Without analyzing some of our choices at a deeper level, we sometimes fail to see how self-imposed beliefs limit us from accessing our true potential. As familiar as they are, they can often block opportunities, success and attain the happiness we deserve. These beliefs are based on a set of ideas that we’ve been developing our entire life, sometimes even perfecting them to be completely unsuccessful. Our beliefs come from a long series of thoughts brought on from our upbringing, family, school, friends, economic circumstances, religious influences, society and the media. These beliefs are normally the only things allowing us to see the things we deem right or wrong in our life. They are often the only things that we do see.
Getting to explore other ideas or re-framing your own experiences and learning to view them from a different perspective can be incredibly enlightening. We seldom take the time to take into question the why or how we have done things in our life. For a minute, stop and think about the reason you may have picked your vehicle. Was it the brand, color, size, features, price or the gas mileage that made this a sound decision? Was it something that it represented? Perhaps a function it allowed you to have. You may have thought it would help you with the ladies or allow you to be the envy of your neighbors. Whatever the case, there was a belief system that lead you to the decision to make the purchase.
Now think about the day you bought it. Was the decision based on a necessity or a want? Sure most of us require a car to get around but when did any of the factors outside of its basic function of transport from Point A to Point B get us to consider what other elements were important? Likewise, when you parted with your last vehicle, there may have been clear reasons to part with it. High mileage, expired warranty, finances, signs of engine trouble or perhaps the lure of a shiny new car. Unless it was beyond repair and out of your control, there was a belief that was coded into your brain telling you that it was time to move on.
As you picked your line of work, there were similar decisions. At an early age, most of us considered our dream grown-up jobs. While most of us thought we’d undoubtedly end up as superheroes and own Barbie homes, the reality of joining the workforce would begin its manifestation as soon we realized what a dollar could buy. For others, making way through early adult life, we learned to cultivate our skills and often educate ourselves on exciting careers opportunities that interested us. Unfortunately, we often fail to future pace our awareness and value set to fully grasp how such careers and early choices can affect us later in life. Again, we see choices that either began as a necessity or a want.
Recent data conducted by The Conference Board (2014) indicates that nearly half of the American workforce is unsatisfied at work. Factors include pay, advancement opportunities, conditions and a general lack of interest in the work. While external conditions can add to the discontent, much of the problems begin to arise once the work fails to align with what we seek in our work. What were all these people were thinking when they decided to work for scraps in all these horrid places? If not that, then it must be all the meaningless and unfulfilling work that they’re doing for 8-10 hours a day just to get by. While I feel an incredible amount of admiration for every single person that wakes up to get next week’s pay check, I want you to simply recognize that what you do for that paycheck is still a choice you’re making.
Relationships are coded the same way. I’m sure you can remember your first crush or the first few dating months of your last or current relationship. It probably wouldn’t be difficult to see the similarities once you start considering what may have lead you to that person. There were things that you valued important. It may have been intelligence, personality, looks, status, security, shared interests or a number of intangible elements that only you can understand. In a meaningful relationship we wouldn’t dare put an actual price on it, but it would be safe to say that a personal value was considered. You placed the person you decided to choose head to head against your own values and beliefs. In your mind, you actually made a “Pros versus Cons” list for just about everything they said, did and represented to you. From the moment you met, you began calculating for your benefit, not theirs. You judged their beliefs, fought their rationalizations and determined what their worth was. Don’t feel bad about it – they did the same thing.
Consider these to be just a few among the thousands of choices you’ve made throughout your life. Your beliefs and views on morality, ethics, religion, culture, enemies, friendships, sexuality, music and the very foods you decide to eat are all coded. While most may seem trivial, there’s cyclical pattern to nearly every single one. Someone facing challenges to lose weight may become unsuccessful throughout their weight-loss efforts only to find true happiness in their guilty ice cream pleasures. Attaining their goal therefore becomes incredibly difficult do so unless we can help them understand their own brain’s wiring.
Without an increase in self-awareness at a neurological level, poor decisions will only continue to find their way. Left to their own devices, the patterns in life will continue to haunt and determine our natural behavior. It’s important to remember that the very choices we make are based on what we value. These values are extremely deep rooted and often make it painful to look at anything any other way. Our brain’s own processes, will only continue to reinforce our expertise at being exactly who we are. For true change and breakthroughs to occur we need to tap into our unconscious mind. Unfortunately, simply reading a few self-improvement books or taking advice from loved ones despite their heartfelt intentions is mostly ineffective. Learning to effectively tune in to the unconscious requires gaining control of the automatic functions of our neurology. Only then, can we begin making long lasting changes that unlock our true potential.
By: Max Riv
Max is a Certified Motivational Coach specializing in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). NLP is a behavioral science based on the method of coding or language that your brain uses to make decisions. It provides a series of techniques and methodologies to model, influence, enhance, and change the use of patterns and codes in your life. Understanding how your brain works, will help us understand the processes necessary to quickly rewire or recode information to help identify problem areas and systematically rewrite them to see them differently.