Do you want to increase your motivation? A really clever technique that has been well researched and shown to be more effective than visualisation and other similar techniques is called doublethink. But what is doublethink?
“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”
Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, London, part 1, chapter 3, p 32
So, it was George Orwell that coined the word, doublethink in his epic book, Nineteen Eighty-Four and this was his reason for doing so.
Orwell explains that the Party could not protect its iron power without degrading its people with constant propaganda. Yet, knowledge of this brutal deception, even within the Inner Party itself, could lead to collapse of the State from within. For this reason, the government uses a complex system of reality control. Though Nineteen Eighty-Four is most famous for the Party’s pervasive surveillance of everyday life, reality control means that the population of Oceania—all of it, including the ruling élite—could be controlled and manipulated merely through the alteration of everyday thought and language. Newspeak is the method for controlling thought through language; doublethink is the method of directly controlling thought.
Oettingen discovered that the most successful strategy by far to yield the highest level of motivational success was by the group that used the doublethink technique. She went on to repeat this investigation with relationships where the aim was to develop romantic opportunities for couples. In the study those that used doublethink to reach their desired aim of a romantic date were over 40% more successful than those that merely imagined themselves on the date or only identified the obstacles to overcome. The reason that psychologists believe doublethink works is because this process achieves the best of both worlds: people identify both the fantasies and the obstacles with solutions: with the mind simultaneously able to hold the desire as well as seek satisfied resolutions. Psychologists call this technique Fantasy-Reality, and guess what? Fantasy-Reality techniques are successful in the work place too, as reported by Oettingen in Self-regulation of Goal Pursuit, 2002.
So, how to use this technique:
- Think about a desirable goal
- Fantasise about (imagine!) reaching that goal and identify the top two benefits
- Reflect on the barriers to achieving that goal and identify the top two barriers
- Reflect on the 1st benefit and elaborate how it would make your life more satisfying
- Immediately afterwards reflect on the biggest hurdle and how you would overcome the barrier
- Repeat the process for the 2nd benefit…
- Repeat the process for the 2nd barrier…
See what happens! Do let me know how you get on as well.