Identifying Thoughts and Thought Streams

Motivated Champions

In another Post we talked about Motivated Champions – It’s a way of helping us start to think about what is going on behind our thoughts. getting closer to the root causes that sponsor a particular thought or thought stream with a passion and involvement as part of their drive to help us or to keep us safe

This post takes a quick look at this inherited thought programming, what it is are driven by and how we can start to move beyond its control.

We all have thought streams, some are peculiar to each of us as individuals, they are what makes me conclude or act differently to you. Some of these we share as part of our common inheritance. A great example of one of these is our need to be part of a group.


Few of us actively, consciously choose our groups with respect to what we want to achieve. This is even true of our employment. Many of our delegates had stumbled into their jobs or careers. Many were horrified to see how little conscious thought had gone into determine where they spend most of their time. Often, we also found no link between what the delegate said they wanted long term and the nature and rewards from their existing employment.

Groups exert a pressure to comply.

It’s not personal but it’s a fact that ‘would be’ thin people will struggle to remain or achieve ‘thinness’ if their group consists of people who aren’t thin and don’t see being thin as a worthy goal.

If you want to be thin, mix with thin people.

We know that challenging group think in word or deed can sometimes have unpleasant consequences, criticism, withdrawal of friendship or alliances and even being thrown out.

Changing the things, we have been doing, thinking or even believing can fire up misunderstanding and even hostility in the social context of our group.

Any adverse reaction socially can unleash the older tribe-based thought streams and give them the energy they need to dominate our internal space. Often the thoughts are more about staying part of the group at all costs rather than pursuing our own goals and objectives. The internal conflict shows up in circular thoughts, distraction, confusion, discomfort and procrastination. Even when one thought wins, there can be an ongoing unease or discomfort unless the programmed conflict is resolved effectively.

As you come to a new relationship with your Monkey you have more space, more space lets us identify more of the thought stream patterns we all experience. These are patterns you have inherited, they come with the human package  as you reengineer your relationship with your Monkey you can see them more clearly. label them, call them out and make a better choice about your actions futures or thinking. Recognising the Patterns let us label and group what we experience. This lets us stay at a distance and make more sense of what is going on. Once we go behind the content and investigate the real drivers of any thought stream, we find out its purpose. Despite how they look on the surface, despite what course of action they try to persuade us to take, when we get to the root of the thought – its motivation we can see it’s always about helping us –  about ensuring we survive and thrive.

If we had time, we could probably look at the age of the thought stream, how and when they developed in our ancestor’s psyche. This might help us see how long some of them have been hidden or how long they have operated faithfully trying to keep us safe.

Being part of the group is one most of us feel at some point or other.Groups are interesting, membership is hard to give up, it’s hard to leave ‘friends’ behind and make new choices. Your new choices helps us identify those who obey different thought patterns. When our friend don’t think in a way that is consistent with our new aspirations and the new choices we make regarding which thoughts (if any ) we will run with it can be difficult.

Our new directions can challenges them – they react and this fires up one of our longest held survival mechanisms – remaining part of our group. It’s good to know that your choice to change what you do what you are or what you have is likely to create a stir. Knowing its about thought streams and knowing you have chosen to rise above your traditional thought recommendations and try new or different makes the reactions of others easier to process and understand.

Your thought streams are there to help us survive and thrive, they can be so embedded and act so insidiously that we don’t realise they are there. We should also consider that circumstances and our skills and competences have changed since they were formed. I used to avoid presentations like the place. When I had one to do my whole insides turned upside dow. with panic and desperate pans to get out of jail . Now presentations are simple easy even I enjoy them and the thought that encourage me to run for the hills have been safely retired and replaced with others more suitable to my purpose.

Let’s look at some ideas that help make this transition and enable us to retire our old guidance system and build a new one fit for our purpose and for human we now have become:

An Aligned Monkey helps but…

Even with an onside Monkey, carefully teamed up and focussed on an outcome, sitting together watchfully, at position three, we can often miss the elephant in the room. Suddenly, we become aware of a thought stream that was so embedded, so part of the furniture, part of our history and development path, that we just didn’t notice it was there. When we see them for what they are, several patterns of our past thinking and past behaviour suddenly make more sense.

After reengineering the relationship with the Monkey, our interior space becomes quieter, there is more scope for us directing the flow of enquiry or contemplation. For this reason, part of the get of an aligned monkey is that we can begin to think about and use the internal space as our own quiet, personal and effective contemplative space.

Somewhere we can go to cleanly investigate something that interests us.  Something like our own programming.

