I spent a day with Bruce Lipton, a cell biologist and author of a best-selling book, The Biology of Belief. One of his major points regarding the function of the nervous system is that 95% of our nervous system is functioning from the unconscious aspect of it and only 5% is from our conscious brain. The only way you can change your brain and behavior is using tools that access the unconscious brain. It is also a major mismatch in that the unconscious part of your brain processes about 20-40 million pieces of information per second compared to only 40 bits per second of your conscious. (1)
How can you access your unconscious brain? One necessary step is to first develop an awareness of what is currently being embedded into it. I was staying in Half Moon Bay after our day of shooting videos and I began to notice the signs.
One of the traits required to access and alter your subconscious is repetition. I realized that much of what is presented to us is negative. If it was verbal, it would be considered nagging. We are subjected to an endless number of “You” messages and we are so used to it that probably most of us don’t notice it happening.
You might feel that even considering this topic of our environmental messaging to be a complete waste of time. Maybe it is. However, it also strikes me that most people have an ongoing voice in their heads saying, “You are not good enough.” Where did that come from?
“Not good enough”
We hold a Q&A session every Tuesday and Thursday and one theme that keeps arising is endless forms of self-critical messaging that have heard from childhood from their parents, teachers, and friends. Some people call it “setting high standards.” Unfortunately, that is not true. It is one thing to have a “vision of excellence” and take action to pursue your goals. It is another to “never be good enough.” It does drive many to “achieve”, but at what price? This same energy that took you to the top of the hill is what often takes you down the other side. This voice is so deeply programmed that there is not an easy way to turn it off.
Then the marketing world does its best to continue to feed us this message and then presents us “solutions” to improve our appearance, clothing, body, athletic skills, etc. It is impossible to comprehend the effects of this ongoing messaging. Then look at these signs. I am walking on a beautiful beach walkway and these “you messaging” signs are everywhere. I gave up taking pictures.
Additionally, it really doesn’t work to change behavior. We become immune. We all know better than to litter. We don’t need signs to remind us. Even the threat of a fine doesn’t really stop people from doing it. The people who don’t litter don’t do it because they have some level of consideration for property that belongs to all of us – the view. The ones who will litter, will do it anyway. Guess what I found on the pathway right below “clean up after your dog” sign? Threats and punishment create only short-term behavioral changes. We know that children become desensitized to the word, “No” and continue to act out. They also understand they have captured the adult’s attention and they are the ones with the power.
Step back and look around you. We are surrounded with negative messages from every direction. Be assured that they are having an effect on you. “I am not OK the way I am right now.” “You can’t be trusted to do the right thing.” Do you have to hear what to do about suspicious objects every 15 minutes on the airport loudspeaker?
I am not going to spend a lot of energy on the reasons why this is happening. None of us have a say in how our society continues to assault us with these messages. We can’t change our past regarding the way your parents, teachers, coaches, or bosses “motivated” you with endless criticism. But what about this moment forward. What messages are you choosing to program your brain with? What do you read? What movies do you watch? What about your ongoing self-critical input with your own mind? Are your critical of your spouse, partner, or children? What are they hearing from you?
The other point that Bruce Lipton made was that in order to access your subconscious, it requires repetition. It is clear that the negative input for most of us far exceeds the positive. But you have a choice and you can choose to input you whatever you would like. Positive outlook and vision is a different energy than positive thinking. No one is asking you to be happy about something that is unpleasant. If something is bad, it is bad. But when you are not in a crisis and have a choice, why not choose something enlightening and fulfilling. It will eventually become a habit, and your brain physically changes structure.
Then a little later that weekend, my wife and I were riding our bikes past a small shop that exuded much different feeling.
I don’t have a solution today for this problem. We are exposed to incessant negative messaging from the time we develop consciousness. But there are effective means of dealing with it. They begin with awareness. Once you become aware of the nature of what your brain is being bombarded with, you can observe your body’s response. Now you have choices. One of them is to use strategies that train your brain to focus in a different direction and calm your neurochemical reactions. This is a different process than positive thinking. It is creating your vision.
More importantly is to understand the effects of what you are choosing to upload into your computer (brain). If your brain is stuck on negativity, you’ll continue to reinforce it. Once you change the way you look at and process information, you’ll be able to stimulate your brain to physically develop in the direction of your choice (neuroplasticity).
- Lipton, Bruce. The Biology of Belief. Hay House, 2016 – 10th anniversary edition.