Robots are never in resistance; we would do well to emulate them explains Graham Price

We’re entering an age when robots are becoming better than humans at many things. They can think faster, build cars more efficiently, are always healthy and live forever. We humans will probably never again be able to compete in these things. But there’s something else robots are better at than humans, that we’d do well to emulate. Robots are never in resistance. Most humans are in resistance several times a day and for some that I’ve met, many hundreds of times a day.

‘Resistance’ is the term we use for having a negative thought or wanting something to be different. Those two definitions are the same. Whenever we’re having a negative thought, we’re wanting something to be different. Examples include regret, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, wishing we already have more success, better health, more wealth or more confidence or complaining unproductively about others (as opposed to just trying to influence their future behaviour, if we need to). In all these examples we’re wanting the past or present to be different, in other words we’re wanting something to be ‘already different’. This is clearly wishing for the impossible.

We can call all these negative thoughts ‘resisting what was’ or ‘resisting what is’. The opposite of resistance is acceptance. So, the opposite of resisting the past or present could be called ‘accepting what was’ or ‘accepting what is’. In practice we combine these in a single term ‘accepting what is’. ‘Accepting what is’ removes negative thoughts about the past or present and enables us to focus on what’s usually the only thing worth thinking about …. what we can do, if anything, to change the future? You might think being dissatisfied with the past or present can be a motivator to change the future. Our studies show that resistance is generally just demotivating and debilitating, and rarely contributes effectively to improving anything. All we need instead is a clear preference of how we want the future to be, and action to make that happen.

On average, 90% of all resistant thoughts involve resisting the past or present. The other 10% are worry about the future. We only ever worry about things we believe we cannot control. If we believed we could control them, we wouldn’t be worrying. So, worry is as irrational as resisting the past or present, which we also clearly have no control over. (We can only ever change the next moment or the future). To stop worrying we need to ‘accept whatever will be’ while focusing only on what we can do, if anything, to gain more control.

If we learn to ‘accept what is’, and ‘what will be’, all the time, we become highly resilient and more ‘action-focused’. We’re happier, more satisfied and less stressed, while we create whatever future we desire. I don’t have space in this article to describe how I trained myself, and later thousands of others, to accept what is, and what will be, all the time. This is part of a web-based training described below, that I’m now making free to Executive Assistants.

As a psychologist resolving mind-based issues, and a coach helping to develop more resilient and successful lives, teaching clients to ‘accept what is’ and ‘what will be’ is a powerful tool. Stress, dissatisfaction and other resistant thoughts can be entirely eliminated.

All this relates to the way we think. Another major difference between humans and robots is that humans experience feelings (emotions), and we certainly wouldn’t want that to change. But it can be helpful at times to be able to control negative emotions. That’s also covered in the training, together with how to become more confident, achieving and successful, deal with challenges in relationships and balance self-interest and contribution. Resilience, power, health and relationship skills, and a willingness to contribute alongside self-interest goals, are all that’s needed for a brilliant life.

Graham W Price is a chartered psychologist, personal and executive coach and development trainer. He’s an accredited member of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) and a leading provider of Acceptance Action Therapy ... (Read More)

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