An important corollary of physiology is congruency. If I’m giving you what I think is a positive message, but my voice is weak and tentative and my body language is disjointed and unfocused, I’m incongruent. Incongruity keeps me from being all I can be, from doing all I can do, and from creating my strongest state. Giving one self contradictory messages is a subliminal way of pulling a punch.
You may have experienced times when you didn’t believe a person, but you weren’t sure why. What the person said made sense. But you somehow came away not really believing him. Your unconscious mind picked up what our conscious mind didn’t. For example when you asked a question, the person may have said, “Yes” but at the time his head many have been slowly shaking no. Or he may have said, I can handle it, but you noted his shoulders were hunched over, his eyes were down, and his breathing was shallow – all of which told your unconscious that he was really saying, I can’t handle it. Part of him wanted to do what you were asking, and part of him didn’t. Part of him was confident, and part of him wasn’t. In-congruency worked against him. He was trying to go in two directions at once. He is representing one thing with his words and quite another with his physiology.
We’ve all experienced the price of incongruence when part of us really wants something but another part within seems to stop us. Congruence is power. People who consistently succeed are those who can commit all of their resources, mental and physical, to work together toward achieving a task. Stop a moment now and think of the three most congruent people you know. Now think of the three most incongruent people you know. What is the difference between them? How do congruent people affect you personally versus people who are incongruent?
Developing congruity is a major key to personal power. When I’m communicating, I’m empathic – in my words, my voice, my breathing, my entire physiology. When my body and my words match, I’m giving clear signals to my brain that this is what I want to produce. And my mind responds accordingly.
If you say to yourself, well, yeah, I guess this is what I ought to be doing, and your physiology is weak and indecisive, what sort of a message does the brain get? It’s like trying to view a television with a flickering tube. You can barely make out the picture. The same is true for your brain: if the signals your body provides are weak or conflicting, the brain doesn’t have a clear sense of what to do. It’s like a soldier going into battle with a general who says “Well may be we ought to try this. I’m not sure if it will work, but let’s go out and see what happens”. What kind of a state does that put the soldier in?
If you say, I absolutely will do that, and your physiology is unified — that is, your posture, your facial expression, your breathing pattern, the quality of your gestures and movements, and your words and your tonality match – you absolutely will do it. Congruent states are what we all want to move toward, and the biggest step can take is to be sure you’re in a firm, decisive, congruent physiology. If your words and your body don’t match up you’re not going to be totally effective.
One way to develop congruency is to model the physiologies of people who are congruent. The essence of modeling is to discover which part of the brain an effective person uses in a given situation. If you want to be effective, you want to use your brain in the same way. If you mirror someone’s physiology exactly, you will tap some part of your brain. Are you in a congruent state now? If not, shift into one. What percentage of the time are you in incongruent states? Can you be congruent more often? Start to do so today. Stop and identify five people who have powerful physiologies that you would like to mirror. How do these physiologies differ from yours? How do the people sit? Stand? Move? What are some of their key facial expressions and gestures? Notice how you feel.
In seminars, we have people mirror other people’s physiologies, and they find they‘ll access a similar state and get a similar feeling. So I want you to try an exercise. You need to do it with someone else. Have that person recall a specific intense memory and, without telling you about it, go back into the state. Now I want you to mirror that person exactly. Mirror the way he’s sitting, how his legs are positioned. Mirror the position of his arms and hands. Mirror the amount of tension you see in his face and body. Mirror the position of the head and any movements you see in his eyes or legs or neck. Mirror his mouth, his skin tension, his rate of breathing. Try to put yourself in the exact same physiology he’s in. If you do all this exactly, you’ll succeed. By duplicating that person’s physiology, you will be providing your brain wit the same signal as he is giving his brain. You’ll be able to feel similar or the same feelings. Often you’ll see your version of the same pictures he’s seeing and think your version of the same thoughts he’s thinking.
After you’ve done this, note a couple of words to describe the state you’re in – that is, what you feel while you are mirroring the person exactly. Then check with that person to find what he was feeling. About 80 – 90 percent of the time, you will have used the same word to describe the state you were in. There are many people in every seminar who actually start seeing what the other person is seeing. They’ve described exactly where the person was or identified the people he was picturing in his mind. Some of the accuracies defy rational explanation. It’s almost like a psychic experience – except there’s no psychic training. All we do is deliver to our brains the exact same messages as the person we’re mirroring.
Some recent research gives scientific support to this. According to a story in Omni magazine, to researchers have found that words have a characteristics electrical pattern in the brain. Neurophysiologist Donald York of the University of Missouri Medical Center and Chicago speech pathologists Tom Jenson found that the same patterns hold true from person to person. In one experiment, they were even able to find the same brain wave pattern in people who have spoken different languages. They’ve already taught computers to recognize those brain wave patterns so they can interpret the words in a person’s mind even before they’re spoken. The computers can literally read minds, much the way we can when we precisely mirror physiology.