Are you aware of the hidden meaning and purpose that guides your life? As humans, we are meaning-making machines. These meanings will determine whether we experience happiness and success in our lives.
Are you aware of the hidden meaning and purpose that guides your life?
"To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour ... "
William Blake, Auguries of Innocence
As a poet, philosopher and mystic I remain fascinated by these words. As a physician, scientist and businessman the above lines spell "Danger".
As humans we are meaning making machines. In the absence of relevant data we can make all kinds of connections. Like the sound of thunder is the thunder god throwing his hammer to walking pass a black cat brings you bad luck.
The three layers of your triune brain and meaning making:
Instinctual/ Reptilian: This is the Seat of the Reticular Activating System (RAS). This part of your brain automatically makes meaning out of what happens. Most deep seated programs involving fundamental survival reside here, including programming about safety, security and money.
Limbic/Emotional: This is the part of your brain connects with your emotions. All your decisions are emotional in nature. Your emotions help you choose and make choices. It is also the seat of the amygdala. Your amygdala is part of your ‘emotional” brain that works to keep you safe. It restricts or reduces your choices so that you are "safe". Your beliefs run this area. At the best of times your beliefs limit your freedom of choice.
Neo-cortex /Thinking brain: The only part of the brain where you can make conscious choice.
Every day I meet clients who struggle with challenges in their lives because they fail to recognize the reality confronting them. Some of these processes were useful in a given context. Out of that context it became downright dangerous. These processes include;
1) Deletion: Your brain has to make sense out of thousands of stimuli per second. So after awhile it screens out the repeated back ground "details". There are also things you don't want to see or hear because they make you uncomfortable, so you screen that out as well.
As a result you don't pay attention to your loved one when they are struggling with a real problem and get shocked when they get a heart attack and drop dead.
You don't pay attention to how your client is presenting himself/herself and you miss vital clues that could help you close the sale. You kiss a thousand dollars goodbye.
2) Generalisation: You have always done it a certain way. So you conclude that is the only way.
Something happened enough times in your life with enough intensity to create a neural pathway in your brain. So you conclude that, "love hurts" because some people you were close to die or leave. You saw enough examples of unethical behaviour by rich people so you conclude "rich people are bad people"
You do not pay attention to the changes in the environment or people. You fail to recognise major changes in the environment that would invalidate that particular marketing or business approach. If you are "lucky" your business dips only 10% because you missed the trend.
If you are lucky, your wife only smiles at you sweetly (while she quietly curses) because you bought her a gift exactly like what her best friend is wearing. (You did not keep track). In the long term, these little things wear your business and your relationships down.
3) Distortion: This process is the basis for creativity. It creates great artist and poets who do creative things with their imagination like Picasso and his Cubist style of painting. On the other hand, it can also lead to major issues. One person's model of accuracy is another's model of obsessive compulsive attention to detail.
4) Projection: Whatever secret fears and anxieties you have, you deny having them. You ascribe it to the people around you. You are an anxious person but you cannot accept it. Your cab driver looks at you and asks you if everything is fine and you conclude your cab driver is anxious.
So all these processes deletion, distortion and generalization and to a lesser extent projection will determine what we allow into our world. In that sense they are filters. They end up forming our values, biases and beliefs.
On the other hand, based on those processes we will also design a future where all our biases, beliefs and values are validated. If that is so you cannot appreciably design a future that is very different from the past.
Based on these processes you design on an unconscious basis a story about yourself called the script. After a while this script is so much a part of you and so real to you that you will call it “Your Real Life Story”. The problem is that makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
All these stories, your automatic patterns of behaviour both good and bad, I will henceforth refer to as “default modes” or DMs. Why? Because when you do not think or reflect or you are in a state of arousal or depression you will revert to these default modes (DMs).
In a day after 35 years of age, you only have 5 minutes of willpower or choice. After that it's all default modes (DMs) or habits. Its great if you have good DMs or habits. If you have bad DMs or habits, you are in deep trouble.
All your goal setting and planning becomes fatally flawed if only your DMs help you design them because you no longer have any choice in the matter. You are not exercising choice because you are in DMs 99% of the time.
All of these are examples of DMs:
• You get up in the morning, brush your teeth and get ready for work.
• You are chilling out with friends.
• You get angry and frustrated when confronted by something outside your current skill sets
• When someone makes you angry and you experience amygdala hijack and storm away • You make a business decision because you are angry with a competitor
Only when you understand this, can you truly exercise choice in your default programs.
Your DM is your familiar prison. I will repeat that again. The only choice that you can meaningfully exercise is what DMs you can invoke after you have made a decision. We live in a series of psychological prisons.
What are your beliefs about success in life, health and relationships?
Have you tested these beliefs?
What are your habits based on these beliefs?
Are your habits working for you or do you experience pain and discomfort?
So the collective power of the DMs is that most people are not free to choose.
So long as you buy into what the state, religion and the financial system has to offer you unthinkingly without actively choosing, you are hooked. They in turn have a hardworking docile member of their tribe working hard and paying their dues.
If you do so in full awareness of what is happening that is choice. If you do so because you do not know any other way, it is your default mode.
You can decide to enter into a new relationship. Even how you enter into it will be a function of default programs. Once it is status quo, you will default to old patterns. If those old patterns destroyed the previous relationship, the same thing happens again.
So only true choice is that you can design and build new default programs/habits after you have awareness and clarity. Otherwise even if you hit all your goals and targets you are simply repeating the same old formula. This is the only way to have forward movement in your life. This is the secret that most programs to do not address. So even after you achieve all your goals there is a feeling of lack and inadequacy.
Ultimately your habits and default modes (DMs) determine your character. Your character determines your future trajectory and your ongoing future success.
One lucky listener that posts a review on iTunes will win a private confidential consultation and coaching with me on discovering your soul’s purpose. I will lead you on a personal journey to discover your unique mind-body psychosomatic map of your life. You will get a detailed report and a personal 45 minute consultation with me that is worth thousands.
On this podcast I’m going to help you design a life that works. So you are able to say yes to the things that matter and eliminate everything else that slows you down. The more clear you can be about how to organize your daily life to support your bigger vision, the more you’ll step into your true potential, stay on track and accomplish all that you want and deserve. Are you ready to make that happen?
Feel free to reach out to me to ask your questions at AskDrSun.com. Your life is a gift. Design it. Do what matters and join me each week as we get closer to designing the life of your dreams. I am Dr Sun. Join me next week on Your Life by Design.