BELIEFS are what make the world go round, at least for us as human beings. They determine what we will and won’t do, they determine what we pay attention to or ignore.
They are thoughts we invest a sense of ourselves into and hold with some certainty that they are true.
Beliefs are our path to freedom or the prison that keeps us trapped and hold us back from following our dreams.
Beliefs are picked up throughout our journey of life, from our parents, teachers, peers, friends and from wider society through the media, social media and authority figures.
Beliefs should be scrutinised and seriously questioned, because they are often based on nothing more than assumptions, inferences and the testimony of other people, rather than being derived from facts and truths and being evidence based.
Consider self-limiting beliefs like…
I’m not good enough
I’m not skilled enough
I don’t have the talent
I don’t have the experience
I don’t have the time
I don’t have the money
I don’t have the resources
I’ll forget my lines
Beliefs about what others think or will think about you
If it doesn’t work out…
They’ll know I’m a fraud
They’ll see me as a failure
I’ll make a fool of myself
I’ll embarrass myself
They’ll be disappointed in me
They’ll laugh at me
They want me to fail
They’re just wanting me to fail
They’ll think I’m fat
Beliefs about past performance
I’ll mess up, I always do
I failed last time, I’ll fail again
I’ve never been able to do it before
Seriously, stop buying into such beliefs, they disempower you, they turn you off even trying things. If you want to believe anything believe….
Self limiting beliefs are not going to put me in the best frame of mind to succeed
The opinion of other people isn’t important, it’s my life and only my opinion really matters; I must start being kind to myself
The past doesn’t dictate my future. Learn from my failures and improve going forwards
You can do whatever you put your mind to with enough effort, dedication and determination
You can learn what you can, and draft in help to fill the gaps
There is always a way, you just have to find it
You never fail at anything unless you give up trying
Getting results is a matter of acquiring the right knowledge, improving motivation and being productive
Take a long, hard look at your beliefs, write them down on a piece of paper. Question their validity, even ask someone you respect and trust to give their opinion of them. Replace the limiting beliefs, you wrongly, hold with more empowering beliefs that will give you the best frame of mind to succeed. If you’re going to make shit up, make it empowering.
As I began to love myself
I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living
against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is Authenticity.
As I began to love myself
I understood how much it can offend somebody
if I try to force my desires on this person,
even though I knew the time was not right
and the person was not ready for it,
and even though this person was me.
Today I call this Respect.
As I began to love myself
I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything
that surrounded me
was inviting me to grow.
Today I call this Maturity.
As I began to love myself
I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time,
and everything happens at the exactly right moment.
So I could be calm.
Today I call this Self-Confidence.
As I began to love myself
I quit stealing my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects
for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness,
things I love to do and that make my heart cheer,
and I do them in my own way
and in my own rhythm.
Today I call this Simplicity.
As I began to love myself
I freed myself of anything
that is no good for my health –
food, people, things, situations,
and everything that drew me down
and away from myself.
At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.
Today I know it is Love of Oneself.
As I began to love myself
I quit trying to always be right,
and ever since
I was wrong less of the time.
Today I discovered that is Modesty.
As I began to love myself
I refused to go on living in the past
and worrying about the future.
Now, I only live for the moment,
where everything is happening.
Today I live each day,
day by day,
and I call it Fulfillment.
As I began to love myself
that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick.
But as I connected it to my heart,
my mind became a valuable ally.
Today I call this connection Wisdom of the Heart.
We no longer need to fear arguments,
confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others.
Even stars collide,
and out of their crashing, new worlds are born.
Today I know: This is Life!
Having done some research, we found that this poem“As I Began to Love Myself” was not actually written by Charlie Chaplin. As far as we can tell, the poem is actually an English translation of Portuguese translation of an English language book written by Kim and Alison McMillen in 2001 entitled “When I Loved Myself Enough.” That text was then altered even further into the shareable form it consists of today.
We often think CHANGE will be a simple process, a case of cause (we do something) and effect (something happens as a consequence). For example, we learn to drive, pass a test, get a car so we can drive around where we want to go. Or we learn a skill, let’s say programming, then we can go looking for a programming job. We learn to swim, we go swimming etc.
These are reasonably straight forward examples of simple change, but let’s consider another example that tends to be more problematic. Let’s say we want to lose weight, why can it be so hard to shed those pesky pounds?
We first must KNOW what is required to lose weight; which is, we must consume less calories than we burn off as energy. It’s as simple as this to lose weight, right? If we do indeed eat less calories than we burn off as energy, than losing weight is inevitable.
But many people often struggle to achieve weight loss, why is this?
Figuring out what calories we are consuming and how many calories we’re burning off is difficult to gauge. We get so many mixed messages from the media and people around us, we are told fat free food is the way to go, then we find sugar is really the problem. Finding accurate information from reliable sources is critical for success, but harder than it should be.
If we are armed with the correct information, we then have to deal with MOTIVATION. We have to overcome our desire to eat those calorie-loaded sweet treats. They taste so good don’t they?
Such desires are the enemy to our goal of losing weight. Here at getresults.org.uk we call them blocking motivations, they are blocking progress towards our goal. In fact, they can be taking us further away from our goal as with the example of eating calorie-dense foods; we’d be putting more weight on rather than losing it.
Fear is another example of a blocking motivation, it isn’t usually a factor when trying to lose weight but it can be when we’re, say, wanting to start a business or looking to make some meaningful change to our lives or professional life. We fear the thought of failure, loss, disappointment, embarrassment etc and this can stop us taking action altogether.
