Today I am sharing a simple but profound experiment, developed by myself:) It is a field experiment that I often offered to clients in the office before I moved my private practice online. I offer this experiment, and countless similar ones, because I am a firm believer that analyzing and replaying our crappy stories ad nauseam eventually does more harm than good. These activities may allow us to feel heard and supported but do little to create real change.

As I mention in the complimentary Confidence Building Workbook “learning, healing and growing is a process for most people.” That process needs to be actively directed. Eventually, we all need to put insights and learning into cellular memory. If we don’t, most vicious cycles continue. When we commit to becoming an amateur solution-focused social scientists, we stand a better chance of making positive lasting change and becoming the confident CEO of our lives.

This simple experiment is designed to help you gain a profound understanding of how our primitive minds operate. Why should we be interested in that? Because If we lack this knowledge, we are playing the game of life at a deficit.


1. Much of how we operate on a day-to-day basis is automatic or programmed. This includes our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I refer to these habitual ways of being as “cow paths” in the complimentary workbook. These paths become hard-wired and often are triggered outside of our conscious awareness.

2. How we operate each day has a cumulative effect and sets the stage for the kind of future we will experience (through our creation).

So, having a little curiosity about our primitive minds is critical. We cannot influence what we don’t understand. If we are to build a stronger belief in ourselves and finally solve the problems that keep rearing their ugly head year after year, we need to become positively and actively curious.

Is this experiment a magic bullet? Hell, no, but for most people, it is an important start to understanding why change can be so difficult and to develop some insights into how we can influence the primitive mind. One of the benefits of experiments like this is that they require some level of physical action, which is critical for the cellular memory necessary for lasting change.


1. Go into your kitchen.

2. Remove your cutlery tray from its current drawer.

3. Empty all items from another drawer.

4. Place your cutlery tray in the now empty drawer.

5. Place your items from the other drawer in the old cutlery drawer.

That’s all the prep work required for your field assignment.


1. What happens each time you reach for a fork, knife, or spoon?

2. How long does it take for you to become 100% associated with the new location?

3. Does the right action occur more frequently under certain circumstances? Why?

4. What emotions are generated when you “fail” or “get it right?”

5. What bodily sensations are evident when you “fail” or “get it right?”

6. What, if any, strategies did you use to make the change easier?

7. Did you think you finally had it figured out and then the next time “messed up?”

8. What did you learn about your primitive mind?

9. How can you use that learning in something a little more significant?

10. How does this experiment relate to building more self-confidence or a stronger belief in yourself?

Terri Lee Cooper MSc. RSW