“If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right” (Henry Ford)
It’s 9.30 in the morning here in Warsaw and already my day has been shaped by what I believe and think. I went swimming (I believe that swimming is good for me), I didn’t swim for as long as I intended to because I didn’t feel like it (I believe that something is better than nothing), I’m currently drinking lemon water with ginger in it even though today I really fancy a coffee! (I believe this will boost my immunity and help me live longer). As I sit here contemplating week 6 of my blog I am aware of my conscious thoughts being sabotaged by more destructive thoughts, and underlying beliefs, trying to raise their ugly heads; what are you doing woman? What qualifies you to commit your thoughts to paper and send them out to people? You’ll never keep this up for 52 weeks!
Where has this limiting belief about myself come from and is it true? I now know where it came from and I have chosen to question it, deconstruct it, and replace it with a more helpful positive belief which is why I am daring to commit my thoughts to paper and start to build my business. It’s not an easy thing to do but it’s not difficult either, it takes persistence and consciousness, helped by understanding the basic workings of my subconscious and conscious mind.
The subconscious mind is about 88% of the total brain. It controls all the automatic functions (breathing, heart beating etc) as well as being a massive computer system that stores all of our memories of absolutely everything we’ve ever seen, experienced, felt, heard etc. The subconscious mind has no reasoning power and can not reject anything it is told – this bit is important! What we really really truly believe and think sits in the subconscious brain and it is only here that any kind of permanent change takes place.
The conscious mind is the other 12% of the brain. Generally it is responsible for the more voluntary functions. It is only active when we are awake and is responsible for our day to day reasoning, analysis and decision making. It has no long term memory though which is why despite being an excellent reasoning tool, the reasoned thoughts we have when using it are often later trashed by the more concrete desires of the subconscious.
I like to think of the subconscious brain as the default captain of our ship. It’s our survival mechanism, beautifully designed to keep us alive and safe. BUT, living at the mercy of some of the beliefs that live in the subconscious of our brains can be limiting. The subconscious is not able to recognise whether a belief or thought is actually ‘good for us’, it just accepts it for what it is and drives our thoughts, feelings and behaviour accordingly. So, if you know in your conscious mind that there are some beliefs and thoughts you have that do not serve you well in adult life, then maybe it’s time to take the helm and strike up a conversation between your conscious and subconscious self!
Let me bring this to life and make it practical! I want you to think of two beliefs you have, one that serves you well and one that doesn’t. I’ll use two of mine to illustrate…….
Helpful/Positive Belief “I believe my best is good enough”, I know this came from my mum and I want to keep this one, it helps me strive to be my best but doesn’t destructively drive me to compare myself too harshly with others who I perceive as better at something than me.
Unhelpful/Negative Belief “It’s a good job I’m sporty and can cook because I’m not very clever”. I know this came from school days and was reinforced by various influences during school and university (not you mum). If this is what I believe, then that becomes what I think which in turn influences how I feel and the rest is history! This is one of the beliefs I have chosen to re-write!
If you are curious to understand the beliefs held in ‘your’ subconscious, why not invest a bit of time exploring and examining them. I’ve attached an exercise to this weeks e mail to help with this thought process. Next week I’m going to focus on how you can win the battle and permanently change a long held limiting belief.
For now I’d like to leave you with the most important facts as I see them. Beliefs drive thoughts, thoughts drive feelings and feelings drive behaviour.
We are what we believe and think.