In November 2011, after following Bob Proctor online for a while, I received an email from the Proctor’s team announcing the ‘Matrixx’ event, which promised all the strategies and tactics that one needed to change within a week.
The email also stated that two places remained. I had to confirm that day or lose my chance to meet Proctor. I paid and reserved my seat. It was a consistent theme within the self-help world where the gurus would use the old marketing ploy of creating the fear of missing out. The dissatisfaction and lack of purpose in my life meant that I was only too eager to fall for their tactics.
I travelled for almost 18 hours, using two flights to Toronto. On the first day of the event, Bob Proctor ran into the large room to the sound of blazing music. He then launched into a 40-minute monologue. Being a talented and dramatic teacher, Proctor used the effects of lighting, music and silence to teach his lessons.
I was immediately transfixed.
On the second day, Proctor introduced us to the “Stick figure diagram” created by Dr Thurman Fleet in the 1930s. He grabbed a marker and drew one big circle that he divided into two: the conscious mind at the top and the unconscious at the bottom. The circle signified our head. This was then joined to a smaller ring, which was our body, and then he drew its hands and legs, which represented our behaviours — the point being that our mind controls our actions.
The Stick-Figure Diagram
We have two separate minds — The conscious and the unconscious minds. The conscious mind, which represents only 5% of our mind, is the thinking mind, where we think freely and accept or reject any idea. It gets information from our five senses and is rooted in the present, e.g., when we hear a car approaching as we cross the road, we immediately stop.
The unconscious mind is like a supercomputer loaded with a database of programmed behaviours, most of which we acquire between birth and age six. Programming influences almost 95% of our thoughts, decisions, emotions and actions in our subconscious mind. The unconscious is basically running our lives.
Most of the time, we are unaware of our behaviours. However, if not addressed quickly enough, our thoughts crystallise into core beliefs, which become almost impossible to shift. For example, how automatic it becomes to brush our teeth at night having done so for so many years, or on a deeper level, how we view a concept like money is probably influenced by how our parents thought, felt and acted around it.
“A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild.” — James Allen
Many of us know that our minds control our actions, yet only a few change them. So why do many of us fail miserably with our resolutions? Why are we stuck with behaviours we dislike?
Our mind is the hardware, and our thoughts, beliefs and paradigms are the software. Instead of changing the hardware of our minds, we should instead change the software, our thoughts and our beliefs.
If we create a habit of rising early at 5 am every day and getting up without fail for the next three months, we magically become morning people who enjoy the sounds of the birds chirping, the incredible sound of silence and the inner peace that brings to us. We have reprogrammed the supercomputer with new software.
I looked back at the last few traumatic years with new eyes before I had my panic attacks that led to the anti-depressants. I saw that the beliefs I grew up with had affected my every action. It made sense that I would follow the path of my forefathers toward achievement, money, success, prestige, and stress. I knew no other world. That was my software.
I now understood that my ambivalence was merely how my new way of thinking was fighting with the old way. The anxiety and the panic attacks were just a message to me that I was going the wrong way against what I truly wanted. The anger and rage I felt was my frustration at not knowing what was wrong with me and what to do about it.
For me, the stick-figure diagram was an ‘aha’ moment. It was so simple yet effective. I could finally comprehend a tangible way to change. We can’t simply think ourselves to change. Instead, we need to address the thoughts, beliefs, and paradigms sleeping in the unconscious.
That has been the long and arduous journey I’ve been on for the past ten years. Along the way, there have been many breakthroughs and setbacks; however, there has been one constant, I’ve been growing and growing as a person ever since that day that I met Bob Proctor.
Proctor is a true legend of the self-help industry, whose concepts and teachings have changed millions of people worldwide.
He passed away a few days ago at 88 years old. And in his words, “he has moved on to the next realm of his eternal journey.”
I bid him a loving farewell and remain eternally grateful to his teachings.