When I want to make a significant change in my life, I often think of it in terms of switching dimensions. My attention is focused on my current reality right now, and my desired situation can be said to exist as some alternate reality outside of my primary focus. In that other reality, there’s another me who’s already where I want to be. My goal then is to become that other me and to shift into his reality.
[ ] Here are the steps:
1. Ponder Other Possibilities.
First, imagine that all possible alternate realities can and do exist. [ ]
[ ] On a personal level, for every choice or event you experienced, some YOU in another reality made a different choice and/or experienced a different outcome, so there’s a whole network of new realities that splintered off from that one, a network that includes all possible branches of possibilities.
So in some other dimension, there are other versions of you who are living completely different lives.
Now ponder that in some of those dimensions, there are versions of you who are much happier, more successful, more socially supported, wealthier, etc.
Feel a sense of oneness with those other YOUs. Know that in fact they are all YOU. [ ]
2. Explore the Relationship Between Your Reality and Your Vibe.
Second, begin to notice that there’s a relationship between your reality and your vibe.
Your vibe is your personal energy signature. It includes your feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes.
[ ] Our vibes fluctuate a lot. On any given day, your vibe may shift all over the place. Or it may remain relatively constant. But in the background, you will tend to have a fairly stable default vibe that you keep returning to. It’s how you generally operate about 80% of the time. [ ]
3. Identify Your Default Vibe.
Next, see if you can identify your current default vibe. [ ]
[ ] Again, it’s easier to understand your current default vibe during those times when you’re having peak experiences that shift your vibe in exceptional ways. When you’re in a high or a low period relative to your default, you can view your default vibe from the outside looking in.
Another way to understand your default vibe is to spend some time with people who have very different default vibes. They will draw your vibe towards them, effectively stretching you away from your default experience, and during those times you can gain some perspective as well.
If you try to understand your default vibe from the inside, you’ll probably just label it with words like “normal” or “average.” But your version of normal may be another person’s version of timidity. You have to stretch yourself away from the center to understand what that center really looks like. Contrast is essential here.
4. Identify Your Desired Vibe.
Once you have some clarity about your default vibe, notice which of the exceptional vibes you feel most drawn to. What if you could turn a combination of those exceptional vibes into your default vibe, such that what was once exceptional and unusual becomes your normal day to day experience?
Suppose you notice that your default vibe has a lot of scarcity in it. When you do the contrast exercises in the previous step, you can see that you’ve been pessimistic, envious, and needy. But every once in a while, you have peak experiences of abundance, appreciation, and gratitude. If you could experience these peak vibes as your normal, default vibe, your life would change radically for the better. You would effectively switch dimensions into one where another YOU is experiencing delightful levels of abundance right now.
Vibes have many different frequencies, but for the sake of this change, you have a couple basic options. You could focus on just one aspect of your desired vibrational shift, such as switching from scarcity to abundance, or you can try to combine lots of different shifts into one. I find the former approach more effective since it’s simpler. Once I’ve locked in one change, then I focus on the next one. However, I do sometimes have to work on multiple shifts simultaneously because of their potential interactions. A vibe of low self-esteem can sabotage efforts to create a vibe of abundance, for instance.
5. Create a Trigger for Your Desired Vibe.
It’s not necessary to perfectly label a vibe with words. Vibes are much more expressive than words anyway. But it is important to come up with a way to reload your signature vibe whenever you want.
One way to trigger your desired vibe is to create a scene in your mind that evokes the vibe. After some practice this only takes seconds to load the vibe.
You may need to play around with the scene in your mind to reach the point where it feels just right. Keep tweaking your imagery till you feel it’s helping you experience the desired vibe.
In your imagery be specific. Imagine you’re playing the scene in a movie theater. So it’s not blurry or fuzzy or riddled with options. You just click a mental “play” button and watch it go.
Note that you are not necessarily trying to manifest exactly what’s in the scene. You’re simply creating a trigger to reload your vibe.
Other ways to trigger your vibe would be to find a song that evokes the vibe. Or create a shrine in your home that evokes the vibe when you look at the shrine; a shrine is simply a collection of objects.
