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Article by Robert McInnes




An ongoing pattern of negative thinking can be changed using the cognitive principle process which focuses on principles rather than on behaviour. A common planning technique is based on asking the Why, What, How questions. If you focus on changing behaviour then you are likely to start with the “How” question. The problem with this starting point is that negative patterns of thinking are often caused by core beliefs which arose in the past when emotional needs such as love, trust, respect and acceptance [principles], were not meet. Those core beliefs can be hidden from the conscious mind and asking the “How” question will never get to the right answer to fix the problem.


It is built into our human nature to grow, that is, we keep repeating the activity until we learn or receive it, both physically [eg. learning to walk] and emotionally [eg. receiving our need for love, trust, respect and acceptance]


The following steps will change your negative patterns of thinking using the cognitive principle process.


Step 1


Identify and state the situation.  You can start with the question “What outcome do I want from this”. However, your answer may not be the best outcome for you if it is driven by your unresolved issue. Therefore, it is better to start with  “Why am I doing this?” Before you answer this question you need to understand your core thinking.


Step 2.


Explore the “Why” by following this process:


Move from sub-conscious to conscious thinking using only logic, with no emotion.


Remove feelings by concentrating on the facts of the situation [the behaviour] not the person, that is, either yourself or the other parties involved in the situation.


Determine the difference between factors which you can influence and all other factors [called concerns] and get rid of the concerns. Your conscious brain can only process one thought at a time, it can either be an influencing thought or a concerning thought.


Determine if your responsibility for the situation or the outcome which is desired is equal to your control. For example, if you feel guilty then it is likely you have accepted too much responsibility  and therefore you will not get the true answer of “Why am I doing this”. Conversely, if you lack responsibility then you are likely to blame yourself, the other parties or want to avoid the situation, which is not facing the true “Why am I doing this?.


After eliminating the subconscious thoughts and feelings, the persons involved, your concerns and your false responsibilities, ask the following questions in Step 3.


Step 3.


 Apply rules, boundaries and consequences to determine, “Why am I doing this?”


What are my rules for this situation?

What are my boundaries for this situation?

What outcome or consequences do I want from this situation?

This last question provides the true answer to “Why am I doing this?’


Step 4.


Using the logic of your conscious mind, find the answer to “How do I do this?”


If Step 3 does not lead onto the “How” then go to Step 5.


Step 5.


Give this situation a name.


Use the Stop, Find method *. That is, tell your sub-conscious to Stop, Find, Influence about “the named situation” and leave it.

Try to do this step just prior to going to sleep at night, but make sure you do not go over it once you head hits the pillow. Your sub-conscious will find and assemble all the factors which will influence your decision and ignore all your concerns.


Wait for the sub-conscious to give you a response, but do not force it.


If step 5 does not give you “the How” then use logic to go over the problem and try to add new knowledge or alternative ways of looking at the problem.  By adding new knowledge you are creating more influence. Then restart at Step 3.




If this process causes you to get overwhelming emotions, then stop the process and or seek professional help through a counsellor or psychologist.

12 Aug 2012

Last Update: 25 Sep 2013

Article/Information supplied by Robert McInnes

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.