Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Red Box

(This blog was originally posted on November 16, 2016)

Photo by Rick Hustead

Queen Victoria is known for many things. Until very recently, her reign was the longest of any British monarch. During that time there were considerable industrial and scientific advances, including growth of the railroad and building the London Underground, and development of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolutionary development. Her strong work ethic and public persona of prim behavior and proper etiquette became legendary. But when I think about this queen, what comes first to my mind is the Red Box.
The queen reportedly kept a red box on her desk in which urgent documents and communications were supposed to be placed until she could deal with the issue. As it turned out, less important papers such as generic requests for an audience (appointment) with the queen also found their way into that box. Of course, over time the box got very full. The monarch became frustrated and more than a little stressed out about all those things she had to “do.” Finally, her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, looked inside the box and pointed out that a lot of the material inside didn’t belong there at all. Queen Victoria could lighten her work load by addressing only the most urgent matters and postponing or even delegating the rest to him and/or her ministers, secretaries, etc. to handle. Long story short, the queen took his advice and adopted a new and more efficient strategy for managing her monarchy.
Whether she vocally resisted (argued) adopting the new system or immediately accepted her husband’s suggestion to reorganize the contents of that box is probably unknown. However, it is likely that the queen initially found this task daunting and even annoying. Suddenly, she had to change a familiar, relatively simple behavior of putting documents in one place and take more time separating and classifying each item based on specific criteria. Once she got the hang of it this process would prove simpler and more efficient, but she would have to get used to it, first.
Call it what you will, but Queen Victoria’s new and even the intention of her original organizational system sounds an awful lot like the Neurolinguistic Programming technique of “chunking it down.”
If aspects of this tale sounds familiar in your own life that is the point I am trying to make. From time to time, a lot of us—including monarchs!—need help prioritizing assignments, jobs, projects and even relationships to be more efficient and productive in other areas of our lives. We are used to doing things a particular way, and every time we repeat that behavior (“way”) we reinforce it. However, it becomes easier to adopt a new process as we practice doing it for a while—i.e., incorporating these new actions (“knowns”) into the behavioral repertoire to create your new subconscious mental script. It is also easier to make a change when someone we respect or admire (hypno-modality) encourages/helps/teaches us what we need to do to implement the behavior/belief system, as Prince Albert did for his wife in this instance.

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit http://www.calminsensehypnotherapy.com/.
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