Discomfort, inner-conflict, coping strategies and lack of support are other examples of blocking motivations.
Then there is COMPLEX CHANGE to consider, this is change where there are more variables and moving parts to consider, many of which aren’t under our direct control. For example; if you want to set up an online business, you have to figure out what message you need to use to communicate and market your product or service, so that you get people to visit your site and buy. This isn’t just about what you are doing, it’s about shaping the thoughts and behaviours of other people. This is altogether more complex than just controlling your own actions and behaviours.
You can see how complicated things start to get when considering CHANGE. We must not under-estimate the difficulty of the challenge, even with apparently simple change. But armed with the right knowledge and motivation, it can be mastered, and once mastered, it will help you in other aspects of life, from health to wealth.
Check out the site for more information on the subject of change and the aim of getting results, it is dedicated to the pursuit of achieving success in all areas of life. Hope you find it useful on your journey of change.
The BELIEFS we hold so dear, are often, indirectly holding us back from chasing down our goals. The way we use beliefs to make decisions, and to interpret the world around us, can result in, both positive and negative consequences for us as individuals.
Our beliefs are the core of how we evaluate the world we live in. They determine, often on a subconscious level, who and what we pay attention to, or ignore. They influence what we do, or don’t do. They shape how we interact with others. They inform our choices about what groups we decide to join, or not. They affect who and what we are drawn to and who and what we avoid, who and what we disagree with and whether we take action or stay put.
I like to think about beliefs like bullet points that form the backbone of a story we tell ourselves, which we believe with some certainty, that we use to navigate the world around us.
For instance if you believe the following…
The world is a dangerous place – The news is full of horrible, violent events, I can’t remember it being this bad when I was younger
People are more violent these days than they used to be, I can’t remember all this knife crime and shooting I hear about now
People only care about themselves, and are less likely to help others, than they used to be
Community spirit is long gone, people aren’t as friendly as they used to be
So these beliefs form the backbone of a story that depicts the world as a lonely, scary place, with danger at every turn, where people are out to get you or rob you. – okay I’m exaggerating for effect here, but you get the point. The stronger you hold these beliefs, the more powerful the resulting emotions you will fear.
So how do you think this thought process is going to shape your behaviours? You might go out less particularly at night, or avoid certain places altogether because you see them dangerous. For instance, you might turn down the opportunity to go on holiday to somewhere you’ve heard has had problems in the recent past.
You might be less trusting of strangers when you interact with them, coming across as unfriendly and uncaring from their point of view. This impacts how they react to you in return. You can see how we can easily get the wrong opinion of someone and vice versa.
If you see someone in distress you might rush by, for fear of falling into a trap. It might well be a trap, it does happen, but it might also be someone that desperately needs your assistance.
You might prefer to keep yourself to yourself, rather than seek the company of others in social situations, making you seek aloof and unfriendly.
It’s not hard to see that these underlying beliefs are impacting the way you might make decisions, how you interact with people and places and how others see and interact with you. This shapes your relationships and directly impacts the quality of your life.
Life’s experiences are a combination of interpretations, emotions, behaviours, reactions and interactions which act like a feedback loop; all of which, are built on top of our core beliefs.
So what can we do about beliefs that are spoiling the quality of our lives? Surely we can’t just change our beliefs to suit us, after all, they are based on truths and reflect how the world actually is, right? Otherwise they wouldn’t be our beliefs in the first place, would they?
Well, let’s consider what a belief is. My definition of a belief is ;
“It’s a thought (which is a mind constructed abstraction) we hold with some certainty to be true.”
The dictionary definition is;
“An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.”
The directory definition is interesting because it adds “with proof” at the end. Yet I’d bet few of us consider our beliefs not to be based on proof, we might not even contemplate this possibility. When in fact, many beliefs we hold are based on nothing more than assumptions, inferences, and the testimony of other people.
Beliefs are absorbed through social conditioning. We learn them from people around us, from the media, from influential people like teachers, parents, authority figures, experts, from peers, work colleages and friends. Increasingly we are strengthening such beliefs through social media algorithms that are designed to feed us more information that we have “liked” in the past.
Okay our personal experiences shape our beliefs to some degree, of course, but consider than our beliefs are underpinning how we even interpret our experiences.
We see or hear something and almost instantly give is some meaning. This meaning is based on our beliefs. At the same time we are filtering out incoming stimuli and data that we aren’t interested in. For instance we buy a red Mini, we suddenly start seeing red Minis everywhere. Where there no red minis around before we purchased one, or were they always there but we just didn’t notice? Check out this video, follow the instructions, and see the power of our minds to filter out unnecessary stimuli.
So beliefs are core to what we pay attention to and what we filter out.
Something else that’s important to understand about our beliefs are they are often invested with our sense of self. This means we psychologically attach to them. They become our belief, we and the belief become one. Because we do this particularly with strongly held beliefs we fall into a couple of traps.
The first trap we fall into is we notice evidence that supports the belief, and ignore anything that contradicts it. This is known as confirmation bias.
The second trap we fall into is we find it hard to change a belief because we’re invested in it. To change the belief we must first accept we were wrong to begin with, and this can be unacceptable for our fragile Egos.
The way to avoid these traps is to avoid investing our sense of self in them. How? Well, use a scientific approach, consider beliefs like a best guess (hypothesis) that you actively try to disprove. That way you don’t fight for them, instead you’re open to hearing contradictory evidence. You suddenly stop trying to be right, and instead try to find the truth.
