Consider this; you have approximately two million bits of information coming into your mind every second. Out of that total, we tend to filter through the content that we would like to focus on. We do this by using our unconscious filters in our mind. Some of the filters are our Belief Systems, our Values, our language and our memories to name a few. Once the information streams through our filters, it is broken down to approximately 130 bits of information per second. This relates to approximately 7 chunks of information per second.
We then derive a meaning from the event based on our internal representation system, which consists of the following representations:
Visual -Pictures- the way we see things.
Auditory – Sounds- the way we hear things.
Kinaesthetic -Feelings- the way we feel things
Olfactory -Smells- the way we smell things
Gustatory -Tastes- the way we taste things.
After this step, the information that gets through leads you to your unique perception on how you view that particular situation, and you may end up storing this memory away as a reference point. This supports the view that you may have 20 people look at a particular incident and, more than likely you will have 20 different opinions on what just happened and what it meant to them, because it is all based on their model of thinking.
Such a mass of information that we have to deal with at any moment, requires you to take on the role of gatekeeper or editor to ensure that what gets in serves you well. You need a tactic or strategy to better manage this data. One analogy is to see yourself as a gardener, with your mind taking on the role of a garden with its constituent parts of “weeds” (negative thoughts) and “fruitful plants” (positive thoughts).
Ask yourself: “Am I watering the ‘weeds’ of my ‘garden’, which in turn will proliferate negative thoughts, negative patterns and negative behaviours in my life or am I watering the plants that will bear positive fruit?” It would be useful at this point to re-emphasise that whatever you think of consistently, ultimately becomes your experience.
If you concentrate on the weeds or negative thoughts, you will become a manifestation – a personification – of what you train your focus on.
If every thought that you have is negative or limiting, then these thoughts will manifest in your life in a negative way. The result is you will become a pessimist, or perhaps a defeatist.
Conversely, if you plant good thoughts through the power of incanting positive language then from these plants, eventually good fruit will bloom.
The path to follow to gain a better understanding of how important it is to think wisely can be seen below:
THOUGHTS affect our EMOTIONS, which in turn affect our ACTIONS, which then determine our BEHAVIOUR and our RESULTS
It follows that if you have consistent positive thoughts, you will have positive emotions, which in turn will result in positive decisions and positive actions. Ultimately this will lead to long term positive behaviour and results in life that are fruitful. In a very real way, you become the designer of your life.
The key, therefore, is to master your thoughts and your emotional state.
When you change your thoughts from negative to positive, your emotions in turn will change and so on through the continuum.
One way to fast track change in your emotional state (should you discover that you are indulging in un-resourceful negative states, such as anger, frustration, sadness etc…), is to change your physiology, which in turn will bring about a positive change to your emotional state.
There are a few ways you can do this. It may mean you get up and go for a walk, take some deep breaths or to play some of your favourite music and if you feel up to it – dance. By changing your physiology and focus you can interrupt the pattern of a negative state.
In its simplest form, the committed study of your thoughts and emotions and how to positively use them to benefit you is the essence of motivation. If you wish to develop a winner’s image of yourself, this study is crucial.
There are many definitions of a winner. At the core of every definition is the indisputable consideration that a winner is the person who has discovered success, happiness and self-fulfilment.
Many people have discovered that their path to happiness may be short-circuited by the continual blaming of their environment in which they live (or have lived) in. This may indeed be the facts of their lives, but the truth is: YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT BY FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU WANT AND NOT WHERE YOU ARE. It must be noted however, that it is important to surround yourself with people who are supportive of your desires and future direction, because ultimately who you hang around is who you become.
Remember to focus on the truth (that you can control the way you think about things), not the facts (things that are happening around you)! There are many stories of those who have begun their lives in uncompromising circumstances and rose up! They changed their thinking and eventually they shifted out of the negative environment. For example there are well known billionaires who grew up in the ghettos in America; however they persisted with their dreams and are now some of the wealthiest people in the world. The facts of their lives may have been difficult situations, but the truth is, they planted and watered good thoughts and overcame the facts.
Consider a person who may have limiting thoughts and ideas from a young age about their self image and self esteem. This repetition over the years may have percolated to the present time, and tarnished the confidence of the individual.
Remember, should you find that such an image is anchoring you to the past and preventing you from moving forward, you have the option and the power to change.
As a first step, visualise yourself as a winner on a continual basis and eventually your subconscious mind will believe this. See yourself achieving positive outcomes and emotionalise the experience as if it has already happened. Gaze into the mirror and continually incant positive affirmations. If you follow this procedure with progressive action, eventually, your subconscious mind will ‘get the picture’. You will happily discover that you begin to act and behave differently as a result and, in the process; you will have effectively designed yourself for a brighter future.
Education is not about honing memory skills, it is about changing behaviours. It is about continual personal growth. In a nutshell, we are just like the trees and plants in nature: Nothing in life ever remains stagnant or idle. We are either growing or developing, or we are either deteriorating or possibly dying.
You need to be constantly inspired. Growth gives you this opportunity.
Success is as much about unlearning as it is about learning. If you desire success, you need to unlearn old thoughts, old behaviours and old patterns. Success is about enjoying the journey as you progress towards your goals.
THOUGHTS AND BELIEFS
Limiting beliefs are the thoughts that keep cropping up and serve only to hold you back from reaching your worthy ideal. It is essential to become fully aware of such beliefs, all the better to be able to identify them and to “weed” them out of your life.
