“I wear the chain I forged in life.” – A Christmas Carol
You can use the Dickens Pattern exercise to change your Future Self now.
I’ve always been fascinated with how to change faster, especially when speed is of the essence.
Personal change can be a long, slow, and even tedious process.
Slow and steady wins the race, sometimes, but not when you’re getting outpaced by the speed of changes around you.
Sometimes you have the need for speed.
And lucky for us, long ago, Tony Robbins figured out a pattern for rapid personal change, he calls the Dickens Pattern.
Your Future Self will thank you for it.
By stepping into a future of what you don’t want, you can use your Future Self to live and lead a new life today.
The big idea is to vividly visualize a future that is so painful, if you don’t change your ways, that you feel you must change right now, today.
And by changing your beliefs, you change your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions, naturally.
3 Ghosts Changed Scrooge’s Life Overnight
The Dickens Pattern exercise is based on the Charles Dickens’s story of a Christmas Carol, where three ghosts show Scrooge his life.
Scrooge changed his world in one night.
The 3 ghosts that show up to help change Scrooge are:
- the Ghost of Christmas Past
- the Ghost of Christmas Present
- the Ghost of Christmas Future
The Ghost of Christmas Future had the greatest effect on Scrooge because the spirit showed Scrooge his own grave and frightened him into changing his ways.
You can use the Dickens Pattern exercise to change your life overnight, too. And you don’t need 3 ghosts to show up to do it
You can use your powers of imagination and visualization.
Your brain doesn’t know the difference between what’s really happening and what you vividly imagine over time (you might say, perception is reality).
Why The Dickens Process is So Powerful
The Dickens Pattern exercise is especially empowering because it puts your in charge of owing your change.
Aside from speed of change, the real beauty of this technique is it doesn’t depend on you having the perfect models of how things should be.
It doesn’t depend on you having the right circumstances for you to draw from or people to learn from.
It’s all you. You and your own limiting beliefs that you already have a sense of.
And when you change your limiting beliefs, you get out of your own way. You see and experience the world in a more limitless way.
And these new experiences you create from this new vantage point, become the new model that
Summary of the Dickens Process Technique
To do the Dickens Pattern, Tony Robbins notes that you have to be willing to experience some pain (otherwise, why change?).
But this pain is the key to you getting leverage on yourself and inspiring your brain to choose a new path in life.
The Dickens Pattern exercise itself is pretty simple.
And the power comes from actually doing the exercise with full focus and full feeling, not just seeing images in your mind’s eye.
Tony Robbins learned that change ultimately happens when you change your internal representation.
And this is beyond just your brain, to really feel it in your body, like a full nervous system experience.
When you look at the impact of your life, you can look to all the areas of your life, physically, financially, emotionally, socially, spiritually, etc.
By feeling the full pain in all the aspects of your life, your brain will fight with you, instead of against you, to make the changes you seek.
Keep in mind, that this is an exercise you can practice, and Tony points out you might struggle with it the first few times.
If I remember right, Tony was able to go through a short-version of the exercise in 8 minutes, so you have that as a frame of reference.
Getting Started–Feel the Full Impact of Your Current Limiting Beliefs
To set the stage, Tony wants you to really feel the pain that your limiting beliefs are costing you now in your life.
You start by identifying two limiting beliefs that hold you back and cause you pain in your life in the present:
- Think about two limiting beliefs that have been holding you back in life. Imagine how much they weight on your body. What are the consequences of having these beliefs? what are you losing? What are you missing out on? Feel how that feels to feel that loss. Create that feeling of pain in your body.
- What is it costing you financially? Do these beliefs limit some of the choices you make that affect your finances? these beliefs affect your willingness to take some risks to invest?…to go for it?
How do these beliefs cost you in your own self-esteem?
Having these beliefs, what does it do to your self-confidence?…Does it create doubt or strength to have these beliefs?
How do you feel about yourself when you live by these beliefs?… Do you feel powerful or weaker?
How do these beliefs affect your energy level?… Do they create energy or take energy away?
What do you think of when you think of yourself living by these beliefs? What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror and realize you’ve allowed these beliefs to control you? Say it to yourself. See it. How does your face look when you think about living with these beliefs and the weight of them pulling you down? Feel how it feels. What kind of a role model are you for your children if, if you have children? What kind of a role model are you for anybody?
How does it affect you spiritually?…your relationship with your creator? Think of what all the costs are for you physically, financially, emotionally, socially, spiritually…all the areas of your life.
If you really feel the pain of your limiting beliefs, then you’re doing it right.
Step 1. See Your Future Self 5 Years in the Future
If you thought your current experience is pain, now feel what happens when you compound that pain over the next 5 years.
In this step, you imagine your Future Self 5 years in the future.
This is your chance to really feel what happens if you don’t change your limiting ways.
“Take the weight of all of these limitations, all the things you’re missing out on, and I want you to pull yourself into the future.
And as you go into the future, I want you to step 5 years into the future, and make sure you drag with you all of the limiting feelings and experiences and limitations that these beliefs will create for another 5 years stacking one top another, like a giant snowball getting bigger and bigger and bigger, pushing you further down.
