Before I explain why believing new things is important, I would like you to consider something for just a minute:
- Everything that we have created in the history of human existence started with a thought
- Nothing has been shipped from another planet
- All the materials for everything we have has always been here
- Really consider that
Whether it’s a candle or a lightbulb, a piece of paper or an iPhone, everything that surrounds us, other than nature, has come into existence because of a thought. First comes the thought then comes the thing.
The greatest inventors created their greatest inventions by the power of their thoughts. They imagined something, they believed it was possible, they felt determined and inspired and then they took action until it became a reality. There are also many, many people who imagined something and gave up when they felt discouraged or defeated.
Whether you realize it or not, you are also a creator. Your brain is filled with sentences that are creating how you feel, fueling the things you do which then culminates into your experience of life. You are the inventor creating your life.
From an early age you’ve learned many things that have molded and shaped the sentences in your mind but I’m pretty sure that you’ve never been taught how to think on purpose. You’ve most likely been just going along day by day, year by year not really noticing the sentences that have morphed into beliefs.
Believing new things takes awareness and practice but the results change everything. If you want to create a different future, you have to create something that hasn’t existed in your past.
This week I’m going to discuss why believing new things is important and the process that makes it possible.
Why believing new things is important
Even if you are living the life of your dreams, believing new things is still something worth taking a look at. The best athletes in the world still hire different trainers to help them grow and develop in ways that may be impossible with their current training.
So if you want to remake your brain to think, feel, do or have better than you have now, you need to know how to think new thoughts. It’s a fundamental life skill that you’ve most likely never been taught until now.
Since your primitive brain is motivated by efficiency, it has taken your repetitive thoughts over your lifetime and created nice comfortable pathways that make it easier to function. For example, you were taught at a young age that 2 + 2 = 4 and had that concept repeated over and over, creating a pathway in your brain that makes it seem instantaneous when needing to add 2 + 2.
Your brain has become very comfortable with your pattern of thoughts, whether they are serving you or not. It doesn’t stop and say “Are you SURE you want to keep thinking that?” It takes the data you program it with and it forms a personalized highway of roads in your mind leading from one point to another.
Since your brain thrives on efficiency, it will NOT automatically offer you new thoughts. It’s on a rinse and repeat cycle based on the highways you’ve already built in your mind.
In addition to thriving on efficiency, your brain also filters your beliefs and shows you evidence of their validity in order to keep the belief comfortably tucked in your mind. For example, if you’ve been thinking “My husband doesn’t help me enough around the house” and it has become a belief, your brain will filter out all the times he is being helpful and nudge you to pay attention when he isn’t.
As I shared in the previous blog “The Problem With Feeling Justified”, if you don’t ask yourself “How is that thought serving me?” your brain is completely comfortable thinking the same thing over and over. It actually prefers that you don’t challenge it with a powerful question like “How is that thought serving me?”
So if a belief is just a thought you keep thinking and you’d like to believe something new, how do you hack your brain’s stronghold on your current beliefs? How do you believe something you don’t yet believe?
How to believe new things
Let me first say that the issue with accountant’s brains is that when you analytically understand something you believe that that should solve whatever problem you have. The mind work that I teach is not like understanding the tax code; it’s more like learning a new skill or anything else that takes consistent practice and guidance.
If you’ve been following my weekly blogs, podcasts and Facebook Lives and been trying to apply what I teach but still feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it’s not your fault. Learning something new is like trying to take a red lipstick away from a toddler before they paint your beige couch; you have to approach your brain delicately and show it that what you now want, is better than what it’s been comfortable with.
There are different metaphors that can be used to show how to believe new things but for this blog I’m going to use the analogy of a bridge. On one side of the bridge is what you currently believe and on the opposite side is the new belief you’d like to believe.
In order to explain how to get across the bridge from where you are to where you’d like to be I’ll share an example to show how to believe something new:
Your current side of the bridge – you believe you’re failing at work and feel overwhelmed; work keeps piling up with what appears to be no end in sight; your repetitive thought is “I’m no good at this” and your brain keeps showing you all the evidence that you are no good at your work.
The opposite side of the bridge – you would like to believe that you are doing great work and feel confident; the thought you’d like to believe is “I’m very good at what I do”.
In order to get across the bridge from where you are to where you’d like to be I suggest the following steps:
Taking one step across the bridge just takes a gentle loosening of the grip your brain has on your current belief. Since you currently believe “I’m no good at this”, the first step would be to add the phrase “I notice I keep thinking…”
This is especially helpful when you are stuck believing a current thought and don’t think you can even practice thinking anything else. By adding the phrase “I notice I keep thinking…” each time you think “I’m no good at this” you are hacking your brain and reminding it over and over that “I’m no good at this” is just a thought.
