, so that what we will be thinking will correspond with the status quo. To create a more satisfying future for ourselves, we need to be able to imagine this future and project it out into the environment as some future moment. There is a direct correlation between what we project and what is already inside of us, unless of course, we are imagining something beyond what we already know.

The only real limitations that exist with respect to thought are those rules that were either taught to us or the ones we made up for ourselves. We are not in any way restricted to just thinking about what we already believe is true or what we have already experienced. We are free to roam anywhere in our thoughts to explore any number of possibilities and choose to act on one of them, regardless of whether it is inside or outside of the current set of rules from which we operate, even to the point of using our thoughts to change any rules that we may have that says we cant. If we werent meant to direct our own changes by thinking about how we might learn how to lead happier and more satisfying lives, then thinking, reasoning, and creativity wouldnt exist.

To experience the same kind of painful conditions over and over again, in an environment that is in constant motion, implies that we dont perceive any other choices as being available that would result in more satisfying outcomes. What we perceive is directly connected to what we already know. To perceive other choices, other than the ones our beliefs, memories, and associations lock us into, we have to know something we havent learned yet. So, learning our way out of a situation that is perpetually dissatisfying requires that we be open to thinking beyond what we already know. The environment will always offer us an opportunity for some degree of love, harmony, happiness, and success or some degree of despair, disappointment, anger, hate, and betrayal. What we end up with from each of these moments has to be a reflection of what is inside of us because the environment does not interpret the information it has to offer in any given moment. That process happens exclusively in each one of us. Remember the free money example in Chapter 10? The reality of pleasure existed right along with the reality of indifference or fear. The man was there to give money to anyone who wanted. How each person interpreted the data determined what reality they experienced.

Creativity is synonymous with growth and change. Doesnt the word "create" imply bringing into existence something that did not previously exist? If it already existed, then it would have already been created. To use our imaginations creatively, we must to be willing to think outside of what we already know to be true or possible. For those of you who are not that familiar with various forms of creative thinking, you would be surprised how just the willingness to question the usefulness of something inside of us will bring forth an avalanche of inspiring alternatives. Otherwise, our memories and beliefs will cause us to think of the future in ways that directly correspond with our past, thus having the effect of locking us into the same recurring experiences. The names and places may change but the situations and circumstances and conditions always remain the same because we arent changing our mental framework to perceive anything different.

"Necessity is the mother of invention!" In other words, the need to create some new machine, device, or process to save time, save money, or make money isnt any different from the need to "create a new you" to experience success and a more satisfying life. The need will act as a force behind our thoughts to think beyond our current barriers so that we can expand. The barriers that act as a resisting force preventing us from expanding consist of many of our beliefs and all our painful memories. So we need a force to counteract and penetrate those barriers. That force is our thoughts and our willingness to use them in creative ways.

All our lives would become a lot easier to live and potentially more satisfying if we operated out of the belief that we are in a state of imperfect knowledge, evolving toward something that we havent become yet. Everything is evolving into something that it isnt yet. It may not seem like it at times, but each moment of each day, we change into someone who was not the person we were a moment ago. At the physical level new cells are born and old cells die. At the mental level each moment that passes we experience something. Each experience adds to the inner environment in the form of a memory or belief. Each memory and belief builds a self-concept that acts as a force on how we interact with the environment. Then as we interact with the environment, we change it in some way, creating a new environment for us to discover and experience. Everything that exists is evolving, because everything that exists is in motion, and

Building a Framework / Understanding Ourselves

motion creates change. Even the grandest mountain will eventually wear away into small rocks, which will themselves turn into sand and then dust.

However, the main point here is that implied within this concept of evolution (where we are in a state of imperfect knowledge) is the view that mistakes dont exist. Mistakes just point the way to something that we havent learned yet and obviously need to know. What exactly is a mistake anyway? We certainly werent born with a concept or definition of what a mistake is. If left alone, all children will naturally keep on interacting with the environment to satisfy their own inner needs to learn and grow until they start to learn that what they are doing isnt quite up to the standards set by the people who are watching them. And all children just loved to be watched.

The criteria that we use for how we define a mistake is something that we had to learn from someone. In other words, our parents and teachers passed their definitions on to us. These definitions would represent the mental framework for their unresolved painful experiences and what they themselves havent learned about as being available from the environment beyond their pain. In other words, we pass on our ignorance, as well as our wisdom, without knowing at the time the difference between the two. And what was passed on that was dysfunctional will be regarded as the truth just the same as the wisdom.

When we as adults instill in our children our rigid definitions of what constitutes a mistake (thinking that what we are going to Jo is save them), all we are really doing is perpetuating our pain in the next generation. A mistake isnt resolved until we evolve in our understanding to the point where we can garner the insight that is available from the experience. When that point is reached, what we experienced is no longer a mistake or painful because of what we have learned. However, until that point is reached, if ever, we will feel compelled to save others from the painful lessons of our mistakes, even to the point of beating it into them-for their own good, of course. By using pain, either emotional or physical as a means to save others from our mistakes, in effect what we are really doing is creating a cycle of fear. We ensure that our limited level of understanding and insight will be maintained in them because fear is a contracting force that stifles the learning process. In a very real way, we inflict the pain of our unresolved mistakes on our children just

Managing Mental Energy

as our parents inflicted the pain of their unresolved mistakes on us. And it goes on generation after generation until someone decides to use their creative powers to break the cycle.

