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  1. The Breakout Principle Benson Herbert Proctor William (ePUB/PDF)
  2. PDF The Breakout Principle: Maximize Creativity Athletic Performance Productivity and Personal
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Find out more about The Breakout Principle by Herbert Benson, William Proctor at Simon & Schuster. Read book reviews & excerpts, watch author videos. March 27, The Break-Out Principle. Eileen Chadnick. Email. Does this sound familiar? You're on tight deadline. You are expected to turn in a brilliant. the breakout principle how pdf the breakout principle how to activate the natural trigger that maximizes creativity athletic perf The Breakout Principle book.

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You need to actually to check out the book The Breakout Principle How To Click and also discover them in ppt, zip, pdf, word, kindle, rar, and also txt file. breakout principle creativity and productivity trigger this breakout benson performance peak the breakout principle | Download eBook pdf, epub, tuebl, mobi. By Md Herbert Benson [EPUB KINDLE PDF EBOOK] Breakout Principle: How To Activate The Natural Trigger That Maximizes.

Would it surprise you to learn that to solve a seemingly unsolvable problem, you need to get up and leave the room? A walk in the woods will help you finish your novel? Humming can make you a better tennis player? Or completely giving up is the way to succeed? In The Breakout Principle, the bestselling author of The Relaxation Response delivers the ultimate self-help principle -- simple instructions to activate a powerful biological trigger that converts conflict and confusion into clarity and extraordinary performance, a state athletes refer to as "the zone. Herbert Benson of the Harvard Medical School began research into why some people are devastated by stress while others thrive, turning it into brilliant achievement. Now The Breakout Principle reports the discovery of an easy-to-access inner switch that increases mental function, enhances creativity and productivity, maximizes athletic performance, and enriches spiritual life. The same internal mechanism that improves a tennis serve or golf putt strengthens your speaking skills, makes you a better negotiator, and fosters inner peace and belief. Benson and coauthor William Proctor explain the cutting-edge science behind the phenomenon in accessible language, clearly describe the four distinct phases of the Breakout, and provide simple, step-by-step instructions on how to activate the Breakout "trigger. Benson's previous discoveries have helped millions reduce the harmful effects of stress. The Breakout Principle now reveals how to maximize your untapped abilities and powers. He is the author of the mega-bestselling book, The Relaxation Response , as well as ten other trade books. His groundbreaking work established the modern field of mind body medicine.

Several top executives in the company were vying for the CEO position, and two had let it be known that they expected to quit if they weren't selected. Opinions on the board of directors diverged radically.

Stockholders had even divided into factions over the pending succession -- they knew that the value of their portfolios might be seriously damaged by the wrong choice. Unfortunately, there was no clear front-runner.

Even after exhaustive analyses by Jason and his firm, including numerous reports from a leading executive headhunter, the picture remained murky. No obvious heir apparent. All the analysis and detailed matrices -- all the research in the world isn't going to help now. Forget additional lists. No more pros and cons. The time's arrived for needlepoint. Just as important, the pastime often helped him "think outside the box" -- and come up with million- or billion-dollar solutions.

So that day he left the office building, settled down in his hotel room, and pulled out his latest needlepoint canvas -- a cover for a pillow that he was doing in petit point.

Petit point, for the uninitiated, is needlepoint that requires relatively small stitches -- for Jason, usually about twenty-four per inch.

During his career, Jason had learned that monumental amounts of research were necessary to move toward a solution. But after finishing all the hard, plodding research and analysis, Jason often hit an inner wall that intense work and thought couldn't penetrate.

In many ways, his experience provided a classic illustration of the Yerkes-Dodson Law, which, as we'll see in Chapter 2, says that efficiency increases with stress up to a point. But if stress continues after that point, efficiency will begin to decline steadily. Although Jason had heard that traditional relaxation techniques were supposed to help control stress, he knew he wasn't the "meditator type.

A feature in the Boston Globe January 31, , H1, H4 , published long after he had embarked on his petit point, disclosed that the male knitting underground included such notables as Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe; Ethan Zohn, winner of the CBS Survivor: One reason for the surge in male knitting, the Globe surmised, was "a need for stress relief during anxious time" H4 -- which was at least part of the reason Jason pursued petit point.

