Fragments from imaginary dialogues

I keep failing to take breaks.

Why do you think that is?“

It’s hard to disengage from my work.


I forget. I forget why I want to take breaks.

One of the presuppositions of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is that,

People are always doing the best they can with the resources available to them.

The resource in this case is the Why. When you fail to take breaks, the resource is simply unavailable. And this applies to any instance where we go astray from our lofty ideals.

Forgetfulness is inevitable.

We can illustrate it with a model:

Surface level (Conscious)
Undersurface level (Active Unconscious)
Deep level (Passive Unconscious)

At any one time, we can only process a very small amount of information consciously. To keep with the water metaphor, think of an opening in the ice covering a frozen lake. Only a limited number of water creatures can surface at the same time. For a new one to surface, another one has to submerge. However the creatures closer to the surface have the highest chance of surfacing.

To use another model, the Conscious is an information bottleneck.

Through priming, information is temporarily moved to the Active Unconscious, which makes it readily available.

To use another model, the Active Unconscious is a buffer zone.

To stop forgetting to take breaks, prime yourself with the Why of it at the beginning of every work session.

I call this technique why-priming.


About Dani Trusca

Playfully seeking wisdom

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