Determining thought streams
Posted On August 1, 2023
As the partnership with your Monkey develops you get more space to see what is really going on ….
Close your eyes and pay attention to the thought streams as they start up and swirl across your internal screen. For some of us it’s pictures, verbal thoughts noises even colours or smells and for some of us it’s a mixture of all of these. Some voices, if we can call them that for a moment, are noisier than others. We could consider this as representing the idea thatchy feel their case is more pressing, and they hope that the extra noise will catch your attention and secure your support for the ideas they represent.
As we look behind the thought stream, we can look at its purpose and based on this where it might have come from,. We are the leader of the system we call us and as leader our job is to choose to work out if any or which streams we could accept in order to follow our own path.
A path we as leader will carefully chart choosing appropriately between these well meaning, often conflicting and sometimes inappropriate streams of advice.
With the Monkey onside we sit more effectively, noticing more about the streams rather than getting lost in their content.
Imagine what you are for a moment.
Whatever your perception of you and your own level of success you are one of the group we know as humans – like it or not you, we are currently the top of the food chain. We are the ones with the power to shape the planet; to cause ultimate destruction or create a heaven on earth for all species.
Whether you believe everything organic in you was created by God or the process of evolution, you also know that you as an individual have added to what you were born with:
You have learnt stuff
You have accepted norms, standards and values from other humans and experiences that you absorbed along the way.
Even if you were an identical twin from a physical perspective, it’s unlikely that all your beliefs, thoughts, values, represented by your thought streams and the subsequent choices and actions you choose are the same as your siblings. You may be similar in some respects but you still have a degree of individuality.
If you believe that we have evolved it’s easy to see how what we have learnt or accepted a number of thought streams which represented good survive and thrive behaviours at different points along the way.
Each of these stages is still visible in your physiology and if you look closely we can notice thought streams that look like they come from older, more primitive sources within us.
Some of these don’t represent our own current thinking:
The boy who throws water on the burning deep fat fryer. He reacts in the moment, we may say it’s a gut or visceral impetus to put the fire out. Part of him may now ‘know’ that this is a bad thing to do, that water and hot oil don’t mix, that it will cause an explosion and scatter hot burning oil everywhere and yet in the moment of urgency all his newer knowledge may be over taken by an older thought stream. He throws the water and the over response learnt din the past claims priority.
The two thoughts may collide and one wins captures our attention and we act accordingly.
A 45-year-old fire fighter would not to do this. Their training is thorough , their knowledge and experience his a powerful force that can easily override the older or more primitive thinking.
We recognise a fight or flight reaction inside us. The pulse races our guts change perhaps we breathe faster or find it hard to breathe. we may even feel like we are suffocating. Something has stimulated us and our old systems kick in.
In our modern world, most of us have learnt that some of these more primitive reactions are not winning strategies. Punching your boss or running out of a meeting doesn’t work well. It reduces our chances to to get us accepted or promoted within our chosen group.
We choose a different thought stream to run with.
It’s worth noting in passing how choosing this alternative, over riding our natural behaviour may cause us stress. We choose to behave in a more acceptable way; we smile, we may even apologise even though it’s not our fault, we walk away and we choose to live to fight another day.
Unresolved hough stream conflicts that we need to actively work to override in the moment can lead to stress, demotivation and even depression.
Sooner or later someone (thats you ) has to choose who you are and what you stand for. Someone thats you has to understand how these thought streams work understand their roots and make a choice about how you are going to proceed.
Inside us is a pile of these learnt, inherited or ‘natural’ behaviours that manifest as the conflicting thought streams. Obviously they would conflict as they come from a different time or even a different perspective. Their driver may also not be the same as yours – they may not understand what you are trying to ‘Be Have our Do’ and their advice is s targeted at achieving something that’s wrong (for us).
When we start to look at what goes on inside us more carefully, we can begin to notice the patterns in the thought streams and start to trace their history or origin. Recognising them as what they are and where they came from gives us the chance to honour their role in getting us where we are now and it enables us to choose t9 discard their input more easily if it suits us better to do this.
Once the Monkey is on our team , signed up to our outcomes the process of sifting and choosing or even overriding becomes far more simple. Together we can begin to recognise the patterns and label the thought streams. We know its appropriate to dial into the advice from our most primitive brain if we are caught by a gang in an alley we know its best to ignore this advice if we are in a meeting.