And I want you to step into the future 5 years from now and with you bring all the things you’ve missed out on, all the pain, all the frustration, all the anger that these beliefs have generated through time.
All the things you’ve given up on.
Bring all of that with you.
Drag it with you now, 5 years in the future.”
Step 2. See Your Future Self 10 Years in the Future
Now this is your change for your Future Self to show you the cost of 10 years of your limiting beliefs
This is where the weight of your limiting beliefs gets really, really heavy.
This is where going through life with your limiting beliefs really takes its toll.
This is where you really pay the price of missing out on your life.
Don’t just “see” it. Don’t just “think” about it. Really “feel” it.
Really step in, see your Future Self 10 years from now and what life is like if you don’t change.
“Now step in the future, 10 years from now. Drag 10 years of disappointment with you.
10 years of one failure building on another.
10 years of all the limitations of these beliefs, all the things you’ve missed out coming with you.
10 years in the future, now look in the mirror and notice how you feel.
Do you feel older or younger?…More alive or less alive?…Does your body feel heavier or lighter?
Do you feel stronger or weaker?…What do you say to yourself as you look at yourself after living this way for a decade?
What did you give up?…What did you give up emotionally?
How much frustration have you experienced for 10 years because of these beliefs?
How many things were you afraid of?…How many things did you not do?…How many things did you give up on?”
Step 3. See Your Future Self 20 Years in the Future
This is really an exercise in your imagination and your ability to visualize your Future Self 20 years in the future.
If you’ve never done this before, it’s especially interesting to notice what image automatically comes to mind.
And this is your chance to really link how your limiting beliefs today, create a very painful version of your Future Self.
This is where you can really feel the compound effects of time.
This is your chance to fully experience how you would feel about your life, if you’ve lived this way for 20 years.
This is your chance to see all the prices you’ve paid, all the things you’ve given up, all the things you’ve missed out on in your life.
“Step 20 years into the future, now and drag 2 decades, 20 years of pain with you, all the way, and feel all the things you missed out on for 20 years, culminating on your back.
Feel all the things you gave up on, all the things you missed out on, all the pain you’ve experienced because of these limiting beliefs.
Look in the mirror and notice what your face looks like, what your body looks like.
Are you healthy or not?…Are you fatter?…Do you feel lighter or heavier?
Stronger or weaker?…More alive or less alive?…More excited or totally depressed and disappointed?
Where are you?…What’s happened to you?…What price did you pay for these lousy beliefs?
What did it cost you in your relationships?
What did it cost you in your career?… in your business?
What didn’t you do because of these beliefs?…What didn’t you try?…What didn’t you go for?
What does it cost you physically? Emotionally? Spiritually? Financially?
What does it cost your family life?
What do you say to yourself after 20 years of living this way with these limiting beliefs?”
If You Created Enough Pain, Your Brain Will Change Your Beliefs
Whether you change your beliefs or not is up to you.
When you create enough pain in these vivid scenes of your future, they inspire your brain to change.
If you create enough pain, the change will be automatic.
Tony Robbins has been doing this a very long time with athletes, teachers, students, CEOs, leader of all levels, artists, and just about every walk of life.
It’s the fastest way he knows how to inspire personal change and transformation.
“How do you feel about your life if you’ve lived this way for 20 years?
And decide if you’re willing to live this way.
Are you willing to have this be your destiny?
If this is painful enough that you’re absolutely committed to never living this way again, your brain will change your beliefs.
If not, you better keep working on this until it’s really painful.
Do whatever it takes.
Ask yourself questions. Feel the pain.
If you’re committed to never having this happen in your life, note this is only the shadow of the future as they said.
And that this can be changed by you changing your beliefs.”
Wake Up, It Hasn’t Happened Yet!
Snap out of it. Come back to today. Just like when Scrooge woke up from his dream and realized that none of this has happened yet.
Scrooge could change his future, and so he did, and that was the timeless beauty of the story.
The same goes for you. Your future is still in front of you, waiting for you to write a new story forward.
Changing your beliefs, changes your future.
BTW – How ironic is it that if you don’t believe you can change your beliefs, or, if you don’t believe changing your beliefs changes your future, then those can be your first limiting beliefs to work on.
This is your chance to take a deep breathe, feel some gratitude that your Future Self showed you a future you can avoid, and use that to inspire your change today.
Yes, today can be your day to change…change your beliefs, change your life.
“Come backwards in time. Come back to today, and realize that none of this has happened yet, fortunately. Come all the way back to today, and realize none of this has happened yet.
It doesn’t have to happen if you make some changes.
And as you do, you may notice that if you did this, and you really were feeling the feelings, you may have been bent over, as you got older, and felt more of the weight of those problems. And as you come back to today, you may find yourself sitting or standing more upright…breathing more fully…feeling more alive.
And you might want to shake your body out and interrupt that pattern. Get out of that state completely. Change your physiology. Change your state by moving your body around, bounce up and down, move around, breathe, and get completely out of that state.”
Your Future Self is in Your Hands
By changing your beliefs, you change your results.
By changing your results, you change your experiences and your life.
Your Future Self will thank you.
Your Current Self can thank you, today.
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