But the consultant was mainly interested in that shazam. Seeking the Shazam "The insight has to come from outside," Jason explained.

Put myself in a position where my mind can roam around in a completely different space. The best way for me to shift gears is needlepoint. Row after row, he executed exactly the same finger movements. As a result, he could "zone out. But unlike the old superhero Captain Marvel, who had employed the magic word in the comic books Jason had read as a youth, the consultant knew intuitively that it was virtually impossible to mandate a shazam.

He couldn't force a brilliant insight. Instead, he had to release any preconceived agenda and be perfectly willing to emerge on the other side of the stitching without any new insight.

Focus on nothing but those stitches, doing one after the other. Then, the solution may drift into my mind. But I won't review them in detail. I'll just watch them, hold them in my head. As he labored quietly for about fifteen minutes, the activity lulled him into a kind of trance. Random thoughts about the CEO issue drifted into his mind -- and without warning, a solution burst forth. Jason suddenly saw an elegant way to fit together all the difficult, moving parts in the selection process.

He concluded that a senior executive with nearly fifteen years in the company and who was only a couple of years from retirement should be given the CEO position. That would satisfy a board faction that wanted him in the top slot. The move would also assuage fears of stockholders and securities analysts who were worried about the continuity of the firm's policies. Another leading candidate -- a senior executive with the company known for his sophisticated, continental tastes -- would be offered the position as head of the company's European operations.

Given his predilections, this man seemed quite likely to accept the overseas job. The third main candidate, who was currently working with another company, was in many ways the strongest of all. He would be brought in as second-in-command. Then, when the newly installed CEO retired after two years, he would move up into the top spot.

Finally, the fourth main candidate, a young female executive, was favored strongly by some on the board. At the same time, others felt she was not quite seasoned enough.

So she would be moved up to third-in-command. This would position her to take over after about ten years -- when the second CEO retired. By deftly moving these executive "chess pieces" around, Jason saw that all the strong candidates could become a vital part of the company for the foreseeable future, with the skills of each fully utilized. Also, none would be sent a signal that he or she was being pushed out or passed over. The result would be a stronger company than now existed, with the CEO succession settled for years to come.

Having the major outlines of his solution in mind, Jason was now ready to plunge back into the high-pressured corporate environment and hammer out the details. Although this unusual idea-generating technique worked well for Jason, the same approach obviously won't fly for those who lack a passion for needlepoint.

Fortunately, there are other ways to trigger Breakouts and their creative benefits -- not only in business but also in sports, the arts, religion, and an almost limitless range of other pursuits. The Incredibly Broad Range of the Breakout The Breakout phenomenon has emerged in such wildly different circumstances as these: In the early games, she often found herself playing with effortless, winning strokes.

But in the last point or two, when the final outcome was on the line, she hit easy balls out and double-faulted when she was serving for the match. By using a variation of the Breakout mechanism, she was able to stay "in the zone" even when the pressure was greatest.

To break through a barrier that was preventing her from getting one of her characters out of a tight spot, she resorted to her usual method of triggering creativity: As she strolled and gazed out over the water, an insight popped into her mind that enabled her to make significant progress in her plotting. Without knowing the scientific explanation, she had made effective use of the Breakout. Ted found that his faith fell short in helping him manage the cares of daily life.

Augustine caused him to revamp his approach. He determined that when he confronted a crisis in his family, banking job, or volunteer activity, he would "let go" of his worries and accept the difficulty as an opportunity to cultivate his prayer life. As a result, his anxieties began to give way to increasing inner peace. Dietary manipulation and counseling for high-stress family problems failed to bring her readings down to acceptable levels.

So her physician prescribed antihypertensive medication -- an ACE inhibitor -- to correct the problem. But then Sheila began to practice a daily mind-calming technique that enabled her to cut her drug dosage significantly.

The Breakout Principle Benson Herbert Proctor William (ePUB/PDF)

Specifically, the first thing every morning, she would spend ten to fifteen minutes focusing sequentially on tensing and then relaxing every main muscle group in her body, beginning with her feet and moving up through her legs, trunk, arms, and neck. Also, whenever she experienced a tense situation during the day, she would concentrate on breathing regularly and silently, repeating the word peace on the outbreath.

