Pavlov’s Theory and Accountability

My husband and I love listening to this song entitled “Brian Wilson” by a group called Barenaked Ladies. A section of the lyrics got my attention:

“It’s a matter of instinct, it’s a matter of conditioning,
It’s a matter of fact.
You can call me Pavlov’s dog
Ring a bell and I’ll salivate- how’d you like that?”

So I asked my husband… “Who is Pavlov and what are Pavlov’s dogs?”

He then went on to explain that Pavlov was a Russian physiologist in the 1930’s who used dogs to prove his theory of Conditional Reflex which ultimately became the key concept for Behaviorism.

Essentially, Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, would ring a bell or use other stimuli to pre-condition dogs to certain activities like eating.  He trained the dogs to attach the meaning of the sound of the bell to “eating time” that he successfully conditioned them to drool at the sound of a bell.  The bell is their signal that food is coming. So even if there is no evidence of food around – neither sight nor scent – the dogs were conditioned to anticipate the food and start salivating or “drooling”.

It’s very similar to the term “anchoring”. Remember when the old “Do Not Forget” symbol of a piece of string tied around your finger to remind you of something that is attached or anchored to that string?  It’s the same concept.  I remember if I have important pieces of paper that needs to go out that same day, I made sure that I place them on the floor in an area that I won’t ever miss on my way out of the house.

I thought about Pavlov and how I have already been implementing his teachings in my life without even knowing it.  I just realized that I have indeed successfully amp my productivity up by utilizing anchors and triggers.

One such trigger for me is when it’s time to REALLY focus on a task despite lack of inspiration on a given moment, I light up a candle to heat up my liquid potpourri simmer.  That’s my indication that no matter what’s going on around me, that it’s time to focus and switch the inspiration button on.  What I really love about this self-imposed trigger is the scent doubles as another stimuli as well as the flickering of the tiny flame on the candle soothes me. As an added bonus, I cut up some fresh flowers from our backyard and having such “inspired area” on my desk enables me to really get in the “zone” much faster.

The act of lighting the candle alone, instructs me to tell myself it’s time to put all my energies on what I am doing.  That simple act has become my Pavlov’s bell. When I light that candle, I “salivate” – well I don’t literally drool, but I can tell my mind, body and spirit get exciting just from the joyful expectation of what I will be creating in that moment of focus.

I suggest you try Pavlov’s strategy.  Think about what it is you can commit to use as your stimuli or trigger that it’s time to get to work and finish the tasks you’ve set on to finish.  Many happy clients ask me how I get so much done in so little time and I believe this is one of my best kept secrets I am sharing with you.

What strategies are you using right now? I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment.  If this post has helped remind you how much more effective you can be if you create a trigger that says “Game On”, please feel free to share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc.

As always if you’re needing help with forward movement, clarity and staying accountable, I would love to help you through my Success Driven Coaching/Consulting or Complete Done For You Programs.

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Until we connect…

I’m Cheering You On To Your Success!

Emma 😉

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2 thoughts on “Pavlov’s Theory and Accountability

  1. I remember studying about Pavlov’s theory, but I had not made a connection of it to my business. You made a good point Emma. Thanks!

  2. Emma, Thanks for that wonderful post. It has come right on time as I needed to be reminded to “set up a system” to improve my day to day productivity. Thanks again. I think I’ll light a candle and get busy =)