One interesting area of exploration is to run what we might call deeper dives on these hidden or embedded thought streams that can shape our world without our knowledge.

When we do these, we can find that the most primitive drivers often reflect our core needs.

If you haven’t guessed yet, reading between the lines on our posts, we think the Psychologists world of motivation theory is overly complex and the arguments and conflict are not overly useful.

We like pragmatic ideas we can use to make sense of what we experience and take action if we want to.

Two theories have screamed out at us and enabled us diagnose and heal motivational issues in our delegates both as teams and as individuals.

Towards and Away

The first idea is that we are either motivated towards something we want or away from something we don’t want. These are like chalk and cheese.

Whilst an away stimulus is very good at getting us to move, moving towards something is a far more sustainable and effective motivation than the urge to move away you can read more here

Needs Hierarchy

The second idea is best captured by Maslow:

We have a hierarchy of needs that we work through as we mature or as circumstances change.

As each is satisfied, we become more able to focus on the next in the hierarchy.

The quick message is we don’t worry much about the car we drive if we are seriously sick or we are starving.  Similarly, all our material wealth and toys suddenly become meaningless if we lose love or become sick.

We can pull our motivators into a hierarchy which as individuals we may argue with here or there but you can get the point.

Physiological needs (in immediacy order) 

No Pain




To Live

To procreate


Once these are not perceived as a risk factor the thoughts streams related to each of these needs will back off and the next set will become dominant or take over. It’s all bout surviving and then thriving:

Social needs




And Finally- The ‘best me I can be’ 

As time passes or maybe as a factor of age, we see patterns in living and in life. The result, if this goes well, is the Australian “No Worries” or the Swahili “Hakuna matata”. We see the inevitability, the big picture, we understand there are things we can’t control and things we don’t have to even when we can. We become interested in others from a positive, compassionate stand point and we become interested in being the ‘best me I can be’.


From a timeline of survival, we can see that the key drives about surviving and competing would be more prevalent and more appropriate in the earlier drivers.

The ‘best me I can be’ bit is different. It’s the Jonathan Livingstone Seagull story. It can be tricky and it can be unpopular to strive for perfection. Ask Jonathan it often ends up causing us to be expelled from our older safe groups or tribes we would once like to have been a part of. It also leaves us with a Locus of Control that is firmly inside us – we care more about what we think than the views of others.

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull

The best me I can be goes against some of the great drives and urges to belong, to not be different. It goes against what we have evolved to accept and use naturally without conscious thought. It stimulates these thought streams that have kept us safe as a species, a tribe, a family or an individual and they fire up to talk us out of it.

Some of us have been picked on because we are different as individuals. The most obvious differences being superficial visual differences: skin colour, height or age. each of us has our own story – in my case bald, white, old and ‘chunky’ have all played their parts at different times, in generating a reaction from others.

Ironically, our survival-based thought streams call for us to seek out (and stay safe) with people who we unconsciously consider are similar to us.

The thought streams of the past learnt this was safer and less emotionally challenging. We can bond easily with these people, sharing stories of those who are ‘different to us’ and gain some sort of validation for being one of this ‘gang’.

However, if we want the ‘us’ society that we all belong to, a society where us means all of us; humans, animals and the planet itself then the best thing for us to do is to get out more and mix it up.

Mixing with those who are different to me, those who may think my differences mean this or that goes me the chance to show them someone who looks like me can be ok too. It also lets someone like me, with my background and inherited thought streams learn that others from other backgrounds, who may not present like me, are ok too. 

When I start thinking about doing more to help the world there is a internal clamour of thoughts and thought streams. I get questions come up about trust, about my own limited resources, time, money and energy. I get thoughts about  the insignificant nature of me, if I can make any difference and whether there is any point in doing this at all. I feel or notice thoughts that question my capability and cause me to wonder if I should bother at all.

Considering anything new flushes out the hidden safety mechanisms.

Considering a new path, something like this that is out of the ordinary for me, fires up my thought streams, some of my Motivated Champions. I can do this deliberately,  just to see them in action and if I look closely I can see them for what they represent, for what they are doing and why they are doing it. As with the Monkey we do not engage with detail or content we only engage at etc level of purpose – the why. Only when this is understood  do the details make any sense at all.

Some of our young people think it’s ok to cut themselves or worse. Some of them torture themselves with extremes of diet or exercise because they don’t look like someone else idea of ideal. The thoughts in their head support these behaviours.

These activities, driven by those thoughts are based on thought streams designed dto help us.

