Desire: Behavior Change
What if we “felt” like doing the things that we “should” be doing?
Throw a punch at most people, and they’ll “feel” like flinching. Try punching a black belt in Jiu Jitsu, and she’ll “feel” like moving out of the way, blocking you, wrapping you up like a pretzel, and choking you out. A set of reactions that she certainly wasn’t born with. Evidence that her behavior has been manipulated from ineffective to highly effective.
Your current life, all the good and the bad, is the result of how you’ve reacted to every little thing you’ve come across. The way we behave determines the success of our life. Once you learn that there is no law that dictates how you react and behave, the possibility for success opens up significantly.
We work to weave the science of behavior change throughout all of our course work. We begin by making you strong with the 8 tenets, but then go straight to work creating an environment where you desire to do what you should be doing.
It’s our intention to help you realign your intuition and desires with your ambition. I describe it as putting on a set of braces. It’s a little awkward and uncomfortable at first, but eventually it will transition into tolerable and then land on desirable.
This is perhaps one of the more complex things we teach and is best understood through the practical examples we use throughout our courses. My thought is to first get you familiar with the basics of behavior science so that you can begin to observe their effects in your life. As we continue, we’ll deepen this knowledge in a way that you’ll be able to move and design with it.
Here are the basics of behavior change:
As a sniper trainer and human performance expert, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about behavior, but as the owner and trainer of a Belgian Malinois attack dog, I’ve learned the most. The work of psychologist and behaviorist B.F Skinner changed my world with my dog and has absolutely changed the way I approach human behavior at all levels.
Operant conditioning, a term coined by Skinner, works through the strategic and tactical application and manipulation of consequences to stop, start, and/or modify behaviors.
Scientifically speaking, there are two categories of consequences for any behavior: reinforcement and punishment. Each has two variations, positive or negative, which, combined, make up what is known as “the four quadrants of behavior.” Understand these and you'll quickly see why you and those around you do what you do.
The reinforcement category is used to create or build behaviors.
Positive reinforcement: Occurs when a reward is given during or immediately after a behavior. It is known as one of the most effective and reliable ways to increase the frequency and intensity of behaviors.
Negative reinforcement: Occurs when an aversive stimulus is removed after the desired behavior is performed. This form of behavior training is the old school way of animal training. Command the dog to heel, and apply pressure with his choke chain until he heels. Sit in your car without a seatbelt and listen to that irritating ding until you buckle up.
The punishment category is used to stop behaviors.
Positive Punishment: Occurs when we apply something undesirable enough that someone is willing to stop doing something, to avoid it. It doesn’t have to be physical. It can be a stern voice or even just a disappointing look. The more coachable someone is, the less drastic the punishment needs to be.
Negative Punishment: Occurs when we take away something, and someone is willing to stop a behavior to get that something back. Taking a child's phone away or an adults free time away are good examples of this.
I fear the behavior scientists and dog trainers might string me up for being so bold as to add a fifth section to our nice and neat little quadrant. However, within my time training snipers, SEALs, and kids, I’ve found few occasions where a single quad was the answer. I consider a combination of any and all of the quadrants to be the fifth piece of behavior change.