So the question becomes, which beliefs should we keep and which should be abandon? In truth, we should, as I’ve said previously, turn all beliefs into best guesses. But specifically it’s the beliefs that are holding us back from going after our goals we should target first. If it’s not serving you, drop it or change it.
Beliefs that hold you back tend to be self-confidence focused. Consider these common beliefs…
I’m not capable of doing [blank]
I don’t have the experience/resources/skills/ talent to do [blank]
You need to be [blank] to succeed at doing [blank]
We often allow these beliefs to put us off even trying to make progress, due to fear of things like disappointment, failure, loss, embarrassment, etc.
Changing such beliefs or incorporating new beliefs that empower us will help us to overcome such limiting beliefs
The best way to learn is by doing
Failure is a necessary part of learning and making progress
I am capable of doing this, I might have to learn something new or develop a skill further, but I can do it
If I lack a particular skill, I can find someone who I can hire to help me
Where there is a will, there is a way…always
I can only truly fail if I give up completely – I will not be beaten
You are never too old to learn new tricks
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change
These are empowering beliefs, but they are also very true, and more grounded in reality than simply saying “I can’t do this”. Why can’t you do it? Who says so? Based on what, the past? Remember the past doesn’t equal the future, how’s that for a belief.
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Drive your actions,
What you do,
What you don’t do,
What interests you,
And what doesn’t,
What you enjoy,
What annoys you,
What you’ll do,
What you won’t,
What turns you on,
What turns you off,
What you say and how you say it,
They choose your friends,
Where you live,
What you do for a living,
If you drive or not,
Where you holiday,
If you holiday,
What you buy,
What you throw away,
They are your focus,
They colour your world,
They make you liberal or conservative,
Leave or remain,
Kind or mean,
Social or reclusive,
They make you fat or thin,
Successful or not,
They determine if you’ll give up or soldier on,
They are your path to freedom or your prison.
So what are beliefs?
They are rigid thought forms invested with your sense of self. Formed from assumptions, inferences and the testimony of other people. They are a consequence of our social conditioning. Our thoughts are largely given to us by others.
What they are not, is fact or truth. They can be changed, reformed, manipulated to serve you better. They can and are manipulate by skilled persuaders to get you to do things for them, so be warned, be vigilant. Bring awareness to your beliefs, if they are hiding from scrutiny, observe your behaviours and emotions and ask why? What belief is driving this?
Connecting with your creative instinct can provide you with a deep sense of fulfillment. Creativity has a way of directly touching something in our soul. Personally I find it rejuvenating, fulfilling and even spiritual.
Be more creative!
For efficiency we tend towards path of least resistance, often this is the path taken before; routine, habit, structure.
We have to dig deeper to get more creative.
Get off the path of least resistance, and try something new, a change of direction.
Step out of your comfort zone and learn a new skill.
Specialisation is rewarded by society, but it is binding and narrowing, whereas trying lots of different things, means a greater variety of inputs, more influences, more diverse experiences.
To do new things, you have to be confused and frustrated, at least to start and to be creative, to think outside the box, you have to be willing to be wrong.
Brains are novelty seekers, they gets bored easily.
We have to push boundaries.
If we go too crazy, too far out, nobody is going to follow us there. The secret is to explore the range of possibilities, pushing boundaries everywhere to figure out what works and push the limits of creativity.
Our brains can interfere with the creative process, we fear failure. Don’t be afraid of failure – success rises from the ashes of failure. Embrace the possibility of failure as an opportunity to try and learn
You don’t have to invent something completely new to be creative, use an old idea in a new way. Blend different ideas into new ideas, different things into new things.
Develop a creative mindset, take risks and try something new TODAY!
Perceive reality as it is, you wouldn’t recognise it
Your brain takes in info and sifts through it to find patterns and uses it to create your reality
It’s not about what’s hitting your eyes, it’s your brains interpretation
Perception has less to do with outside world and more to do with what’s going on inside the brain
The brain is completely cut off from the direct senses
Sound, vision, hearing, smell and taste is all the same stuff in the head
Photons of light or sound waves are getting converted into electro chemical signals that travel through millions of brain cells, known as neurons that send electrical pulses to other neurons. This is what creates our sense of reality.
The brain turns it into something meaningful by sifting through a huge stream of incoming data and finds patterns which are assembled into our reality
The result of millions of years of evolution
Seems effortless and instantaneous
When we see, many different systems have to work together. To see we use all the other senses to build a picture of the world around us, sight is only one part of that. We wouldn’t be able to see if we couldn’t touch for instance
Example – A blind man, who becomes sighted later is still unable to process the data, as the brain requires rewiring to deal with processing the visual data, something that it has never done before, so it’s like starting from scratch. The parts of his brain that would have dealt with sight have been used by other senses, in its absence
Depth perception and facial recognition not being processed by the brain as it would in a person with sight, even 10 years later on
Many parts of the brain are used in vision, approx 40%, all are needed to form an image
The best view of how the brain operates is to see what happens when it’s interrupted
Example – Headset that flips the view of the environment, left becomes right and visa versa
Visual data no longer makes intuitive sense
Takes brain 1 week to adjust and behave normally and manage in its new reality and after two weeks spacial map is altering, forget what is left and right. It takes a couple of days to readjust afterwards
All senses come into play to decode. A new reality is created
Babies don’t just touch stuff to feel what they feel, like they are learning how to see
Only means something if we can cross reference using other senses. What we touch influences how we see, taste is affected by our sense of smell, sight informs what we hear, and our reality is built by comparing these streams of data and when woven together our reality is constructed.