After she had employed these techniques for about six weeks, Sheila's doctor recommended that she cut back on her antihypertensive medication, and eventually she went off drugs entirely. She also found that her family difficulties became less burdensome -- largely because triggering these health-enhancing "micro-Breakouts" during the day enabled her to manage her responses to pressure more effectively. As Robert prepared to wind up an important courtroom presentation, he feared that he would be physically unable to make his final appeal to the jury.

Even during preparation for the trial, he had suffered occasional irregular heartbeats, insomnia, and panic attacks. But as he rose for his summation, an unexpected wave of calm swept over him -- the result of a "stealth Breakout," as I have come to call certain surprise forms of the experience. As a result, he spoke with exceptional fluidity and eloquence. The full stories of such individuals -- which will be related later in our narrative -- could easily provide the starting points for a series of quite useful, though entirely separate, self-help books.

Yet my most recent research at the Harvard Medical School has revealed an astonishing paradox: These seemingly dissimilar incidents -- and others like them -- are all part of the same story.

Specifically, dramatic insights and personal breakthroughs -- or Breakouts, such as those described above -- are rooted in the same underlying medical and biological phenomena. Furthermore, even though the challenges and circumstances may be quite different, each Breakout event is triggered in precisely the same general way.

In short, if you can grasp what has helped you improve your tennis serve, you'll understand what it takes to strengthen your speaking ability. And if you can learn how to stimulate creativity on the job, you will be able to take giant steps toward improving your health -- and even comprehending the biological foundations of your spiritual life.

During the past three decades, I've been able to do some original scientific work at Harvard -- such as identifying the relaxation response and exploring the impact of personal beliefs and spiritual practices on human health and well-being.

The Breakout concept represents the culmination of these years of medical research. The Breakout is rooted not only in the previous physiologic research on the relaxation response, which measured cardiovascular and respiratory responses, but also in a wide range of new scientific methodologies and disciplines, such as brain imaging, molecular biology, and biochemistry.

Furthermore, the Breakout Principle incorporates all the health benefits of the stress-reducing relaxation response. At the same time, it opens the door to entirely new applications -- such as in creative breakthroughs, spiritual insights, greater productivity at work, and enhanced athletic performance.

Several fundamental scientific principles underlie every Breakout. Although subsequent chapters will go into more detail, this summary of Breakout science should provide a useful starting point.

Principle 1: A Breakout begins with your natural power to maximize health, mental ability, and physical performance. Before a self-improvement program can work effectively, significant emotional roadblocks -- such as deep phobias, debilitating stress, or other emotional traumas -- must first be swept away. In other words, you cannot hope to maximize your ability to think creatively at work, lower your handicap in golf, or succeed with any other self-help system if you're preoccupied with depression, anxiety, or overwhelming grief.

Sometimes, these inner obstacles are so serious that they must be dealt with professionally, either through counseling or medications. But in many cases, interfering emotional barriers can be minimized or eliminated automatically through the Breakout mechanism.

The reason for this is that every Breakout is rooted in our innate, self-healing, stress-reducing biological and biochemical package, which inspired the great Greek physician Hippocrates to extol the natural restorative abilities of the human body.

In ancient Latin, these inherent powers, which we possess from the womb, were called vis medicatrix naturae -- or the "healing power of nature. For instance, only about 25 percent of medical complaints that bring patients to health care professionals can be diagnosed and treated effectively by drugs, surgery, or other scientifically based medical procedures.

Most of the remaining 75 percent will eventually improve as the body responds on its own, without medical intervention.

The Breakout Principle is rooted in these same self-healing powers. The innate physiology that promotes better emotional and physical health has also been associated with enhanced self-awareness, creativity, job productivity, intimacy in relationships, athleticism, and spiritual transcendence. Or to put this another way, you have been born with an array of biological triggers that you can "pull" to activate life-changing Breakouts.

