It’s not what you look at that makes the difference; it’s what you see. Your perspective is your reality.
The greatest obstacle towards achieving success in your life is the inability to back yourself and believe success is possible. Instead of focusing on strengths, most people focus on their weaknesses and limitations (negative thinking).
If you have a diluted sense of yourself and what you can or can’t achieve, you won’t see the greatness within, nor will you believe you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. This is a major reason why you don’t set stretch goals is because you don’t believe you will ever reach them.
When you think of yourself as not being worthy of the goals you set, it distorts the size of the challenges before you, and this is often what derails you.
Behavioral researchers have found almost 75% of everything we think is in the negative not positive. According to Dr Shad Helmsetter, the reason we concentrate on the negative, rather than the positive, has to do with the negative programming we received in our formative years.
“During the first 18 years of our lives, if we grew up in an average reasonably positive home, we were told ‘no’ on what we could not do more than 148,000 times. If you were a little more fortunate, you may have been told ‘no’ only 100,000 times, or 50,000 times. However many, it was considerably more negative programming than any of us needs.”
Low self esteem
If this is the case, then it is no wonder we form a low opinion of ourselves and end up with low self-esteem.
If you constantly reinforce negative belief patterns and allow negative thinking to rule your life, they become habit forming, and low self-esteem will result.
Your self-esteem can change, sometimes daily, depending on what you are experiencing, how you are feeling and above all, how you talk to yourself. You may feel confident in one environment engaging in positive self-talk and, an hour later, move into a different environment and your feelings of self will change instantly filling your mind with negative thoughts.
Regardless of what you think, the cycle repeats itself unless you change your thinking. The way to change your thinking is through positive affirmations.
What is an affirmation?
Positive affirmations are more than just feel good quotes.
By dictionary definition, to affirm something means you are declaring it as the truth. It’s usually a phrase or sentence that you repeat regularly to make a formal declaration to both yourself and the universe that this is your truth.
You may have heard the phrase, fake till you make it! It’s what you want to become true except you are stating it in the here and now as if it’s already happened.
An affirmation really is anything you think and say to yourself through your self-talk. It’s your belief system talking back to you. Whatever you tell yourself, you are affirming that belief, both negative and positive.
How your brain works
Your brain is a complex network of information that sends and receives thoughts and instructions at lightning speed. This information is communicated through a complicated communication structure between cells called neurons.
Your subconscious mind cannot distinguish between what is fact and what is fiction. It accepts whatever you tell it as the absolute truth.
Consider a document you might write on a computer. Once you save it to your hard drive, the computer accepts the document as you have saved it. The computer cannot tell the difference between fact and fiction.
Like a computer, your subconscious mind accepts whatever you tell it as a fact. When you open up a document and change the words then re-save it to the latest version, the computer accepts this as the new and latest version.
If, for many years, others or even yourself have told your subconscious mind, you are a failure, you are no good, you always make mistakes, you will never amount to anything, your subconscious accepts those words as a fact and it becomes your reality.
Like a word document, you can change your old thinking into a new reality by feeding your subconscious mind with new thoughts, positive thoughts that eventually become your new reality.
Positive affirmations create a new reality by feeding your mind with positive thoughts.
The more you feed your mind with positive affirmations, they drown out your old negative thinking.
How you process information
Each day, you process information through your five senses. What you see, hear, touch, taste and smell. You receive approximately 2 million bits of information per second through all of your five senses.
Your brain can only process 134 bits of information per second. This is a huge difference between the message being sent and what you can actually process. So much of the message has to be filtered down from 2 million to 134 bits per second so the brain can cope with it. It’s called a Reticular Activating System (RAS) which acts as a filter. It lets in the information you need and filters out the information you don’t need.
The message is then filtered by either deleting the parts you think are not important, distort other parts or generalize the data according to your memories, the past decisions you’ve made, your personal experiences, attitude, values and belief system.
The same message sent to multiple people will be interpreted differently according to which 134 bits of information that passes through their internal filters. This is why witnesses have differing accounts of what happened at the same event because they filtered what happened in their own unique way.
