How can I say that – when I coach mindset myself??
But, look – ‘mindset’ is the new ‘buzzword’ in personal growth (just like ‘mindfulness’ was not so long ago). But what it’s talking about is the conscious mind, aka the brain. All we need to do is consciously change that, and everything will change.
Ours is a thoroughly brain orientated culture. We’re encouraged to live almost entirely in our head. After all, where else would rational, intelligent people (like us) live? So naturally changing our conscious thinking is going to sort out everything for us.
If you read some articles on conventional ‘mindset’, you’d think they were talking about machines, not people.
And in fact the brain is like a super complex machine. Like a master computer, constantly processing information for us.
But like any computer it can only process what’s fed into it!
The principle is that by consciously changing our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and self-talk, all else will simply follow and we’ll change the results we get from life.
But – and this might sounds like stating the obvious – the conscious mind can only change the thoughts, beliefs, etc that we consciously hold. And 95% – according to some authorities, a whopping 99% -of who and what we are is outside our conscious mind!
So how on earth is the conscious mind supposed to change something i;’s got no control over??
It’s all in the mind (But which mind?)
It’s usually forgotten that mindset was first developed as a tool to help students and learners. Psychologist Carol Dweck put forward the idea that students learn better with a ‘growth mindset’ – they believe their talents and abilities can be developed through hard work, dedication and determination – rather than with a ‘fixed’ mindset where they believe their intelligence and skills are ‘fixed’ in them.
Sensible, logical idea – so far as education goes.
Mindset then got taken up as a business tool, where again it makes logical sense – yes, you’ll attract more success by thinking positive about your business, changing a few attitudes maybe, and believing in success.
But then it found its way into personal development. The conscious mind on its own, we’re told, can not only transform your life – it can transform YOU.
If you’re timid, anxious and fearful, you can consciously choose confidence, fearlessness and boldness, then go out and take the world by storm.
If you’ve got stuck in a dull, mediocre life and you’ve lost your passion for living, you can will yourself to feel enthusiasm, excitement, love of life, passion and desire.
If you’re sad and depressed you can even choose happiness and joy, and convince yourself to fall in love with life again.
And if it doesn’t work – well, that was your own fault for clinging onto your negative ‘mindset’.
At this point I’m tempted to write ‘what a load of @x/#’ – but, being polite, I won’t 🙂
So what’s our brain for then?
It’s a fantastic, amazing tool. It does a whole load of amazing things for us – but – shock, horror – its job is NOT to transform our life!
It’s not adventurous. It doesn’t like risk. It’s job is to work things out for us. Draw conclusions. And above all ensure our survival. Provide us with information to keep us functioning, protected, safe.
It was essential in our cave-dwelling days. If you’d only narrowly escaped a sabre-toothed tiger, you jolly well wanted your brain to remember not to take that path again.
And it’s still doing the same job – taking all the information that’s inside us about ourselves, and about the world, and processing it to keep us alive and safe. The trouble is, part if its strategy for doing that is to always see the future in terms of the past. As far as our brain is concerned, our self-concept and our concept of the world are fixed for life – unless we very actively change them.
So where do our self-concept and world-concept come from?
They come, overwhelmingly, from our conditioning and programming (mind control) in very early life. Now some of that is useful and essential. But a great deal (most) isn’t.
Our brain is in no position to censor it. It’s been proven for the first seven years of our life our brain is in theta state – that’s the same state we enter into during hypnosis, when we accept suggestions unquestioningly.
So that flood of information goes deep into our subconscious mind – to a level far deeper than the conscious mind and a million times more powerful (yes – you read that right – our subconscious is a million times more powerful than our conscious mind). And there it stays. Hard-wired into us and deeply embedded – so deeply we’re not even consciously aware of it, so it doesn’t even occur to us to question it.
Our brain doesn’t like us to change. After all, however much junk is in our lower system, it’s worked for us inasmuch as we’re still here. We’re alive.
So it will keep us trapped in our default position – for the rest of our life, unless we take action to do something about it. Processing all the junk that’s been forced into us. Working to keep us safe within the limits of the wonky worldview that was fed to us. (Because however much we were loved, no one’s immune from this wonky culture.) A worldview we had no choice but to accept.
Things weren’t designed to be like that. At the core of every one of us is all the power, passion, enthusiasm, energy, joy, charisma, magnetism, excitement, spirit of adventure, and love of life, we’ll ever need to create for ourselves the very life we want, and they’re meant to be free-flowing and constantly available to us. But instead they’re locked up inside us by the blocks from our earliest programming, and those blocks are at too deep a level for the conscious mind to reach.
We can try to get our mind to accept change, with affirmations, self-talk, and all the rest. And for a little while we might feel uplifted, as the brain’s synapses transmit that information along its energetic pathways. But it’ll be like a drop in the ocean compared to the firehose of negative energy blasting from our subconscious.
‘I’m beautiful and loveable.’
‘No, you’re not. You’re weak, broken, stupid and not good enough. Remember?’
‘I am confident and sure of myself.’
‘No, you’re not. Stop kidding myself. You’re stupid, awkward and dumb. Remember?’
‘What I have to say is of value. People want to hear it.’
‘No, they don’t. No one wants to hear you. You’re nothing special. It’s not safe to stand out and be seen. You’re broken. Remember?’
Now try shouting that down with the conscious mind. All it can produce by comparison is a whisper against a hurricane.
The only way to deal with those relentless blocks once and for all, is by getting direct access to the subconscious and kicking them out at their own level.
How to Go Deeper
Naturally, when your super-computer brain constantly has to process all that old junk that’s been force fed into you, it’s going to screw up your system and your life in every imaginable way. But trying to clear it with the conscious mind alone is like trying to get rid of weeds by cutting off their heads. If you’ve ever tended a lawn you know what happens! They’ve grown right back before you know it (tougher and more persistent than ever!)
No amount of attitude change, self-talk, habit change, conscious belief change, is ever going to let you feel genuine confidence, joy, exuberance, enthusiasm, passion for life, or deep love for yourself, (all the things you need to create the life you want) when your subconscious mind is pounding you with shame and guilt for even wanting those things. (Because that’s the way you were programmed.)
It’s never going to transform your life so you can’t wait to leap out of bed every morning. (Because your subconscious decided years ago that kind of excitement and exuberance is not safe.)
It might help you fake it better. It might help you convince a lot of people. Maybe even yourself for a little while.
But if you’ve been on the personal development journey for a long time and, if you’re honest, it feels like not much has really changed – it’s because you’ve been struggling, hard and courageously, to try to get the brain to do what it was never designed to do!
The answer is to change your programming at its own deep level, so you can transform the false self-concept that was imposed on you into the real you, and the false worldview that’s been keeping you trapped in a mediocre life into a vision of your life the way YOU want it.
When you change the programming in your subconscious, you don’t need to worry about your conscious mindset – confidence, happiness and enthusiasm for life become simply the way things are for you!
If you really want radical change – it’s waiting for you. And the life that you want, wants you.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, and you’d like to find out more, book a call with me at https://jayemason.com/book-a-call/, and I’ll talk you through it.