6. Load the New Vibe Daily.
Now here’s the biggest and most important step. Commit to spending time each day triggering and experiencing your new vibe. Do this for at least 20 minutes a day, and keep it up for 3-4 weeks minimum. You don’t have to do the 20 minutes continuously though. Just aim to spend at least 20 minutes out of each day consciously practicing your new vibe.
If you do less than this, you’re probably wasting your time. The new vibe will not stick.
The idea here is that you have to condition the new vibe as a permanent, long-term habit. It typically takes about 3-4 weeks to do that.
If you hold the vibe of abundance every day for a week, for instance, and then you slip and get sidetracked, nothing much will change. Your default vibe of scarcity will not be dislodged. You’ll continue to experience essentially the same reality.
Once you’ve consciously done this for 3-4 weeks, the practice of loading up the new vibe will become a habit. This means that you’ll continue this practice automatically without having to think about it. At this point it’s only a matter of time before your new vibe begins to infect your default vibe, gradually shifting its frequencies over time. With each passing week, your default vibe will become increasingly abundant.
I usually do this by setting aside some time each day to meditate. During these meditations I load up my trigger, experience the desired vibe, and revel in it for 20 minutes or so. This practice not only turns the daily experience of the new vibe into a habit, but it also helps me get comfortable with it. After a few weeks, the new vibe no longer feels so exceptional to me; it begins to feel normal. Pretty soon I’ll be experiencing this vibe throughout each day, not just during my meditations.
Additionally, I also nudge myself to reload the new vibe whenever I can remember to do so. I do it when I wake up first thing in the morning and when I’m lying in bed before falling asleep. I do it when I’m showering, exercising, or making meals. Sometimes I remind myself to do it when I’m in the middle of a conversation with someone. Basically I conspire to trigger my new vibe many times per day.
7. Act on Your New Vibe.
Your vibe controls which thoughts you have access to. As you begin to shift your default vibe, your thinking will change as well. You’ll begin to get new ideas that are inspired by the new vibe. Notice especially the ideas that are out of sync with your old vibe but which are clearly spawning from your new vibe.
Take action on these ideas as much as you can. Give yourself permission to be very spontaneous during this time. Don’t hesitate. Just act.
You won’t do this perfectly, so don’t beat yourself up if you miss an opportunity. Just keep leaning into your new vibe with action. Take action again and again.
Similarly, hold back on taking action when you identify ideas as stemming from your old vibe. Let those ideas fade.
So here you’re simply getting your actions aligned with your new vibe.
8. Shed the Incongruent.
This step is absolutely critical, and it’s a huge stumbling point for many people. I see lots of people crash and burn here. I can’t caution you enough that you’d better prepare yourself for it. This step often takes a lot of heart and courage to complete.
As you shift your vibe, your reality is going to shift too. But you must cooperate with these shifts. If you fail to cooperate, you will effectively block the shift from taking place, and you’ll remain stuck in your old reality.
As you shift your vibe internally, you’re going to see some flare-ups of polarized energy in your external reality. Some of it will be very positive. New forms of support will rush towards you to encourage you. But much of it will take the form of resistance.
A common form of resistance is people telling you that they don’t like what you’re doing, especially people who are close to you now. If your vibe has been fairly stable for a while, then realize that your personal relationships right now are a result of your current default vibe. As you shift your vibe, your relationships must change as well. Some people may shift their vibes to join you, but many won’t.
It’s a mistake to try to negotiate and compromise with the people who are putting up resistance. Simply disconnect from them and let them go. This will create space for new people to come into your life, people who are vibrational matches for your new vibe, not your old one.
If you want to create abundance then, expect to lose many of your scarcity-minded friends. If you can’t stomach that, realize that this is actually a result of the scarcity vibe itself. From the vibe of abundance, this is needy, clingy behavior, but from within the vibe of scarcity, it will more likely be labeled as loyalty.
The tricky part about shifting vibes is that some vibes include sticky elements that make them very stable. Scarcity is such a vibe. Depression is another. When you’re depressed, for instance, you’re going to repel happy people from your life, and so the only people who will deal with you are probably depressed, angry, or otherwise down on themselves. You won’t see much evidence of what a happy reality could be like until you shift your vibe. So some vibrational shifts are a bit of a catch 22 indeed. If you’re waiting for evidence that shifting your vibe will improve your reality, and you’re unwilling to try shifting until you see such evidence, you’ll be waiting a very long time. Your vibe will repel such evidence from even entering your reality.
