Today I want to pull it back to the basics of coaching and thought-work and share 3 things about the brain that most people don’t know that can change your life.
Brain Fact #1 – The brain’s primary purpose is to keep us safe (it was dangerous in the caveman days!) and in order to do this it follows 3 simple rules: Seek pleasure, avoid pain and be efficient (The Motivational Triad.
What this boils down to is that anything that is familiar and comfortable is viewed as safe. And anything that is unknown and new is viewed as unsafe. This is why change is so uncomfortable for most people or why people stay with the same company for years or never leave their home town. These activities take a lot of energy, they feel uncomfortable and scary, and they take us away from the familiar / known, so the brain sends out alarm bells to tell us to STOP.
This is good news for two reasons.
First, it means nothing is wrong with you if you struggle with doing new things – you are not the only person to react this way – It is literally just a part of being human that we cannot avoid.
Second – now that you know that it is an instinctual response of the “caveman” brain (or primitive brain) and that you won’t actually die by taking that new job or moving towns, you can work to overcome it (more on that in another blog).
Brain Fact #2 – The instinctual response your primitive brain has to new things can be overridden by the more developed or “mature” part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex, which has the ability to reason and make decisions.
Whenever you tell yourself things like “I don’t know how”, “This is too hard” or, “I can’t figure this out” you can bet that it is your “primitive brain” talking in order to stop you from doing something it has identified as unsafe (it hasn’t evolved to tell the difference between a hungry tiger and a new job).
This is NOT the authentic you and it is definitely NOT the truth. Unless you are actually in danger (meaning something or someone is threatening your safety), this is NOT the time to listen!! Instead, remind yourself that your brain is just doing what brain’s do and that you are actually safe. Then, to determine what it is you really WANT to do, ask yourself these questions:
- If I knew I would succeed, what would I do?
- If I wasn’t afraid of failing, what would I do?
- If I knew no matter what I chose, the result would be amazing, what would I do?
Your answers to these questions (if you answer honestly) are the AUTHENTIC you. THIS is the voice you should listen to – and then tell that over-protective brain you appreciate it but, you’ve got this.
Brain Fact #3 – Our brains have thousands and thousands of thoughts a day – most of which we are unaware of – and these thoughts determine how we feel and, subsequently, all of our actions. Essentially, your thoughts are creating all results in your life so, if you are unaware of what your thoughts are, you are not completely in control of your own life.
Here’s how it works
Most of us believe that the way we experience the world or the way we feel is based on our circumstances. Circumstances include things like the weather, the time of day, the exact words someone says or the actions they take.
But, what I want to offer is, our feelings are caused by our thoughts about our circumstances. So, something happens, or someone says something and our brain makes it mean something. What we make it means depends on a lot of different things – our upbringing, culture, education, beliefs, etc. What one person thinks is terrible, another person will be totally ok with. And most of time this “thought” is automatic and goes completely unnoticed.
The great news about this is, we can learn to manage our thoughts, and even change them – it just takes a little practice. First, we must practice becoming aware of our thoughts. We can do this by checking in when we feel something (because the feeling is what most people notice first) and ask ourselves – What did I make that situation / circumstance mean? Always do this from a place of curiosity and love – not from place of self-judgment or anger with yourself.
Once you have awareness, you can decide whether or not you want to keep thinking that thought, or choose a new one that is more useful to you (one that creates a feeling that drives useful action to get you a result that you actually want). The practice is simple but, not always easy. And, it is, in my opinion, the most fail proof way to create any result you want in your own life, without changing any part of your circumstances.
To learn more about how to manage your brain and create any result you want…follow me on FB or IG , or reach out to see how we can work together.
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