You may be thinking, “Of course my reality is real, I’m looking right at it; seeing is believing.” Well, I know that’s the only part we’ve been generally taught. Yet, behind this is a deeper truth; believing is seeing. This is the essence of perception—we “see” what we believe. “How” we focus matters. We find what our brain perceives to be true often based upon past conclusions drawn, accurate or not. What we focus on expands. Neuroscience evidence supports this concept now.
“Reality is an Illusion; albeit a very persistent one” ~Albert Einstein
Einstein had it correct, and it is persistent for the reasons you will see as you read on.
By the time we see our “reality” in the physical 3D, we have undergone a process within our brain and nervous system that we are generally oblivious to. While what you see before your eyes is real in the physical sense, the interpretation of the situation or circumstance is quite subjective and changeable. You see, the meaning, the ‘story’ that you assign to the situation, relationship or circumstance is not objective. Even more to the point, the story or meaning that you tell yourself about what is going on around you will cause you to take actions that lead to your behaviors over time and eventually will become an unconscious habit. This ultimately determines the outcomes of your life.
These habitual behaviors are so automatic that they will blindside you before you even realize what hit you. It’s not that they are ‘good or bad.’ They are just patterns that you are likely to have unwittingly “programmed” into you own brain. You see, the metaphor of the “quantum computer” is a good one for our brain. We really don’t understand the intricacies of how it all operates and frankly, most people do not even realize there is an “operating system” to their brain in the first place. It is a system that they have no clue as to how to access or self-manage. So what does this look like in everyday life?
So here’s an example. John is a VP of marketing and he has a goal of becoming a Senior VP within his division within the next 18-24 months. While this is what he writes down on paper in his notebooks, he struggles with feeling confident during leadership team meetings with his ‘boss.’ He expects the worst and he focuses on what he doesn’t want instead of what he does want. This only makes the brain more prone to zeroing in on repeating his own self-sabotaging behavior—very persistently. Because he is a perfectionist, though he would not call himself this, he is overly concerned with being right, over prepares with irrelevant minutia and has trouble completing his responsibilities on time due to over micromanaging. Yet, he fails to effectively coordinate following up on his team member’s assignments that his is overseeing.
One habit he has is focusing on what is wrong in a situation and ignoring what has gone well. So, of course, he doesn’t tend to acknowledge his team for a job well done either, which damages morale. While being a worrier may have motivated him in college, life has become so much more complex that now, he can’t even sleep at night due to a busy overactive brain. This of course creates stressful feelings of dread, anxiety and distracts his energy, vitality and concentration. It’s pretty hard to make good decisions and organize your work if you lack clarity. This causes him more anxiety, more worry and more distraction—a vicious cycle, which keeps him up at night. It makes him show up as scattered, lacking confidence and not exactly the most productive member on the team. So how is his brain reacting to all of this?