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Magma Effect Limited [MEL]
AVIs to Date: 27643 Acceptance, Commitment & Conscious Living (ACCL)
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Since 1988 we've been researching and developing material to help people achieve their maximum potential in this turbulent world.

Although major advances have been made in technology since the beginning of last century, the same cannot be said of human society, prompting one social commentator to exclaim, "While technology has progressed significantly over the past millennium, the same cannot be said for human society, if anything, it is showing signs of  regressing."

We, at the Minessence Group, believe that for society to make significant progressive strides into the future, society, itself, must become a learning system (just as today's successful organisations have realised the importance of being learning organisations). A key attribute of any learning system is that:

  1. It has a memory through which knowledge and wisdom are passed on to future members,
  2. It is principles driven,
  3. It is continually seeking to revise and update the principles that guide it,
  4. Its guiding principles are based on solid research/wisdom (either academic or experientially-based),
  5. It has a mechanism to sift through latest research insights and prevailing wisdom, in order to determine what is valid and what is not, and
  6. It realises that some of what is valid and worthwhile may fly in the face of what is currently regarded by most as commonsense.

The approach to living that we advocate, as the current "best-shot" approach to creating a society which meets the above criteria, is called ACCL - Acceptance, Commitments, and Conscious Living.

Acceptance (A) - is about accepting the fact that life is tough and we may have had some awful things which have happened to us. Latest cognitive research indicates that using techniques, such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) do not work because they focus what people want to change. Focusing on what we don't want in our life actually reinforces that part of our brain which is associated with the negative aspects of our life. It is better, so cognitive research tells us, accept that some "bad things" have happened to us, and get on with the process of focussing on what we do want.

"Accepting doesn't mean liking or approving. It means letting in the full reality--this is the way it is right now, this is where I am, this is what I did, this is what I think, this is what I feel." Nathaniel Branden

Commitment (C) - is about finding out what is important to us, that is, knowing what our values are, knowing why they are important to us and making a firm commitment to living them. This process activates that part of the brain which makes life more enjoyable and fulfilling, and creates the best context for us to achieve that which we have committed to achieving in life. The Minessence Group specifically developed a values inventory (the AVI), to facilitate this process.

Conscious Living (CL) - is about knowing which principles guide the living of our values. We live in a society, so we cannot live our values any way we want. In the past it was sufficient to use commonsense, cultural traditions, the "wisdom of our elders", etc. to guide how we live our values. Today this framework of guidance has broken down. The world of today is a far cry from the world of our parents and our grand-parents. What worked well for them may cause untold damage today. Hence the need for conscious living. Through conscious choices we can select the principles which will be the best guide of our behaviour. Some examples, based on latest findings from neuroscience and neuroeconomics, will help concretize the concept of conscious living:

  • When we behave in a way which gives people a perception that we trust them, there is a chemical released in their brain which actually makes them more trustworthy.
  • There is a direct correlation between trust levels in organisations and society and a country's wealth. The greater the trust level the greater the wealth, and visa versa. Why? Because when trust levels are low, financial transaction costs are high (legal advice, contract costs, etc., etc.), whereas when trust levels are high, financial transaction costs are low (a hand-shake will suffice). More (see p.18) ...
  • Faced with inequality in the workplace, people would prefer to withdraw their services completely, rather that work for lower pay/ rewards etc. than they believe would be fair reward for the work they do. More...
  • When you negate a frame of meaning, you evoke the very frame of meaning you no not want evoked. That is, telling people "Don't do..." is more likely to ensure that the do exactly what you don't want them to do. Why, because the brain ignored the "don't do" and fires up all the neural networks associated with the words following the "don't do."  The more people hear, "Don't do...," the more their neural networks are reinforced in relation the the very behaviour you don't want them to do!
  • Happiness is directly correlated to the extent to which we can control the conscious flow of our thoughts - "The simple truth - that the control of consciousness determines the quality of life - has been known for a long time; in fact, for as long as human records exist (Csikszentmihalyi)". However, the knowledge of how to control consciousness must be reformulated every time the cultural context changes. This is why we cannot rely on past wisdom, we must develop techniques which suit our own context.

          Knowing the above, we can use that knowledge to guide how we live our own values, whatever they may be. We can use that knowledge to guide how we behave in relationships, families, teams, and organisations - and we can use the knowledge to develop social and political policy. 

In summary then, ACCL is about accepting the bad things that have happened to us, and realising that focussing on them only makes them worse; knowing it is better that we focus on determining what is really important to us, our values, and making a commitment to fully live them. Also, ACCL is about making conscious choices about how we live our values based on well informed insight into how the world really works.

More...

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22 October, 2017