The motivation is good but the execution is crap.

Understanding the motivation and helping the solutions along to deliver what you actually want now an din the future is the way to reeducating or retiring the thought stream, breaking its cycle and moving forwards.

Fortunately, most of us are not stuck in such extreme unhelpful thought spirals.

However we are all victims of old thinking and all that goes with it.

If you are not completely happy now and you would like somethings to change there’s a thought that can help us before we start doing anything:

“Your existing thinking has created what you have now or how you evaluate it and so option one involves an understanding that in order to change your experience your thoughts have to change first”.

Change is more difficult in teams and individuals especially when we go against the old hidden or buried wisdom. Changes inevitably fire up older thoughts streams, thought streams that are still driven to utilise proven older ideas, methods, approaches and thinking to keep us safe. In our quest to change, it makes sense to see them as helpful friends, friends who may now offer advice, rules and comments that are simply outdated. Advice that is aimed at achieving something historically of value but that may no longer be the right thing for you or me in today’s world.

Friends we should respect for their past help but friends we should not let limit our futures with their well intentioned advice or insistence. These friends are now in strained relationships with us and we need to take time to heal. This can happen through time, by sticking to our guns or through more proactive methods like the NLP Parts integration practices or those of the ancient Hawaiian Huna.

We will write more about Huna later but this s a great start book if you are interested

Huna Mastering Hidden self

In a future post we will look at how some have engineered this healing process and a practice we think works alongside a reengineered Monkey.

Let’s look at another commonly held belief that’s more modern.

It must be best to save money?

In the Misaligned Monkey we talked a little about George.

George was still saving money at age 66. Money he would need for his old age.

George’s Monkey would champion the dominant, inherited ‘save money thought stream’, with no idea of what was best for George now. No change in purpose or direction, despite the fact that George was arguably already in old age.

Time has passed as it does, I am now as old as George was then.

There is no point in me saving money any more. Everything I own will be taxed at 40% when I die. I’ve done my bit with taxes and don’t want what I have to be taxed a second time.

I must now learn new appropriate behaviours and, I must adopt them as my ‘standard operating procedures’.

New ideas and methods like how to give away, how to help worthy causes and how to spend on myself and enjoy it, with no after taste of guilt or regret. I don’t have to do any of this but it is now a new valid option which I could consider. To do this I must first be prepared to rise above the existing and inherited thought streams that have served me so well until now.

It’s not easy, the old people in my tribe would have said something like “It goes against every bone in my body”. Perhaps they were describing the same thing, some of these old thought streams feel as though they are solidified into my very being. Strong as bones, these become natural unquestionable rules, values, beliefs and approaches to lifes’ twists and turns.

Accepting that we are programmed and that many of these programmes have been largely hidden, operating as ‘must dos’ is a big step forward. It would make the transition from child to teenager to young adult less guilt ridden as we go against our guides and mentors in search of our own way.

Whatever your age, it’s worth gently looking for clues, identifying any outdated rules and making new relevant choices if it suits us to do so. Ironically it also means that some of our most hated habits or routines are also validated as we go through this process. Fr example its easy to believe the old myths about old age or menopause and act constantly eating like an old person, exercising like an old person only to find the myth becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

It’s not a good idea to accept thoughts or belief sets that don’t take you where you want to go. It’s always worth fighting, checking and making sure that any surrender is your choice.

A choice based on your understanding that you have a capacity to change and do what it takes if it suits you. The inherited wisdom for what is right for a 75 year old might be dictating many of the results but a moments check on google shows us decay, weakness is not inevitable. An increasing number of us buck the history and the perceived wisdom and this is true in so many areas. Make it easier- stick with the people who think in a way that helps you think in a way that’s best for you. read the stuff that tells you what is possible, not what isn’t and think the thoughts, by choice and reengineering, that help you to decide what your stats will look like.

Seeing these drivers manifesting as ‘only’ thought streams that were there to help but may have now become outdated, means we can more easily choose a new path and new rules to follow. It also lets us understand the role of the inevitable internal reactions that can try to dissuade us from our path.

When we don’t take the time to understand what is really going on it’s hard not to just tag along with the dominant thought streams. This method for breaking them down gives us a way to label, the ‘I see you” moment, to know it is not us or ours but only an option presented by an old friend that may now represent the past.

We are grateful for past service; but we now choose new friends, new more empowering options that suit our purpose. and take us where we want to go Moore easily.

We are grateful for past service, we accept there may have been misunderstandings but the past is fine and it’s time to move on as the leader dictating how and where we want to go.

