Chapter 9: Physiology: The Avenue of Excellence
“Devils can be driven out of the heart by the touch of a hand on a hand or a mouth.” ~Tennessee Williams
Think back to the last time you agreed to do something for someone. When they asked you, you said, “Yeah sure.” but it came out in a low, weak tone because what you thought to yourself was that you really didn’t want to do what they asked you. And maybe when you agreed your head was facing down toward the floor, more shrugged over. This is called incongruence in your physiology. In other words, what you said out loud didn’t match your internal feelings and the posture of your body.
Physiology is the second major component to creating a state of being, as Tony Robbins explained back in Chapter 3. Along with your internal representations, physiology is 50% of the power you have over your state. This chapter reinforces just how powerful physiology can be.
“Congruence is power.” ~Tony Robbins
Remember when I mentioned about incongruence of your physiology about 2 paragraphs ago? That is exactly the opposite of what you want your physiology to be like in order to create a desired state at any given time. To be successful in creating a state, your physical appearance or actions must match your thoughts in order to send a clear signal to your brain about what to believe. Mind and body must work together to create your state.
Again, having power over your physiology and state is the difference in being successful and achieving a goal and coming up short. Let’s take being overweight for example. If you are someone who feels that you need to lose excess weight but struggles in maintaining your diet or exercise, this strategy will be very helpful to you. Let’s say you struggle with your eating habits. You just can’t resist the urge to eat a meal when someone asks you, even if you’re not really hungry. In that moment you might picture yourself eating or making something delicious (internal representation) that automatically triggers the feeling of hunger (physiology). To break that habit of overeating, you need to change your internal representation of food in that moment and what the idea of eating does to your body. So next time someone asks you if you’re hungry, you might picture the last time you weighed yourself on the scale or looking in the mirror. Instead of feeling so turned on by the idea of eating that it literally makes you hungry, you’ll send signals to your brain that say you don’t need to be eating right now.
The same goes for exercising! Maybe you have trouble with keeping the habit of going to the gym. In order to tap into those motivational feelings of going to the gym, you have to twist your physiology to put yourself in that motivated state. To make yourself more motivated you might stand or sit up straight with your head up and face smiling (physiology). Then picture yourself running on the treadmill as if you were Usain Bolt (internal representations)! This technique will automatically make you feel more motivated to workout.
The last example of the power of physiology I have for you is that of depression. In this chapter, Tony Robbins explains how research has proven that depression is decision made someone through their internal representations and physiology. Depression is a state of being. If you think about it, what does a depressed person usually look like or act like? Typically, they are always slumped over, walking slowly with their head down and rarely smile. This is their physiology literally telling their brain to feel depressed. Their internal representation contributes to this state through the negative dialogue they’re constantly running through their mind, thinking about the things that make them unhappy.
Let’s put it this way, if you were upset and crying about something, all you have to do is laugh. Laughing sends signals to the brain which makes us feel instantly happier!
This is the power that your physiology has over your brain. It does what it’s told and it is your job to tell your brain to have confidence, to be happy, to workout, to feel motivated and to succeed.