This is why I like to have my default vibe infected with a sense of exploration and the desire to embrace new experiences. This helps expose me to new potential vibes to explore, and it helps prevent me from getting stuck. In fact, I’ve probably enjoyed the biggest and most positive shifts by embracing friends with vibes that were very different from my default vibe at the time I met them.
In order to complete my own shifts, I sometimes have to shed old friends who aren’t compatible with the other side. It’s difficult, but it’s worth it. People are like magnets, and keeping people in my life who will keep pulling me back to my old vibe isn’t helpful. Whenever I let go of those relationships, I feel relieved, and it’s so much easier to complete the shift afterwards.
Just to clarify this a bit more, I’m not really letting go of the people. I’m letting go of the vibes they’re currently holding. If they were to shift their vibes later to something more compatible with mine, they could easily re-enter my reality. For instance, I recently had to tell a friend that as long as she insists on holding herself in a vibe of depression and abuse (and remaining loyal to people who treat her like dirt), I’m not going to continue to connect with her because that’s incompatible with what I want to experience. But I let her know that I’m happy to reconnect when she shifts her vibe to something more compatible with me (positive, growth-oriented, etc).
On the other hand, it’s also quite beautiful when I connect with other growth-oriented people who are on a similar path, so we can work on our shifts together and help support and encourage each other along the way.
9. Embrace the Dimensional Shifts.
As you see your reality begin to shift, welcome it. Notice signs that you’re making progress, and celebrate them. Creatively observe that your reality is indeed changing.
These shifts happen over time, usually weeks or months in my experience. I like to think of this process as traveling through the intermediate dimensions between my old reality and my intended new reality. During much of this time, I’m no longer in my old reality, but I’m not quite in the new one yet either. I’m crossing through other dimensions that represent combinations of my old vibe and my new one.
This is where you will see a lot of partial matches. A business deal shows up, but it isn’t quite right. A new potential relationship partner shows up, but s/he isn’t interested or is already involved with someone else.
My advice here is not to force anything to happen. If you get too involved in these partial matches, you’re very likely to get stuck partway through your shift. So don’t get clingy with these intermediate universes and the “opportunities” they present to you.
Keep your focus on your new vibe, and do your best not to succumb to the lure of partial matches. I know they’re tempting, but don’t take the bait. This is especially tricky when shifting out of a scarcity vibe, where clinginess is part of the vibe. Just do your best to keep moving forward.
What happens to these partial matches as you continue to shift? In my experience they typically go one of two ways.
The first possibility is that they simply fade from your life, and something better shows up later.
The second possibility is that the nature of the connection shifts. So the same business deal or relationship exists in your desired reality, but the circumstances are different. In these situations, as you continue to shift, you’ll see changes occurring. New funding will come through that wasn’t there before. Someone who was unavailable becomes available.
When dealing with partial matches, it’s very important to allow them to be as they are without undue attachment to outcomes. If you try to force or push the partial match to become a full match, you’re going to stick yourself to one of those intermediate dimensions, and you will block yourself from experiencing a full match. I have fallen into this trap so many times it’s not even funny, but these days I’m really committed to not forcing things when I observe a partial match. I have enough experience that I don’t need blind faith to keep me going, just the remembrance that partial matches are a clear sign of progress but not a reason to pause in mid-shift and proclaim victory.
When you don’t fall for the temptation of a partial match and hold out for a beautifully aligned match, you can keep moving forward vibrationally. Then when your new vibe is locked in and your old vibe seems like a distant memory, you’re going to be in your new desired dimension, and that’s where the really good matches will appear with grace and ease. When these matches hit you, it’s like a smack upside the head. Their alignment with your desires seems almost too good to be true. Just be careful not to push them away by seriously thinking that they are too good to be true. Welcome them with appreciation and gratitude, and know that you’re ready to experience and enjoy them.