Principle 2: The same mind-body mechanism operates in every Breakout trigger. The fundamental mechanism for activating every Breakout can be stated rather simply: To trigger a Breakout, you must sever completely your previous train of thoughts and emotions.

This decisive disruption of prior mental patterns will enable you to shift your focus into new and more productive directions. Achieving such a break in your old mental tapes is an absolute prerequisite if you hope to experience dramatic new spiritual insights, creative breakthroughs, or leaps to new heights of professional or athletic achievement.

Chapter 2 will provide a much more detailed description of how the relatively simple but extremely powerful mechanism of the Breakout trigger works. A common corollary to the basic Breakout Principle is that to break prior mental patterns, it will often be necessary to quit concentrating on yourself.

You must disregard the way you are performing, or the way you are appearing to others -- and dwell instead on what's happening outside your narrow orbit of self-interest. Sometimes, you may have to find a way to replace your chronic egocentricity with altruism. Or it may simply be necessary to shift your focus from old, negative mental habits to promising new possibilities -- even if you still don't quite know the exact nature of those possibilities. A personal reflection Years ago, I believed that to do a good job in a lecture, I had to stay tied to a script.

As a lecturer in physiology at the Harvard Medical School, I would write out my entire talk, go into the amphitheater the night before my presentation, and practice the whole lecture out loud. Then one day, a student said, "You're such a great teacher when you're one-on-one. But why are you so stiff when you speak to a group? Drop your notes! I threw away my notes entirely for one lecture just to see what would happen. From then on, my public speaking was never the same. As I abandoned my fears of making a mistake and focused instead on my listeners, my anxiety disappeared and I discovered I could communicate with great freedom.

More recently, as the keynoter at a convention of several thousand psychotherapists in Los Angeles, I felt literally at one with the entire group. It almost seemed that my mind melded with theirs. As I scanned the sea of faces, I understood exactly what they needed to hear from me, and the words came out effortlessly, as though someone else were speaking. A standing ovation confirmed that, somehow, I had connected with them on a deep plane -- and without relying on a single note.

Although I didn't understand at the time what was happening, I realize in retrospect that, during that address, I had experienced a dramatic Breakout. Just as important, as I related with that audience on a profound emotional level, I was caught up in a genuine peak experience -- one that bordered on the mystical and would enrich my life for months and years to come. My secret to unlocking these benefits was simply to dare to challenge my fears, throw away my notes, and look my audience in the eye.

But a vast number of other pursuits may also help you leap out of an unproductive mental or emotional track -- and trigger Breakouts of superior achievement, insight, or creativity, which in turn lead to life-changing peak experiences. A few such triggering activities that I've observed in my research include walking, jogging, swimming, artistic expression, showering, housework, a relaxing meal, helping others, and traditional prayer.

Or who knows? You might even use something as unlikely as needlepoint skills to produce a Breakout. Principle 3: As a Breakout begins, your body and mind move through a series of distinct, identifiable stages. Typically, the Breakout Principle encompasses an inner process that consists of four distinct stages: For a businessperson, this may be a concentrated problem analysis or fact-gathering.

The serious athlete may engage in extensive and demanding physical training. But the consultant was mainly interested in that shazam. Seeking the Shazam "The insight has to come from outside," Jason explained.

Put myself in a position where my mind can roam around in a completely different space. The best way for me to shift gears is needlepoint. Row after row, he executed exactly the same finger movements. As a result, he could "zone out. But unlike the old superhero Captain Marvel, who had employed the magic word in the comic books Jason had read as a youth, the consultant knew intuitively that it was virtually impossible to mandate a shazam.

He couldn't force a brilliant insight. Instead, he had to release any preconceived agenda and be perfectly willing to emerge on the other side of the stitching without any new insight. Focus on nothing but those stitches, doing one after the other. Then, the solution may drift into my mind. But I won't review them in detail. I'll just watch them, hold them in my head. As he labored quietly for about fifteen minutes, the activity lulled him into a kind of trance.

Random thoughts about the CEO issue drifted into his mind -- and without warning, a solution burst forth. Jason suddenly saw an elegant way to fit together all the difficult, moving parts in the selection process. He concluded that a senior executive with nearly fifteen years in the company and who was only a couple of years from retirement should be given the CEO position. That would satisfy a board faction that wanted him in the top slot. The move would also assuage fears of stockholders and securities analysts who were worried about the continuity of the firm's policies.