How do limiting beliefs implant themselves in your mind’s “garden”? We can take the hypothetical example of a young child who performed below expectations during a particular activity, say a test or sporting event. He/she received negative feedback and this is implanted in his/her mind. Subsequent events where the child again receives negative feedback reinforces and ‘confirms’ that child’s initial limiting belief (e.g. “I’m not good enough”) in him/herself. That child uses such feedback as ‘references’ to support such a belief. This accumulated ‘evidence’ creates a situation whereby that child, now a teenager, has collected such a mass of limiting beliefs that he/she is more than likely to be quiet, a follower and with low self-esteem.
Such limiting beliefs have implanted themselves in the teenager’s mind due to the fact that the initial childhood event had emotions attached to it. Unless he/she changes that underyling limiting belief, his/her adult life may be significantly restricted.
As human beings, we will constantly and automatically search for ‘evidence’ to prove ourselves ‘right’. We live our lives that way; we choose friends and associates that support that belief. In short, our lives become those beliefs. We are self-fulfilling prophecies. Beliefs actually ‘hypnotise’ us.
A prime example of a limiting belief is: “I don’t have enough money”. If you constantly and automatically affirm this belief to yourself, you will find ‘evidence’ for your poverty. One way to deal with this limitation is to realise that you don’t need the money. What you need is the intention to acquire that money. i.e. “I will find a way to get the money”. Please realise that if you are fully committed, if you positively change your thoughts and beliefs, then you will positively change your results.
PEOPLE WHO ARE SUCCESSFUL THINK DIFFERENTLY.
The crucial requirement is to interrupt your past patterns and behaviours. The first step for thinking differently is to write down any limiting beliefs you have. It is a powerful activity to do this, as you will be able to see exactly what it is that has been holding you back. Bring them out into the open and become aware of how they may have negatively influenced your decisions, your actions and your life overall.
The only way to grow is to break through such beliefs. As you go through this process of discovery, you will find that you have either consciously or unconsciously created them. The truth is they exist merely in your mind and, by ‘watering’ such ‘weeds’, you give them more power and influence over your life.
What follows next is a process for eliminating, once and for all, your limiting beliefs. It is a process of interrupting your past limiting thoughts, patterns and behaviours.
- Be aware that you have a limiting belief. Even if you say: “I don’t have a limiting belief”, that within itself is a limiting belief because you are holding yourself back from growing. This first step will bring such beliefs to your full awareness and expose what needs to be worked on. One way of finding out your limitation is to ask yourself “What’s my outcome?” For example it may be to make more money, change careers or lose weight. The next step is to ask yourself “What’s preventing me from making this happen?” The resulting answer is your limiting belief! For example it could be “I’m too old, I’m too young, I don’t have the time, or perhaps I don’t have the money”. Once we discover our limiting belief, we then need to work on eliminating it, by associating pain to the belief.
- Leverage. All beliefs carry with them consequences. Project yourself five years into the future. Visualise yourself holding onto the beliefs you hold today. What do you see? If you experience pain at holding onto these beliefs five years from now, fully experience that pain. Make it a truly intense experience. What are the consequences in holding this belief as true? Psychologically? Emotionally? Financially? What is the price you will pay for holding onto such beliefs five years from now? Ask: “What have I missed out on by holding onto such beliefs?” and/or “If I continue believing this, where will I be in five years’ time?” Fully emotionalise this experience, make it emotionally painful such that it becomes a catalyst for change.
- Interrupting The Pattern. Liken this stage to the scratching of a CD. If you damage a CD in this way, you are rendering it unplayable. So it is with your limiting beliefs: if you interrupt the pattern of your limiting beliefs, you stop them from ‘playing’ through your mind. You can interrupt this pattern by (once again, with EMOTION) asserting: ” STOP!!… THIS IS RIDICULOUS!! or CHANGE!!! Or CANCEL THIS THOUGHT!!”
- Creating and Installing a New Belief. Like nature, your belief system dislikes a vacuum. You have removed a limiting belief and now you need to replace it with a more life-affirming version. If previously you believed “I don’t have enough money”, replace this with: “I am committed to create the money”. If previously you believed “I don’t have enough time”, replace that with: “I am efficient and create more time”. What would you need to believe in order to have the life you want?
- Condition Your New Belief. Incant your new belief over and over again. Visualise yourself five years from now with the positive consequences of living the new empowering belief! Emotionalise it! Even if your conscious mind doesn’t initially believe it, gradually, your subconscious (or ‘automatic’) mind will!
- Test Your New Belief. This is the stage at which you confirm the validity of your new belief. This is where you will undertake a comparative study whereby you compare the old belief with the new. The differences between the two, and the positives that arise from changing, will confirm that you are on the right path to a new reality.
Example: Ask yourself what do I think about my old belief system? How do I feel about my new empowering belief?
All limiting beliefs, all fears and blocks, are in your subconscious. They are memories and neuro-associations, firing off and making you feel bad at times when you don’t want them.
In essence, it is programming and past conditioning.
You have to be very wary of how you program yourself (or how you have been conditioned in the past) and change it in order to redesign yourself for a bright future. By creating this awareness you have the personal power to condition new thoughts, actions and behaviours.
It is all about perception.
Is it possible that you can design and program yourself to look at life and experience it in a more fulfilling and better way?
The answer is undeniably “YES”.
Manuel Karkafiris is a Director of SOL Results. He is a sought after Master Coach, Business Entrepreneur and Internationally Certified NLP Trainer.