Share your strengths or share your fears?

You can change the brain's hard-wiring for a completely different mindset.

You can change the brain’s hard-wiring for a completely different mindset.

Which do you share most often in everyday conversation, your strengths or your fears? Your answer will depend on your state of mind. If you are burning out, burned out or still smoldering you are most likely sharing your fears because that will be your mindset.

If you are fully engaged in life, living each day with passion and purpose, not only are you displaying your strengths you are freely sharing them. This is always the case with fully engaged humans.

If the statement “you are what you eat” is true then, moreover, you are what you think. What you think is entirely dependent on how your brain is wired. How your brain is wired is entirely dependent on what you think (with your own genetics thrown into the mix). It sounds circular. I know, so let me explain.

Richard O’Connor, author of Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addiction, and Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior, says we are constantly having a running conversation with ourselves in our heads while thinking about this or that throughout the day. This is our conscience thinking which controls about 1% of what we do.

But, 99% of what we do and how we live our lives is controlled by our unconscious thinking. Most of this control is exerted by way of habits which we repeat over and over again without even thinking about them.

If your habit is to be too self-critical, too negative or too pessimistic your brain will form new synapses which will further promote this line of thinking. Or, if you are a habitual procrastinator you will create new connections and pathways in your brain which will increase the chances of more procrastination.

These connections are not destroyed. With repetitive use (habit), they become hard-wired.

If, on the other hand, you intentionally practice positive thinking you can amass new synaptic connections and pathways which will facilitate more positive thinking. With practice this will become the natural way for you to think and act.

When it comes to computers we often hear the phrase, “garbage in, garbage out.” Fundamentally, there is no difference between the human brain and computer in this regard. Negativity in, negativity out. Positivity in, positivity out. It is no more complicated than that.

No one is born to be a negative thinker. Although, to listen to some people you might think so. Negative thinking is a learned behavior. As such, it can be unlearned and replaced with a new way of thinking. This demands forming new positive thinking habits to change ones mindset.

Norman Vincent Peale knew this very well when he wrote the book The Power of Positive Thinking. Countless other authors have espoused this notion, before and since. This is now established fact, backed by sound science.

This leads me to the profound albeit somewhat simplistic conclusion – If you want to change your thinking you’re going to have to change your thinking. Here are three ways to rewire your brain which will positively work.

  1. Start by correcting yourself out loud each time you make a negative comment or statement. Reframe the thought in a positive light. If you are in the habit of talking about downside risk, foster a habit of upside thinking instead.
  2. Exchange each negative thought for three positive ones.
  3. Avoid negative people if you can. If not, counter every negative comment from someone else with a positive one. Trade discussions of the impossible with what is possible.

Sharing your fears with someone you trust is sometimes necessary for growth. But, if this has become the daily beef about “what’s wrong” with and about everything then I would definitely consider the source – you.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Share your strengths or share your fears?

  1. I Love this post Clark!

    Yes indeed. To change your thinking you must change your thinking. Your 3 suggestions are great in that they are specific and detailed and doable.

    One that I’d add, that I started using with kids many years ago and now suggest to adults too is: When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, imagine a great big red stop sign! Seriously picture it filling up your brain. Then jump right into your first suggestion about saying out loud, a positive reframe of the negative thought.

    There’s another book you might like, if you haven’t read it yet. It’s called The Brain That Changes Itself. It’s about some of what you discussed and goes deeper into the concept of neuroplasticity.

    Enjoy your gorgeous hiking Clark!
    Warmly,
    Deborah

    • Thank you Deborah.
      I am so glad you liked this post and I appreciate your comments.
      I love the visual imagery of the STOP sign and I will have to make use of it. It is prudent advice.
      I have not heard of the book you mentioned but I will check it out.

      Ever my best to you,

      Clark

      PS: The hiking is awesome!