This doesn’t mean, ‘Think & we get‘ but it does mean that our thinking has a much greater impact on our lives that we often give it credit for.
How would you like to achieve more in a day, feel more fulfilled at the end of a week, be comfortable in your own skin? The list is long but the source for achieving these is common.
Apart from reflexes, our actions start in our mind.
How we think influences our actions.
Sports psychology & understanding this principle is critical to peak performance & athletic achievement. People said that the four-minute-mile was impossible. Sir Roger Bannister didn’t believe them & was the first person to break it. Within weeks others had completed the same distance faster than Bannister. Why? Because they were no longer held back by their thinking; they knew it was possible. But no-one remembers those other great athletes; they remember Bannister because he paved the way: he was the first.
I am often exasperated at my ability to self-sabotage my efforts to try something new, achieve something greater than I am doing now, or simply to complete a task. Can I really do these things? The answer is a fat “Yes!” & yet I come up against this same barrier nearly every day.
Because I am battling with my thinking; my thinking which is formed around my last 57 years of life: things I’ve seen, or been told by those around me that I respect; experiences, good & bad; family & cultural influences.
Perhaps you, like me remember picking-up ideas such as:
- Failure is NOT acceptable
- Be realistic
- Don’t expect too much
- Work on your weaknesses, etc
When we allow these types of thought to reign supreme we will always hit a glass ceiling, find it impossible to push through or manage to convince ourselves that we can’t.
Our thoughts may influence our daily actions (or lack thereof) but one aspect of these thoughts also influences us at a deeper level: fear.
Through my work in helping people overcome their fears I meet two groups:
- Those who Can’t
- Those who Won’t
If our minds dictate our ability to move forwards then these two responses show me that people either genuinely don’t know how to get over their fear or they are comfortable with where they are/their fear is controlling their thinking.
Fears, like our thinking, are developed over our life. We are not born with them; they develop from an early age based on the responses we see around us, especially by family or friends & the things we experience personally.
Babies are not inherently afraid of spiders or snakes, but they learn to be very quickly when mum, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle etc scream & jump on a chair at the sight of a house spider scurrying across the carpet or minding its own business in a web (I still see parents & relatives dragging enthusiastic young children away from our animals saying, “You don’t want to go near that; it will hurt you“).
Later in life, Hollywood & the Media don’t help this situation. Would a film with the title, ‘Revenge of the Rampant Fluffy Bunnies‘ sell? Probably not. But I still have to convince people that snakes do not spend their time plotting World domination or how to take over the next aeroplane.
- Can’t offers hope. We probably Can if we are in the right situation or get the right help
- Won’t shows that our fears have Won & until we shift from that position, forward movement will not happen
I remember turning up to play a concert having been out for the day with one of my snakes. Fortunately I was able to keep him hidden but a concert goer walked into me as the band were setting up our equipment & let’s just say his response was not favourable. His friend/girlfriend/wife sought me out & warned me about the snake escaping, biting people, killing concert goers etc & finished with, “You really upset my friend. He is so phobic of snakes. There’s nothing he can do about it.”
And right there was the root. He won’t do anything about it. His mind is made up. He remains a slave to his fears.
The more we shield ourself or others from fears, the more deeply entrenched are the neurological pathways that carry this information & the harder it is to rectify. Research shows that the most effective way to overcome our fears is to confront them (face-up to them) & begin to change the way we think. This actually creates new pathways in our brain which then become the new ‘default’ response when we encounter the things that trigger our fears.
No-one says it will be easy to overcome such deep-seated fears, but I HAVE seen it time & time again, in people equally or more fearful that he was. The big difference is that their mindset was “I want to overcome this & not remain trapped any longer” meaning that success was on the agenda & possible.
If you think you can’t, there is hope. If you won’t, there is a huge uphill struggle ahead & no chance of change until you do.
So, our thinking really does dictate our progress & success. Understanding this allows us to find the roots & also find a strategy that will help us be free of these ties & free of self-sabotage; free to use our minds & imagination to achieve more than we thought possible (like others have done before us & will others will do after us).
Of course we will still face fears. At the root, a certain amount of fear is good & will stimulate the adrenaline needed to move forward. Risk can be frightening; it is the unknown. BUT to be free of irrational or controlling fear allows us to set you new targets & to head confidently towards them.
Why not try it?
Take care until next time …