10. Enjoy Your New Reality.
Vibes can be very sensitive, and it’s unlikely that you’ll achieve what you might label as perfection. It would be really tough to lock onto the exact dimension you wish to experience and go there specifically. These tools are not that precise. But you can get close enough to your desired universe that you can still proclaim victory.
[ ] A good way to lock in your new vibe is to appreciate your new reality. You’ve come a long way, and now you’re in a whole new universe. This new universe has a different energetic signature than your old one, and it’s a good match for your new vibe.
[ ] It can take some time to get used to your new reality. Try not to get too excited about it, as if it’s something exceptional that won’t last. Try to embrace your new reality as normal; expect it to persist for a while. Feeling good about it is great, but don’t get so excited that you doubt its continuation since that may ultimately backfire on you. If you believe it’s too good to be true, you’ll attract a universe that validates your belief. So even if you attract something really amazing to you, know that you deserve it.
When you’re ready for another shift, you may wish to hold the more desirable parts of your current vibe/reality stable, and work on creating the vibrational shifts that will allow you to slide sideways into a nearby dimension that has your desired improvements. For instance, once you’ve shifted into a reality where you enjoy financial abundance, you may wish to shift from there into a reality that includes social abundance as well.
Here’s a walkthrough of how I’ve been using this process recently to make a significant change in my social life.
A year ago, I might have described my default vibe as it relates to my social life with words like: overwhelmed, vamped (as in my energy being sucked away), draining, repetitive, boring, mostly online, endless, cyclical, predictable, shallow, routine, lame, avoidance, stress, vampire squid.
My social reality at the time included lots of email, a busy discussion forum to manage, very active Facebook pages (personal and fan pages), and lots of friends and contacts around the world to keep in touch with. I was socially active but not in a way that I truly enjoyed.
What kinds of thoughts did this vibe spawn? It would often spawn thoughts like, Some people are way too needy, I need to get away from this, I have a backlog of communication to process, I should hire an assistant to manage my social life, I wish I didn’t have so many friends, I do NOT want to deal with this, Why do those two forum members have to be fighting again?, etc.
So what was the new vibe I wanted to create instead of this? I can describe it with words like: balanced, friendly, connected, laughing, happy, intimate, flowing, deep, peaceful, fun, engaging, smiles, hugs, love, joy, freedom.
My new vibe was something that I’d experienced in the past and also during peak social experiences. I could load it up by recalling certain memories or by visualizing a scene where I was hanging out with local friends having some deep discussions.
I already had some of this vibe in my life. My relationship with Rachelle is amazing and just keeps getting better. And I have some really awesome friends. But my default vibe wasn’t where I wanted it to be.
My old vibe was mired in social obligation. I wanted my new vibe to be congruent with choice and freedom.
So I focused on holding this new vibe for a while, and things began to shift. Actually it was a two-part shift. First, I focused on the freedom aspect for several months. During this time I fell out of harmony with Facebook and let that go. I fell out of harmony with the discussion forums and shut them down. I disabled my online contact form, closed my PO box, and killed off some email addresses. Some people that I previously had frequent contact with, such as our very active forum members, dropped out of my life. Embracing the vibe of social freedom helped me escape a reality riddled with social obligation.
As I integrated this freedom aspect, I felt incredibly relieved. It was a breath of fresh air not to have to keep up with so much communication. In my old vibe, I thought I needed it. In my new vibe, I just let it go; it was clear that I didn’t need it at all.
For a couple more months, I simply enjoyed this new reality. I had successfully escaped the universe where I was mired in social obligation, and I shifted to a universe where I enjoyed much more freedom of choice. I abandoned my old social obligations. They were no longer something I wished to have in my reality.
About a month ago, I decided to start working on the second part of this shift: creating social abundance — but without giving up my newfound social freedom. I got serious about this roughly a month ago, shortly after the Conscious Relationships Workshop.
For this part of the shift, I focused on entering a universe where I enjoyed deep connections with happy, growth-oriented people — but in person, not so much over the Internet. So for the vibrational aspect, I sought to create a vibe of extroversion, intimacy, bonding, and fun. I wanted to create a very active social life here in Las Vegas, not at StevePavlina.com.
