So how do anchors get created? Whenever a person is in an intense state where the mind and body are strongly involved together and a specific stimulus is consistently and simultaneously provided at the peak of the state, the stimulus and the state become neurologically linked. Then, anytime the stimulus is provided, the intense state automatically results. We sing the national anthem, create certain feelings in our body, and look at the flag. We say the pledge of allegiance had seeing the flag. Pretty soon, merely looking at the flag automatically triggers these feelings.
Yet not all anchors are positive association. Some anchors are unpleasant or worse. After you get a speeding ticket, you get a fleeting sinking feeling every time you pass the same corner on the highway. How do you feel when you see a red flashing light in your rearview mirror? Does it instantly and automatically change your state?
One of the things that affect the power of an anchor is the intensity of the original state. Sometimes people have such an intense unpleasant experience like fighting with their spouse or boss that from then on, whenever they see that person’s face, they immediately feel anger inside and from that point on their relationship or job loses all its joy. If you have such negative anchors, this article will teach you how to replace tem with positive anchors. You will not have to remind yourself; it will happen automatically.
Many anchors are pleasant. You associate a particular Beatles song with a wonderful summer, and for the rest of your life, whenever you hear the song, you’ll think of that time. You finish off a perfect date by sharing an apple pie with chocolate ice cream, and from that point on it’s your favorite dessert. You don’t think about them any more than Pavlov’s dogs did, but every day you have anchoring experiences that condition you to respond in a particular way.
Most of us are anchored utterly haphazardly. We’re bombarded with messages from television, radio, and everyday life some become anchors and others don’t. A lot simply depends on chance. If you’re in a powerful state either good or bad when you come in contact with a particular stimulus, chances are it will become anchored. Consistently of a stimulus is a powerful linkage or anchoring tool. If you hear something often enough (like advertising slogans), there’s a good chance it will become anchored into your nervous system. The good news is that you can learn to control that anchoring process so you can install positive anchors and cast out negative ones.
Throughout history, successful leaders have known how to make use of the cultural anchors around them. When a politician is wrapping himself in the flag he’s trying to make use of all the magic of that powerful anchor. He is trying to link himself to all the positive emotions that have been linked to the flag. At its best, that process can create a healthy common bond of patriotism and rapport. Think of how you feel when you watch a Fourth of July parade. Is it any wonder that no self respecting candidate for office will miss showing up at a July Fourth parade? At its worst, anchoring can provide frightening displays of collective ugliness. Hitler had a genius for anchoring. He linked specific states of mind and emotion to the swastika, goose stepping troops, and mass rallies. He put people in intense states, and while he had them there, he consistently provided specific and unique stimuli until all he had to do alter was offer those same stimuli – like raising his open hand in the gesture of heil – to call up all emotion he had linked to them. He constantly used these tools to manipulate the emotions and thus the states and behaviors of a nation.