All sensory input takes different times to process and our brains have to merge these together to make our reality. Sound is processed faster than vision, because visual system takes more processing time than the hearing system, but it feels as though it is done instantly
Touch of hand is processed faster than touch on foot
All data from senses is first collected and processed before the brain builds a story. It takes ½ second to do this. So when we clap our hands, our reality of that clap is ½ after the fact. As a result our reality is based on the past
Different parts of the brain deal with different parts of the processing and it is all woven together to create our reality
Example – Solitary confinement; Deprived of sensory input – brain begins to create own reality. Going on imaginary trips and see illusions as reality.
What we see through our eyes, is less than the data that goes from our Thalamus to the cortex and our visual
Data from eyes goes to Thalamus and on to outer brain Cortex and visual Cortex.
6 times as much traffic going in opposite direction
Most of what we see is less to do with light from our eyes and more about what’s going on inside heads. An internal generated reality.
Known as The internal model
Use incoming data to update and correct internal model of the world through past experience, rather than rebuilding our world through sight
Example – Mask of face inside and outside appears to be sticking out. Internal model expects to see face stand out not in, so fools us into thinking it is
Your model sees what it expects to see. The Thalamus compares with what is coming in through the eyes to our internal model
Example – Eyes jump around but the internal model is only being updated, it doesn’t take in all the details, so the scene doesn’t jump around in the same way the eyes do. Data is taken on a need to know basis
Anytime you look around, colour doesn’t exist. Colour is reflected as black and white and only becomes colour in our heads
Only see a small spectrum of light. Less than 1/10trillonth of the full spectrum
All our senses are only picking up a tiny part of the information that is available
Nobody is experiencing objective reality, only what we need to perceive, same for all animals. Dogs have great hearing
Most people experience the same things, but a small percentage experience the world experience differently. Synesthesia – is a condition where the person sees letters in colours, “Hannah” looks like a sunset. Some see music, some experience many different types of psychotic experiences of life. Chemical imbalances in the brain.
Everybody’s life is constructed via beliefs and values
The Brains experience of time results in it compressing and stretching time, seeming longer or shorter. Moments of terror = slow motion
The Amygdala takes all the resources from other parts of brain and records more detail, richer and more vivid, and when replayed in memory they appear to have taken more time. The distortion of this time comes from the memory of the event. The brain is the ultimate story teller.
Each brain has its own unique model of the world. Reality is what your brain tells you it is.
What makes you who you are
3 lb organ. Wet biological stuff, fire billion electrical signals every second, results in the experience of being you
What shapes who you become?
Your life shapes your brain and your brain shapes your life
What makes me, me?
We are born helpless, more than any other species
Many other animals have life skills built in
Zebras can run within 45 minutes
But if these animals are in a strange environment, they won’t survive
People are pre-programmed to survive in any environment by being equipped to “learn” over having certain skills built in
We learn on the job
This gives us an extraordinary advantage
Same number of brain cell (neurons) in children as adults
As child grows, age 2, twice as many neurons as adults, after 2 growth is halted, and the number of connections are reduced and existing connections are strengthened. Links not used are lost. We become specialist rather than generalist.
But adults cells have stronger connections
But this process relies heavily on the outside world (our unique environment) and can go wrong if environment is not conducive to healthy development
Example Romanian orphans’ – neural activity reduced, because lower input up to age of 2.
When brain is starved of needs, development is stunted
And as adults, these orphans are still under-developed
What we experience in our early years goes a long way to shaping us in the rest of our lives
Genetics also shapes us – hormones change our appearance as teenagers.
Brains also change as teenagers. Example teenagers sat in window and have strangers look at her, brain reacts different to adults. Teenagers more sensitive to being looked at compared to adults
This is because the medial prefrontal cortex is highly active in teenagers, this results in them being more sensitive in regard to their self-consciousness and the situation in relation to themselves. Emotional situations carry a lot of weight
Also poor impulse control as the brain develops, results in greater risk taking
As we grow out of our teenage years our brains change less so
The knowledge – the Posterior Hippocampus becomes larger through revision.
Experience changes the brain through plasticity. The brain is a work-in-progress
Our identity is constantly changing, who you are and who you can become
Good and bad
Charles Witman, killed his wife, mother in law and 13 people. He asked for his brain to be examined, and he had a tumour which was putting pressure on his Amygdala, which is involved in fear and aggression, making him more violent
Disease, drugs, and aging can reshape the brain
Our brains may change but our MEMORY is a constant part of our personality
What if you could meet yourself at different ages – memories are likely to be different in each of yourselves at different ages.
When we experience an event we use all our sense that are woven together to make up that experience
As a memory it becomes less vivid, and subsequent events supersede it and affect how we feel about that memory.
Leading questions can contaminate existing memories
It’s even possible to implant completely false memories, if plausible enough. i.e. lost in mall as child, and after giving it time more and more detail creeps into the false memory. We embellish the false memory, we are imaginative storytellers
Our memory of the past is not a faithful record, it’s a reconstruction, a mythology
Why are our memories so unreliable, because it doesn’t just record what happens, it allows us to simulate what is coming next. It is a narrative that links the past with the future, so that we can work out what we need to do tomorrow
Keeping the brain active, helps sidestep the brain as it ages and the onset of disease, creating new neural pathways
Conscious experience is our unique perspective of the world. It’s not about the neurons because they will still be there after death, it’s more about how the neurons work together. Like drummers making just random noise, but then start working with one another to create a performance. Consciousness is a performance of neurons.
During sleep, the neurons are still interacting as if awake, and in deep sleep they become extremely synchronised but I am not there during this time.