For the first couple weeks, virtually nothing happened. Then it seemed like the floodgates opened. I think this shift happened faster because I was very ready for it, and there was nothing left to block it. I’d already gone through the shedding process, so now I was simply filling that social void with something different.
I can tell that I’ve already tipped. I have enough momentum going that I can coast into my new universe from here. Today my social life is basically right where I want it to be now. By “basically” I mean that the basics are good, and now it’s a matter of tweaking the details.
It’s fascinating to observe how different my social life is today vs. where it was before I engaged in this shifting process. I only worked about one hour total this past week since I’ve been too busy connecting with people — in person.
During the past week, for instance, I had a couple friends from out of town staying with me, I’ve had people over at my house every single day, including some I’d just met for the first time. I went out for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and midnight meals with people. I spent dozens of hours in deep conversations about personal growth, relationships, and the nature of reality. Yesterday I actually started losing my voice due to spending so much time in conversation.
Last Sunday I also spoke at the Direct Dating Summit. I wasn’t originally going to speak there, but I was invited to attend with some friends. I ended up speaking for an hour, mostly about staying in tune with your heart when connecting with people. While some people might see this as work, for me it was largely a social experience. Speaking is a great way to get instant visibility with a group of people and make new friends quickly. I spontaneously went out to dinner with some of the other speakers, then later in the week spent a few hours talking one on one with the organizer, Sasha.
I had originally been invited to speak at this conference back in January, but at the time I declined. Why? My vibe wasn’t at the right place yet for saying yes to it. But by the time I attended the event, I had progressed much further with my shift, and it was easy to say yes to it. This is a good example of leaning into a new vibe. In January I associated speaking at this event with potentially creating more social overwhelm. But as I shifted my vibe, I eventually saw it as a great way to have fun, connect, and share. This uncertainty phase is typical of vibrational shifts. For a while we still have one foot in both worlds.
Now I feel like I’m pretty well locked into the new vibe. I’m not 100% there yet, but probably 95% of the way there. There’s no serious temptation to go back to the past.
If anything, I probably overdid this change a bit. I was so fed up with the old vibe that I may have injected a bit too much energy into the new vibe and blew past my target universe. I don’t necessarily want to stay in a reality where I’m so social that I’m only working an hour per week. On the other hand, I’m still sharing a lot of value with people through conversation, and I spoke at a conference too. I have a tendency to discount that kind of speaking as something I just do for fun. It’s hard for me to see it as work, but maybe this super-social reality isn’t so bad after all.
This kind of experience is fairly common. When you reach your target universe or something very close to it, you may realize that some aspects are still a bit off, just like I’m observing. I don’t seem to be very productive in this reality, at least not based on how I defined productivity in the past, but on the upside, I’m a lot happier in this new reality. So I may shift from here to a more balanced universe where I feel like I’m contributing a bit more, even if it means being slightly less social. Or I may shift to a universe where my primary work becomes more social in nature.
Riding the Ripples
A vibrational change like this can create ripples through every area of one’s life. Even though I was focusing on a social change here, since the change was vibrational at its core, I can’t keep it isolated to just my social life. It’s going to affect every other area as well.
It would be hard for me to return to working the way I used to work a year ago. My life has become too social. I need to allow time for this new vibe to spill over into other parts of my life — and to figure out how I can maintain this vibe while also getting some work done. This will probably require reinterpreting what work means to me.
For instance, I’m feeling less interested in writing than I was a year ago. But public speaking appeals to me even more since it’s more social. I’m feeling more interested in speaking at other people’s events too, not just my own workshops. After doing several 3-day workshops, giving a one hour talk is exceedingly easy for me, and I enjoy them so much that I hardly think of it as work. Speaking is something I do for fun.
There were a couple other speaking engagements that I initially declined, and now I’m feeling inclined to accept them. In the past I was very hesitant to do certain events, but now I see that it gives me the opportunity to share my ideas, energy, and passion with people, and I know that people appreciate what I have to share. What blocked me from doing this in the past was the knowledge that more speaking would mean more activity on Facebook, the forums, email, etc, and I didn’t want more of that. But after making this vibrational shift, it feels silly to hold back, since now I know I can handle abundance in this area without feeling overwhelmed. I’m no longer maintaining online outlets that generate pile-ups and communication backlogs. Communicating face to face is naturally more manageable.
