Humans. We’re complex and unpredictable. Yet deep down we all just want a few basic things – to feel seen, heard, understood. Our minds are so incredibly powerful and yet, the base operating system is … well, pretty basic.
It’s at once humbling and amusing to realise this.
Your brain basically has a nifty little Facebook-like algorithm powering it
You can shape, feed, train it to support your goals. I mentioned the reticular activating system in my last post – this is what is always working to show you what you want to focus on, bringing you the best stuff, surfacing new opportunities that you can capitalise on. Helping you get where you want to go.
If FB can serve you ads for all the things you want to buy and all the content you want to read, your brain can absolutely steer you likewise, bringing your attention to opportunities you want. Maybe that’s finding a new job. Turning your eye toward ways to make more money. Finding the perfect house or partner.
The flipside of that, of course, is it can reinforce negative patterns. I’ve had to consciously work to let go of a number of deeply ingrained beliefs and replace them with more useful ones.
I can’t make good money doing what I love >>> I get paid well and have fun doing it
This was a gradual process over years, but the data points added up and eventually, this shift happened for me too. As I truly came to see and believe what was possible, I made damn sure I pursued the money and steeled myself to ask for it.
- My friend from uni who landed a $60k starting salary (obviously not in journalism…)
- My colleague who went to a PR agency, constantly got told what a great job she was doing, and given a pay rise every 6 months.
- My colleague who went on to do social media at a financial institution for $80k
- Hearing about PR reps and media/comms managers on $130k
I devoured salary surveys, staring at the numbers until they imprinted in my brain. I did the same with the salary bands on the intranet, burning those figures into my brain. If those people could make that much money, so could I. Why not?
I shouldn’t spend money on myself >>> I get to have nice things if I want them
My immigrant parents definitely modeled intense frugality. Honestly, I still have a mental anchor around $20 being what we spent on shoes and gifts. I bought a $25 swimsuit once and lied to them about what it cost. Shopping sprees – buying more than one non-essential item at a time? Get outta here! And on top of that, I had a block around having nice things, knowing they can be taken away (like when my mum gave away my Westlife CD to a friend’s kid, or the multiple times I’ve been burgled, or other people taking/using things of mine).
I work hard and I deserve nice things. I know this gets some people into trouble, but I am more of the underbuying, self-denying variety 🙂 Little luxuries, like hand cream or nice cheese, elevate daily life SO much. You can’t be what you can’t feel, and pleasures that help me feel like a million bucks actually support my success.
I’m not an ideas person >>> I know my stuff and I own it
A particularly formative experience for me involved receiving unexpected, harsh criticism from a parent. That probably fueled my reluctance to put myself out there and to do anything to avoid the discomfort of going through similar pain. But of course, I wound up dating someone who told me, albeit jokingly, “I’m surprised you came up with that by yourself…”
Until recently, the word “idea” was literally a huge trigger for me. I’d panic if asked for ideas. I’d panic ahead of “brainstorming sessions”. Spontaneous ideation was not a thing for me, so I worked really hard to overcompensate and overprepare.
Being asked to prepare presentations on my area of expertise at work was a daunting challenge every time. But each time, I was able to synthesise industry trends and formulate great decks based on my own knowledge, and surprise myself.
Now, I embrace my subconscious and know that great stuff flows out from there when I relax and let it. I try not to overthink things too much before speaking up. I trust my value and power, because over time people have validated my contributions over and over. The data points added up. I now finally believe them.
I’m a bad communicator >>> I am an articulate and thoughtful communicator
My parents were terrible communicators. Not that they realised it. They told me I was, projecting their issues onto me. Everything was my fault. And of course, we gravitate to what we know, and I’ve experienced the same pattern play out with others since then.
I communicate fantastically through writing. I’m much better at verbal communication than I used to be. I am often complimented on how articulate and thoughtful I am, and recently a colleague literally told me she learns a lot from I work and communicate. My communication style continues to evolve for the better as I heal, become more emotionally mature, and learn more about psychology and human nature.
Clear your cache, upgrade your brain’s OS
Where the hell did all that stuff come from, anyway?
As you can see, it’s mostly shit we’ve taken on from external sources and formative childhood experiences. That noise is like retargeting – stalking you, haunting you, following you around. Whispering (or shouting!) at every chance it gets.
When you become aware of it and start to really observe what’s happening, you will realise that your brain is probably telling you mostly unkind thoughts. You’re stuck with it, even though it’s not that helpful. We’re stunted, frozen in time emotionally, playing in adult bodies.
What if you flipped that around and nurtured your mind with encouraging thoughts instead? What could you do? What could you have? What could you be?
Clear your cache. Each belief you shake up is like clearing your browser cache, emptying out all the accumulated weight.
Upgrade your operating system. Eventually, you’ll notice a dramatic difference. Rewire enough beliefs and it’s like running an entirely new OS. If you’re about my age, you’re probably still running something like Windows XP when now Windows 10 is available. We’re up to a WAY newer version and just haven’t updated.
There’s a whole new world waiting on the other side. You may not look any different, but you will feel like an entirely new person.