Conscious choices help us set up a more effective pecking order and over time we can replace embedded failure patterns with a modus operandi that suits our purpose alone.
In our observation we see thought streams that can be tagged as belonging to different stages of our brains evolution. We see thought streams that come from personal learning and experience, from the input of significant others .( I recognise my mum speaking in the guise of a certain thought stream),. As we said in Misaligned Monkey we can create our own thought streams or generate thought streams in the style of an other eg Kirk Spock or Scottie.
Understanding their source helps us evaluate more easily.
There’s one more significant set of thought streams that seem to have effected our delegates more than any other –
Parts Therapy another contributor to the idea of thought stream origins ?
In NLP we find something called parts therapy, it’s worth looking at briefly because it gives us an understanding of another source of thought stream activity and it really helps us understand or begin to investigate thought streams that advocate /encourage more extreme or salt sabotaging behavious.
A part is simply just that, a part of us that has broken off during a period of extreme psychological pressure or stress. This little part breaks off and holds the pain and the learning for us. Its job is to free us from the memory of the trauma and keep us safe from this sort of danger in future. It is full of intention to guide, warn and keep us safe. The learning from that event (or series of events that culminated in enough pain to cause the fracture) are held separately by the part to reduce the ongoing impact on us.
Think big ticket trauma like the death of a loved one, betrayal etc (add yours here).
Although the root of the trouble is often lost in the process, we still feel its influence in the thought streams we experience generated by the safety conscious, watchful part.
. Sometimes these highly emotional and strong urges to do or think in a particular way make no sense to us until we finally remember the trauma concerned.
It might explain why you sometimes feel uneasy or aggressive in what now feels like a neutral situation. It might also explain why we sometimes take an active dislike to an individual we have never met before. Our delegates found these unsupported first impressions can be a killer in a sales situation.
The experience and our reaction only begins to make sense when we do Parts therapy. We go back to the time of the fracture and find out what actually happened. we see how the younger us perceived the experience and how they stored it away for future reference. Often the Part separated when we were much younger, when the younger us could not deal with the situation. In therapy when we look again from the perspective of an older more capable us, we find the situation looks different and we also have more resources at our disposal to deal with things effectively.
The 40 year old sales manager is no longer frightened of the man in the suit that looks like a head master.
The ;latest version of you is able to recalibrate what happened and if it ever came to it, deal with situations the 8 year old self found impossible.
Once we understand all this we can look behind the thought stream. We can understand why the resultant thought stream looks the way it does.
In parts therapy we can relieve the part of their shouldered responsibility for the memory and the situation , we can reframe in the context of who we have become now.that new, bigger, stronger more resourceful and capable modern version of you.
Needless to say art the end of the session, as we encourage the part to lose its responsibility and rejoin us as a whole its a very emotional moment. Many of there sessions I have witnessed ended in tears of relief and a reported feeling of wholeness or coming home.
Let’s add parts in as a potential source of the thought streams you notice inside you.
A pragmatic model of us
Imagine then that we have an evolved mechanism that generates a collection of thought streams. These though streams are there to keep us safe, to survive and thrive. If we could look at each stream in detail we might see slight )or major) variations in what their ideas of this means.
These thought streams fire up in different circumstances when they feel they can help with best advice.
Some of them are driven by Parts, others due to more primitive learning stages captured in our the relevant stages of the evolution of our brain systems. Others are sourced from learning experiences within our own lives. These include influences from our culture, school, parents, friendship groups and any and all significant others that have affected the way we think and shaped what we believe to be true.
Each of these thought streams streams will almost certainly supply a different angle on any situation and in turn, may offer a different choice for best action.
We know that these streams are there to help us if they can.
We know each was ‘right’ in its original circumstance
But we also know the hard way that sometime step level of conflict and noise can be overwhelming.
It makes sense to consider he idea that we have evolved some help with all this and if you have completed the Reengineering process with your Monkey you will know that it makes sense to consider the Monkey as evolutions offering to help us make sense of they wealth of information and ideas the thoughts streams represent.
We suspect that the Monkey appeared as an answer to the increasingly difficult and disturbing turmoil of conflicting thoughts in our heads. Its function, to help us make sense of the noise.