I still use software tools to connect with people, but I’m using them very differently today than I did a year ago. I think the best use for online social tools is to facilitate face to face connections. Things like Facebook and online forums are not something I define as truly social; those are faux social outlets and don’t come close to hanging out in person. You can’t hug a profile, and a smiley isn’t a real smile. Ultimately you’re just spending time alone with some digital device, and you’re encouraging your friends to have equally stunted social lives.
Note that here I’m just sharing my perspective from my new reality. In this reality Facebook is a shallow, pointless distraction that gets in the way of real intimacy. If I want to connect with a friend, I can invite them over for tea, and during our chat, I’ll learn more about them than I would by digesting a lifetime’s worth of online status updates.
These days most of my email is with people that I already see in person, and much of it is about coordinating logistics for meeting up. My email volume is very manageable and usually takes just a few minutes per day.
Today I make it difficult for people to initiate contact with me online because I’d rather not make new social connections via the Internet. Those channels are too cluttered and definitely not necessary. By focusing on connecting with people face to face, I’m already seeing my in-person social network expand. I’m making new friends by meeting friends of friends, and then friends of friends of friends — in person. This is giving me better matches than what I see via the Internet since my in-person friends know me much better than people who’ve only read my blog; they act as great filters for helping me connect with the kinds of people I want in my life, namely people who are conscious, happy, and growth-oriented.
A side effect of this shift is that I’m now in a reality where I feel so much better about my online readership. I’m back to feeling that it’s an honor and a privilege to connect with you, instead of a burden or an obligation. I may not let you email me, but I can embrace a deep conversation with you in person someday.
I must say that this has been a really kick-ass vibrational shift for me. It certainly wasn’t easy, and I had to let go of people and circumstances who resisted this change, but it was definitely worth it. I’m so much happier now, and I’m now enjoying a very abundant social life — not that fake online stuff, but really deep face to face connecting — and a lot more hugs!
* * *
As you work through your own shifts, let me reiterate: it will be hard, but it will be worth it. The most difficult sticking point is being able to say goodbye to parts of your old reality than can’t make the journey with you. Your heart will ache at times, but you’ll be happier on the other side.
I’m coming to appreciate the resistance to vibrational shifting since I see that it serves a valuable purpose. Resistance helps keep your current vibe stable. When you drift away from it, forces push you back towards the center. This may seem like a trap, but it has the benefit of stabilizing your vibe long enough so you can experience and learn from the full richness of it. If your vibe could shift very easily, you’d be crossing dimensions all the time, and your reality would be highly unstable. It would be difficult to learn much. This would be the ADHD version of reality.
With a stable vibe, you’re less likely to accidentally flip into very different dimensions. This gives you time to explore, learn, and grow in a stable reality. Then when you’re ready to shift, you need to exert enough willpower to cross the resistance barrier. This ensures that when you do shift, it’s due to a very conscious and deliberate choice, not by accident.
If you think of resistance in this light, I think you’ll come to appreciate it as I do, and it won’t be such a big deal. You’ll see that it’s actually helping you.
And in truth, when you’re truly ready to change, you’ll know that no resistance can stop you. Dealing with resistance is a process of saying goodbye to the old and getting comfortable with the new. It’s a graduation of sorts, which is frequently a mixture of sorrow and joy.
Are you really ready to let go of negative, scarcity-minded people? Do you feel you deserve to experience happiness, joy, and love every day? Are you ready to enjoy your life fully, or do you need to punish yourself some more?
If you don’t like the reality you’re experiencing now, then why are you still clinging to this particular dimension? Are other possible dimensions too far outside your comfort zone? Are you willing to experience discomfort and uncertainty while you shift? What is it about this reality that you’d have a hard time saying goodbye to?
Shifting dimensions is challenging but also deeply rewarding. If I didn’t learn how to do this, I might be experiencing the inside of a prison cell today. In some other dimension, that is indeed what I’m experiencing. From my current dimension, I can feel compassion for that guy, but I have no desire to join him in his cell. And perhaps he also knows that in some other dimension, he is very happy and free. This contrast just makes me appreciate my current reality even more.