When we start out in life as babies, we really don’t know what we’re getting into. In fact, we don’t know anything-we are a completely blank slate. We are like sponges taking everything in, and we reflect our environment, our culture and our family before we are even conscious. As our brains continue to develop, we begin recognizing patterns. We figure out that we like certain things and don’t care so much for others, so we’ll gravitate in certain directions and avoid other things as much as possible. It all starts out pretty simple and straightforward, but it won’t be long before things get a little trickier.
It doesn’t take long for us to get the sense that we know what’s going on around us. We begin to manipulate the circumstances in our favor instead of utilizing the crude strategy of going for one thing and turning away from another. We’ll reward someone for doing what we want with a smile or a hug, and we’ll throw a fit if we don’t like what’s going on. At this point we’re mapping out the world and figuring out what results from what, and we do whatever we can to predispose ourselves toward the best outcomes. All of this happens as a toddler, although it seems that some folks can’t shake it after a few decades.
No matter how you slice it, our minds think that they know exactly what’s going on, and we generally act in accord with their seemingly infinite wisdom. You could call this the ego mechanism, but whatever label you attach to it is beside the point. The fact of the matter is that we think we know what’s going on and our behavior reflects that without hesitation. Now, if you’ll look back into your history to times when in fact you didn’t know what you thought you knew, you can understand that our certainty can definitely be folly. With that said, there are evolutionary underpinnings to our conviction about things.
Once upon a time in the caveman days, if you didn’t know exactly what to expect around each corner, it could definitely equate to sudden death. Because that was the case, we had to act quickly without any thought whatsoever. This instantaneous action without forethought has led our species to where it is today, but it has its obvious drawbacks. In today’s world, we don’t need to be so convinced of every single thought we have that there is no room for debate. In fact, it actually serves us to be open and receptive to new ideas so that we may move forward and grow as individuals.
Although we can imagine a world where there weren’t so many caveman instincts impelling people’s behavior, we’ve got to deal with the situation as it is. The bottom line is that people are motivated by base instincts and most of the time we aren’t necessarily thinking when we’re doing things-we call this phenomenon ‘auto-pilot’ and most people do it far more than they actually realize. Have you ever suddenly realized during a trip in your car that you weren’t paying attention the whole time? All of a sudden you just showed up wherever you were supposed to be.
These are survival instincts and they are stronger than steel. It’ll take a lot of work to get rid of them, but we’ll get into all that shortly. For now just understand that our instincts are creating a lot of pressure to make us operate in certain ways. For example, if something bad happens when you’re doing something in particular, even though the truth is that they may be unrelated, your mind will try to keep you from doing that thing in the future. It’s awfully strange that we create false associations all the time and then act on them without ever really thinking about what’s going on.
If you’re beginning to scratch your head, that’s a good thing. The whole idea of moving forward in life is about awakening to the situation, and learning how to anchor yourself in the present moment. Again, we’ll get there, but let’s delve a little more deeply right now into the associations we’re talking about. Whenever a situation is highly emotionalized, we “learn” these associations. This crude form of learning is deeply rooted in our nature, and it’s something that we’ve got to learn how to get rid of if we hope to enjoy a wonderful life.
Let’s put this under a magnifying glass and really inspect the situation. If you’ll be honest with yourself, you can look back into your history and remember a time when something bad happened. Everyone deals with painful experiences, and when we’re starting out on our life journey we can’t help but do whatever is in our power to develop strategies that will enable us to avoid the agony of negative situations. Unfortunately, the brilliant solution we often come up with is to put up some kind of shield and block the pain. By doing this, we also blockade ourselves away from the world and prevent the happiness and freedom that we’re meant to enjoy.
So how do we minimize difficulties while still allowing for joy? You get to a point in life where you realize that shutting the world out really doesn’t help anything. This is only one of a host of possible strategies for avoiding pain, but they’re all equally disastrous. Some people become shy, others decide to be domineering and rude-whatever the approach is, it probably isn’t going to work unless it is rooted in pure positivity. However, because we start out epitomizing ignorance as a blank slate showing up on planet Earth, our difficult experiences try to teach us that negativity is mightier than positivity.