Another leading candidate -- a senior executive with the company known for his sophisticated, continental tastes -- would be offered the position as head of the company's European operations. Given his predilections, this man seemed quite likely to accept the overseas job. The third main candidate, who was currently working with another company, was in many ways the strongest of all.

PDF The Breakout Principle: Maximize Creativity Athletic Performance Productivity and Personal

He would be brought in as second-in-command. Then, when the newly installed CEO retired after two years, he would move up into the top spot. Finally, the fourth main candidate, a young female executive, was favored strongly by some on the board.

At the same time, others felt she was not quite seasoned enough. So she would be moved up to third-in-command. This would position her to take over after about ten years -- when the second CEO retired. By deftly moving these executive "chess pieces" around, Jason saw that all the strong candidates could become a vital part of the company for the foreseeable future, with the skills of each fully utilized.

Also, none would be sent a signal that he or she was being pushed out or passed over. The result would be a stronger company than now existed, with the CEO succession settled for years to come.

Having the major outlines of his solution in mind, Jason was now ready to plunge back into the high-pressured corporate environment and hammer out the details. Although this unusual idea-generating technique worked well for Jason, the same approach obviously won't fly for those who lack a passion for needlepoint. Fortunately, there are other ways to trigger Breakouts and their creative benefits -- not only in business but also in sports, the arts, religion, and an almost limitless range of other pursuits.

The Incredibly Broad Range of the Breakout The Breakout phenomenon has emerged in such wildly different circumstances as these: In the early games, she often found herself playing with effortless, winning strokes. But in the last point or two, when the final outcome was on the line, she hit easy balls out and double-faulted when she was serving for the match.

By using a variation of the Breakout mechanism, she was able to stay "in the zone" even when the pressure was greatest. To break through a barrier that was preventing her from getting one of her characters out of a tight spot, she resorted to her usual method of triggering creativity: As she strolled and gazed out over the water, an insight popped into her mind that enabled her to make significant progress in her plotting. Without knowing the scientific explanation, she had made effective use of the Breakout.

Ted found that his faith fell short in helping him manage the cares of daily life. Augustine caused him to revamp his approach. He determined that when he confronted a crisis in his family, banking job, or volunteer activity, he would "let go" of his worries and accept the difficulty as an opportunity to cultivate his prayer life.

As a result, his anxieties began to give way to increasing inner peace. Dietary manipulation and counseling for high-stress family problems failed to bring her readings down to acceptable levels. So her physician prescribed antihypertensive medication -- an ACE inhibitor -- to correct the problem.

But then Sheila began to practice a daily mind-calming technique that enabled her to cut her drug dosage significantly. Specifically, the first thing every morning, she would spend ten to fifteen minutes focusing sequentially on tensing and then relaxing every main muscle group in her body, beginning with her feet and moving up through her legs, trunk, arms, and neck.

Also, whenever she experienced a tense situation during the day, she would concentrate on breathing regularly and silently, repeating the word peace on the outbreath. After she had employed these techniques for about six weeks, Sheila's doctor recommended that she cut back on her antihypertensive medication, and eventually she went off drugs entirely. She also found that her family difficulties became less burdensome -- largely because triggering these health-enhancing "micro-Breakouts" during the day enabled her to manage her responses to pressure more effectively.

As Robert prepared to wind up an important courtroom presentation, he feared that he would be physically unable to make his final appeal to the jury. Even during preparation for the trial, he had suffered occasional irregular heartbeats, insomnia, and panic attacks. But as he rose for his summation, an unexpected wave of calm swept over him -- the result of a "stealth Breakout," as I have come to call certain surprise forms of the experience.

As a result, he spoke with exceptional fluidity and eloquence. The full stories of such individuals -- which will be related later in our narrative -- could easily provide the starting points for a series of quite useful, though entirely separate, self-help books. Yet my most recent research at the Harvard Medical School has revealed an astonishing paradox: These seemingly dissimilar incidents -- and others like them -- are all part of the same story.

