YOU ARE MAKING IT UP!
Whatever we think is going on, it’s just what we think of it, it is not the real thing. That is our interpretation of how we see things. Your world is quite different than everybody else’s. Even if the Internet and its tools allow us now to see maps in real time, with landscapes and buildings, it is never like being there for real and if we are there for real, we never really get the full extent and all the details of the location where we are. Even if you can make a mental picture of an apple, there is no apple in your head, it is not a real apple, it is only a picture of an apple. There is so much information thrown at us every second that we filter it and remember only a portion and make an idea for ourselves of what this place looks like. The way we represent the world refers to reality. It isn’t reality itself. We don’t respond to reality. We respond to our internalized map of reality. Interpretations may or may not be accurate. Our understanding of the world is based on our own experience and how we represent it.
Here is an easy way to represent this concept. Pretend that someone who is afraid of snakes sees a snake on the garden path. Their heart starts to beat faster, they start to sweat, the adrenaline goes up, the fear grows and their inner-self goes mad. Now, just as they are about to run as fast as they can in the opposite direction, they realize that it’s a garden hose and suddenly feel completely better. In their model of reality, because they are afraid of snakes, their reality created a series of behaviours and they acted as if it was true. Your unconscious mind doesn’t know reality. It only knows what you make of it.
We are all different. Some of us think in visual images. Some like sounds and words. Some are primarily aware of body sensations. When we map our world, we delete and restore information we receive through our senses. Then, when something happens to us, we quickly classify the experience based on our pre-conceived idea on the subject. We distort everything to make it fit our reality. We tell ourselves a modified story of what happened. A story from which we have deleted, restored and generalized information.
Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom
Let’s say for example you have a belief that the whole world is against you. Whenever you see people that are there to help, you will delete them quickly and not pay attention to their offers to help you. You will distort people’s comments to make them sound like they are out to get you, and you will generalize the one time that it happened, pretending that this is ALWAYS like this and make your belief true. We all have beliefs. The more we challenge them, the more we can see changes and transform our beliefs into more useful and resourceful ones.
Let’s say you think you are fat. When someone gives you a compliment and tells you: “Wow, you look great in this top”, you complete the sentence in your head with “Yeah, she probably thinks that I am fat and she is trying to make me feel better”. You have ignored the compliment, you have distorted it to fit your “fat- reality” and you are now generalizing it and everything you hear is always about your weight.
In a seminar recently, I pointed at one of my participant’s shirt – she was wearing a championship’s slow-pitch jersey – and was about to ask, “Are you still playing slow-pitch?” and she interrupted my sentence. I only had time to say: “Are you still…..” and she said: “Pregnant? No I am just fat.” Interesting how her own model of reality made her think that I would even say something like that. I was just asking her if she still played baseball!
Now what if it did happen to you for real that someone once told you that you were fat. That memory might be quite distorted. Maybe they said it just like that, or maybe they said, you are not at your best in these pants and you took it like an abrupt you’re fat comment. You only get affected if you believe that fits you. Change your belief and it won’t affect you anymore. Instead, that kind of comment reinforces the belief and limits you. Then it is not long before all you can hear are comments about your weight even when they have nothing to do with it.
When we look at the same things with different perspective, the more detailed our map is, the more freedom and flexibility we get. We also have to make sure our map is up to date and do a reality check from time to time.
Sometimes we imagine constraints and barriers that do not exist. We try something that did not work before and keep doing the same thing. If nothing changes, nothing changes. There is a popular definition of insanity and it’s to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. What that really means for me is that we keep trying to change our behaviours when what we need to change is our beliefs. It is not about who is right and who is wrong and it is not about what is true either. What people say they do and think they do is often far from what they actually do.
Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.
If we are operating within our model of reality, then we are always right. Our mental map limits what we’re capable of, more often than external reality limits us. If we have obstacles in our head, they are worse than the external reality. The chocolate cake doesn’t walk out of the fridge and into your mouth. There’s always going to be an excuse, and it’s our brain and mental map that creates the excuse.
In your model of reality, whatever works for you will show up. Let’s say you have never noticed the brands of cars that were driving by you every day on your way to work. All of a sudden, as you are shopping for a BMW X1, they start popping out everywhere. You start seeing them all the time, everywhere! Do you always happen to notice your own car – or similar – when you drive by your “twin”? Once well programmed, trust your own model of reality to tell you what to do with everything that you see and that is stored inside you. Put your model of reality to service and change that model of reality to better suit your desires. If you live in a model that says that you are thin and healthy, you will suddenly start noticing the opportunities to stay fit (instead of finding excuses). You will be attracted to the healthy items on the menu and not even notice that they were giving out free cake that day. Allow your unconscious mind to do the necessary tweaking that will serve you even better. In order to do that, we need to work with the neurological levels of the mind.
You can read more in my No.1 Best Seller book THINK Yourself THIN.