People literally think that “the good guy finishes last,” and they act accordingly. People forget that their ideas are truly just maps of the world, and not the world itself, and they live inside their own reality because it seems so real to them-after all , it’s designed out of the materials of their own life, their own past, their own first-hand experiences. A person’s way of life reveals their understanding of what works best in their situation. We all do the best we can, and we think we’re doing it the right way, but you’ve got to ask yourself, “Is this producing the results I want?”
If it’s not working, then something has obviously got to change. If it isn’t producing happiness and abundance, then there’s a major kink in the system and a readjustment is in order. You’ve got to be prepared to consider honestly whether your entire approach has been leading you down the wrong road. You’ve got to wonder if what you’ve “learned” is misleading you-and that’s the case and you’ve been doing it to yourself, there is no need to beat yourself up over it. Just take a stand and prepare to make a 180.
The fundamental problem that causes misery around the world is people believing that they can get ahead or prevent problems by utilizing negativity. Negativity is a seed that only produces one kind of crop, and as you begin figuring that out, you’ll start wondering how you can kick negativity out of your life altogether. When you identify the culprit, the only natural question is how to abolish it. How can you start ridding yourself of the poison that’s been holding you back and hurting others? How can you get rid of the problem so that you are left with a sense of peace and freedom that transcends everything else?
I’ll give you a few pointers to get you started. First of all, realize that this information itself is transformational. Just by processing it, synapses are firing and your subconscious mind is integrating new ideas into its understanding. That said, I’ll provide you with a concrete tool that can help negativity vanish from your life. If you’ll realize that everything can be boiled down to thought, then you can know that negative thoughts are the real problem, and the solution therefore is in wiping those poisonous thoughts away.
For any positive change to occur, you must do whatever you can to remain conscientious in the present moment. If you’ll do that now, you’ll be able to keep this golden nugget of wisdom that is about to spring into your life. Without further ado, whenever a negative thought starts creeping into your mind, say to yourself, “Wow, that’s negative.” When you do this, you will strip away the power of that thought and it will hold no power over you. If you fail to employ this technique, you will be prone to identifying with the negative thought and believing in it.
Everything is information, and we live in an information overload society. It’s difficult to find the needle of wisdom in the haystack of useless and irrelevant information. We are constantly bombarded by commercial advertisements and other various influences that either have ulterior motives, or simply have nothing of real value to offer our lives. As such, we’ve got to put an emphasis on measuring the influences in our environment. We can be sure that things that make suggestions to us will have an impact on our behavior, so we must place ourselves wherever we need to be in order to be whatever we want to be.
One big thing is that you’ve got to know that the people you hang around make all the difference in your life. One of the finest success thinkers in history, Jim Rohn, explained that if you take the five people you spend the most time with and divide it by five, you have yourself. In other words, you are who you spend your time with, so choose your crowd very carefully-you cannot underestimate the consequences this will have in the quality of your life. When you begin to connect the dots and realize how powerful little things can be, you will know that it’s your job to learn as much as possible so that you can chisel yourself into a great person.
We’ve barely scratched the surface so far with regard to positive change, and this article would turn into an epic novel if we were to cover the subject thoroughly. In the spirit of keeping things simple, let’s just say that you need to connect yourself with the right tools and resources that will catalyze you toward a more beautiful and meaningful life. Underneath it all in your heart of hearts, you have certain desires that come out of your unique experiences in life. If you’ll work on really wanting to become the best, freest, happiest, most successful and positive person possible, then you’ll simultaneously start a journey down that road.
Remember, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. All you’ve got to do right now is want positive change and be open to learning as you move forward in life. Feeling like you already know everything will set you up for endless pitfalls because it will prevent you from learning. On the other hand, humility will take you anywhere you want to go. Everyone wants to see you win when your heart is in the right place, so remember to look inward as you seek to improve your life. The desire for something indicates the potential to make it happen, so rest assured, if you’re excited to make it real, the job is half done.
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