GRRASP the New Behavior


by Roger Pearman

So you’re learning new action tips and it isn’t easy. In fact, learning is never easy. Primarily because you cannot defeat your brain’s rules of learning and change. Your brain is hard wired to rules that you cannot break. So use the invincibility of your brain to your benefit. As the old saying goes: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

If you’re applying a new Insight, or Action Tip, remember these rules are essential to “GRRASP” the new idea:


You are trying to rewire neurons and that takes time. It takes at least 10 minutes a day for 10 months for your brain to rewire to the new learning. You have to plan to try it out every day before it has its’ own neuro pathway.


Do it as often as you can. The more you try out a new behavior in as many situations as you can, the better. Try it out on people you love, people you work with, and people you don’t get along wth. Especially them.


Make it worth while. Yes, it will improve your performance but make the reward as immediate as possible. Feedback is a good reward to get someone on your side as you test a new behavior. Get an accountability partner—their observations are reinforcing.


The action tip is more than an idea. You have to explore it—think about it—plan how to use it—try it out in as many situations as you can. Self-reflection on how to use the tip is an action and you need to talk yourself into trying it out and getting feedback on how it is going. DO SOMETHING WITH IT!

Stimulus Control

There has to be a prompt, preferably visual. If you are needing to enhance communication with others, then make sure to reduce environmental distractions and talk yourself out of internal distractions. You need a visual cue to remind you what you are doing and why. A special pen, or clip, or paperweight is necessary. AN external CUE is mission critical to change.


Find as many situations as you can to try out a new behavior. You brain will send you 1000 messages not to try out something new because it is uncomfortable, seems inefficient (Your internal voice shouts, “You did just fine the old way.”) You have to overcome all of the internal resisters to trying something new by practicing.

Proven learning tactics:
  • Plan to test an idea and behavior out with others.
  • Think about it, anticipate using the behavior, imagine the benefits of using the new behavior Feedback is vital—enroll an accountability partner.
  • Seek out mentors and experts on the behavior you want to adjust. Get their advice and test it out.
  • Check out and reflect on how your feel about this change and how it fits into your life. You have to integrate the idea into action and into your sense of comfort about doing something new.
  • Ask people who are really good at what you want to do and get their learning tips or suggestions. Go to the web and find experts in videos. Find additional resources to support what you are trying to do.
Become an expert on the change you want to change, and employ the brain rules and learning tactics above, no matter what the change you want to make.

One Comment

Roger Pearman

Underneath each term or phrase is a mountain of research on how the brain works (and needs to BE worked) for learning to occur. The main reason people don’t learn is that it is hard work and the brain is resistant to it. Rewiring the brain isn’t a Damascus Road experience; it is the tedious work of a builder placing one brick on top of another.


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