Why Reality Holds You Back
Reality is what we experience every day and it is what our brain loves to stay in touch with. It can protect you from danger and make sure you survive. Thanks, brain! But is survival also your main goal?
“Oh please, get real!” someone said to me. “How would that be even possible? You’ve got to be more realistic in your goal. A billion people? Why not start with 100. Or a thousand or so…” was his unsolicited advice.
We were talking about my way of setting goals. And I shared that I have a goal of wanting to reach a billion people with what I do as a coach, and help them create a better life.
I know, it’s a very, very big number.
How I’m going to reach that goal? I have no idea, yet. Is it realistic? Well, why not, people have done it before. Am I only going to be satisfied with myself if I reach those billion people? Of course not. Every individual I meet and can help is why I do this work I do. The number is just a goal, that’s it.
Realism and its shortcomings
See, the problem with our way of thinking is that it is conditioned to be based on what is real. Now since our brain is doing the thinking, and it’s primary function is to keep us safe, I get that. But there’s so much more to the story.
And for that, we need to talk about time perspectives. And as you know, we have 3 of them.
No news here.
Our brain can handle these very well and for most people it has created also some modalities around these time perspectives. In that same order:
1. Beliefs & habits,
In the past decades, we’ve been learning that living in the now is extremely important. And it is. Because the now is the only thing where we can do things. So in order to do things, we need to understand that now is the time.
But, the now doesn’t make the modality of ‘reality’, the master of all. In other words, if you only live in the now and base everything you program your brain with from the present reality, we’re making a huge mistake.
Unfortunately for most people that’s already their situation and the reason for so many suffering.
What will happen if you do? That’s easy, you are programmed by outer reality, passively, in the number 1 modality: creating habits and beliefs only based on past decisions you experience in the now.
It has been happening your whole life. “Don’t jump up and down on the couch, why don’t you listen for once!” “Do you think money grows on trees?” “Stop arguing with me and just do as I tell you”. “Your nose is weird, you’re ugly”. “Only girls wear dresses.” Just some random comments we as kids get to endure, either from parents, classmates, or the things we see on television or media.
We build those incoming massages as beliefs, they stack up as thoughts and thoughts being repeated often enough, form a belief. And over the course of a lifetime, we create thousands of these beliefs, also in our adult lives. “I’m just fat.” “I’m bad with women” “I’m horrible with saving money”, or the worst: “get real”.
Some are more damaging than others, some better than others. But still, many things like this are programmed as our truths. And those beliefs, what we experience as true, will help us decide in things we do. Actions we take or experiences we seek.
When you somehow created the belief that heights are dangerous, you’re probably not going to do a bungee jump. While someone else without that belief just might do the opposite.
And the same goes for our habits. They are repetitive actions (or thoughts) we do (or have) that are automated by the body itself. We don’t have to do them consciously anymore; our body has learned by continuous repetition what to do and does it, without even asking.
I’m not saying having beliefs or habits is bad, not at all. The thing I have a problem with, is that they are often programmed automatically. Programmed by ‘reality’ — the present — where we experience something, connecting the feeling with the situation. We save it on our internal hard drive with a big label on it: bad, good, acceptable, egoistic, helpful, kind, altruistic, social, anti-social, creep, hunk, hot, dangerous, awesome, unhealthy, healthy, etc., etc. We forget that it is just our truth and not the truth. That leaves no room for growth, learning or change.
We think we know a lot, but for real, we don’t. We assume most of the things to be as they are. Because we’ve either experienced something or because someone told us (repeatedly). And that’s how we create our own limits in what we believe is possible.
Have you discovered yourself that there are vitamins in an orange? No, we’ve learned that because someone told us, and we accepted that idea. Just as we accepted the idea smoking is cool. Well, at least, in a time frame of the 20s to the 90s. The coolness disappeared (for many) and health stepped in. So our beliefs had to change. So, by creating new beliefs and keep those new ones repeated, we override the older belief.
In this case a change got indoctrinated by the outer reality: smoking is bad, not cool.
But what if you could do it yourself with your own beliefs that are not longer serving you?
Can we change it ourselves?
All we needed, is someone with an idea and a desire to do it. And an idea is not in our ‘reality modality’. It’s a vision for something in the future.
By using your vision, your imagination to create new thoughts, you’re creating a part of the future.
If you don’t, no worries, the future will also come. But it will be a repetition of today.
Today is just history in the making. It has nothing to do with the future. Not in a way where you can actually seek your own development.
Do you improve when you stay in your current beliefs, defining who you are? In that case you’re only reimbursing the present and past.
That is why so many people are stuck. Why they have so much trouble to adapt. Because adaptation asks change. Improvement. Learn from today and see — envision — how you would do tomorrow. That is what we call progress.
So, what can we do?
Well, we can start by questioning all our beliefs and habits. And let them answer this one question: “do you help me move forward, or are you trying to hold me back where I am?”
Second thing, is to create awareness. Awareness of the activities of your mind. Our thoughts can have 4 sources: our beliefs, our habits, ‘the reality’ or our vision. So, where are you thinking from? Past? Present? Or future?
A very effective way to trigger that awareness are your emotions. For the sake of simplicity. let’s divide all emotions in two groups: negative emotions and positive emotions.
Positive emotions means you are in the flow of something good. It can be in the now, like having fun with friends, or it can be about something your creating, like in your work, or taking care of your garden, a hobby, or community work.
They are good to go, so to say. Even better, try to have as much of them, because it means you’re on to something.
Negative emotions are the red flags. Whatever the emotion, and how strong or weak it is, it’s time for some retrospection. Are you bored? Annoyed? Jealous? Worried? Scared? They probably are all rooted in beliefs and even habits and often triggered by present events: reality. That tax bill. Someone cutting you off in traffic. Your current job you don’t like. A post on Facebook that triggers your ego. A news item you see. That fancy car that just drove by with that young kid behind the wheel “probably his dads’ — or some YouTube kid. Stupid.”
Those thoughts. Signal them. So once you recognize the thoughts that are aligned with the feeling, it can be changed.
Because that’s what’s happening. When you think thoughts, they ignite feelings. And the other way around too. So change the thought, so you change the feeling.
So why is all this important?
Well, what if, you could ‘redesign’ your life with this?
What if you could use the future modality of your brain — the vision — to create new beliefs and habits that run your truths and automations?
When we can change these beliefs by outer reality (like the example of smoking) we could also do it ourselves when envisioning our future reality. Think and feel it, repeat it over and over again and you form a new belief.
What would you think would happen to your reality?
Would you think it would stay the same? Or would the new ideas, coming from your vision, trigger new actions, based on the new beliefs and habits?
This technique is actually responsible for life changing situations. Where people shift from having no money at all to being financially independent. From being very unhealthy to very healthy. From being lonely to have a loving family.
When past and present aren’t what you want, ignore those thoughts and focus on the vision. It will literally change your life.