To operate out of this belief in evolution so that we can naturally learn from the choices that we make, we have to first change our definitions of what constitutes a mistake. It is precisely these kinds of beliefs that act as mental blocks to perceive a more satisfying way of living. Mistakes are virtually synonymous with pain. We can find any number of ways to avoid acknowledging a mistake so we dont have to confront the pain, and in the process we cut ourselves off from what we need to know to grow, expand, and improve our lives. Even when we make a mistake where we supposedly knew better, if we really knew better, then we wouldnt have made the choices that we did that resulted in an outcome we define as a mistake. So we can assume that there is something inside of us that conflicts with our "better judgment" that has more power to influence our behavior.

It isnt any less possible to change our definition of what constitutes a mistake than it is to intensify the emotional energy behind an insult as in the example. To change these definitions requires learning some techniques in mental energy management to de-energize or draw the negatively charged energy out of them. By doing so we will allow ourselves to leam from all our experiences instead of hiding from them, feeling pain, or punishing ourselves in some way. Without the effects of these self-defeating definitions of mistakes, it is much easier to objectively monitor our progress toward the fulfillment of some goal. If we find our behavior inconsistent with the steps to achieving our goals it would tell us that our beliefs are not in harmony with those steps or the goal itself or that we dont have the appropriate resources. In any case, it is much easier to identify what we need to leam to accomplish our objective.


Increased Sense of Security and Confidence

You will develop a sense of security and confidence knowing that you can confront conditions as they exist, identify what you need to

learn to operate most effectively, and learn it. What better way to develop a sense of security than by learning how to develop the ability to adapt to the prevailing conditions to fulfill your needs satisfactorily.

In the mental environment the memories of our experiences dont change over time, but the physical environment where our goals are fulfilled does. It is constantly moving forward, offering us new conditions, which, in turn, offer us different possibilities and opportunities, if we are open to being able to perceive them. What better form of goal achievement than to be able to change our mental perspective "at will" to be able to perceive these new conditions and use our imaginations creatively to determine the most appropriate set of steps to fulfill our needs or achieve our goals, even if we have never actually taken those steps before?

For a truly successful trader, this form of thinking is essential. The possibilities of the type of movement the markets can display are almost endless because of the diverse number of forces affecting it. All of us have this tendency to mentally lock ourselves into only a very limited number of those ways. And when the market doesnt conform to our preconceived mental image, we make up the difference with distortions and illusions and suffer the consequences later. Trading doesnt have to be painful and devoid of fun. We make it that way for ourselves because of our mental inflexibility and inability to adapt.

Increased Levels of Satisfaction

As long as we are alive, we will have needs, and as long as we have needs, we are not whole the way we are. Our needs compel us to interact with the environment to achieve this state of wholeness. Growing into this state of wholeness requires that we keep on learning. To keep on learning we need to adapt. Learning is a primary function of our existence. When we fulfill this function, we are rewarded with feelings of happiness, well-being and satisfaction, all of which are by-products of the quality of our experiences with the outer environment and a function of how much we have learned.

The antithesis of learning is resistance. When we resist what is being offered by the environment in the way of lessons, learning, and change we experience stress. Stress is the opposite of the sense

of well-being, happiness, and excitement that we feel when we are learning. If we refuse to adapt, we shut down the learning process. The quality of our experiences deteriorates because our relationship with the outer environment deteriorates. The outer environment keeps on changing, while we remain unchanged, resulting m less of a correspondence between what is out there and what we know. Ultimately, we end up punishing ourselves for our resistance to adapt because what we experience is pain, disappointment, stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction, which are all by-products of our lack of insight, understanding, and what we wont allow ourselves to do because of fear.

Increased Intuition

As you gain in your confidence to change the inside to experience a different outside, you will also increase your ability to confront difficult issues that all of us would have a tendency to avoid. Instead of confronting, we learn a number of avoidance techniques like alcohol, drugs, distortions, rationalizations, or even wishing and hoping, all of which can result in painful forced awarenesses. We eventually have to confront these issues anyway because they rarely if ever (just) go away. The longer we wait, the worse the conditions usually get, making it increasingly more difficult to resolve.

However, there is another less obvious problem with avoidance, especially with respect to wishing and hoping. A true intuitive impulse-a deeper level of knowledge and wisdom that will indicate the next most appropriate step to take-that will always be in our best interests feels very much like wishing and hoping. In other words, it is very difficult to distinguish between the two, making it very easy to mix them up, which is one of the reasons why we find it so difficult to trust our intuition. The way you can know for sure that you are getting a true intuitive impulse is to clear out of your mental environment anything that would cause you to wish and hope that something will happen instead of confronting the issue head on to find out what needs to be done. You can wish and hope that the market will come back, or you can cut your loss and make yourself ready to take the next opportunity. To be able to cut your loss and be ready to take the next opportunity requires that you change anything in your mental environment thar would cause

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