I want to let you in on a little secret: Your brain does not want you to reach your goals.
I know, crazy, right?
It turns out that your brain doesn’t care about your goals at all. It doesn’t care who you want to be or what you want to do in your life or how precious you think your time on earth is.
Your lower brain only cares about one thing: survival.
Which is important, I guess.
But the thing is that survival used to be a lot harder. When our species first evolved there were a lot more potential threats around us. There were predators. There was the real possibility of starvation or dehydration. The elements were a much bigger concern to our safety and security. Everything was dangerous.
And so the brain learned to function according to three important principles in order to keep us alive. These are also known as the motivational triad. According to the motivational triad, the brain is programmed to:
1. Avoid pain – As humans we learned to avoid pain and...
Can I be honest? I used to hate Mother’s Day.
It felt kind of like “Mother’s Yearly Evaluation Day” to me. It was like a report card on my mothering and I used the day as a massive evidence-gathering mission on all the ways I was failing as a mother.
Which were many.
When my kids fought and argued on Mother’s Day, it was clear evidence that I was a terrible mother and hadn’t taught them how to love each other.
When nobody pitched in to help cook or clean on Mother’s Day, I used it as evidence that I’m the only one who does things around here and my family doesn’t really care about me.
When my husband didn’t get me flowers or the right gift it was evidence that he thought I was a terrible mother and wished he had made a better choice. (I even used to compare the amount he spent on me with the amount he spent on his secretary for “Executive Assistant Day” and compared which one of us he thought...
I've spent the week getting up close and personal with my new Yeti podcast microphone.
And I've spent the week getting up close and personal with all my doubts and fears as well.
That's how it goes. That's part of the deal.
You want to do something new? Going after that goal is going to require feeling some negative emotion along the way.
In this case, I felt anxious that I didn't have anything to offer. I felt scared that no one would ever listen. I felt confused that I didn't know how to do any of it. I felt frustrated that it was taking me so long to edit my work and get it published. I felt regret that I hadn't started earlier and that I was "behind." I even felt shame that apparently I breathe really loudly when I talk.
The point is, my brain was having all kinds of thoughts that trying something new was dangerous and threatened my survival. And so it produced all kinds of chemicals to warn me and get me to run and try to get me...
This morning I was on a call with a client.
When she saw the power her thoughts had in creating the current results in her life she asked, amazed, “Has this changed your home? Has this changed everything for you?”
The answer is emphatically yes! And it is also unfortunately no.
Let me explain.
Yes, oh yes (!), learning how to identify and choose my thoughts deliberately has changed everything for me. It has improved my relationship with myself and others. It has allowed me find more peace and joy. I finally understand that I am the creator of all my feelings, which has enabled me let go of blame and shame and worry and regret. It has helped me really understand what agency is and how I always have the choice to choose the better part.
It has been truly life-changing for me.
But, also, I am still human. I still have a human brain. I am still learning to choose the better part. Every single day.
I still have negative emotions and I still have thoughts that don’t...