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  • Writer's pictureDarren Timms

''We become what we focus on!''




 It is imperative to understand what happens when we experience genuine hardship at a psychological level. The human brain evolved over millions of years to keep us safe. Hence, when a severe or perceived serious threat to existence arises, the brain will access the necessary resources to secure its survival.


 The mind was not designed to make you happy but to keep you alive. Therefore, it continually assesses what could hurt you as an essential survival strategy.


 When significant distress occurs, the physical and emotional response mechanisms remind us with enormous clarity that experiencing that again would assure considerable suffering. And every species on the planet is hardwired to move quickly away from anguish and uncomfortable feelings to feel safe.


 We may have moved far from our stone-age ancestors regarding safety, opportunity, and comfort. Still, our brains have not gotten the memo. People are hardwired to react when faced with hardship and adversity, perceived or actual. 


 It’s clear then that you can take the person out of the Stone Age, but you can’t take the Stone Age out of the person. 


 Evolutionary psychologists acknowledge that while people are biologically primed to react to immediate threats, individual responses vary due to genetic and cultural backgrounds, personal experiences, and interpretations. 


 That is excellent news because we can learn, apply, and cement new ideas and behaviours that allow us to control our destiny instead of being driven entirely by impulses beyond our reach.


We can change anything we put our minds to with awareness, consistency, and repetition. 


 Simply put, you will get more of anything you repetitively focus on, including what you don’t want. Because where energy flows, attention grows. And where attention flows, reality grows. 


 Hence, focus only on what you want. The favorable outcome. Then be as specific as possible while continually holding that vision in your mind until the subconscious realizes what you have chosen to manifest is damn important. 


Our thoughts are like magnets. They draw the things that we obsess about towards us. That’s why your obsessions become your possessions, and your frequency is what you frequently see.


We literally attract into our lives what we think about the most! Including, once again, what we don’t want!


 Hence, if your life appears full of things you don’t want to experience, then the law of attraction and vibration states that you are bringing those things to you through focus and attention.


While some may attribute this to the "law of attraction," I prefer the term "law of resonance," as it better encapsulates the idea that we resonate with and draw in experiences that match our energetic frequency.


However, I understand that not everyone resonates with these concepts, and that's perfectly okay. Regardless of belief systems, it's essential to recognize our power in shaping our lives through our choices and actions.


Each decision we make and every consequence that follows contributes to the overall quality of our lives.


Moreover, there's a correlation between our energy levels, mood, and the choices we make. When we're in a positive state of mind, our decision-making tends to align more with our long-term goals and values.


Therefore, maintaining high energy and mood can lead to better choices and consequences.

 The most successful people I know, defined by those who move confidently towards their desires and find genuine fulfilment in their journey, possess a remarkable trait: self-awareness.


They actively engage in mindfulness, recognizing the power of their thoughts, and can transform their beliefs and behaviours to attract what truly serves them.


Each day, our minds are filled with around 75,000 thoughts, all competing for our attention.


 Notably, a staggering 90% of these thoughts are simply repetitions of what we thought about the previous day and the day before. This means that we can feel stuck in a pattern of repetitive thinking and wonder why our lives seem to be in a loop.


It's easy to fall into this trap of monotony, where our thoughts become predictable, and we continue living our lives in the same old ways. However, the intriguing part is that the remaining 10% of our daily thoughts hold the key to significant change.


Within that 10% lies the extraordinary potential to transform our lives, dreams, and aspirations into reality.


Think about it: a mere 10% shift in our thinking can lead to profound outcomes. We can introduce new perspectives, explore innovative ideas, and embrace previously overlooked opportunities by harnessing that fraction of difference.


It empowers us to break free from the mundane, shatter limiting beliefs, and make room for growth and self-improvement.


This 10% realm is where the magic happens. It's the threshold where we step out of our comfort zone, challenge ourselves, and take calculated risks. It's the space where innovation is born, creativity flourishes, and where our dreams can finally take flight.


Embracing that 10% means daring to be bold, seeking new adventures, and pursuing the life we desire.


Be clear: We don't perceive things as they are; instead, we see things as reflections of ourselves. Our thoughts hold the power to shape our reality, making that crucial 10% difference.


Perception is not reality. It is how we interpret and understand the world based on our mental filters.


Reality is the objective truth that exists independently of our perception. However, we often confuse the two and assume that what we perceive is what is real. This can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and missed opportunities.


Our perception is shaped by our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, which are influenced by many factors, such as our past experiences, knowledge, expectations, biases, and motivations.


These factors create distortions in our perception that prevent us from seeing things as they are.


For example, if we have a negative self-image, we perceive ourselves as unworthy or incapable of achieving our goals. If we have a positive attitude, we perceive challenges as opportunities to grow and gain the ability to spot the opportunities needed to achieve them.


We become attuned to conversations and possibilities that would have gone unnoticed otherwise.


The strength of our thoughts can either serve us or become like viruses, hindering our growth and potential. Just like a computer with a virus slows down and malfunctions, our minds can suffer if we allow flawed thinking to take hold.


We must be mindful of our thoughts to avoid such pitfalls and ensure they work in our favour.

Controlling our mindset requires understanding the brain's mechanism for filtering and processing information.


By using suitable filters for success, we take charge of our thoughts instead of letting them control us.

 

 THE RETICULAR ACTIVATING SYSTEM: YOUR BRAIN’S SPECIAL FILTER.

 

 

In my first book, ‘’The Journey Back to Self,’’ I introduced you to the Reticular Activating System, the filter through which we see the entire world!


