1. Look around your room. Spot all the blue objects.
Got them all? Great.
2. Now, look around your room. Spot all the red objects.
Got them all? Great.
3. Did you see red objects that you didn't notice when you were looking at blue objects?
If you are like 99.9% of my audiences and coaching clients, the red objects magically appeared. They were seemingly invisible when you told yourself to find the blue items. Hot dog! You just had an opportunity to observe how powerful your internal filtering system is. Why is this important? That filtering system affects the way you perceive the world. You set your filter on finding the funk or the fabulous every moment.
Think of the blue as lack and red as abundance. What you focus on grows. When you focus on finding the glowing red of opportunity you spot it more readily. As a coach I am observing an interesting trend. If you can change your filter and change your actions into finding opportunity, you will take a big step toward achieving your goals. Last week, we looked at the reptilian brain and how to work with it more effectively. In order to find opportunity in these troubling times, it is key to understand how to work with your basic brain - so that you can "change your filter."
Why All The Fuss?
Your reptilian brain is the part of the brain that's in charge of the massive job of self-preservation. It governs primary functions like your heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and body temperature. It's the one that's still running while you are asleep. It is also the part of your brain that sets off your automatic responses. If you want to watch your basic brain in action, step outside on a bright sunny day with a mirror in your hand. Watch how your pupils dilate . . . without you ever thinking about it. The basic brain is programmed to respond before you think.
The reptilian brain also has the task of sorting through the onslaught of data coming in through your five senses and up the spinal cord into the brain at large - at a rate of 100 million impulses per second. It is in charge of adjusting your body functions, it figures out what crucial information to send upstairs to the limbic system and the neocortex, and what to put aside.
Change Your Filter -Change Your Life
How does your reptilian brain handle so much input? By creating a filing system of patterns, assumptions and habits, most of which gets set in place during your earliest years. The choices it makes determines how you translate what's happening in the external world into your own internal experience, the subjective context in which you live.
This translation of the external world into internal experience is key. This is your red/blue filter in action. As a coach and speaker I work with individuals all over the United States. I am observing that as clients maintain the focus on finding opportunity and abundance - they are able to manifest their goals.
Why Let Your Past Ruin Your Now?
Your basic brain is a genius at generalization. How does that affect you right now? When your reptilian brain hears "financial crisis" on the radio on the way to work - pictures of soup kitchens pop up in your brain. If your ancestors once escaped from a mastodon that was hiding behind a large brown boulder...that brain cued them to be extra careful every time they trotted past a large brown boulder. Being cautious when passing the large brown boulder saved many a cave person. Your reptilian brain is still milking the drama.
Push The Pause Button!
Generalizations are rarely accurate. In fact, most of them are completely bogus. Put red-alert buzzers around generalizations. They are fear speaking. "I'll never get a job in this economy," "Republicans are louses," are some common ones. What are some of yours? The next time you hear yourself making a sweeping generalization, take a moment. "Push the pause button," as my author-friend Mimi Donaldson says, and see if what you are saying is really real. You may find out that the cagey reptile in your head is reacting before the other parts of you have had a chance to speak up.
How To Change Your Filter
1. Press the pause button.- Take a moment before you react to a piece of news
2. Look for the good in the situation. Pretend like you are focusing on finding the red in the room.
3. Say no to the nay-sayers. Filter out the people in your life that have a negative focus.
Eli Davidson is a nationally recognized executive coach and motivational speaker.
Her book, Funky to Fabulous: Surefire Success Stories for The Savvy, Sassy and Swamped, (Oak Grove Publishing) has won three national book awards.
Follow Eli Davidson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/elidavidsonf2f