The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
The habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and it’s ways with care,
And let it spring from love;
Born out of concern for all things.
Shakyamuni, 3000 years ago.
Our brains are both complex and agile. Yet sometimes over time, the more our mind is in a particular state, the more it becomes set; creating the soundtrack of our life. Whatever soundtrack we turn the volume up-on is the one that will govern our thoughts, emotions and actions.
Think back to the things you used to do as a child… jumping-off high cliffs into rivers, climbing trees, dressing-up and putting-on plays for any unsuspecting visitors, or camping-out on the lawn eating plums and telling ghost stories all night. Those were the times of “Let’s do it!”, “Let’s have fun!”… AND “Don’t tell Mum!” As we got further into the world of “Adulting”, things became different. For some the fun continued… just in different ways, and for others the fun-factor got decidedly smaller. This was often punctuated by comments such as “Oh, I’m too old for that”, or “That’s just silly”.
I have had the experience of watching a parent’s world get smaller and smaller as they got older, until they were eventually too scared to go outside. The problem is that this also happens to those with a whole heap of life ahead of them. They limit not only their lives, but their perception of what they are capable of, or of what they want to aspire to. Their lives become a reflection of their self-limiting beliefs. The interesting thing is that all of us have self-limiting beliefs that we have embraced, set in stone, and re-played over and over again.
I want to share a story about Raewyn, who I came across when visiting a Year 11 maths class. Sitting down the back, looking disinterested, I sat down beside her and quietly asked “So how are you getting-on with this learning?” “I can’t do fractions Miss” she replied. “Since when have you not been able to do fractions?” I asked. Thinking about it, she replied “Since about Year 6”. “Ok…So you have spent the last 4-5 years believing that you can’t do fractions”. She looked at me, and I could see the cogs turning. I smiled and left her to think about it.
A couple of weeks later I was visiting the same class. This time Raewyn called me over to sit beside her. “Miss, guess what?” she asked. “What?” I responded. “I can do fractions now”. “Wow, really? How did that come-about?” I asked. “Because my thinking was stink” she responded smiling. We both laughed in acknowledgement.
You see, Raewyn had made a decision that she had set-in-stone and never questioned. In fact, over the years, she had replayed and reinforced the same “I can’t do fractions” soundtrack. With a little intervention and reframing, she changed the soundtrack then turned the volume-up on the new music in her mind.
Raewyn is a reflection of us all…we all have self-limiting beliefs we play over again. The soundtracks that keep us safe, blaming others, and not accepting responsibility for the lives we have created for ourselves.
So consider: What soundtracks are you playing that aren’t serving you. Which ones are you playing that are keeping you small? Do your beliefs lead you to your chosen destination, or do they get in your way?
Start to become aware of your thoughts and how they are manifesting in your words, actions and world. Which ones will you change? Start small and go from there.