It’s ironic that the brain is such an extraordinary mechanism and yet often it’s the brain, or more so the way we think with the brain, that holds many people back from reaching their potential.
The brain often produces thoughts about itself that aren’t true, including the thought that it isn’t so smart or that it doesn’t have the capacity to change – “I am the way that I am and have to accept and adapt to the world the way it is.”
Or it might make judgements that don’t serve us - "I'm not good enough," or "I lack confidence."
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It starts at a very young age. I (Rex) remember believing that the kids that were really smart at school understood everything we were taught straight away. And I knew that I didn't understand everything straight away, and that the things I did get straight away just weren't important, so therefore I decided that I wasn’t smart. I even concluded that study was a waste of time because I didn’t see the point.
It’s not an ideal way to start life although this is an example common to many. If it’s left unchallenged it limits you and impacts other areas of life such as confidence, self esteem, and even your belief that you can’t have the same choices and opportunities that others do because you ‘aren’t smart enough.’
You might write off any ideas you could have had about being a doctor, an engineer, or a lawyer, or even to be successful in business in general. Only smart people can do that or have successful results.
And even if you do harbour ideas of going into business and you take action on those, you can still be hijacked by a brain with a fixed view of the world.
The Variable IQ
Part of this idea that we can’t change ourselves stems from an outdated understanding about the IQ or Intelligence Quotient. In particular, the notion that the IQ is fixed and that once you reach a certain age, that’s as good as it gets.
In reality that's not true. Our intelligence grows in response to exposure of different environments and new ideas. Our brain is actually neuroplastic, which basically means that the network of neurons in the brain can grow, change and shift depending on the stimulation we give it and the environment we put it in.
Norman Doidge M.D. wrote about this in his book, The Brain That Changes Itself (see link below).
A Burden in Business
So in business, a brain that doesn’t think it can change can end up in a self-fulfilling loop.
An idea that ‘I’m always busy, I’m always short of time’ can deliver results that support that, to the point that you don’t have time for leisure, for family, for self-care or for holidays.
A brain that has difficulty trusting others to get the job done can become insistent that, “I have to do it myself otherwise it won’t get done properly.”
And while you might push hard to change the outside environment to change the situation, the real truth is that the outer situation won’t change until you change the inner situation, the very thoughts that create the results.
So while you might go into business with hopes of creating freedom, the same brain that inspired the idea, can also thwart the idea with its own limited ways of thinking.
There is Hope
However there is a way out. Just being open to the idea that the brain can change gives you an opportunity to challenge those ways of thinking that are leading to frustration and disappointment.
Because the brain is smarter than you think. This is part of what makes humans unique. Our ability to self reflect and self-improve.
So your ability to reflect and to analyse, to listen to your own self-talk, puts you in the driver’s seat in the journey of life.
Through learning, through repetition, through self-enquiry and self-reflection, you can change the world simply by changing the way you see the world. Literally.
That’s how smart your brain really is. It can recognise when it’s not working at its best and put strategies in place to help fix that. Different thoughts like these create different neural pathways, especially if they are repeated.
As soon as you understand and take action on that, then everything changes, even if the current circumstance is somehow restricted or struggling.
Possibilities start to open up when the door of the mind is open to different options. Even just holding the idea of different possibilities creates new opportunities because now the brain is more receptive to seeing them.
“You’ll see it when you believe it,” as the late Dr Wayne Dyer often said.
Be The Change You Want To See In Your World
Gandhi is famous for the quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If you take that to the next level and recognise that the brain is smarter than you think it might be, you can be the change you want to see in your world.
Given the right juice, the right thoughts, the right beliefs and the right questions, the brain can become a creative tool, working in your favour, rather than just a tool that processes what’s going on in the outside world.
A typical experience might be for someone to start their business with some expertise that they want to be rewarded for, usually with a combination of time and money and the freedom to enjoy them. The experience is usually different to the dream. Even if the money does turn up, the time often doesn’t come with it and the business ends up being a burden.
What’s missing from this experience is the need for the business owner to step out from the identity of the expert and into a new identity of being a leader. The brain needs to think differently. It needs to change so it can see the world through a different lens.
So a new world is possible. Literally.
We’ve seen it happen time and time again with clients who come to us with their stories of frustration and drama – "I just don't know, I can't seem to get ahead," “I can't seem to balance my life," "I don't seem to have time," "I'm tired and exhausted," "I haven't had a holiday for five years..." – ease their way out of these situations by adopting a new way of viewing the world and their role in it.
It’s inspiring to see them be able to take great holidays, to have more time and increase the inward flow of money.
A change of thinking leads to a change of experience because you turn up differently into your business, into your life and, all of a sudden, you're interacting in a new way with the world, so the world can interact differently for you.
So a novice in any area, let's say golf or sport, can make it look very hard. Make it look very awkward, gangly. And then you look at a masterful person in that field, they can make it look so incredibly easy and fluid and comfortable. And the ball always seems to go to the right place. It takes belief and practise to get to that excellence, and everybody's capable of it.
So what vision would take you where you need to be if you opened up possibilities? What's possible for you in your business and your life? Because your brain is ready to make that happen with you. Given the right directions, it actually starts to get smarter and find opportunities that you haven't thought about itself, automatically.
The brain really is smarter than you think, and gets even smarter with ‘exercise’, so if you want to transform your outer world, the best place to start, the only place to start, is with your inner world. That’s what all the smart people do :-).
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