Kate was sitting with a friend looking through a fashion magazine, when she came across a beautiful sapphire ring and exclaimed, “I love this ring.”
Her friend, Sophie said, “No you don’t. You only like it because your favorite color is blue.”
Kate replied, “No, that’s not true. I love it.”
Sophie flicked the page back one, “Look, here is the exact same ring but with a green stone. You didn’t even see it.”
She was right. She had looked at that page and never even saw the ring.
She couldn’t believe it! But then a memory hit Kate like cold water in the face. Last week, she’d gone into a clothes store with a long sales rack. That rack had been so jammed with clothes you could barely see what was there.
Still she had seen a small triangle of blue jutting out. In all that mess, she had spotted the only blue outfit and gone straight to it.
Kate decided to change her favorite color to pink. A color she thought only little girls should wear. It was at the top of her don’t like at all list.
“Pink is the best color ever”, she said out loud and decided to believe it 100%. Kate went to work and remembered all the pinks she seen and actually liked (this is an important part of the process).
A memory popped into her mind – a gorgeous fuchsia dress a woman was wearing at a party. That event had happened years ago, but the brain thought it was important so stored it. I mean who doesn’t want a dress that looks fantastic. She was surprised she liked the dress even though it was pink.
There had been other times she enjoyed seeing something pink. She spent some time collecting pink stories the way the Australian Bower bird collects blue objects to line its nest. It took about 10-15 minutes. In short, she gathered a whole stack of evidence to support her new belief that pink was the best color in the world.
Evidence plus belief is a very powerful combination. The mind believes what you tell it. Kate had effectively set her brain’s Reticular Activating System (RAS) for pink. Or in another words, set her filter for pink.
And it worked! Everywhere she went the next day she saw pink.
The pink backpack someone had on the bus. That lush salmon hoodie on the woman running by. The sun grazing the clouds with the softest hue as it sunk below the earth. The delicate bloom on the cheeks of a newborn met in a pram on the pavement. Kate couldn’t believe it!
But it was true. She kept seeing pink everywhere.
The brain cannot store all the information it is bombarded with throughout the day. A big function of the brain is to keep you safe. Therefore, it uses the Reticular Activating System to decide what to store. Knowingly or unknowingly, you decide what is important. If you want more information on the Reticular Activating System here is a Youtube clip.
It’s your job to harness your brain’s power and use it for your best interests. Your ideas are decisions about how you want to see the world. So, choose what’s important for you and how you want to be.
Your Filter and Biofeedback
Kate decided to set her filter for, ‘generally people are friendly and helpful’. Now, she didn’t really believe this. All her memories were of people cutting her off in traffic, being inconsiderate in shops, being ignored at dinner parties.
She told her brain to focus on it for the next 7 days. She thought about watching for both, the rude and nice. But then decided against it. To give the new belief a chance she needed to believe it wholeheartedly. Anyway, at the end of the week so could go back to the old one if it didn’t work.
She imagined what a day would be like with lovely people. She smiled. Just thinking about it made her happy. Her shoulders relaxed with the imagined good intent coming towards her from the world. (future planning what it will be like is important – keep reading to see why)
She left the house and saw a car across her driveway, blocking her car in. She started to get angry but then remembered her new resolve, ‘generally people are friendly and helpful’.
She went over to hi and said, “I really need to get my car out. I’ll be gone for about 4 hours. So you can use my drive way, then you won’t get a ticket from the parking officer. But I’ll need it to be free by lunch.”
He looked at her with gratitude, “That would be awesome. I’ll be gone by the time you get back. Sorry, I’ve had a terrible day and shouldn’t have done it. Parking in this part of town is a nightmare. I’ve been going around and around the block.”
It made her feel amazing. That was a very nice exchange. And to think it could have easily been an argument. And if she had had the argument it would have taken a while to get over it and would have dragged that toxic energy around with her for a while.
By the end of the week Kate felt amazing. She’d had a wonderful time. She’d joked with the butcher (and maybe even flirted a little) and met an elderly lady in a cafe who recommended some great spots in Italy to go to on her next holiday. There had been a lot of friendly exchanges and her meetings had all gone smoothly.
Have you read How I Changed my Friendship Circle with this Radical Move? Feedback has been great and it’s very helpful.
She thought about how she could have decided to watch for both. She knew if she had done that she still would have got the evidence that people are lovely but it would have taken longer. The mind would have been wrestling with both ideas and trying to decide rather than believing the belief.
The more evidence you accumulate, the more powerful you make the new belief. When it becomes your default setting then you operate at a higher level. It is a way to move towards love and it’s a better way of being and doing in the world.
To be successful in life and live the way you want then you need to have as many good beliefs as possible. Good beliefs are ones that serve you and help you live in a positive, loving and powerful way. Bad beliefs trip you up and sabotage your best efforts. They limit your thinking, actions and potential. Working with the neuroscience of the brain and the RAS is key to making these changes.
Now, Kate also knew the world was not static. Biofeedback operates all the time. She knew that smiling and trusting the world helped created that reality. Her open energy/vibe or the first impression she gave out relaxed people and brought the best out in them. Future planning all this good energy and believing it would happen, made her act in a different way, and that helped create that reality.
She also knew that some people were still awful and rude. But focusing on naysayers left her disgruntled and mind-chewing over slights. She wanted to focus on the beautiful interactions and put them down as memories. She had become the ruler of her inner world. And that world was nice, warm and cozy.
And now it’s your turn!
I had a lot of fun doing this one. Decide to change your favorite color to another one. Start with this because I want you to see how powerful your Reticular Activation System is. Do this for a few days. Make sure you wholeheartedly believe your new color is your absolute favorite. You are changing your belief.
Spend time collecting memories for this new belief. Let’s say 10 minutes or so. Remember, belief plus evidence is the key. The mind believes what you tell it.
Deeper Work On The Reticular Activating System (RAS)
Now, if you are in a hurry to make progress do this one at the same time. Think about an issue that bugs you. A way you see the world that drags you down. Some ideas for you….
- You get easily upset by other’s behavior in the office and then gossip about it.
- You think most people are condescending to you.
- You believe that politics is the best way to get ahead at work.
- You believe your extended family’s advice about your life is disrespectful and unhelpful.
What would be a better way to think about it? Choose a positive mindset. Here are some examples.
- People can be weird sometimes. But their stuff has nothing to do with me. I’m going to have a wonderful day regardless. I much prefer talking about my weekend plans.
- Generally people are interested in what I have to say and respect my point of view.
- I love working as a team and bringing the best out in others.
- My family has very different ideas about how to live life. They just want me to be safe and happy.
Collect memories and evidence. If you have no memories of your own, think about a friend or colleague who is successful in this area. Think about their evidence. Particular instances you can remember. If it works for them, it will surely work for you. However, I guarantee that 99.7% of you will have memories lurking around in there to support ANY belief you choose. Spend some time collecting evidence for this belief.
Give yourself a time frame to do it and go hard. 7 days let’s say.
Decide to believe it 100%.
Final Note – Also, make sure you use your common sense. Trying to change, for example, an abusive boss, with your positive behavior may change the interactions slightly. But you can’t ultimately change who they are. This task is about changing your world and how you operate in it.
Have fun with this one. Make your day better and ultimately those around you.