|Changing our thinking can change our results
We’ve already learned in this column that, according to the top neuroscientists in the world, the human brain is the most complex structure in the known universe.
In fact, the primary element that holds you back from still learning and growing and changing is what you say to yourself. When you say, “I just can’t change that!” your brain readily agrees and makes sure you don’t. But when you say, “I can change that!” your brain agrees just as quickly and looks for ways to help you change.
So change must begin with the way you think. That is why New Year’s resolutions usually don’t work because you are concentrating on what you are doing, rather than how you are thinking. More specifically, change must begin with how you see yourself. This is called a self-image.
And you don’t have one self-image, you have hundreds of thousands: how you see yourself as a mother, a father, a student, a card player, an athlete, a cook, etc. All of these are stored in your unconscious mind, so let’s learn about that next.
We now know that the vast majority of what happens in your nervous system is unconscious.
The conscious mind is easiest to understand because we are aware of it all day long. It’s composed of what you see, taste, touch, smell and hear, in addition to what we remember about events that happen in our lives. But we store this information in our unconscious.
And we do not store the actual event but our version of the event, and then we call it the “truth,” not “our” truth, but “the” truth. You say, “I see the way life really is!” And I say, “No, I see the way life really is!” We’re both wrong, and this dichotomy forms a principle of thinking that is very important to understand, and that is: we behave and act not according to the truth, but the truth as we perceive it to be.”
The best way to illustrate this is to look at a man named Cliff Young, which you can Google and see all over the Internet.
The Story of Cliff Young
In 1983, when Cliff was 61 years of age, he entered the Australian Marathon, a run that went from Sydney to Melbourne, a distance of some 545 miles. As many as 150 world-class athletes showed up, so it was surprising to see this character named Cliff Young appear on the day of the race, especially because he was wearing overalls and galoshes over his work boots (called “muck boots). His only trainer was his 81-year-old mother.
Naturally, reporters crowded around to interview this 61-year-old potato farmer with no teeth. When they asked why he was there, he answered, “See, I grew up on a 2,000-acre farm with 2,000 head of sheep, and the whole time I was growing up, I’d have to go out and round up the sheep when the big storms came in. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I’d catch them. I believe I can run this race; it’s only two more days. Five days. I’ve run sheep for three.”
Well, the race began, and you can guess. Not only did Cliff Young win the race, he beat the best in the world by a day and a half.
How? Well, if you are a world-class runner, you know the truth. And the truth is that you run for 18 hours and sleep for six. But Cliff did not know the truth. He did not know that you were supposed to sleep. So, while the rest of the runners were sleeping, he just kept on running.
Now that is really inspirational. But I am not here to inspire you, for we both know that inspiration lasts for about three days and then you go back to the old ways.
I’m here to help you change the way you think. So, let’s see what happened the following year.
Cliff entered the race the next year and became injured so he could not finish. But all the other runners beat his record…and the year after that…and the year after that.
How? Well, they did not go through three years of psychotherapy or take a lot of drugs. They simply changed the way they thought. “If I’m going to run the Australian Marathon, I must train and think a different way.”
Now where is all this leading? Simply this, and remember this for the rest of your life, because it will significantly affect how you live your life.
We behave and act not according to the truth but the truth, as we believe it to be. When you say, “I just can’t change that!” your brain readily agrees and makes sure you don’t. But when you say, “I can change that!” your brain agrees just as quickly, and looks for ways to change.
Steven Campbell is the author of "Making Your Mind Magnificent" and conducts "The Winners Circle" every two months at Sonoma Mountain Village in RP. He can be contacted at 480-5007 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.anintelligentheart.com.