Specifically, dramatic insights and personal breakthroughs -- or Breakouts, such as those described above -- are rooted in the same underlying medical and biological phenomena. Furthermore, even though the challenges and circumstances may be quite different, each Breakout event is triggered in precisely the same general way. In short, if you can grasp what has helped you improve your tennis serve, you'll understand what it takes to strengthen your speaking ability. And if you can learn how to stimulate creativity on the job, you will be able to take giant steps toward improving your health -- and even comprehending the biological foundations of your spiritual life.

During the past three decades, I've been able to do some original scientific work at Harvard -- such as identifying the relaxation response and exploring the impact of personal beliefs and spiritual practices on human health and well-being.

The Breakout concept represents the culmination of these years of medical research. The Breakout is rooted not only in the previous physiologic research on the relaxation response, which measured cardiovascular and respiratory responses, but also in a wide range of new scientific methodologies and disciplines, such as brain imaging, molecular biology, and biochemistry.

Furthermore, the Breakout Principle incorporates all the health benefits of the stress-reducing relaxation response. At the same time, it opens the door to entirely new applications -- such as in creative breakthroughs, spiritual insights, greater productivity at work, and enhanced athletic performance. Several fundamental scientific principles underlie every Breakout. Although subsequent chapters will go into more detail, this summary of Breakout science should provide a useful starting point.

Principle 1: A Breakout begins with your natural power to maximize health, mental ability, and physical performance. Before a self-improvement program can work effectively, significant emotional roadblocks -- such as deep phobias, debilitating stress, or other emotional traumas -- must first be swept away.

In other words, you cannot hope to maximize your ability to think creatively at work, lower your handicap in golf, or succeed with any other self-help system if you're preoccupied with depression, anxiety, or overwhelming grief. Sometimes, these inner obstacles are so serious that they must be dealt with professionally, either through counseling or medications.

But in many cases, interfering emotional barriers can be minimized or eliminated automatically through the Breakout mechanism. The reason for this is that every Breakout is rooted in our innate, self-healing, stress-reducing biological and biochemical package, which inspired the great Greek physician Hippocrates to extol the natural restorative abilities of the human body. In ancient Latin, these inherent powers, which we possess from the womb, were called vis medicatrix naturae -- or the "healing power of nature.

For instance, only about 25 percent of medical complaints that bring patients to health care professionals can be diagnosed and treated effectively by drugs, surgery, or other scientifically based medical procedures. Most of the remaining 75 percent will eventually improve as the body responds on its own, without medical intervention. The Breakout Principle is rooted in these same self-healing powers.

The innate physiology that promotes better emotional and physical health has also been associated with enhanced self-awareness, creativity, job productivity, intimacy in relationships, athleticism, and spiritual transcendence. Or to put this another way, you have been born with an array of biological triggers that you can "pull" to activate life-changing Breakouts.

Principle 2: The same mind-body mechanism operates in every Breakout trigger. The fundamental mechanism for activating every Breakout can be stated rather simply: To trigger a Breakout, you must sever completely your previous train of thoughts and emotions. This decisive disruption of prior mental patterns will enable you to shift your focus into new and more productive directions. Achieving such a break in your old mental tapes is an absolute prerequisite if you hope to experience dramatic new spiritual insights, creative breakthroughs, or leaps to new heights of professional or athletic achievement.

Chapter 2 will provide a much more detailed description of how the relatively simple but extremely powerful mechanism of the Breakout trigger works. A common corollary to the basic Breakout Principle is that to break prior mental patterns, it will often be necessary to quit concentrating on yourself.

You must disregard the way you are performing, or the way you are appearing to others -- and dwell instead on what's happening outside your narrow orbit of self-interest. Sometimes, you may have to find a way to replace your chronic egocentricity with altruism. Or it may simply be necessary to shift your focus from old, negative mental habits to promising new possibilities -- even if you still don't quite know the exact nature of those possibilities.

A personal reflection Years ago, I believed that to do a good job in a lecture, I had to stay tied to a script. As a lecturer in physiology at the Harvard Medical School, I would write out my entire talk, go into the amphitheater the night before my presentation, and practice the whole lecture out loud.

