“The polarity’s been reversed Captain..!”

May 31, 2012   //   by Steve Wooding   //   A Slice of Lemon, Articles  //  No Comments

Light BulbIN SHORT: Now everything is all wired correctly I know that when I throw the switch, darkness becomes light without any hassle at all. Lovely…

“We live our every one of our beliefs, whether we like them or not.”


(~1290 words, approx 7-10 mins to read)

I realise the title of this month’s ‘slice’ sounds like a line from Star Trek and probably need explaining, so let me tell you a little real-life story…

A few months ago the ‘mood lighting’ under the book shelves in my office died a spectacular death complete with exploding light bulbs and that acrid burning smell that accompanies melting plastic. I decided, after a little looking around, to replace them with LED lights as they’re very low cost to run, using less power in a week than my old lights would’ve used in a day!

So I ordered a new set of lights which is made up of three components – the lights themselves, a power supply, and a little connecting strip that goes between the transformer and lights.

It all arrived a few days later and I connected it up to check it worked together.

It didn’t.

So I sent it all back and requested a replacement, which arrived a few days after that. But when I connected it all up I got the same result – nothing!

Some of you reading this would, I’m guessing, have just asked for a refund and changed what you wanted, or asked for yet another replacement in the hope that this time it would work.

I didn’t. I’m slightly annoying like that…

Instead, I got out my old multimeter* and decided to check each of the components to make sure it was doing what it was supposed to.

First, I checked the power supply to make sure it was indeed sending out the right voltage, which it was.

I checked the connecting strip to make sure everything was internally wired correctly, which it was.

Finally I checked that the positive and negative connections were connected to the positive and negative terminals on the LED units. Which they were.

So, everything was connected the way all the labels said, and the power was on but despite all this, there was no light forthcoming.

Then it hit me. Figuratively speaking, fortunately…

What if the terminals on the lights weren’t labelled correctly? What if … (are you ready for the line?!) … the polarity was reversed (Captain)?

After a simple re-wire that took just a few minutes, I connected it all back up again and switched the power on.

It worked..!

“So what?” you might ask.

Well, let’s take this as a metaphor if you will.

I often get clients who want to make a change. They have all the right reasons for wanting the change, i.e. the ‘power supply’ is working, and they know exactly what they need to do to make the change happen, i.e. all the ‘wiring’ is in place, but when they go for it, they can’t make it work.

In many of these cases, it’s because they have the ‘polarity’ reversed somewhere in the chain of connections from motivation to action.

What I mean by that is they have some belief or value or a part of their sense of self which is directly contrary to the change.

If it’s not clear yet, it will be when I give you an example:

Ben (not his real name) wanted to stop smoking. He’d tried many times over the past 6 years or so with varying degrees of success but something “always pulled me back.”**

As Ben and I spoke we discovered that all the men he’d looked up to in his formative years – close family members such as dad, uncles and older brothers – all smoked heavily.

From growing up around these role models he’d constructed an robust belief that masculinity and smoking went hand in hand. It won’t take you more than a moment to realise that with a belief like this, every time he tried to stop smoking, he began unconsciously to trigger the niggling feeling that he wasn’t a real man himself. And because his masculinity was more important to him he was always ‘pulled back’ to smoking.

His belief was wired to oppose his desired change – the polarity was reversed.

So we began to rewire that belief, to put the polarity back the way it needed to be to enable his motivations for stopping smoking to flow properly and enable the result of actually stopping smoking.

I asked him to define how he’d expect a ‘real man’ to behave, other than smoke. Some of the things he told me were:

  • a real man doesn’t take any **** from anyone
  • a real man sticks up for what he believes in
  • a real man takes care of his family – he provides for them and protects them
  • a real man is good at football

Just remember that it doesn’t matter whether you agree with any of these or think they’re valid – that’s irrelevant. The important thing is that they were all true for him.

I then got him to think about each one of his other characteristics of a real man and apply it to the other ‘reversed’ belief that ‘a real man smokes’ using questions like this:

“If a real man doesn’t take any **** from anyone, would comments about him quitting smoking count as ****..?”

“So, would a real man stick up for the fact that he’s determined to stop smoking, or would he roll over and give in?”

I’ll leave you to ponder the chain of questions and answers that applied to the other beliefs I’ve listed here, especially the one about taking care of his family…

Before too long we’d accumulated a mass of evidence that the belief that ‘a real man smokes’ seemed almost daft in comparison – we’d reversed the polarity on that limiting belief and, with a little more work using some NLP and hypnosis, he went on his way a non-smoker.

Are you ready to find out what you can do with this now?

  1. Think of an area of your life that you’ve tried changing in the past but somehow you’ve never managed to get it where you want it.
    It might be to do with relationships, exercise, weight, career, money, diet, ambition, learning, or something else.
  2. Check that your ‘power supply’ is working, i.e. you have some definite positive ‘TOWARDS’ motivations for making the change. If you’re not sure what I mean by TOWARDS motivations, read this: http://www.iceandlemon.com/v7/away-from-towards/
  3. Check that you really know what outcome you desire, i.e. your lights are the ones you want, and that you have described it in both functional AND sensory terms. This means that when you think about your goal in rich detail, you actually have a tangible emotional response to it.
  4. If steps 2 and 3 result in a ‘yes’, that means there’s a limiting belief in there somewhere and you need to find it by exploring all the things that come to mind when you think about that change.
    Some examples I’ve come across have been:
    “Exercise is really hard work.”
    “Money is the root of evil.”
    “I get really jealous of skinny people.”
    “Falling in love means you could get hurt.”
  5. This is the step that might take a little longer. You now need to explore all the trains of thought that could begin to ‘rewire’ that connection.
    I’ll leave you to ponder those for now, but if you do get stuck, you can always get in touch!

You see, if the polarity remains reversed, your main result will be frustration. If you’re not careful and you keep ramping up the power you risk burning something out, or blowing something up! However, once that connection is wired correctly, the power flows easily.

Now everything is all wired correctly I know that when I throw the switch, darkness becomes light without any hassle at all. Lovely…

Until next time.



* A multimeter is an impressively complicated-looking gadget for testing voltages, currents and connections for electrical and electronic circuitry. Most have a large dial in the centre surrounded by various letters and symbols to indicate interesting combinations of settings. However, most people who own one only know what a handful of the settings actually do, though they’d never actually admit it…

** Many of you will know that the physical addiction to nicotine is actually not too difficult to get over – your body is on the way to dealing with the cravings after 48-72 hours and is pretty much done with the purely biological side by 10-14 days. The toughest cravings to handle are psychological, usually emotional, in origin, though they may well feel physical and these may hang around even when the physical addiction is long gone.

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