The vicious cycle we face
Our minds are like computers, programmed to learn from the world and our experiences, taking in information and saving it to our memories. If we do something that feels good or bad, our minds will remember exactly what we did to reach those results, so it can reference the routes at a later time. Traumatic experiences will leave a lasting impression, like a shortcut on the desktop that we can't seem to delete.
We are also designed to recognize patterns and predict future outcomes based on what we know to be true. When I first touched a hot stove, I knew to never touch one again because I could confidently predict what would happen again if I did. This predictive trait seemingly shared by all intelligent life has the capability of saving us, but also of destroying us, depending on how we utilize it.
I used to think I would never be able to quit drinking. I saw and felt my attempts to cut back, and after many patterns and repeated trials, had arrived at the conclusion that I cannot quit, and believed it to be a fact. My brain recognized the patterns of failure and predicted that I would not be able to succeed.
Another way our pattern-seeking minds can hold us back is when it comes to exercising regularly and eating healthily. The main reason people don't want to do these things is the amount of time, effort, and sacrifices necessary for the desired results. After experiencing tiresome workout sessions and eating unsatisfying meals, the mind can come to the belief that the lifestyle is not worth the effort. It can transform into a belief that the desired results are an impossibility to achieve.
So, humans recognize patterns- seems simple enough. Let’s now talk about the creative process in which new things become reality.
Humans are also programmed to materialize what their minds visualize most prominently. If I feel hungry, my mind will subconsciously fantasize about possible entrees, from the sight to the taste, smell, and texture of the food, as well as the satisfaction of a full stomach. Then I will begin considering the actions necessary to realize my visualization. Eventually, a final decision will become my most prominent thought, and I will begin driving to Chipotle. I now have in my hands what was just moments ago merely a thought.
This central power of the mind drives new things into the universe. It’s how airplanes were invented; the Wright brothers were determined to find a way to bring human flight into reality. They saw it in their minds and knew with wholehearted certainty that they could do it. People thought they were crazy because what they were doing didn’t align with patterns that their brains had accepted as reality. Regardless, airplanes made their way into the universe.
It's not always a conscious desire that brings new things into realization. Sometimes it's a subconscious belief that will actualize itself. I often get nervous in anticipation of social events or activities. My mind begins picturing various undesirable outcomes, all coming from an underlying belief that I am an awkward person. I usually will end up actually being awkward and giving off nervous energy, despite my desperate attempt to control these things. On the contrary, when I am going somewhere that I'm comfortable with, social anxiety won't even occur to me because at this moment I have a subconscious belief that I am a confident person. It doesn't matter whether or not I want to be confident- it matters what I subconsciously believe about myself.
A more macro example of how subconscious thoughts affect the physical world is the art of networking. Have you ever met someone who seemed to be just the right person at just the right time? I have met people in seemingly random environments who mirrored my interests and had the knowledge and expertise I had long been seeking. It was as if the world was showing me the tools and opportunities to turn my thoughts into reality.
Consider how some career goals will organically lead people to an unprecedented, yet more desirable career. I've heard many stories of how people had a certain goal in mind, only to transition into a much more prosperous career that they never could have imagined. Adam Carolla was a boxing instructor with a dream in radio. Jimmy Kimmel needed to learn to box for a radio bit, met Adam, and thought he was funny. Today, Adam is flourishing as a podcaster, something he could have never anticipated.
So let's recap on the vicious cycle that is our programs:
- We are designed to recognize patterns and predict future outcomes based on the patterns we recognize. We see in our minds past failures.
- We are designed to create what we think about most prominently. We see in our minds the things we want.
I used to believe I couldn't ever quit drinking because I had seen patterns that suggested it was impossible for me. My mind couldn't see myself without alcohol in my life, and would instead see the potential obstacles of getting there. In order to finally make the change, I had to almost become delusional, and ignore the patterns and evidence that supported my helplessness, and instead focus with pure and strong intention on the patterns of how it was destroying my life. I also had to start believing that I had within me the power to create the change and visualize the change I wanted to see.
There are always more things to strive for and that's what I think is the most fun about life. I'm constantly battling the things holding me back while doing my best to give power to the things I find important.
In conclusion, be careful with your thoughts, and recognize that they have the power to create real things in the universe. Don’t wallow in self-pity, because you will only attract more negativity into your life. It won’t be until you stop thinking about the patterns you’ve recognized, and instead visualize the pathway to an idealized outcome. You are a computer, programmed to create. The power of creation begins with your thoughts and core beliefs.