virgin islands scene

An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.
-- Don Marquis


Friday, May 17, 1996


I was just touching up with some paint, where the kids had “accidentally” written on the walls. Smelling the fresh paint always reminds me of when I moved into a room at the fraternity house. My roommate and I installed a cork board and painted the bookshelf. It was a very emotionally charged time for me because I was leaving home and because my girlfriend had just broken up with me. The smell of paint brings all that back like it was yesterday -- the thrill, independence and excitement of striking out “on my own” and the sadness of a lost love.

For me, the smell of paint is an anchor -- a sort of mental and spiritual shorthand. It is a sensory stimulus that brings up a specific emotional state. You may have a particular song that brings back a memory so intensely that you feel as if you’re there. Anchors are very powerful, and can be used as a tool for success when they’re deliberately created.

The key to creating an anchor is to first put yourself into the state you wish to link. For example, if you want to anchor to resourcefulness, you must remember a time when you were totally resourceful. Recall every detail with intensity until you are actually in that state. At the peak of the experience, provide a specific, unique stimulus. It can be the smell of a particular perfume, a passage of music, or making a fist and saying “Yes!".

Once the anchor is created, you can return to that state simply by providing the stimulus again. This can be a powerful way to instantly control your physical, mental and emotional states.

— Ralph Marston

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Copyright ©1996 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All Rights Reserved. The Daily Motivator is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Other than personal sharing, please do not re-distribute without permission.