Do you feel that life and the media can sometimes hammer you with negatives? I will be showing you how you get trapped in this type of messaging and what you can do about it. Let me take you on a journey of where my thinking was, why and how I needed to reset it for greater success in 2017. I am giving you my 8-point plan that you can use to make 2017 a true “new” year.
Without a doubt, this has been a tumultuous year. World events such as Brexit and the U.S. election have deeply undermined my own sense of predictability and sensibility. While these fundamental swings have appeared on the global stage, I have found their insidious tentacles reaching deeply into my personal feelings of certainty and security. As I leave 2016, I find myself deeply worried as to what next year will bring.
While leaders talk bullishly about the economy, I am living the reality of a stock broker bilking me for thousands of dollars in unpaid rent on my million-dollar property. He left in the middle of the night when all of his deals went south. No promises of a brighter future are going to put that money in my bank account.
Experiences such as these are making me happy to kick 2016 to the curb. I am wondering; however, for the first time in several decades whether my New Year’s hopes and dreams will find traction as I turn the page on December 31. If I am truly honest with myself – I feel rivers of fear flowing through me.
It was in one of these moments, when I felt engulfed by all of the unrest around me, that I caught myself. In a flash I realized that the chaos was not exterior to me, but rather a figment of my mind. I had just run into one of my mindsets. I had become trapped by my routinized patterns of thinking that drive my brain to operate in its inherently lazy manner.
I am not alone in having a brain powered by short-cuts – or heuristics as they are technically labelled. We all are victims of our brains’ innate desire to doggedly rationalize incoming information through screens based on familiarity. Subconscious filters make it possible for our brain to selectively choose what it wants to take in and what it doesn’t out the millions of data points per second that are coming at us through our six senses.
But why is our brain so lazy? It is because our conscious mind can only process one thought at a time. We have therefore unwittingly cultivated our subconscious to match the incoming data to pre-existing experiences (memories). We have designed this subliminal storage system using our beliefs, thought processes and emotional experiences. Working in concert with each other, our conscious and subconscious minds enable us to impulsively identify, compare, analyze and decide what is relevant to us and what is not.
But what if we are using an old, out of date operating system to navigate an unpredictable, ever changing world? This is what happened to me as I allowed the chaotic media messaging and disruptive life experiences to take control of my viewfinder for 2017. I am not alone. You mostly likely are a victim of an outdated operating system.
This is because your subconscious programming began in the womb and continued until you were 14 years of age – with some recalibration until you turned 21. By the time you reached your 21st birthday your masterful operating system held more memory than 100 times the contents of Wikipedia, categorized by a system you had created in your childhood and early adolescence.
This would mean that I developed my master framework of beliefs, emotions, and cognitive models between 1952 and 1966. By 1973, my programming was intact. I had it all figured out. In my case, my exposure had been solely to economic boom and social liberalism. There was nothing I couldn’t do if I put my mind to it. And so it was for much of my career.
The problem with such a mindset, is that when it is flooded with a tsunami of contrary data – it freezes. And with this numbing comes fear and anger. Anxiety and rage trigger other subconscious memories that have nothing to do with what initially ignited the trip down memory lane. They ignite beliefs, emotions and thought processes associated with our own subconscious experience with fear and anger.
While the ugliness of the political combat, the entrenchment of misogyny, and the swing to the far right are the antitheses of my foundational programming, my fear and anger runs much deeper than these current events. These emotional responses come from childhood experiences that formulated the design and function of my subconscious. In my case, I was afraid of my mother leaving our family. I was angry at the kids who made fun of me as a nerd. These are just two examples of my original programming that continue to run my subliminal operating system. They are the reason not only for my unrelenting need to prove myself in every aspect of my life, but to excel at it.
So who and what am I afraid of and angry with as I head into 2017? My immediate reaction would be those who are leading and supporting the current reality unfolding in front of me. But how can I be? I don’t know them. I have not walked in their shoes. The only thing I have in common is the experience of anger and fear- not its cause.
In the confluence of these shared emotions, I am able to begin the process of a common understanding, and with this, the disintegration of my own trepidation and rage triggered by the turning tides. By challenging my own mindset and uncovering the underlying source of my emotions, I am able to still my mind. And with this, I can see possibilities in 2017 that my lazy brain, functioning with out-dated programming, was unable to surface.
So here is my take away advice:
1. Become aware of your “gut” reaction to any situation that is causing you to unconsciously react.
2. Immediately stop your lazy brain from triggering your outdated operating system by becoming “present” – i.e., by becoming freshly aware of what is happening in this moment, without any judgement;
3. Take a deep breath;
4. Ask your inner self:
a. What is triggering this automatic response?
b. What emotional memory, thought process or underlying belief is running the show, preventing me from seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting what is really going on?
c. What emotions am I feeling and what childhood memories are connected to these sensations?
d. How are these emotions preventing me from truly taking in what is really happening in this situation?
5. Quiet these emotions by bringing your mind back to the present moment;
6. Now ask yourself “what can I learn from this situation, as it is playing out right now (instead of through my routine filters), that can help me update my old default response system?
7. Make a conscious note of what just happened – writing it down helps.
8. Do this over and over again as you come up against situations that are causing you to impulsively react.
Now you have a recipe for updating your most powerful software. Using it will definitely bring you more prosperity in 2017!