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Welcome to the art and science of anchoring. This article details some of the fundamental principles which are behind everything that we do.

Anchoring incorporates Pavlovian conditioning.  When a phone rings and you feel compelled to answer it, that's because you've rushed to answer that sound hundreds of times before.  But if you move house or change jobs, do you go to the old place by mistake?  Or do you learn to change that habit faster because it's important to you.

Everything that goes through our minds is a response to something else, and mostly an unoriginal response that has been anchored in some way.  Anchoring isn't complicated but it is a major aspect of everything we do.  That means that when you can tilt the natural anchoring that goes in all those different situations, your mind and everyone else's will work far far better.

Definitions

anchor - a stimulus that influences someone's state of mind..
anchoring - influencing how a particular stimulus will influence someone's state of mind.

If you've been taught about anchoring before, get ready to scrap everything you know!

Anchoring is creating a new response to a stimulus.  But it's not simply classical conditioning. Anchoring is really a hypnotic phenomenon - that is, it works pretty much the way you organise and expect it to.  Because of this, rapport/congruent expectation help you anchor effectively.
If someone else is aware that you are trying to anchor them, lead them to want & expect it to work.

Anchors aren't just useful for keeping you in one state of mind. They can also work like propellors and move you in specific directions. It simply depends how you set them up and what you expect to happen.

Another important thing to think about is that when you set anchors, how you will trigger them when you most need them?  I want easy access to the anchor, so knee anchors are rarely useful.

You also want distinctive anchors... If you set an anchor for someone else where it gets triggered in inappropriate situations, chances are that they'll sabotage it.

One of the things that helps anchors to work is when we expect them to produce a particular effect.  So the more consistently someone experiences a class of stimuli having the same effect the more that pattern will happen in the future.

Because of this I like to use sliding anchors, where you can gradually increase the stimulus when you notice that you're getting the response you want. Incidentally, I usually set the anchor in this way too.

Anchoring parameters

1. The more intense the state, the more powerful the anchor.

2. Your expectations are the second most important parameter.  If you expect this to work, it will.  If you don't, it might not.

3. The intensity of the stimulus should ideally vary with the intensity of the state as shown in the diagram.  The initial stimulus should be applied at the maximum acceleration of the intensity and the stimulus should be removed by the time the state peaks.

4. Repetition helps but isn't as important as the other 3 factors.

Combining anchors

You can stack anchors together.  This is an awesomely powerful technique.  Think of 5 resources you'd like in a situation eg. feeling powerful, being alert yet relaxed, being witty, learning quickly without knowing it and also being able to magically connect with people. Anchor each with a sliding anchor on the back of a finger on one hand, using the corresponding fingertip of the other hand.  Take the time to do this properly, making each anchor ten times better than you expected! Then think of when you want this anchor and trigger all 5 at the same time.  Think of who you are and do the same.  And make a symbol or say an unusual word to yourself and do it again so you can play with this some more in future.

Collasping anchors

Collapsing anchors is different.  Certain kinds of states oppose others.  You can't beat your heart fast and slow at the same time.   So if there's an anchor you were having trouble getting rid of, find out how to minimise it.  If it's a picture, make it darker and push it away.  If it's a voice, make it much quieter. Go into the state you'd rather have in response to that anchor and amplify it.  Only while you stay in that amplified state do you want to make the picture closer or brighter, or make the voice louder.

Anchoring other people

There's only so much fun you can have on your own...

As I wrote above, a good unconscious rapport is important.  If you have a good conscious rapport, you can explain what you are doing whilst you doing it.  Make sure you tell the person how to respond ahead of time.