Personal Development

The "˜Have-to' Principle

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"˜You have to do it'. Doesn't hearing that immediately rankle the skin? "˜Who are you to be telling me I have to do anything?' you might reply.

In the West, we are obsessed with personal freedom. Laws are passed to ensure we can do much of what we want without being told we have to do otherwise.

Yet some things you have to do and when it comes to the arena of self-development this is far more true that you may realise.

Here's what I mean: Let's say you have spent years reading personal development material. You've listened to courses, chanted, tapped and visualized. Yet despite some useful changes the core problems you have keep showing up.

Yes, you did some work on core beliefs and it seemed for a time to give you some relief. But deep down you knew that things hadn't changed and the lack of different results eventually proved that.

I understand how frustrating this is because this was me. What I eventually came to realise was the following: that there are often aspects of yourself your just don't want to face.

For example, I had some bad and unhelpful scripts around money. I worked on EVERYTHING else except those. And guess what "“ I was still bad with money.

If I wanted change "“ I HAD TO look at those beliefs. No ifs. No buts. You have to.

You have to because unless you do "“ you can't and won't move forward.

And if you take nothing else from this article take that.

So start now: Look at the area you don't want to face (okay, sideways peek if that's all you think you can manage) and consider:

  • "˜Can I move forward without tackling this?'
  • "˜What have my results been so far NOT having tackled it?'
  • "˜Do I HAVE TO tackle it to get to the next level?'

You may have been slightly brainwashed by the way NLP practitioners treats "˜have's'. In the Meta-model, a tool for communicating more effectively and breaking down limiting beliefs, "˜have' is called a modal operator of necessity.

So when someone says "˜I have to call my ex back' you can say: "˜Have to? Who said? Who's making you? Do you really have to?'

This is good and healthy "“ it challenges the person's model of reality and helps them realise they are still making a choice.

However, some things you HAVE to do! Yes, you do! Here's another example related to goal setting. Some of the most knowledgeable goal setters in the world have said:

"˜You have to HAVE a goal before you have it.'

Heck, even Jesus said that when you pray you must, "˜"¦believe you already hold it in your hand and it shall be yours.' (The Source Translation). That's a divine "˜have to'!

If it is not obvious, this means your subconscious mind must (another "˜have') accept that you are already enjoying the goal and its fruits long before you actually possess it in reality. This is the kind of certainty you feel when you think about the sun coming up tomorrow. You are certain of that right, even though technically there is no proof?

You HAVE TO KNOW you are going to achieve your goal or you will continuously be striving to believe it. And once you KNOW it, you don't have to try to believe it. Think about picking up your morning beverage: tea, coffee, hot chocolate and so on. Do you believe you are going to pick up the cup? Or do you KNOW you are? Exactly.

In order for your subconscious mind to work on creating and spotting opportunities for this to happen you HAVE TO KNOW it's already happened and is happening.

Otherwise, your goal achievement is like one of those old cars that splutters, goes for a mile, bangs, stops and jumps forward "“ again and again.
In my book Your Mind is a Liar I wrote about what I think is one of the ultimate cases of have to. I strongly suggest that if we believe that our beliefs are true then we will not change – because you can't change Truth, right?

So you HAVE TO develop a view of your thoughts as just thoughts, not objective truth. Yes, they are true to you but that is a function of your mind-brain-body confirming them. That does not make them real in the world outside, only inside you. Real-izing (yes, I wrote that deliberately) this is a major key to change. You have to be able to doubt what seems like reality to you if that "˜reality' is constantly producing poor results.

Friends don't call you? Yes, it could be them but it could be you.

You keep screwing up your jobs? Yes, it could be several awful bosses in a row but what if you had a part to play in that?

You may not want to think about these areas. But if you want to move forward with insight, you may have to.


Joshua Cartwright

*Of course, it is possible that the core beliefs are still hidden from you. I have found deep change-work to be like peeling an onion and sometimes you really can't see the deeper layers of the onion until you start peeling the others away: one by one. For this reason, I think it important to raise your consciousness of what is going on inside -mindfulness exercises and Image Streaming (by Win Wenger) are both useful for this.

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About the author

Joshua Cartwright

Joshua Cartwright is the author of 11 personal development books including Your Mind is a Liar, and The Millionaire Silence is working on his latest book Rich Inside. He loves helping people develop their creativity and inspiring them to share their gifts with the world and has a penchant for innovation.