Rules vs Tools

There is an important difference between 'Rules' and 'Tools'. An example of a rule might be, 'Don't eat chocolate bars for dinner'. That's a good rule if you're trying to lose weight. It's a rule based on logic and you can only obey it by using will-power and self-control.

But rules hardly ever work on their own because they're just too much hard work and they go against your nature. After all, that's why you need a rule in the first place. It's telling you to do something you don't naturally want to. What you really need are Tools that change your natural desires so you don't even want to eat that chocolate bar for dinner in the first place. That's the sort of Tool that's going to produce a permanent change in your life. Because when you've used it you'll no longer fight against yourself. To use our kayak analogy - 'your rudders' will be aligned - and as a result you'll achieve change almost effortlessly. In fact, that's a common theme I hear over and over again from my clients. They can't believe just how easy it was to finally make a permanent change after all those rollercoaster years of struggle and battle. 

Let's think a bit more about this idea of Mental Tools by considering what happens when you learn to use a chisel or a scalpel. You don't master those sorts of Tools immediately but rather you become more skilful with them the more you use them. It's the same with Mental Tools. The more you use them the more powerful they will become. This is the opposite of what happens with rules. You can learn a rule like 'Don't eat chocolate bars for dinner' in a heartbeat. But learning a rule like that doesn't actually help you very much does it? 

After all, how many people are overweight because they didn't know that eating burgers and fries every day was going to make them fat?