It does this by filtering in the context of what it believes is best for us.
It selects the best of the thought streams and presents them to us for a leaders decision. The Monkey knows we are leader and expects us to choose.
This is fine except it seems someone forgot to tell us this is how it all works!
To make matters worse for an unprepared us the Monkey is programmed to act fairly, giving representation to both sides of the discussion and both sides of the coin.
However we must remember that is is the Monkey who has chosen the coin.
Without the alignment process, without setting out clearly what you want as leader the money does its best. This seams to default to keeping you safe. This means low risk average behaviours that maintain the status quo.
A Misaligned Monkey left to its own devices, will deliver more thought streams that work keep you safe – or average. If you want to change this you have to align your Monkey first and male sure your choice of destination is clear to your Monkey.
If you haven’t yet – take the 12 week challenge – it helps you work out who you are what you want as well as setting up that all important relationship with an aligned monkey who is working to deliver what you have chosen.
As leader we need to see our job as
- Setting direction and outcomes (this includes enjoying what is now)
- Sharing this with our Monkey,
- Choosing between thought stream options presented or
- Choosing none of the presented options (and searching internally or externally for something that suits us better).
It’s a tricky job and if you look back at the choices you have made to act or react you may notice patterns that have clearly not led you to your best result.
When you find the patterns in these supposed ‘mistakes’ looking a little deeper can reveal that a particular thought stream or a particular thought source was in ascendance.
Obviously, water on the fat fire is a mistake.
Obviously there are other ‘mistakes’ we see in hindsight- breaking a confidence, sharing a secret, throwing caution to the winds and buying that thing, kissing that person, breaking that law; in hindsight some of the things we do look crazy even to us!
As you remember some your not so fine moments now in this moment you may notice a new stream of thoughts emerging. this is the final group we will talk about today
Perhaps its called the ‘shoulda woulda coulda’ brigade or even the’ beat yourself up’ brigade
Maybe this gloating or taking the time to point out they knew best all along is just a way of getting us to accept their advice in future?
Hindsight – Shoulda Woulda Coulda
What hindsight gives us is the ability to see thought streams working their stuff altering our choices and trying to get us to learn or accept their approach.
The more we really see what is going on, then the more we notice the patterns and the more we can use labels to gain some distance. As we get better at this, it can and will happen even in the moment, amidst the noise and emotion and we can more often choose our best strategy to move forward in line with where we want to be – whatever the Monkey or our thought streams shout.
Taking time out to understand how this works gives us the insight we need to use what we have more effectively. Our story at the Misaligned monkey is based on feelings and results.
These factors are the end of the line m when you’re happy you’re happy.
The Misaligned Monkey approach gives us a way of thinking and labelling what is happening that helps us make better sense of the though streams and the Monkey. We pragmatically use what we have been given to get the best life.
Once we see the patterns and the sources, once we can step away and have them labeled as who and what they are, then we get to the point where we can choose more effectively.
We can eye ump a thought stream see what it says and where it comes from or what its trying too do and say
“I see you and I see why you would say what you say say. I can understand why you would promote that or say this but it’s not for me today”
This is the moment when we become the leader, the master of our ship the captain of our fate and we rise above the past and choose our own life and how we will live it.
Better choices are about having the life we want – whatever that means to you as an individual.
One of the reasons we spend so much time in the 12-week challenge looking at what you want your life to be like is that without some idea of what this is, any road will take you there.
Internally this means its harder to choose between the options that our thought streams champion , we have no way f simply and effectively choosing what is best for us and ‘any thought stream will do……’
Meeting your Monkey setting up the relationship and practising your new powers with them on your team paves the way for more space more time understand the nature of the thought streams you experience. Once you see them , what they are where they come from and the patterns they represent then its much easier to choose wants best for you independently.
The Misaligned Monkey book outlines our ideas of how we can use the Monkey for our own ends, the exercises within it lead us on a path to discover and develop that relationship. It can be tricky on your own so
If you haven’t had ago at the challenge yet it’s a great way to try it all out and it’s free this month in the shop
There’s also a free audio recording of the book to download which will help you drip feed yourself the ideas and approaches that will help you make a difference to your internal thought experience.
Please also help us by sharing your scores experiences and tips on the face book page