Do you feel stuck in an area (or two) of your life?
Rest assured. You are NOT alone. Most people don’t follow through on their intentions to change. (According to Forbes, only 8% of us follow through on our New Years Resolutions.)
Most of us have given up altogether, resigned to doing our best without the inspiration of heartfelt dreams.
If you’re feeling bad about giving up or being afraid to take action, I am here to reassure you; it’s not your fault.
Your powerful brain is laser focused on your survival, rather than your growth. All the good intentions in the universe don’t even come close to matching the power of the fear brakes in your brain.
As you contemplate a change, even a positive one, your brain translates your thoughts of possible negative results into certain scary death. (In brain language, “I might not succeed,” means “I am going to die!”)
When you engage in the common human practice of worry and caution, or even worse, remember and project a negative past experience into your future, your amygdala, tiny kidney-shaped chemical producers in your brain, fire up the fear troops and immediately stop your motor cortex (your action center) from allowing you to move.
“It’s as if you have your foot on the gas and on the brake at the same time. You will experience lots of internal movement and noise, with no external progress.”- John Assaraf, neuroscientist
You can’t see this chemical battle in your brain-you just feel confused, anxious, fearful, or depressed, resigned to either white-knuckling it through a change, (“feel the fear and do it anyway”) or giving up on your dreams.
There is good news though. It’s not that difficult to break through the brakes in your brain. These easy steps should do the trick:
- THINK. Why aren’t you taking action?
- Write down your real reasons for not taking action.
- Imagine, and write down how you will recover if your imagined worst case does come true. (also, remind yourself that these negative outcomes are possibilities, not guaranteed results)
As you engage your mind in this simple exercise, your amygdala will shrink back and quiet down, convinced (for now, anyway) that you will live through your desired change. Then, the highly effective motor cortex and brilliant executive functions of your brain will be freed up to move you into action and success.
I say it’s high time that we let go of our collective guilt about being human and point the finger of blame (for our inability to change) at our big, bad brains. Let’s teach them a lesson or two about the power of positive chemical warfare.
Say it, right now to your annoying fear-mongering amygdala:
You are NOT the boss of me or my brain anymore!
I’ll show you how I could survive even my worst consequence! I am not going to die from this choice, even if I fail! Now get out of my way! Stop stopping me! I will be fine! I have an important date with my deepest dreams, and I don’t want to be late!”
Go, people go.
Have a very,very happy Monday (and thank you, so much, for reading my post).