Did you know that mother turkeys only mother to those chicks that make a cheep-cheep noise? And that she ignores, mistreats, and even kills her chicks if they don’t make that noise?
Well, maybe you don’t care, but I find it fascinating.
To make things even more interesting, she even mothers stuffed polecats if they have a small recorder with that cheep-cheep sound inside them.
Those same stuffed polecats that receive immediate and furious attacks if they don’t make that sound.
And it is not only mother turkeys who have automated responses. Other animals have it too. Male robins attack nothing more than a clump of robin-redbreast feathers, while virtually ignoring a stuffed replica of a male robin without red breast feathers.
In “Influence”, Robert Cialdini calls it fixed-action patterns, “They can involve intricate sequences of behavior, such as entire courtship or mating rituals. A fundamental characteristic of these patterns is that the behaviors that compose them occur in virtually the same fashion and in the same order every time. Click and the appropriate tape is activated; whirr and out rolls the standard sequence of behavior. The most interesting thing about all this is the way the tapes are activated.”
It is not the whole animal, situation, or person that activates those fixed-action patterns, it is only one specific feature of the situation.
Humans form no exception to the rule. I know that I only need to see a LinkedIn notification on my phone and I open the app. My sister visits me and I go on a cleaning frenzy. I hear criticism and I feel ashamed and judge myself.
I wonder if I am the only one with such fixed-action patterns. Or if there are others who have some too.
People who automatically get defensive and start explaining themselves, when their supervisor blames them.
Who get pushy and raise their voice when conflicts don’t get addressed, let alone resolved.
Who work an hour longer, as soon as someone asks them to take on another task, even if they had planned to spend time with their kids.
People who don’t ask for help because they know their co-worker is having trouble at home.
And I wonder if you would rather have more choice on how to respond to those triggers. Instead of being dictated by your feelings, limiting beliefs, and conditions, respond from a place of care and inclusion of all needs. Including your own.
What if you could build a new fixed-action response when those triggers arise?
A habit that gets so automatic that whenever you hear blaming, shaming, complaining, demanding, you pause and practice self-care first.
And then use that pause to consciously choose how to respond. One that meets your needs as well.
If you want that new self-care habit, join my free webinar “Self-care as your new habit”.
In this webinar, you will:
- Walk away with a simple four-step model to build a new habit that doesn’t take more than a minute or two to apply
- WOOP every day to strengthen your self-care muscle and understand why this is such a powerful process (especially interesting if you like the science behind methods)
- Work with all the obstacles to self-care without resisting them, and instead use those obstacles to learn more about yourself and thus be more effective in building your habit
- Transform paradigms that self-care takes away from caring for others, into seeing how it contributes to them
- Find a community that is committed to work on non-judgmental acceptance, self-love, finding peace and equanimity, and using those superpowers to serve others
After participating in the last webinar, Hanneke, my beloved sister, liked that she “got hope and practical tools for an easier daily way of living. It was very useful that Elly gives practical tools for everyday life. Like: set very small goals so there is a big opportunity you will succeed and that gives confidence for taking the next steps.” Of course, I know Hanneke is biased. But I did like this sentence a lot: “Elly is a very inspiring lady and fun to hang around with because she is also vulnerable about her own struggles.”
And Jess, a former participant in our Nonviolent Communication group, enjoyed that he received tools to work with the anger/intense emotions within his inner world and the outer world.
What do you want to walk away with after participating in this webinar?
Find out by signing-up here. For free.
P.S. I am gonna start free, monthly office hours to help you with issues around conflict resolution, communication, and compassion. I haven’t chosen a day/time yet for the first one. Let me know if you have a preference and I’ll try to accommodate you. Just email me at email@example.com
P.P.S. You feel happy giving some happy money to my endeavors? You can Venmo me at @Elly-VanLaar, use PayPal with firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or send a check/cash (oh yeah, I love our USPS-delivery lady!). You find the email at the bottom.
P.P.S I know that I use my happy money in service of God’s world.