I am the relationship between the neurons in a certain state
Why do we care about anything. The Meaning of life is the web of associations from our unique history of life experiences
We don’t perceive objects as they are, we perceive them as we are. Brains are as unique as snowflakes. We are completely unique from anyone that has and will ever live
From cradle to grave, we are works in progress
Who is in control of you?
Every action and decision and belief are driven by parts of brain you have no access to, the unconscious
Your brain secretly controls everything you do outside of awareness
Human consciousness is awaking in the morning, when we wake from sleep
Waking is the birth of you. Your brain comes online, but this is also the beginning of a great deception
It feels like you are in control of your decisions, but it’s not quite so simple
The conscious you makes up a very small percentage of what is going on.
The hidden activity includes:
Controlling the body – Hitting a baseball happens so quickly, even before conscious awareness has time to kick in
Cerebellum in the brain calculates micro adjustments to body to say, just hold a cup of tea, millions of times without our awareness
Why is so much of what we do buried out of reach?
EEG scans show motor skills reduce cognitive activity load, brain activity is almost in a rest state if what you’re doing is greatly practiced. Carving the skill into neurons so you can perform the task rapidly and without need for conscious attention.
New skills change our brains and are hardwired into the structure of our brains (muscle memory)
Brain requires only as much energy as a 60 watt light bulb, which is incredible considering its power
The consequence of all this, is many processes have become hidden from our consciousness
We go into autopilot when carrying out these tasks (such as driving) as our brains and body’s take over
Brains can be trained to do any skills automatically and they seem almost super human
Blackout of consciousness – enter a flow state. The zone. The neural circuits can run without the conscious mind being present. Perception is heightened, things slow down and things become more vivid, stop thinking and start just doing. Free of thought and struggle
The hidden parts of the brain can take control of our body’s and shape our lives in more profound ways
Freud pioneered studies about what’s beneath consciousness
By watching what’s happening above the surface, you get a peak at what is happening below it
Unconscious shapes thoughts and behaviour
Eckhart Hess in the 1960’s ran an experiment showing faces and asked questions about how friendly, how attractive this person was. The images were the same women but with dilated eyes – men found the women with dilated eyes more attractive. Brains were analysing details and acting on them, without the men’s conscious awareness
Warm coffee =closer relationship, harsh smelling environment = harsher moral decisions, sat next to hand sanitizer = shifts political opinions to a more conservative stance (less outside threats)
So why aren’t we just unconscious beings?
What is the point of consciousness?
Because conscious mind deals with unexpected situations, to make sense of a new situation. When expectations are violated, consciousness is woken up. It also plays a vital role in dealing with problems in internal sub-systems.
Conscious is like a CEO, rising above the daily routines to take an oversight role. If you’re hungry but on a diet, your conscious mind tries to work out what’s best and make an executive decision. It has a unique vantage point. Consciousness is a way for individual cells to view themselves as a unified whole. It is a long term planner
If consciousness goes completely offline: like a blackout, sleepwalking. Walking involuntarily and doing actions without conscious awareness
Unconscious brains steer our behaviour
Why do we all do different things, behave in unique ways?
Genes also play a part in behaviour. The Y chromosome (males) makes men more prone to violence, environment also affects genes, what happens to us and impacts on genes
Culture, ideas, belief systems, environment all interact with our genes
Do you have free-will of any kind?
We think when we choose to do something we are in control, and get to decide, but science can’t find evidence for this
Example – TMS causes participants movements, but the participants thought it was due to their own free-will. The conscious mind is good at telling itself that it made a choice when it hasn’t
If there is no free-will, it is still hard to make predictions, because one thing effects something else which effects something else and has a knock on effect and the outcome of all those interactions, results in there being no way of knowing the outcome (ping pong ball into a tank with other ping pong balls)
Conscious experience is only a tiny part of what makes us, us. Our inner space is vast, a reflection of the universe perhaps
Decision making processes
Our brains are constantly making decisions, we are aware of some, however most of which, we are not
Decision making allows us to navigate through life and has led us to where you are now
Making choices, looking at options, results in us being constantly in a state of conflict, do this, do nothing or do that
Why do you choose one over the other, for example, eat yoghurt or not?
These rivalries are internal, different networks competing against one another
Example – The word “Blue” in orange colour is confusing. The colour network, competing with the word network
Example – Alien hand syndrome
The struggle that is waged inside our head every day. Two systems that come into conflict REASONS versus EMOTIONS
Example; 4 men on track, out of control carriage heading their way, either move lever to divert onto different route but will kill one (most choose to move lever and kill one but save four), or second scenario, push a man into path of carriage to stop it, killing one to save 4 men (most can’t purposely push man to save 4)
Warfare, long range strike, removes the emotion and makes it easier to do
Why do we have emotional system?
When things go wrong, easy to see what might be happening, for example – Lady who can’t make decisions after having accident and damage to brain, doesn’t care to be able to differentiate between options and this frustrates her
Emotion is a necessary component of decision making, can’t decide on one choice over other, doesn’t care for one over the other
Need to value one option over the other. If you don’t care it can be hard, so need emotions to help out in the decision making process
Emotions important for making decisions
Emotions also interact with our physiology, which allow us to put a value on a choice
This conversation between body and brain is going on all the time
React physically first (heart rate increase, dilated pupils, empty bladder) when facing a threat
Hunches start before rational brain kicks in as proven by “Iowa gambling test”. Feeling/intuition spots the fact that cards from stack A and C are more rewarding/lucrative
Hunches pick up after 10 cards have been selected, conscious rational brain at 20 cards, as proven by sweat glands showing signs of negative reaction to picking from wrong stack
Hunches are the rational brain catching up with emotional brain and physiology
Ego depletion – running down on energy, needed by the pre frontal cortex which effects decision making as shown in test of judges making decisions before lunch of guilty and less so after lunch
Example lap dancers earned more when ovulating. Estrogen effects how the ladies appear to men, softer skin etc and these are picked up by the men who give them more money
Why do you stay with a partner – Oxytocin, strengthens the bond we feel when in a relationship and makes other competitors less attractive. Brains preconditioned decision to keep couples together for sake of offspring
Some choices are made by our DNA, which are inherited from parents. Some basic responses are predetermined
Example -The greater the disgust response to images shown, the more likely you are to vote conservative within the next 6 months, the less of an adverse response the more likely to vote liberal they are. This was tested by the responses in nervous system after showing gross images to participants
How do we make choices about future decisions?