New objectives

Setting new objectives which go against our core thought streams or setting ourselves tasks that are tricky or unpleasant (like cold showers) enable us to out them.

To see them operating, to see them for what they are and what they represent. Then we can lead and choose how we want to play it.

As we all know it’s not easy but as we become increasingly aware of their existence, influence and intent, labelling them makes them easier to ignore.

We learn from their input but we are not slaves.

We know now that we have the right to choose our own path.

This becomes easier when we know their protection is no longer needed and their intention and outcome for us is no longer one that we share.

So, what do we do?

Keep working on what you want your life to be like. Accept that this might include change or even no change.

Any internal reaction to this helps you see your inherited thought streams in action.


Setting a goal to explore or to enjoy what you have can fire up the survival thought stream that argues continually that more is better, that there is always something that needs changing or fixing and it’s a powerful one to leave behind. The people I have met who have achieved this positive expectation, those who eagerly watch with a serene openness what life brings them next, seem to have an accompanying peacefulness that you can almost touch.

The key to all this is to know what you want and accept that this will stir up these hidden thought stream patterns so you can have a closer look.

Accept also that if your goal is about contentment with what you ‘have’ now, then you may fire up the monster thought streams that seems to affect so many of us about its good to be busy –  busy works, busy is the only way etc

Once we know this, we can watch or stir up our thought streams and as they appear, we can step back and ask the best first question:

How do the contents of this thought stream help me ‘be have or do’ what I want to ‘be have or do’?

From position three with an onside Monkey this is enough to out the thought stream and see its base driver or its method of delivering the drive as not compatible with what we now want.

In the face of strong old school thought streams it’s sometimes difficult to remember it’s your life.

This is only true if you write the story. If you make choices actively and if you are the leader, the one who determines where you want to go.

This idea is the focus of our books about Authors, Shamen and a man called Joe – the first one Joe’s Cliff on Amazon now.

When the thought stream has been noticed, outed and labelled, we can take steps to:

Educate it – our new purpose is XYZ and it is a priority – we are going to work towards it

Partner with it – work out how and when it can continue to help and rather like we did with the Monkey the terms of the relationship and how we can work it.

Retire it – thank you for your contribution we are now doing this because we want to create …..

  • Note I you are practising Huna you will also apologise for any misunderstanding or hurt and express your love for the part (or child) who has worked so hard to keep you safe all these years.

Awareness of what is happening is the key requirement.

A reengineered relationship with the Monkey gives us the space to become more focused on the parts of our awareness we want to explore, understand and then modify if necessary. Thought streams fit into this well and although the new relationship with the Monkey sorts our much of the usual disturbance we experience internally, it goes on giving by enabling us to progressively clean out older and no longer helpful embedded thought streams.

To start or continue your investigation, watch the thought streams flow in your head as you read the next paragraph.

See if you can identify any more of these hidden controllers that may still exist in your system.

The next paragraph

One of the things we see come up regularly when we start to reengineer a relationship with our Monkey is that we need to show we are serious.

If we say we are going to run every morning at 5 am and we roll over and go back to sleep when the alarm goes off, we send a mixed message: we want to be a runner but we are not serious about it.

Contrast this with forcing your reluctant body into a cold shower, the message is I am the leader I am in charge and I will ensure we do this now.

The message is “We are definitely serious and we are going to see it through!”

We also know, especially if you have completed the challenge, how these types of resolutions fire up the internal thought streams.

We suggest you choose to set yourself a task or a goal to do something you don’t want to do but would add value to you.

Value could be taking you closer to something you want or asserting control over your mind and body in some way (cold shower early morning run, 16 -8 eating plan)

If you are stuck for choice – pick the one thing you know you ‘should’ be doing (or not doing now) now and plan to stick with it for a week.

Watch what comes up as you begin to assert your power as leader

Label it

I see you

Is it helpful or not in achieving the life you want?

Is it familiar?

Does it operate in a similar way at other times and in other contexts?

Seriously considering doing something unappealing that is of value in the quest for the perfect you is a great way of outing your silent control mechanisms

Try it with your Monkey from viewpoint 3 using this recorded session and let us know how you go.

In other posts we will quickly run through some good guidelines for creating personal change each of which provides an opportunity for you to follow through on the “Educate and Partner” steps.

For now, see anything you choose to do as a message to you and to the Motivated Champions.

Go with Speed – But don’t promise yourself anything you are not going to do.

If you haven’t yet read the book get it here

The Misaligned Monkey on Amazon