Then one day, a student said, "You're such a great teacher when you're one-on-one. But why are you so stiff when you speak to a group? Drop your notes! I threw away my notes entirely for one lecture just to see what would happen. From then on, my public speaking was never the same. As I abandoned my fears of making a mistake and focused instead on my listeners, my anxiety disappeared and I discovered I could communicate with great freedom.

More recently, as the keynoter at a convention of several thousand psychotherapists in Los Angeles, I felt literally at one with the entire group. It almost seemed that my mind melded with theirs.

As I scanned the sea of faces, I understood exactly what they needed to hear from me, and the words came out effortlessly, as though someone else were speaking. A standing ovation confirmed that, somehow, I had connected with them on a deep plane -- and without relying on a single note. Although I didn't understand at the time what was happening, I realize in retrospect that, during that address, I had experienced a dramatic Breakout.

Just as important, as I related with that audience on a profound emotional level, I was caught up in a genuine peak experience -- one that bordered on the mystical and would enrich my life for months and years to come. My secret to unlocking these benefits was simply to dare to challenge my fears, throw away my notes, and look my audience in the eye.

The Breakout Principle

But a vast number of other pursuits may also help you leap out of an unproductive mental or emotional track -- and trigger Breakouts of superior achievement, insight, or creativity, which in turn lead to life-changing peak experiences. A few such triggering activities that I've observed in my research include walking, jogging, swimming, artistic expression, showering, housework, a relaxing meal, helping others, and traditional prayer.

Or who knows? You might even use something as unlikely as needlepoint skills to produce a Breakout. Principle 3: As a Breakout begins, your body and mind move through a series of distinct, identifiable stages. Typically, the Breakout Principle encompasses an inner process that consists of four distinct stages: For a businessperson, this may be a concentrated problem analysis or fact-gathering.

The Breakout Principle

The serious athlete may engage in extensive and demanding physical training. The person on a spiritual quest may plunge into concentrated study, a "dark night of the soul," or intense prayer, meditation, or soul-searching. Sometimes, this initial, struggle phase may begin involuntarily, as a result of some traumatic outside event.

For example, I've encountered numerous people who have been devastated by the death of a loved one, a deep-rooted phobia, or an outside calamity, such as the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The classic Holmes-Rahe "social readjustment scale" lists those life events and changes that are most likely to cause stress. According to this measurement, the top five in descending order of impact are death of a spouse, divorce, marital separation, a jail term, and death of a close family member Journal of Psychosomatic Research 11 []: Victims may not choose these assaults on their emotional well-being, but they can choose to begin to deal effectively with them -- through the Breakout process.

This event, which directly follows the struggle, has been variously described as "letting go," "backing off," or "releasing" your mind from the hard-work mode. The most important characteristic of this second stage is that pulling the Breakout trigger must completely sever prior thought and emotional patterns. Our research has demonstrated that characteristic biological and molecular responses occur when the trigger is pulled. The Breakout will always be accompanied by a greater sense of well-being and relaxation.

In addition, this new, unstressed mind-set will often lead to such peak experiences as the creative business insight that came to Jason after his needlepoint retreat. Inevitably the peak will involve something unexpected -- a surprise that produces unanticipated new ideas or higher levels of performance. In other words, those who have enjoyed a Breakout must always reenter the world of struggle and stress. But having undergone the experience, they are now in a much stronger position to rise to greater achievements, or to generate more profound ideas and insights.

The following visual sequence represents our attempt to picture these four stages, but as you consider this pattern, remember this: The Breakout Principle, which arises from highly complex neurological, biochemical, and physiologic interactions, cannot be captured fully in two-dimensional diagrams, or even in technical language.

As we will see in later chapters, the Breakout mechanism involves nonlinear mental processes that might be depicted more appropriately in some multidimensional matrix or hologram.

But despite these limitations, this picture should provide you with a better understanding of how the Breakout sequence may flow inside your mind and body. Also, further details and insights will emerge as we will continue to build upon this basic diagram in our later discussions.

The struggle may include physiologic signs of anxiety and stress, such as increased blood pressure, heart rate, and brain activity.

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