We run simulations of the future and give each a value. 10 units for this, 5 units for that, 50 units for the other and we keep re-evaluation options. A best guess of the future outcomes. Our Dopamine system is what is used to change the value of things based of our latest experience of it. If better than expected, evaluation goes up, if worse than expected goes down.
When Dopamine goes out of control can lead to addiction. We can lose control of our impulses
Example – Sub-prime disaster shows how we can lose control. The pull of the now outweighs consequences in the future. The future is just an idea of what might be. The here and now has much more psychological pull. The present versus future conflict.
We rely on will-power to keep us in check, but will-power gets used up and when it’s in short supply we give in to temptations or distractions or just give up altogether, if what we’re doing is hard
We use will-power up like a tank of gas
Ulysses contract – social pressure to keep us on track, and bind oneself in the future
Example: addiction – Suppress on one side and crave on the other, and the conflict and balance between the two, learning to find strategies to move the balance to increase suppression over any cravings. Move away from being a slave to our impulses
What does a brain need to be healthy?
Nutrients from food, oxygen and OTHER PEOPLE
Our brains are wired to work together
We are fundamentally social creatures
The most basic encounter relies of trust – buying from a shop
Much of our brain activity is dedicated to communication with each other
We try to impress each other and exchange ideas
Example – Easy to form stories from simple shapes on a screen interacting
We look for intention and relationships all around us
We navigate the world around us by judging others’ actions
Example – Babies (with little life experience) make judgements on teddies that are either mean or nice, based on instinct, not just by what has been learned
Many regions of the brain are used in social interaction, this is less defined in people who suffer from Autism, resulting in social integration problems
Example – Harvard medical school did a test on a patient who suffered from autism, after being given TMS targeting different parts of his brain. When they did it to the Dorsolateral Prefrontal cortex, a region responsible for abstraction, he became able to read people, where he couldn’t before, and this was completely by accident, and it never went away
Movement in facial muscles can be read in milliseconds and we subtly mirror what we see
Mirroring happens because it allows us to identify the emotion in others, and read other people. People with Botox are not able to mirror expressions and as a result, correctly identify the other person’s emotion as accurately
When we go to the movies, we know what we are seeing is actually make-believe, yet we still react emotionally to what we see. This is because the pain matrix is activated in us and empathy for others is triggered, we kind of feel their pain. We are able to step into their shoes as if it were us. This is hard-wired into us
If the brain is starved of human contact we may go into an animal like state, pacing. Then into a plant like state, mind slows down and becomes repetitive. The brain turns on itself and becomes a source of deep psychological pain
It creates a reality from the scant sensory input, and makes up stories
The world around you is part of who you are, in a vacuum you lose a sense of who you are
When we feel excluded, the pain matrix is activated. Social rejection is so meaningful it hurts
Our Brain pushes us in the direction of bonding with others. We seek out alliances, a sense of connection
We strive to work in groups
There is also a flip side to this, where there are in-groups there are outsiders, such as Jews in the war
How can the social orientated brain suddenly change into something that can cause genocide? Germany, Bosnia where neighbours killed one another
What is going on here? How can this happen?
Such occurrences keep happening throughout history. We need to understand genocide as a neural phenomenon
Where there is separation between in-groups and out groups our brains are changed and this effects how we respond to other people’s pain if they are perceived as in the outgroup. What team are you on?
Networks in prefrontal cortex become active when we interact with others, in psychopaths (who make up a small percentage of the population) this is less so, and with those involved in genocide, who are just everyday people, they dehumanise their victims, seeing them rather like viewing inanimate objects. And group behaviour amplifies this to a greater extent, like group contagion
Propaganda plays into this by dehumanising the enemy to appear like animals
Example the school children experiment where children were separated into blue and brown eyed children. Putting blue eyed children on top and reversing the day after. The children’s behaviour dramatically changed towards their friends. This changed them forever experiencing both sides of the coin. They realised systems of rules can be arbitrary
What’s next for our brains, what will we be capable of?
Who will we be?
We’re marrying our biology with our technology
Plasticity – example Cameron Mot started having drop seizures, and had the diseased part of her brain removed to try and eradicate it. An entire half of her brain had been effected by the disease. With the loss of all that brain tissue, she has only slight weakness on one side, but not much else. Her brain has overcome the loss of brain tissue, through plasticity
All incoming information, through eyes, ears, nose or via touch, is turned into electro chemical signals. The brain makes sense of any input, even through cochlear implants. As long as the input is consistent, the brain will figure out how to use it
It doesn’t matter how signals find their way to the brain, it will figure it out over time. There is no limit to the sensory expansion that we can create. The brains capacity to take on new inputs, we should be able to expand the experience of being human
We are not confined to the transitional senses
There is no limit to what the brain can incorporate
How we sense the world is only half the story, the other half is how we interact with it
Paralysed woman who’s brain is unable to communicate with her body, is making use of robotics to connect her brain with a robot arm, just by thinking about it. There’s a direct physical link between her robot arm and brain
Not just replacing limbs, but improving them, and expanding our capabilities and expanding the body
What if technology could address our mortality?
