Make Your Mind Work For You — Not Against You
The mind is very powerful and it can work for us or against us. Sometimes I wonder if the whole point of our journey here is to learn how to make it stop working against us. This can be harder than you think. How many times have you wanted to do something, only to talk yourself out of it?
At first, it’s like this: “I’d love to get that job! I’m going to go for it! The hours are great and I know I’d be terrific at it!”
But then, self-doubt creeps in and you start talking yourself out of it: “Yeah, but I don’t have… Yeah, but I am not… Yeah, but I can’t do…”
Hey, wait a minute! I thought we were both on the same side here?!
Ahh, but are you? If your mind is defeating you before you’ve even tried, you’re not. But why? Except in the case of some personality disorders where the person has a sadistic and malfunctioning superego which purposely sabotages them continuously, the most common reason is fear. Your mind isn’t really meaning to work against you, it thinks it’s protecting you from disappointment, pain and the other things involved in taking a risk. But who’s driving this bus anyway? Is it you or your fear? Maybe it’s time for you to decide, once and for all.
There is no such thing as a “safe risk.” Risk implies… well, risk. It means taking a chance. There are good risks and there are bad risks but there are no safe risks. Fear is always an element of risk, but if you allow fear to stop you from ever taking a chance at all, you are missing out on so many things. Love, life, freedom and so much more. You cannot live without fear but you can stop fear from sabotaging you.
How much does negativity control the choices you make? Maybe more than you think. What do you think of the power of positive thinking? A lot of people dismiss it as hokey, corny and trite; silliness, the kind of thing those New Age tree huggers believe in. If you agree with these statements, that’s negative thinking right there. You’ve just dismissed something as useless and silly without examining it’s merits or even truly considering it. You’ve decided it won’t work without even trying it.
See how that works? What are you afraid of?
The truth is, the power of positive thinking is just another way of saying “Train your mind to work for you, not against you.” Positive thinking is your mind supporting you rather than sabotaging you. Instead of saying, “I can’t,” it says, “I can” or at least, “I’ll try.” Because the truth is, you really are only limited in your mind. I’m not an idealist. I’m a realist. A pragmatist. I believe in what I can see and experience and the idea that your only limitations are self-imposed is not just some meaningless platitude. It’s the truth. There are people proving it every day. Whatever you want to do, you really can do it. If you look back on supposed “failures” in your life with total honesty, I bet with many of them you can identify the exact moment when you decided you didn’t really want it anymore and gave up. Or maybe you can see where you were never really confident or sure from the beginning. These things are very damaging and they will cause almost anything to be less successful than it could be. If you don’t already own the things you want it in your mind, you will never own them in your life. Never.
Just as the mind prevents us from doing things with fear, it prevents us from stopping things with fear as well.
“I don’t deserve to be treated like this by him/her. I deserve better.”
And here comes self-doubt: “Yeah, but s/he is… Yeah, but you’re not… Yeah, but it’s because…”
Fear is a powerful motivator. It is a primitive emotion that – like pain – results in a primitive reaction. We will do anything to stop or avoid pain and we will do anything to stop or avoid fear. When there is a choice between the two, familiar pain is easier than the fear of change. In other words, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know. The problem with this is that there may not be a devil behind door #2 but you will never know unless you go through it. You are depriving yourself of so much if you never even try but most of all, you are depriving yourself of a chance.
So how do you stop being afraid? Well, you don’t. You learn to stop letting it run your life. We need fear and that’s why we have it. It stops us from going down dark alleys in bad neighborhoods and that’s good. It can also stop us from taking chances to improve our lives though, and that’s bad. We are here to live, love and grow. If fear is stopping you from doing any of those things, it is controlling your life. Worse, it is depriving you of the whole point of being! So next time, ask yourself: “Could taking this chance potentially improve my life?” If the answer is yes, don’t let fear stop you! The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work out. Lots of things in your life have not worked out and look! You are still here.