Triggers – Good or Bad?

Last week I concluded several times that triggers are BAD. Certainly they can be.

Sportsmen do it

A simple Trigger gesture
Image by: Peter Ucko

One of the great star baseball players slid into a pitching slump. He sought help from a psychologist who took him through positive thought exercises embedding memories of great winning games and superb star batters whom he had struck out.

At his peak, this pitcher was a match-winner. He had to get back there.

The psychologist introduced a trigger action linked to his memory exercises. They practised for hours in the office. On the field, standing on the mound, before every pitch, he would release the ball into his mitt and gently touch his middle finger to his thumb. Positive thoughts flooded through his mind, washed over his body and coursed through his veins. The Champ was back!

That small, quiet, unobtrusive trigger action worked wonders. Many have copied the use of triggers since then in all sports. Watch them and you’ll see it. Learn from them.

CONCLUSION: Triggers are GOOD.  

Actors do it

Actors play many scenes. In the cauldron of soapies an actor could perform in ten scenes in one day. The range of emotions is wide. From deep despair, agonising grief and extreme emotional hurt to horrible hate, vicious anger and excruciating pain to the great joys of love, the wonder the world and thrilling excitement of success, actors do it all.

How do they do it? How does an actor signify grief with a tear rolling down a cheek whilst otherwise almost not moving? How do they show you and move you with burning raging anger without flaying their arms around and shouting wildly? How do they get you to feel so much love burning deeply in your body as they appear to be sharing with another actor who is nothing more than another actor?

Triggers. That’s how. They develop trigger memories for almost every emotion needed to be shown and captured and transferred with great skill, to you, the viewer. Actors make us feel love and hate, laughter and tears, fear and relief by not only working extraordinarily hard and constantly honing their skills, but by employing triggers to get them where they want to be.

CONCLUSION: Triggers are GREAT

And you can do it . . . . . . .

Watch any child who wants mommy to buy them a new toy. They display hope and pleading and make promises. Then, after many NO, NO and Nos, when all else fails they burst into tears. Why? Often because they subconsciously know that this might trigger something in mommy and cause her to concede and buy the toy.

If a child can do it, so can you. We can develop our own triggers to get us out of low emotional spells or help us deal with despair or help us to understand and experience ecstasy or simply to help us get into a calm state when we need peace and quiet.

CONCLUSION: Triggers are WONDERFUL.

Learn from great athletes and sportsmen and actors. Learn to recognise and manage the triggers of bad events and memories. Develop the skill of using your triggers to your advantage. Whether it is a gesture, a word, a fragrance or a place to imagine, find them, use them and make them your habits. You will be grateful and you will be a winner. I’ll see you in success.

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One Response

  1. I enjoyed reading your piece Peter. I used to read John Vigour when he was the Idler on the Natal Mercury way back in the ‘mists of time’. One of the many enjoyable pieces he wrote was about his first efforts as a newbe sailor in the Mirror class. I think he developed into a champion in that class of tiny yacht. And he was a champion entertainer on the back page of the Mercury.

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