In my experience, while there are many things you can do to succeed, there is one true key to growth that then affects everything else. Can it really be that simple? The concept yes, the implementation however will take time and work.
The Key I am speaking about is personal transformation. What that means to me, is that you do whatever it takes to optimize your body, mind and soul to meet your goals. If you don’t have a skill, you need to learn it. If you don’t have information, you need to find it. If you don’t have a plan, you need to create one. If you have people you need to forgive, you need to forgive yourself. If you have hurts from your past that are affecting your present and future, you need to take action so they don’t hold you back any more. If your body is working one way and your mind another, you need to understand how & why, so it doesn’t defeat you and make incorrect beliefs about yourself that create actions you don’t want.
The first step is doing your own personal work, in whatever form that takes and everything else that follows will be easier to vision, correct, act on, achieve, appreciate, value etc.,
I realize this sounds like a big concept, but lets start with one small piece, a small tool that can help you transform yourself. Let’s look at willpower, what we can make it mean about ourselves when it works and when it doesn’t, to learn why and how we can adjust it with just a few pieces of information.
Our body / system is always working behind the scenes to assess danger. Depending on our life experiences to date, we are always assessing fight, flight or freeze and either moving through them and onto safety or staying within this cycle. If your body is in this cycle, willpower is almost impossible as your system has little resource left because it is using all of its resources trying to survive. When your body is in survival mode internally, the idea of willpower doesn’t register at all but it may in fact trigger the feeling of lack, not being safe and in fact increase the need to survive. These feelings of fear will then trigger whatever you use to bind your anxiety – drugs, alcohol, food etc., Thus the perfect Catch 22 – where you in turn will further judge yourself, perhaps beat yourself up and ultimately remain in the same cycle of behaviour. But because you were not aware of what was happening inside, you decided that you had no willpower, couldn’t do this, wouldn’t be able to change etc., These thoughts and beliefs about yourself will then shape every thought and action that follows.
Ok so now with a basic understanding of how not knowing what is happening internally can affect our beliefs of ourselves and what we are capable of, how do we address this in alignment with personal transformation? Lets review three things we have learned in other posts and see how combined, they can help you right now.
- We’ve already learned that being curious activates a different part of our brain, that reduces the fear response.
- What you may have just recently learned how meditation strengthens the connection between the insula (the empathy part of your brain) and the DMPFC (dorso medial prefrontal cortex) which is the part of your brain that perceives others & situations as safe etc.,
- This same part of your brain, gets activated by gratitude and gratitude turns off the messages of fear, flight & fight response in your system.
So knowing these three things, take 60 seconds . The first 20 seconds to quiet yourself to allow the connection between the Insula & DMPFC to strengthen & open the door for a change in perception and empathy for yourself, the second 20 seconds be curious about what may in fact be the truth and then the final 20 seconds to be grateful for anything in your life. These 60 seconds have created a pause in your fear response system and created a small space where willpower can grow from.
I realize this is an extremely simple example, but it was intentionally done, so you can see the possibility while not triggering another fear response, as some who have experienced trauma, silence and pauses can in fact be perceived as danger.
You can repeat this 60 second process as often as you need, any time you feel like it. Even if you cannot feel it immediately, it is making a change on the inside. Over time you will be building safety & resilience in your system ,that will make room for willpower to have some space. I hope this information has helped shift even a tiny piece of how you may see yourself and what is possible.
Before you move on, what are the key things from this that you want to remember?