 The RAS, or Reticular Activating System, is like the VIP bouncer for your brain. It acts as a filter, deciding what information is important enough to let in and what can be ignored. Imagine that your brain is a nightclub that can only accommodate a limited number of guests.


 The RAS is the bouncer who stands at the door and checks the IDs of the people who want to enter.


 The RAS has a list of criteria that determines who gets in and who gets rejected.  The requirements for entry are based on what you continually focus on and believe to be true.


 It helps you stay focused and alert by allowing only the most important stimuli to reach your conscious mind. Think of it as your brain's personal hype-man, which holds in your awareness that you deem essential.


 It's the reason you can sleep through the noise of a passing truck but wake up instantly to your alarm clock.


The RAS is all about prioritizing what's important to you, and sometimes, that can mean focusing on things that might not be so great for you in the long run. It's like that friend who knows what to say to get you pumped up, even if it's not the best idea at that moment.


For example, if you have a solid emotional attachment to something, even if it's destructive or unhealthy, the RAS will work to keep that front and centre in your mind.


The RAS always keeps your brain focused on what's important to you, for better or worse, which, as you can now see, is very much a double-edged sword.


Have you ever wondered why you don’t feel the blood pumping through your veins? Or why are you seldom conscious of your breathing? If we experienced all the stimuli in the world, we would go mad!


 That’s why we have the reticular activating system, which allows us to filter our thoughts and senses so that we only consciously think about the things that are important to us. 


 If something is important to you, the reticular activating system reveals it through vision, sound, touch, or conscious thought. 


 Say, for example, you decide to buy a black Jeep. Suddenly, you notice black Jeeps everywhere on the road around you! You had not seen them previously, but now you can’t “unsee” them, even when three lanes away! This is because the information that Black Jeeps exist is important to you now! 


 What does that mean for controlling your thoughts? It means that you can control what your mind thinks about! You can make your dreams become the Jeeps of life — the things your mind pays attention to daily. 


 With purpose, we can program our brains to pay attention to the things we want in life. By repeatedly thinking about and visualizing our goals, we help make them MATERIALIZE in our lives! 


However, it's important to note that for someone stuck in a rut of depression and anxious thinking, making changes can be a significant challenge. Depression and anxiety are real for many, making it difficult to focus on anything other than negative thoughts and emotions, making it challenging to imagine a positive future or set achievable goals.


In such cases, it is crucial to seek professional help from a therapist, mentor, experienced coach or mental health professional who can provide support and guidance.


This can help individuals develop coping mechanisms to manage their symptoms, learn new ways of thinking and problem-solving, and set realistic, achievable goals in the context of their mental health challenges.


It's also important to recognize that overcoming depression and anxiety requires effort and commitment.


This involves making significant lifestyle changes, such as incorporating regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and sleep hygiene into one's routine and developing a support network of friends and family.


Ultimately, while it may require significant effort and support to overcome depression and despair, it is possible to make positive changes and achieve one's goals. Seeking help, developing healthy habits, and cultivating a positive mindset will contribute to a more fulfilling life.


That said, consider and decide what thoughts move you toward the version of yourself you wish to become. Write those thoughts down, and repeat them daily as often as possible in your head.


As an illustration, when faced with the challenge of public speaking, I used positive affirmations to enhance my self-assurance and alleviate worries. I meticulously crafted statements such as "


I possess the confidence and proficiency to deliver impactful speeches. My thoughts and perspectives are of great value to my audience, and Speaking before an audience is an enjoyable experience for me.


I repeated these statements to myself every morning before my speech and every night before bed. I also visualized myself delivering a successful speech and receiving positive feedback from my listeners.


After doing this for a few weeks, I felt calmer and more confident when speaking in public, and I received more compliments and appreciation for my presentations.


Some general examples of positive affirmations that you can use or modify are:


I am worthy of love and respect.

I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to.

I am grateful for all the opportunities and blessings in my life.

I am optimistic and hopeful about the future.

I am proud of myself and my accomplishments.


The brain and the RAS do not negotiate or bargain with you. They are faithful servants who follow your instructions. Hence, that double-edged sword has to be managed skillfully.


Suppose I spend most of my time focusing on things that stress, upset, or initiate adverse emotional reactions. 


 What do you think will be the outcome? How will the RAS serve me? Favourably or not? It’s rhetorical, of course. 


 Very unfavourably. Suppose I repeatedly focus on anything, including repetitive thoughts. In that case, it means it’s important to me, and the RAS, being the willing genie it is, will keep reminding me to focus on the things that do not serve me. That could include stories from my troubled past that keep me stuck.


We may not realize it, but many of us are habitually addicted to the stories we hold on to. We use these stories to justify why we are like we are and to define who we are. We feel lost and empty without these stories and the emotions they create.


For instance, I used to identify myself as "the PTSD guy." I was the person who had witnessed terrible things in my past, and I believed that letting go of those memories would mean losing a part of myself.


Another example is the woman whose husband cheated on her. She repeatedly played that story in her mind, which filled her with righteous anger and sadness. As a result, she never trusted men again, and therefore, her RAS ensured that men meant trouble and she kept her distance.


It's intriguing how many of us find ourselves unknowingly tethered to the narratives we've embraced throughout our lives. These stories not only justify our current state but also shape our very sense of self. Stripping away these narratives can leave us feeling adrift and empty, not because we choose it, but because familiarity often keeps us stuck in these well-worn patterns.


This attachment can manifest in various aspects of our lives, such as our relationships, routines, environments, and possessions.


To be continued and explained further in the chapter called ''The RAS, the brains bouncer'' from my soon-to-be-released 2nd book- ''Choices & Consequences'' - A Blueprint For Mind Mastery.

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