When we die all our knowledge and information is lost
We might be coming to a time where we could take the information from a dead brain and interact with it again, giving the dead a chance to live again
Cryonic suspension to preserve brains and bodies
Other ways to access the information from a dead brain, to be able to read it out directly
Map out all the huge, and unique connections which underlies all its functions – known as “The Connectome”. Like a wiring diagram
Slicing thin slices of brain onto surface of water, each slice pushing the last, like a conveyer belt, into strips, then scanned by electron microscope and magnified hundreds of thousands of times, and then stacking on top of each other and following the neurons through the images to make a 3D model, mapping all the wiring that underpins the brains thought, experiences and beliefs. This would be a zedobyte of data, more than all the current worlds data.
But the time might come when computing power isn’t an issue
The computational hypotheses – hypotheses if the wet biological part of the brain is not what’s important it’s the connection and interaction that’s important, we could run digitally. It’s not what the mind is, it’s what the brain does.
Creating models based on biological data, to create a simulation of a human brain – could the mind live in a computer
Create machines that think via AI. Proven to be extremely difficult. The goal of a sentient machine is still to be achieved. Machine learning, like babies to be able to learn, without being pre programmed. With each interaction it learns and builds on its knowledge
Lines of code, instead of chain/train of thought. In 1980’s John Surril came up with a thought experiment, called the Chinese room. You are locked in room, outside is someone who only speaks Chinese, you in the room have a book that match Chinese symbols, the Chinese person posts messages to you, you look up the answer, matching the symbols, and post back the matched reply, to Chinese speaker. The Chinese person thinks they are having a conversation with someone that speaks Chinese. But I the operator, don’t understand Chinese. The argument goes, this is how a computer is, just manipulating symbols and following instructions, it doesn’t understand
This exposes the difficulties and the mystery of how physical pieces and parts comes to equal our experience of being in the world
Looking at the natural world, such as Ants we see how the individuals contribute to a larger organism as the colony. They work individually but all for the common good. Relying of chemical signals from other local ants, when isolated they are very ineffective. The ants work as a system, no one ant sees the bigger picture, but it works as a super organism.
Emergent properties. This is thought to be how neurons work, being embedded in a network, reacting to local signals. Enough of them working together and the mind emerges into consciousness.
Maybe they need to interact in specific ways to be effective
When you wake up in the morning, beforehand there is nothing when you awake there is everything
When asleep the strand of activity is restricted, when awake the activity is much more widespread, experiences are bound together a composite of numerous possibilities. Consciousness may come from these patterns of interaction
Building consciousness on different media is still in the realms of science fiction, but the possibilities are still there
When we imagine simulated life the choices are endless, and what we are experiences of life now might be it. It is difficult to disprove it. How can we ever know what we are experiencing is reality?
There is some “me” at the centre of this, trying to figure it out. I’m thinking about it, and therefore “I am”
We might be at the point of an evolutionary leap, transformed beyond what has ever been done before
There are WINNERS and LOSERS in every situation. Mentally position yourself to WIN. Be a PREDATOR of chance rather than a VICTIM of circumstance.
Victims blame and complain. When they pass the buck they also unwittingly pass the power to help themselves, to find a way, to make things happen. Instead take responsibility, don’t look outside yourself for answers, all you need to conquer is within you – It’s fear, fear of loss, failure, defeat, disappointment.
When you look differently at things, things look different. Change yourself and things change. To have more you have to be more.
These are not just sound bites, they are truths.
Using COPING STRATEGIES helps elevate internal dissonance but coping strategies are often used as coping excuses. Excuses to be able to accept failure, to be okay with not following through on plans towards goals. If you’re not moving goal bound ask yourself why not. Somethings getting in your way and it’s most likely to be you. Figure yourself out by improving self awareness; ask yourself why you do what you do and don’t so what you don’t do. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses so that you can chart an effective plan of attack.
These are just a few of the key elements to enable you to get results. Sign up for our newsletter and check out the underlying framework we use to get results and find success.
THOUGHT is the key driver of ACTION and BEHAVIOUR. Another way of saying this is we do things based on our thought processes.
THOUGHTS either made up of fleeting distractions that pass through our minds briefly, and while we may question their origin, they have very little impact on our daily lives, or thoughts that repeatedly replay over and over, which wear grooves into our psyche, otherwise known as pathways into the neural network of our brains, forming what we often describe as BELIEFS and VALUES.
These beliefs and values become the RULES we operate against. To implement rules we have to make JUDGMENTS, deciding if something is right or wrong, good for us or bad, whether we do it or not etc.
Understanding how thoughts impact behaviour; what we do, or don’t do, why we do something or don’t do something, is vitally important, because they directly impact the quality of our decision-making and subsequently the quality of our lives. Self awareness is so important in this respect.
The difficulty with scrutinising our psychological mechanisms is that we may be forced to confront things we’re not particularly comfortable with confronting. We may have to admit our shortcomings, our weaknesses, or vulnerabilities, which goes against how our brains are wired and how we are conditioned, which is to always be looking to increase our sense of value, to be more than we were yesterday, to be better, more valuable.
