This altered gene activity, in turn, affects the normal functioning of your brain. In summary, negative stimulation changes gene activity which results in dysfunction of the neural network in your brain. When that happens during a vulnerable period, the brain does not work well, and the result is depression. Depression often runs in families, which supports the idea of a genetic basis for the illness. You may have genetic factors that make you more likely to suffer from depression, but this does not guarantee that you will have the illness. If you are genetically prone to depression, you may not have an episode unless you also experience certain stressful life events. These experiences are thought to affect the genes that regulate your brain functioning. Examples of stressful life events include major trauma (a major loss or death), chronic stress, hormonal changes (such as during peri-menopause or postpartum), medical illness, substance abuse, sleep disorders, and others. Depression is not entirely genetic, and it is not entirely related to life experiences. The symptoms of depression are psychological, behavioral, and physical.You find that facilitated communication has been used since the 1970s, when a teacher discovered that if you provide physical assistance to a severely autistic child, by holding their hand or arm to a typewriter or computer keyboard, the child will type out coherent, intelligent thoughts. Apparently, hidden beneath the impaired exterior of an autistic child lay a very capable mind that would demonstrate considerable intellect if put in a situation enabling him to communicate. In effect, facilitated communication demonstrated that severely autistic children have communication problems that are primarily caused by physical, rather than mental, limitations. Based on this amazing discovery, the Dignity Through Education and Language Center was opened in 1986 to promote facilitated communication, and since then other centers have been established at major American universities. At Syracuse University, the Facilitated Communication Institute was established, which has trained thousands of therapists, and programs have been developed at other schools. As time went by, the usefulness of facilitated communication gained support. Numerous reports were published indicating that facilitated communication was effective even for people with severe autism. Thousands of children throughout the world have been communicating with their parents and others using the technique. In fact, autistic children have been attending regular schools and progressing quite well with the help of facilitated communication. The evidence seems compelling, doesn't it? Research centers are set up at major universities.

Numerous personal testimonials indicate that parents can now communicate with their children. Severely autistic children are succeeding in school. And, there's "research" to support it. Pretty convincing stuff. Or is it? I call them "tapes" because I grew up in an era when big mainframe computers were run by huge magnetic tapes that "told" the machine what to do. The tape would run and the computer would perform just as the program on the tape directed it to do. It's the same deal here: You, too, can be run by your "tapes," with no independent mind of your own. I was programmed to behave that way and create those results, because I was being programmed by powerful thoughts I wasn't even aware of. I want to make sure that you're totally clear about what tapes are. They are as natural, and uncontrollable, as a reflex and work as independently as your organs. Just as your hearts pumps blood and your lungs intake oxygen and release carbon dioxide, tapes run on their own accord and without your conscious awareness. As I suggested earlier, while they have some kinship with internal dialogue, tapes belong to a species all their own. Tapes are long-held, over-learned, lightning-fast, automatic thoughts that: 1. totally ignore current input; and 2. program you for a specific outcome, oftentimes without your even being aware of it. Suppose, for example, you meet a guy and after talking to him for a while, you say to yourself, This guy is a total mouth breather. He is so boring, I would rather be home in my fuzzy house shoes eating peanut butter out of the jar. What you've just told yourself constitutes internal dialogue. It is a real-time conversation, in reaction to current stimuli.

It all happens in the here and now. You are there, he is there, and you react to him and what is going on, right now. Based on your current reactions, you may decide: Hey, I'm out of here, good-bye. A tape is different in that it is totally based on past experience. It causes you to ignore what is happening in the here and now. In our example, if it was your tape that caused you to bail on the doofus you were contemplating killing some time with, that decision would be based on a prerecorded reflex that occurred independently of anything he did or didn't do. Let's say, for example, that you have dated seven "doofi" in a row. The last one was incredibly insufferable and drank all of your wine, ate all of your groceries, and then bedded down your little sister. You would likely have some powerful baggage, particularly when added on top of the other six bad experiences you had been through. Those experiences and the themes they created at the level of your self-concept would be the building blocks of your tapes. You might have a whole library of tapes, which might include: I would like to challenge you to cultivate and nurture positive expectations. You can harness the power of expectations to improve your life. Evaluating, updating, and managing expectations are crucial. You'll need to consider many facets: Are your expectations realistic? Will you adjust them as needed when circumstances warrant? When faced with setbacks, will you learn from your experience so that you are better prepared to meet your goals next time? That's what you need to focus on: evaluating your expectations on a moment-by-moment basis to ensure you get the results you desire. If past experiences jade you, don't let yourself fall into regret. After all, "You cannot change what has already been handed to you, but you can absolutely find a positive course of action" (Marston). The past can weigh you down like heavy shackles holding you back from a bright future, or it can become a learning experience that you use as a springboard to new opportunities and a greater sense of wisdom.

By setting aside time to live out your values in the "you" domain, you will have the time to reflect on your calendar and visualize the qualities of the person you want to be. With your body and mind strong, you will also be much more likely to follow through on your promises. You might be thinking, "It's all well and good to schedule time for ourselves, but what happens when we don't accomplish what we want to, despite making the time?" You see where this is leading, don't you? Once my rumination stopped, so did my sleepless nights. I soon started regularly falling back asleep in minutes. There's an important lesson here that goes well beyond how to get enough sleep. The takeaway is that, when it comes to our time, we should stop worrying about outcomes we can't control and instead focus on the inputs we can. The positive results of the time we spend doing something is a hope, not a certainty. The one thing we control is the time we put into a task. Whether I'm able to fall asleep at any given moment or whether a breakthrough idea for my next book comes to me when I sit down at my desk isn't entirely up to me, but one thing is for certain: I won't do what I want to do if I'm not in the right place at the right time, whether that's in bed when I want to sleep or at my desk when I want to do good work. Not showing up guarantees failure. In these circumstances, I pity the next poor guy who is standing on your porch all dressed up, car washed, and ready to have a good time. That boy is dead in the water before he ever even opens his mouth. It wouldn't make any difference if he were sweeter than Mr. Rogers or better looking than Tom Cruise. He is toast! Why? Because, at the core of your self-concept, you are playing these tapes, rather than dealing in the here and now. You may not consciously be aware of the existence or content of these tapes, but at the core of your self-concept, you are aware and the message is: Danger! Protect yourself, pull back, protect yourself!

All of your behavior, and therefore the outcome of this relationship, is being determined historically. You are dealing with the past and ignoring the present. What's more, the determination is happening so fast, thanks to these lightning-quick, overlearned, automatic tapes, that you wouldn't even be able to recognize that you have his poor ass fried up before you ever open the door. You can't even see the guy standing in front of you, because you are so busy looking over your shoulder at what has happened before. Understand that being controlled by your tapes is different from learning from your mistakes. If you have learned from your mistakes, you will consciously make more informed decisions. When a tape is in control, you are not consciously, currently making any decision. When a tape is in control, you are a passenger. That's how tapes work and that's what makes them so dangerous. Identifying expectations and cultivating passion are imperative, but you must also develop a roadmap. Crafting a plan of action will reinforce your enthusiasm, help create discipline, and provide you the kind of blueprint that will help you lay the foundation for successful effort. In this chapter, you'll discover ways of making your goals more concrete, as well as tips for harnessing the kind of positive mindset you'll need to transform your dreams into reality. Are you drifting through life, unclear about what to do next, and uncertain about your aim or purpose? Chances are that you are suffering from the lack of high self-expectations. You can and will find your way, if you so choose. Where do you start? The answer lies within. Find what matters to you. Pick worthy goals. Then make the determination that you will succeed.