Thursday, June 24, 2010

Congruence is life enhancing


/ˈkɒŋ gru əns/ (noun)
The quality or state of agreeing, matching, harmony, conformity or corresponding. 
Do you live a life of congruence or incongruence?

I was thinking about how a friend of mine manages to espouse all sorts of great ideas and intentions, but never manages to follow through and live out those aims and values...

And it made me realise how it would be very very useful to blog about the importance of congruence and how life enhancing it is, and how it's converse -- incongruence is NOT!  Incongruence, inconsistency, procrastination and self-conflict all create failure, and truly that's not life enhancing.

So I immediately sat down and started typing this post. Because, as NLP behavioural modelling of successful people has shown, you create success by taking immediate and congruent action on your outcomes and desires. Thinking and talking about something, without putting actions to your words, is intellectual masturbation and a waste of your time, energy and life.

Motivating Congruence

"Motivation follows action!" 
Zig Ziggler

A great insight into motivating yourself and creating congruence comes from Zig Ziglar, one of the top motivational speakers of all time. According to Zig, “motivation follows action”, and the research backs him up. Most people think that action follows motivation… they erroneously believe they’ll be more likely to take action once they feel motivated. But that’s not the way it works. It’s counter-intuitive, but the patterning system of the mind/body works the other way around.

You generate motivation by taking action. Just start it. Just do it! Begin taking action on a goal or outcome you’ve been procrastinating on, or a goal or outcome you’ve been waiting for motivation on. Put gutsy action to your heartfelt desires. You’ll find that as soon as you take action, even the smallest of steps, your feelings of motivation will immediately increase. You’ll feel more positive and encouraged. Your energy will increase. Your head, heart and gut brains will align. It’s an amazingly simple and very powerful insight. Use it!

Rules and Standards: doing what you say you'll do... what a concept

As I explained in a previous blog post 'Set high minimum standards', life tends to give you the minimum you are prepared to accept, so set high minimum standards for your life. This applies equally to setting high minimum standards for your own rules and behaviours -- Refuse to do incongruence, make it a rule to always choose congruence in your life - to do congruence-ing. Don't accept anything less from or for yourself. If you say something, if you make a promise, then make sure you live up to your word! Always do what you say you'll do... what a concept!

Cybernetic Loop - congruence in thoughts, feelings and actions

I also previously discussed in my blog post 'Choice = Life Enhancing Control' how the mind and body are connected in a cybernetic loop of control; how the mind/brain and body interact and affect each other -- they are not distinct and separate, what affects one, affects the other. The Cybernetic Loop is summarised in the diagram below.

What this model shows is that your thinking (your Internal Processing – thoughts, images, ideas) is connected to and both influences and is influenced by your feelings (your Internal State – your emotions). Your feelings in turn are connected to and both influence and are influenced by your physiology (your External Behaviour – your body, breathing, physical state), which in turn is influenced by and influences your thinking, in a loop. The process of control runs both ways, each of the three components influencing the other.

For congruence in your behaviours, results and life you need to align all parts of your cybernetic loop. For success, you must ensure that your thoughts, feelings and physiology support each other.

Aligning your multi-mind

As I've highlighted in many blog entries, our minds are not unitary -- instead we are an amalgam of a myriad of relatively autonomous multi-minds. And we also don't have just one brain. Modern neuroscience has shown that we have complex, adaptive and functional neural networks, or 'brains', in our heart and gut regions. And congruence requires ongoing negotiating between all the parts of this multi-mind and between all three brains (head, heart and gut). It's a vital life enhancing skill. So I'll blog in detail on how to congruently align your multi-mind and multiple brains in upcoming posts. So stay tuned. [You can also read much more about this in my book, 'mBraining - Using your multiple brains to do cool stuff']

How are you treating your life?

Finally, people often ask me, "How's life treating you?" And I always respond, "Life is treating me the way I treat it.... wondrously!"