If you didn’t have this system, you would be bombarded with so much information your senses would go into massive overdrive. Therefore, what happens, is your brain registers what matters to you based on your goals, needs, interests and desires.
If the brain can’t possibly take in two million bits of information at once, consider the 134 bits of information you are taking in if you surround yourself with negative images and negative people.
By filling your brain with affirmations that support your vision, values and goals, you are filtering out the information that doesn’t serve you well and filters in information that will help you succeed.
The brain communicates in the now
The brain doesn’t communicate in the past or future tense, it communicates in the now.
When you think something, your brain processes the information literally and prepares you for the action that should immediately follow what you are thinking.
For example, let’s say you were about to interview for a new job. If you think to yourself, “I won’t get this job. I am hopeless at interviews,” your brain essentially hears “I won’t get this job, hopeless at interviews” and starts firing off all the connections in your brain to make your interview an epic failure.
Conversely, if you think to yourself, “I feel confident and will nail this interview,” your brain hears “nail this interview” and starts firing off all the connections in your brain to make your interview a huge success.
What happens is your brain acts in the moment.
Perception is reality
Imagine you are watching a horror movie. As the plot intensifies, you become scared. Your heart may pound, you might even sweat and become dizzy. What is happening is that you move into fight or flight mode where the body wants to protect you from danger. You feel genuine fear and react accordingly.
But it’s only a movie. Logically you know it’s only a movie. You know they are actors on the screen, but still you react with fear.
Your brain can’t distinguish between fact and fiction and it reacts in the present moment and prepares you for perceived danger.
Perception is reality.
When you tell yourself “don’t be afraid,” the subconscious mind hears the word afraid! All the neuron connections in your brain focus on being afraid and doesn’t hear the word, don’t!
Give your brain the right commands.
Instead of telling your brain don’t be afraid, use a positive command instead. It’s only a movie, be brave. The brain then hears the word – brave.
Your brain takes your commands literally.
Positive affirmations give your brain a new set of commands. A set of commands that are stated in the positive that support future success.
Remember the 134 bits of information you take in per second. If you were walking through a strip mall, you might notice the variety of shops and businesses. If you were hungry, your brain will filter out what you take in through your five senses, then suddenly you notice the restaurants and cafes. This becomes your new focus.
It’s the same when you buy a new or used car. Suddenly you start to notice the same car make and model all around you. It becomes your new focus and you wonder why you never noticed that make and model before.
Your affirmations do the same thing. When you focus on what you want, suddenly you see opportunities before you that you never saw before.
When you focus on what you want supported with positive affirmations, this is what will influence your subconscious brain.
Repetition is the key to success
When you repeat a positive affirmation over and over again, you send a very clear signal to your RAS that this is important to you.
Imagine you joined a fitness gym and focused on strength training. You can’t expect to pick up a set of weights and immediately increase your strength by 50%. It takes time and practice.
Imagine you picked up a set of golf clubs for the first time. You couldn’t expect to become a scratch golfer within a week. It takes time and practice.
Creating a new reality through the power of positive affirmations takes time. You need to practice these new thoughts until they become a habit.
On a final note
Negative thinking is a habit. When you change your thoughts you change your outcomes.
In a Nutshell
- It’s not what you look at that makes the difference; it’s what you see.
- Your perspective is your reality.
- Behavioral researchers have found almost 75% of everything we think is in the negative not positive.
- Your subconscious mind cannot distinguish between what is fact and what is fiction.
- The subconscious mind accepts whatever you tell it as the absolute truth.
- Positive affirmations are more than just feel good quotes.
- To affirm something means you are declaring it as the truth.
- The more you feed your mind with positive affirmations, they drown out your old negative thinking.
- You receive approximately 2 million bits of information per second through all of your five senses.
- Your brain can only process 134 bits of information per second.
- The message is either deleted, distorted or generalized.Consider what 134 bits of information you take into your brain.
- If you surround yourself with negative thinking and negative people, this is what the brain absorbs as truth.
- The brain doesn’t communicate in the past or future tense, it communicates in the now.
- Your brain takes your commands literally.
- Be careful what commands you give your brain.Practice positive thinking until it becomes a habit.