It helps to give your brain a little distance from the stronghold it has on your current belief. In the analogy of finding your toddler with your red lipstick about to color on your beige couch, you can first gently distract and have your toddler notice you instead of them being fixated on the couch.
Step 1 new thought – “I notice I keep thinking I’m no good at this”
In order to take another step across the bridge once you’ve practiced adding “I notice I keep thinking…” it’s helpful to attach a phrase either to the beginning or the end of the thought that’s at the opposite side of the bridge.
So if the thought you want to have (ie, the thought across the bridge) is “I’m very good at what I do” then you could add a phrase to the beginning like “I’m practicing believing that I’m very good at what I do” or “It’s possible that I am very good at what I do”. Another option would be to add a phrase to the end like “I’m very good at what I do is something I’m trying to believe” or “I’m very good at what I do is a sentence I hope to believe one day soon”.
Again this is just allowing your brain to be open to the possibility of believing something new. In the toddler analogy, Step #2 is like showing the toddler who is still holding the red lipstick, a shiny box of safe crayons that have so many more interesting colors.
Step 2 new thought – “It’s possible that I’m very good at what I do” or “I’m very good at what I do is something I’m trying to believe”
The next step closer to believing something new is to get to a place of neutrality; a place where you aren’t feeling positive or negative about the thought. It’s a thought that your brain can currently believe.
This next step is helpful because most people want to jump to a super positive thought but it won’t work because your brain doesn’t believe it yet. It’s like trying to light a dark room with a lighthouse bright light; it’s blinding and uncomfortable.
Choosing a believable thought that feels neutral like “Sometimes I do good work” or “I’ve been told that I did a good job before” even if it relates to the past, will relax the brain’s old belief and introduce it to a mid-point thought across the bridge. In the toddler analogy, it’s like bringing out coloring books and sitting at the table to color which lets the toddler see that it can have even more fun doing this other thing.
Step 3 new thought – “I’ve been told that I did a good job before”
The remaining steps
Now that you’ve gotten to the mid-point of the bridge, your brain is no longer white knuckling the old belief that “I’m no good at this” and is starting to be open to the better feeling thought that’s across the bridge. In order to keep crossing over towards the thought “I’m very good at what I do” you’ll need to practice believable thoughts that feel incrementally better.
You are basically putting planks down, one at a time, as you cross over the chasm between the thought that isn’t serving you and the thought that will help you get the results you really want. You just have to keep repeating the new better feeling thoughts and your brain will begin to desire that better feeling more and more.
The amazing thing is that with practice, the new belief will become your default belief. Your brain will give you all the proof you need of this new belief, making your travel across the bridge sturdy and safe. Once you’ve reached the other side you will no longer see any reason to go back to where you came from.
Before you start
Before you start working on believing something new it’s important to get clear about where you are right now. Do you need to start at Step #1 or are you already feeling neutral? Is your brain super resistant to the new thought or is it curious about this new thing you’d like to believe?
You may have already passed Steps #1 – #3 and need to work on moving from a place of feeling neutral to a place of fully believing the new thing. The beauty of learning how to manage your mind and using the Manage Your Mind Model is that it doesn’t matter where you begin because crossing over the bridge to what you want to believe is achievable when you have the right tools and support to help you cross that bridge (for help with the Manage Your Mind Model get your free copy here of “5 Simple Steps To Reduce Overwhelm Today”).
It all comes down to creating a new thought that feels better than your current thought, committing to believing it, feeling it and acting on it in order to have your desired results. Whether you write the new thought on a post-it, set it as a reminder on your phone or write it in a journal every morning, it’s important to practice and repeat.
So what is the new belief you would like to have but don’t yet have? Sign up for a free mini coaching session and I’ll help you see how you can cross the bridge to your new belief!
- Whether it’s a candle or a lightbulb, a piece of paper or an iPhone, everything that surrounds us, other than nature, has come into existence because of a thought.
- Believing new things takes awareness and practice but the results change everything.
- Learning something new is like trying to take a red lipstick away from a toddler before they paint your beige couch; you have to approach your brain delicately and show it that what you now want, is better than what it’s been comfortable with.
- Taking one step across the bridge just takes a gentle loosening of the grip your brain has on your current belief.
- The beauty of learning how to manage your mind and using the Manage Your Mind Model is that it doesn’t matter where you begin because crossing over the bridge to what you want to believe is achievable when you have the right tools and support.
If you’d like some help learning how to believe new things, please feel free to schedule a free mini session or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get to work together.