In reality, knowing the hard-to-admit shortcomings of our makeup frees us to move forwards more effectively, we can plan the best path towards our goals, knowing where we need help from others, or through training, and what we should focus on by doing what we do best, what comes more naturally to us and what aligns with our inner workings.
We have BELIEFS and VALUES which are predominately made up from, ASSUMPTIONS, INFERENCES and the TESTIMONY of others, and often have little to do with facts, or being backed by evidence. We should question such BELIEFS and VALUES. Where do they come from? Well generally they come from social and cultural conditioning, they are less about what we want and more about what the world around us wants from us. Are they based on truth and fact or are they just a convincing story we tell ourselves repeatedly? Are they an attempt to increase our sense of self?
Your SENSE OF SELF, is that bit of you that attaches to and emotionally invests in thoughts, possessions, people, cultural and social ideas and affiliations, so as to increase your own value. At some level, you believe having more makes you more, but this is a lie.
Learn more about the EQUATION OF EMOTION which will help you with dealing with EXPECTATIONS, PERCEPTIONS OF REALITY, ATTACHMENTS. For more about it, click here.
Change EXPECTATIONS to APPRECIATION. Nothing is promised. Lose that sense of entitlement you might have. Be grateful for each day, which is a gift. If you find this hard to believe, go to your local hospice and spend time with people that are living on borrowed time, to help you get a better perspective and appreciation of what’s really important.
Question your PERCEPTIONS OF REALITY. Change the story you tell yourself. Choose a different narrative because none of it is based on fact anyway, so make it empowering so it serves you.
Let go of ATTACHMENTS. They are designed to increase your sense of self, but in reality, you are not your attachments. Also be careful of SEPARATION because this too is an attempt to increase your sense of self, by lowering the “other” and thus rising above the “other”.
Bring awareness to your IDENTIFICATION WITH THOUGHT (EGO) processes. You are not your thoughts, and your thoughts are not who you are. You are not separate from the universe of formless or form, you are in integral part of life. Also stop using this moment as a stepping stone to the future and to relive the past, instead fully engage with the here and now because it is the only access point we have to engage with life.
You can see that there is more to THOUGHTS and THINKING than initially meets the eye. Thoughts are so integral to the way we live life. Mastering thoughts and the thinking process, helps master life. We can’t control external elements or other people, but we can control our thoughts, our reactions to events and situations. We can make better quality decisions, less influenced by emotions and emotional reactions, we can approach situations from a different, more empowering perspective, with a different interpretation than we had before.
It’s an interesting read and builds on the idea of using the WHY, WHAT IF, HOW questioning system, which I love, because it encourages expansive thinking.
I’ve used questions a lot in my life, in fact my wife is forever warning me to stop asking so many damn questions, particularly when we meet new people. I must admit, I do ask lots of questions, but not for any other reason than because I’m deeply interested in people and what makes them tick.
Maybe that’s why questions aren’t asked so much by many adults, we get used to adults telling us, as kids, to shut up and stop asking them.
There is no doubt in my mind that question are a gateway to finding things out. I ask my wife about things from her past, about where she lives and what she did, and what other people in her life did etc. It surprises me how little she actually knows about a lot of people she has shared her life with.
Now don’t get me wrong, people have a right to privacy, they don’t owe anyone else an explanation. I don’t mind people telling me to keep my nose out of their business, but I do believe that questions provide us with an opportunity to get to know others on a much deeper level.
People often seem content with superficial conversation about what they watched on TV the night before and what such-a-person is doing or saying. Gossip can be quite interesting sometimes, although I try to keep away from it where possible, mainly because I don’t want to be viewed by others as a gossip.
However that level of conversation doesn’t really connect people to others, it doesn’t tell you much about who they are, apart from that they too like a bit of gossip or in some cases, thrive on spreading it, which gives a deeper insight into their personality, I guess.
Questions are also great for learning about ourselves, increasing self awareness. We may ask ourselves, why we do what we do and don’t do what we don’t do. What’s driving our behaviour? The answer’s, if given with honesty, can be very revealing. Sometimes people don’t ask these kind of questions, because they don’t want to know or admit to themselves, the answers.
It is surprising how much of what we do and don’t do is conditioned into us by social persuasion, often referred to as social conditioning. Conditioning is drilled into us throughout the duration of our lives, but particularly as young children, when we are particularly susceptible.
Questions are also a great way to spark ideas and innovation. Moving us away from the thought processes and work practices we have historically been accustomed to and instead opening up the opportunity to do them differently, and to find a better way. Why do we do it this way? What if we could do it that way instead? and then figuring out the HOW from that perspective.
Personally I like to use the following questions to remind me about not falling into the trap of doing anything that would be wasteful, unimportant or unfulfilling, when I would be better doing something else instead. I find it’s a great productivity tool. The questions should be asked in order.
Why am I doing this, at all? What is my goal?
for example is it to make money, because it’s interesting to me, is it to gain or avoid something (such as not getting left behind or being able to add value to others). You should seriously consider this question and try to unlock your big WHY. This will help with the remaining questions. Use the 5 why’s method of questioning to dig deeper, so each answer you come up with, is followed by another why, do this, you guessed it 5 times. Doing this delves down to the emotional background driving forces of your thoughts and actions, and gives you an opportunity to question these.
What is the opportunity cost of doing it? What else could I be
doing instead? Doing anything means not doing something else, both in terms of time constraints and economics, so consider what you’re missing out not doing. Remember time is the one resource we can’t recoup, once it’s spent.
Is it worth the opportunity cost?
Is there a better way of achieving my goal, instead of doing this?
What other alternatives are available? Consider as many as you can!