I recently watched the re-make of Aladdin. Yes, I realize, I am way behind on all things trending and I’m not confident that was a “trend” I wanted to follow. (I was on a plane, cut me some slack.)
Anywho, it got me thinking about our brains and the power that we all have residing within us. I like to think of my brain is a magical genie and if you coach with me, I’m sure you have heard me describe your brain the same way. And yes, dear reader, yours is too I promise.
Have you ever noticed that when you go car-shopping and you start getting interested in a particular make and model of that car, you start to notice it everywhere? Or when you suddenly realize that you are in love with your best friend and you start to find hints of your infatuation in every historical and present interaction? How could you have missed that?! You are so meant to be together! Bah! Or when you think I want to study abroad in China and all of a sudden you notice “signs” every where confirming your love of China and that your entire life has brought you to this realization.
We have all had those moments were our brain is directed toward a particular item/realization/thought and suddenly your world is filled with evidence to support that thought.
Setting fate, destiny, laws of attraction aside, let’s focus on the neuroscience of this. Your brain is a magical machine and when you give it a task (read: a thought) it buzzes to life sniffing out every possible iota of evidence to support that thought–when you think I really need to travel to China your brain will gravitate to any and all evidence supporting that thought disregarding any evidence to the contrary. Your brain wants to keep you safe and that means focusing on the task at hand and avoiding distractions.
Conversely, this also works for not so warm and fuzzy thoughts. For instance, if you tell yourself I’m really clumsy, your brain will come up with all sorts of evidence to support that thought. If you tell yourself I’m not good with math, your brain will get to work proving to you that your thought is true. Your brain wants to be efficient. You give it a task (a thought) and it will get to work executing that task (proving that thought).
(In fact, often times the emotions generated by that thought will also create actions that only serve to prove the thought true as well but that’s another discussion for another time. Suffice it to say that any thought creates activity on multiple levels that will ultimately demonstrate the proof of that thought.)
This is such an important realization particularly for those of us who are trying to turn a corner in our lives. So often my clients are wanting to make that leap. They want to change course, quit their job, start a business, get a divorce, whatever, but they keep telling themselves I don’t know how.
When you tell yourself I don’t know how , your brain will get to work confirming that you have no idea what you are doing. It will prove to you that you don’t know how to do it. It will present you with a list of all the things you don’t understand and won’t be able to figure out.
I don’t know how to start a business, I don’t know anything about taxes, or corporate entities, or how to get a website or a tax id, I don’t know what kind of business I would want…and on and on and on.
“I don’t know” is the biggest dream destroying thought I have ever encountered.
It feels SO TRUE but it’s not. It’s just a thought and all thoughts are optional. If you truly don’t want to ever figure it out, please go on your merry way thinking I don’t know.
This rule also holds true for the people in our lives and what we think about them. If you keep telling yourself how selfish your partner is, your brain will mercilessly tally up each and every “selfish” thing your partner does and disregard evidence to the contrary.
The net result: whatever you focus your energy on, is what you are going to get. If you focus your energy on your partner being selfish, you will find a no-good, very bad, selfish partner. Congratulations!
In contrast, if you can choose to focus on the good aspects in yourself and other humans, your brain will get to work finding evidence to support that thought. It will help you build support for seeing the good in other people. This is why people can have such varying and strongly held opinions on each other — it all comes down to what they are choosing to focus on.
Let’s consider the alternative. If you start thinking I can figure this out, your brain will get working to present you with all possible avenues to sort it out. It will offer you ideas and so many different ways that you could figure it out.
If you make an effort to consciously think My partner is incredibly kind and gentle, your brain will find so much proof of how great your partner is in these respects. It will change the energy you bring to that relationship just by shifting that focus. Imagine what benefits could result from that change in perspective and presence.
It’s all about where we focus our energy and what we direct our brain to do. If your brain were a genie, consider what you are asking it to give you. That is what your thoughts are doing. Choose wisely.
Work with me and let’s see how far we can push your genie. You deserve to have all your hopes and dreams come true.