You know, life is like a mirror... it reflects back to you in results, the actions and thoughts you put into it. Life treats you the way you treat it. If you are congruent, then you'll get success from life. If you do incongruence, then you'll get incongruent results from and in your life.

What about you? How are you treating life?

Want to learn more, get a copy of my book: Avoiding the Enemies to HAPPINESS!

congruent life enhancing wishes,


  1. Brilliant!! This is something I am working on improving in my life, and this blog has given me a reminder, and also more insight. :) Thank you!

  2. Hey Catherine, thank you for the wonderful and positive comment. I'm glad I've helped remind us all of the importance of congruence. It really does support happiness and success.

    many smiles

  3. Grant, once again, a fabulous post! It's all too usual for people to wait to do something until they feel motivated, but I've learned that what you say here is true--motivation often comes after taking action. "Just do it!" works.

    The loop diagram beautifully illustrates something I've always known--Thinking, Feeling, Being (the word I use instead of Physiology, and not to be confused with other definitions) are all part of a whole. If more people realized this, they might be a little more careful about what they take into their thoughts and what they allow their thoughts to dwell on.

  4. Hey Jean, thanks for kind and positive feedback. I truly appreciate your thoughts and comments.

    Yes, so so right!!! "If more people realized this, they might be a little more careful about what they take into their thoughts and what they allow their thoughts to dwell on"

    I think most people just don't realize how powerful thoughts are in creating feelings and being. If they did, they'd use their thoughts for goodness, rather than the mediocrity and disappointing that they generate in their own lives. Or as I like to think of it (and explored in one of my blog posts) they do 'helling' in their lives, rather than 'heavening'.

    thanks again for sharing your ideas and thoughts.

    smiles, Grant

  5. Hello Grant! Thank you for another great column. I truly enjoy readig your blog. All your posts go together in such nice way. I especially like the combination of life enhancing philosophy and practical suggestions and recommendations; such as in your post Life Enhancing Activities.

    For me, this is about empowering your own abilities to explore your full potential. Even though we learn from other people's experiences, we all have to go through the process of gaining knowledge and learn from our own mistakes, successes etc. It's a road we have walk at all stages in life. I think JD Souther, on of my favourite musicians and poets, formulates this elegantly:

    ”When you think your carrying too much load/And you feel your heart might just explode/Little wanderer/Your standing on a walking road/Makes you wanna come on up/To this love, right now”. (Song "Come On Up". Album "If The World Was You", 2008)

    Thank you for inspiration to keep me moving! Best wishes, Jan Fredrik

  6. Hi Jan! Thank you so much for your kind and supportive comments. I truly appreciate them.

    You are right, we only truly learn something when we have lived it and fully experienced it. Deeply. And yes, we can be guided by other people's experiences, but we have to empower them and integrate them into our own lives.

    Thank you for sharing.

    smiles and great wishes,

  7. Hi Grant! Love the post. It reminds me of the entry I recently posted about creating your own reality ( You made a really good point about action creating motivation and it was wonderfully illustrated! I think it's a good principle that not many people realize and one of the underlying reasons why many people procrastinate. Thanks for sharing!

    - Danielle

  8. Hi Danielle,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful, supportive and positive comments. I really like your post on 'Creating your own reality', it links nicely to my ideas on congruence.

    When you congruently do and be what you want in life, then amazing things happen, and you create the happiness and success your heart desires. In a lot of ways it's about embodying and aligning your heart, mind and soul.

    Thanks again for commenting and sharing.

    best wishes,

  9. It's all connected -- Very nicely put!

  10. I just came across this article and your blog for the first time. My compliments on a succinct, clear, engaging, informative, well written article. I am passionate about psychology and spreading wellbeing around the world one thought, feeling and action at a time. I feel like I have discovered a treasure in your blog and will be back to read more. Best Wishes and a big smile.

    1. Thank you Anonymous, I deeply appreciate your lovely comment. It makes all the work of blogging so worthwhile to know that it is being read and appreciated.

      smiles, Grant


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