The cause of most of our problems and lack of success is our lack of awareness.
This is because the lack of awareness is the main reason we are oblivious to the links between our thoughts and our actions, and why we fail to act response-ably and fail to build effectiveness.
Unfortunately, our lack of awareness is generally what gets us into trouble. The solution, therefore, to prevent repeating our mistakes and getting into more trouble, is to become more mindful of how our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours are interlinked.
When we lack awareness, we are like fleas in a flea circus, unaware of our true potential. We therefore need to become more mindful of the causative link between our thoughts and our subsequent behaviours.
Until we do, we will keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again, much to the detriment of our personal and professional life.
The first step is therefore to understand what’s blocking our awareness of the chain of thought, emotion, and sensation.
Once we understand what’s blocking us, we will be able to unblock our awareness and begin to better manage our responses and build our effectiveness.
Belief, Emotion, Instinct
Your mindset orientation, or perspective, determines your point of view and how you see yourself interacting with the world around you.
Part of your perspective is developed by your beliefs, emotions, and natural instincts, which are wired into the neurocircuitry of your brain.
This is because you see the world through three main filters of awareness:
- What you believe to be true about yourself and the world;
- Your background emotional state of being; and
- Your natural instincts for safety and survival.
Nothing you see or experience goes unfiltered.
For instance, if you believe for whatever reason that you don’t deserve success or that you aren’t good enough, then your mind will filter everything it receives through that belief system and present to your conscious awareness a picture that reinforces and supports that belief about yourself—powerlessness, failure, rejection, worthlessness, futility, submission.
If your background or underlying emotional state of being is anger, then your mind will filter everything it receives through that emotional state and present to your conscious awareness a picture that reinforces and supports that angry state of being—injustice, victimisation, frustration, hatred, sexism, aggression, isolation, violence.
If your natural instincts for safety and survival are not held in check, your mind will filter everything it receives through that heightened sense of threat and present to your conscious awareness a picture that reinforces and supports that fear—illness anxiety, refusal to take risks, conspiracy, fear of strangers, lack of trust, abandonment.
The Movie Reel of Your Mind
In my book, The Flea Circus, I describe how your beliefs, emotions, and natural instincts are a palette with which your mind paints the picture of who you say you are or want to see.
Your mind paints a picture of what you accept or agree about yourself.
At the back of a cinema before digital projectors superceded analogue projectors, a movie reel was passed over a projector lens at 24 frames per second. A beam of light from the projector passing through the moving frames of the reel cast the movie onto the silver screen for the audience to watch.
The beam of light didn’t care what was on the film. Whatever was on the movie reel was what was projected onto the screen.
The same is true for the ‘movie reel’ you play inside your mind.
What you think, how you feel, how you react, is projected onto the ‘silver screen’ inside your mind and that’s what you see.
In other words, your mind tells you what you are seeing or going to see. This is the power of ‘what is behind your eyes’.
However, like the power of electricity, which can either kill or provide life-giving energy, your mind must be properly directed before it becomes a source of power.
It must be trained before it can be used to your advantage.
The Power of Your Mind
Be mindful, then, that your mind can either work for you, or it can work against you—your mind can either help you to overcome your limitations, or, like a flea in a flea circus, it can keep you contained within your own self-imposed limits.
Especially if any of these mental habits relate to you:
- Self-limiting beliefs about yourself.
- Underlying biases and hidden prejudices.
- Thinking you know everything there is to know.
- Black and white thinking.
- Constant fear of failure.
- Jumping to conclusions, persistent assumptions, or unrealistic expectations.
- Cynicism and constant doubt.
- Small-mindedness and missing the big picture.
Remember, you are the master of your thoughts, emotions, and instincts.
Taking control of these aspects of your mind is therefore essential if you wish to break through your barriers and transcend your limits.
That’s where your real power lies—the power to change the movie reel of your life.