If your effectiveness, and therefore your success, is dependent on how you think, it’s important to understand how that thinking organ we call the brain works and functions.
To build your effectiveness, you will need to understand the link between your thoughts, emotions, and sensations, and how they can either support or sabotage your attempts to reach your desired state (see The Process of Transformation).
Your brain is an essential organ for life and an important conduit of your experience, a neuroelectrical interface that connects your mind’s awareness with your body and emotions.
As an interface, your brain facilitates the sharing and exchange of information between your mind, energy, and matter components, expressed as three main types of perception:
- Psychological—Thoughts (ideas, images, insight, inspiration, memory, foresight, beliefs, creativity).
- Physiological—Emotions (fear, anxiety, love, pleasure and pain, empathy).
- Physical—Sensations (the five senses, fight and flight, instincts, reflexes, immunity, movement).
Thought, Emotion & Sensation
Although on the surface, thoughts, emotions, and sensations appear to be different, they are in fact not distinct from one another.
Just as three colours, red, green, and blue, create the spectrum of colours you see on a TV or computer screen, so too your thoughts, emotions, and sensations create the spectrum of experience you see on the screen of your mind.
All three forms are just variations of your perceptual awareness appearing to be dissimilar. But they are not.
They are just different vibrational levels of perception communicating information that, when mixed together, are interpreted as an experience in a particular moment in time and space.
For our purposes, though, we will discuss thoughts, emotions, and sensations as individual parts of a 3-in-1 system, like links in a chain, as the figure below illustrates.
Every action first begins as a thought. It is perhaps more accurate to say that every action first begins with your imagination, because you use your conscious imagination to energise and bring to life all your thoughts and ideas.
These thoughts and ideas only exist because they are first conceived in your consciousness and born in your imagination.
From imagination, your thoughts and ideas present on the screen of your mind as psychological energy packets, or images.
These energetic thought images then trigger a physiological response, which you experience as emotive energy, an emotion.
These emotive energy packets in turn trigger a physical response, often felt bodily as activity or movement, a physical sensation.
This physical sensation then triggers an urge or impulse to take an action or encourage a behavioural response.
There is therefore a direct flow of energy transition from your thoughts to your emotions to your actions:
Thought Energy —> Emotive Energy —> Physical Energy
You can do an experiment right now to instantly experience this chain of thought-emotion-sensation:
-> Think of a time last summer when the mosquitos were out in force.
-> Recall how you were being bitten by the mosquitos.
-> Also recall how itchy the bites were on your ankles, arms, and neck.
-> How do you feel now? Can you feel an itchy sensation? Do you have an urge to scratch?
The mosquitos are no longer real, but the reactions to your thoughts about them are very real.
In my book, The Flea Circus, I discuss how this has implications for how you think, feel, and react every day.
If you don’t recognise and take responsibility for the role you play in creating your moment-to-moment life experience, then you condemn yourself to repeating past mistakes and failing to break through your barriers.
When you perform any action with consideration and thought, you act consciously. You ‘ably’ respond with ‘response-able’ action.
If, however, you perform an action without due consideration or thought, you react subconsciously, which is a reflex or a reactive habit.
As you would assume, conscious ‘response-able’ action is the kind of self-leadership that builds effectiveness, whereas unconscious, habitual reactions generally limit effectiveness.
There is no point in blaming others, God, or circumstances for your current experience. It’s actually disempowering and self-defeating.
To use excuses and to blame others is to live your life unconsciously.
Which, ultimately, results in poor self-management and the failure to build effectiveness, with the inevitable consequence of failing to live the life you want.
The Interplay of Thoughts, Emotions & Sensations
There are probably hundreds of times in the past when you wished you could take back what you had said to someone, or you wished you had stopped yourself from doing what you had done.
Or there may be times when you wish you had spoken up instead of remaining silent, or you wish you had taken a different course of action than the one you had.
To better understand the chain of thought-emotion-sensation playing out in your mind thousands of times each day, let’s use an imaginary scenario of sending an email that our fictional character, Sally, later regretted.
Sally is a graphic designer who had just received an email from an ungrateful client refusing to pay the invoice for the service she had provided.
The client is unhappy, they write, with the redesign of the logo they had requested. They then proceed to list all their grievances with the quality of Sally’s service.
Sally, having been up past midnight working on the project to meet the client’s unrealistic deadline, immediately thinks that the client is being unreasonable and unfair.