I recently recalled a conversation I had with my 10-year old niece, and the blog post where I wrote about it titled, “You are What You Think You Are”. I am a big believer in the power of our mind and our mindset as a primary factor in the experiences and results we have in our lives yet it was not until I recently read a book by John Assaraf and Murray Smith called The Answer that I came to understand the brain-science behind why we literally become and experience exactly what we believe.
The book explains that our brain, in fact, filters the information we receive based on our self-talk and our beliefs. Our brains actually have the capacity to take in billions of pieces of data but, because we cannot process all that information consciously, our Reticular Activating System, (which is the network of nerve pathways at the base of our brain connecting the spinal cord, and various other parts of our brain) filters what comes into our conscious mind versus what does not.
How does the Reticular Activating System (RAS) sort the information that you become aware of? It looks for pieces of data that match the information patterns already established in your brain. Therefore, you are only likely to become aware of those things that are familiar to you. This is why a mother can distinguish her screaming child amongst a room full of screaming children; it is a sound that is familiar to her. And, because our brains are so flexible, we can actually reprogram our RAS so that we begin to recognize and see new and different things.
How you can begin to do this is to reprogram the self-talk and old habitual recordings that play in your head. Using affirmations (such as: “I am an inspiring and powerful leader” or “I have a fulfilling and motivating career”) to change your beliefs will literally change the information that is filtered to your conscious mind via your RAS. And that will change the course of actions you are propelled to take. Your actions typically result from that which you think and feel so that shift in those thoughts will change your course of action and change what you experience.
I regularly use affirmations with clients, to help them improve their own leadership practices, and I use them personally, to improve my own life. Before I had the brain-science information from Assaraf’s and Smith’s book, I had the personal experience as proof. Affirmations and reprogramming the soundtrack playing in your head will literally change what you experience in your life. Change your beliefs and you can change anything in your life.
I encourage all the leaders I coach to use this information as a way to improve their leadership skills, style and the success of themselves and their teams. I encourage you to do the same.
The book is: The Answer by John Assaraf and Murray Smith.