“Changing Your Tunes”
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.” – Albert Schweitzer, M.D.
An interesting quote by Dr. Schweitzer, isn’t it? He talks about the GREATEST discovery… not just a good one or a great one, but the GREATEST. Yet, so few seem to spend time in this area. Maybe it’s because they don’t know what to do. I mean, you only have the mind that you’ve got. How can you alter it?
Well, it’s easier than you think… once you understand a few basic principles.
Have you ever asked yourself “What was I thinking?” or “Why did I do that?” Did you get an answer in return? Oh, I see. It was a rhetorical question. Well, how would you answer it if it weren’t rhetorical?
In those moments when you’re asking yourself this question, whether you consciously realize it or not, it proves that you are not your brain. Your brain can’t question itself. You can’t see a picture when you are standing within the frame.
Let’s look at your brain – figuratively, of course. Your brain is a habit machine. It does not distinguish whether your actions are beneficial or destructive. Your brain simply reacts and generates thoughts, feelings, impulses and urges. Your brain doesn’t discern whether acting on these thoughts or impulses will take you toward or away from your goals and values. Your brain just tries to find pleasure even if short-term pleasure will keep you away from your long-term goals.
As Dr. Schwartz writes in You Are Not Your Brain, “Left to its own devices, your brain can cause you to believe things that are not true and to act in any number of self-destructive ways,…”
As an example, let’s imagine that you are the leader of a team in charge of completing a project. You take pride in your role and your responsibilities. When someone on your team doesn’t live up to their commitments or assignments, you may become angry, frustrated or discouraged. Over the years and for a variety of reasons, your brain may have learned the habit of responding to these negative emotional sensations of anger, frustration and discouragement by lashing out, displaying your displeasure, becoming passive or aggressive or “any number of self-destructive ways”.
In that moment, your brain is playing your CDs – Cognitive Distortion scripts. These CDs have been programmed and recorded in your brain over time so that when the “play” button is pressed or situation is triggered, your CDs start playing loud and clear in your mind.
Oh, I know some of your are thinking “Traci, CDs are so old school.” Yes, you are correct. You may be more advanced and listen to MP3s – Misleading Pre-Programmed Perspectives.
In either case, your brain may be playing old tunes that you are automatically responding to. What could be wrong with that? Well… these old tunes can conjure up emotional sensations that aren’t based in today’s reality but rather are grounded in yesterday’s memories and negative habits. Sure the old tunes may have served a good purpose at one point in your life, but they may be doing just the opposite today.
Here’s the good news… you don’t have to respond to those old CDs and MP3s. You have an ally that can help you script your brain, make new recordings that work in your favor, and support your goals, values and aspirations. Your mind is that ally.
Your mind is involved in stepping back and observing your thoughts and emotional sensations that your brain is playing to you. And, not only can your mind observe these thoughts, it can help you record new music in your brain. Your brain is passive. Your mind is active. Your mind can consider short-term pleasure and long-term success. By using your mind to pay attention and focus, you can create new recordings. I like to call them MP4s – My Purposefully Picked Powerful Perspectives. These MP4s will then become your new habits (tunes) and lead you to your success.
Changing your tunes is relatively easy when you know how your brain works and how your mind works. This is precisely what we teach our clients. We teach you to better your brain! The process is pretty simple, but does require effort (and some new knowledge.)
- Use our diagnostic tool to gain the knowledge of which of your “tunes” (perspectives) are CDs and MP3s, and which might already be a great MP4.
- Rather than focus on re-recording your CDs and MP3s, you can take a better approach for your brain and your mind. You will focus on quieting or ignoring the CDs and MP3s. You don’t have to focus on the music even if it is playing. You can choose to focus your mind elsewhere. How do you know where to focus?
- You naturally like to do the things that your mind and brain are good at… the things that lead not just to satisfaction and comfort but also to purpose and fulfillment. You can learn how to hear your natural strengths (MP4s) that will help you do that.
- As you learn to hear them and you can choose to focus on your MP4s, your CDs and MP3s will naturally become quieter and be heard less. Your purposefully picked powerful perspectives will lead you to your success.
Now, take some time to recognize your natural strengths and find ways to put them to use today. It may require ignoring some old thinking habits and turning to your powerful perspectives. Are you up for it? It’s a great way to get unstuck and move forward quickly.
If you really want to move things in a positive direction, help you team members, associates, and family members do the same thing. Teach them what you have learned about your CDs and MP3s so that they might desire to learn more. They could change their music, too.
And, as the African proverb states
“When the music changes, so does the dance.”