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Educational Series

Terri Lee Cooper MSc. RSW NLP_M DCH  

St. Albert Medical Centre

Automatic Triggering vs Creative Efforts

Purposeful triggering is a term I have coined over the years to capture the idea of using conscious level triggers to deliberately activate subconscious learning. This strategy is simple but takes a little practice. However, remember that whatever we practice will become second nature and it is in our best interest to be very deliberate about what it is we practice, whether those practices are thoughts, feelings or behaviors. 

Much of how we live our lives comes from a place of automatic pilot. The subconscious mind takes repeated ways of being and solidifies them into easy, quick access programs. Much of what we do on a day to day basis lacks creativity and effort. 

The alarm clock triggers wake up time and a whole cascade of programmed thought, feeling and behaviors follow.  We do not have to re-learn how to dress ourselves, feed ourselves or drive ourselves to work. Once the basic tasks of a job are learned, much of the work is repetitious. Even “new” projects lack true innovation because they are usually triggers to draw on past learning/mind files. 

Purposeful triggering allows us to step out of robotic automatic mode. When we do this, even momentarily we set the stage for creative thought, feelings and behaviours.  For most people, this can be an uncomfortable place to be. However, if we are to design new aspects of identity and design a life that feels healthy and meaningful our efforts must be a deviation from the norm. 

We begin with a reality check and 2 simple questions: 

1) How much of your day to day life is lived on auto pilot?

2) How satisfied are you with the current state of your life? 

There is a sequence to autopilot. There is a multitude of little unconscious steps that comprise the whole. Once we become aware of how auto pilot plays out we are in the position to begin to interrupt patterns which allows space for creativity. Simple interruption creates a vacuum unless we are prepared with an alternative. The alternative is purposeful triggering which is a simple easy strategy that still satisfies the robotic nature of the auto pilot self but is a just enough of a deviation to create an “alert” learning state. 


Learn more about these processes by attending a 2 day self identity design workshop. Proceeds to local animal shelters.

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