We are not the voice inside our heads

“The illusion of the modern world is that we glorify thinking so much, that we think the voice inside our heads telling us what to do is us telling us what to do. If it was you telling what to do, why would it need to talk.” said Mo Gawdat in “the Diary of the CEO” podcast.

Now, this is the moment that caught my attention. I turned up the volume on my headphones. For a moment my mind threw me back in time, in the class of Marius Spiridon, a Romanian leader who lived among the Navajo American Indian tribe for 10 years, where he explained how the reality is created and that the moment that we call “now” is actually “the past” and that our mind thinks in the past.

How the reality is created:
6 - Something happened.
5 - We get sensory information.
4 - The information is transported to the brain.
3 - The brain integrates new information.
2 - A meaning is attached.
1 - Our reality is drawn.
0 - We breathe, blink and call this moment HERE & NOW.

It takes several dozen milliseconds for the information from the eye to reach the brain, and about 120 ms before we can take actions based on that information. Basically what we say to HERE & NOW is already in the PAST.

I open my eyes with Mo Gawdat speaking in my headphones and I can’t argue with him that he calls his brain Becky and that he is not identifying himself with his thoughts. This is something worth exploring and sharing. For those curious, I strongly recommend listening to the interview. - The Happiness Expert That Made 51 Million People Happier: Mo Gawdat | E101

But if we are not our brains and thoughts how come that we identify ourselves with them?

To get an answer to this question it’s necessary to study each of the steps on how reality is created and find out what is the step we, humans, have control over.
6 - Something happened.
5 - Get sensory information.
4 - The information is transported to the brain.
3 - The brain integrates new information.
2 - A meaning is attached.
1 - Our reality is drawn.
0 - We breathe, blink and call this moment HERE & NOW.

Exactly we attach meanings to anything that happens to ourselves based on our previous experiences. This is the only step we can have control over. We make decisions every moment of every day, but not all decisions are equal. Some run deep and penetrate every aspect of our lives. Other decisions are superficial. We make them and change them quickly and without any major disruption in our lives.

Let’s call these decisions, key decisions. According to the British rapid transformational therapy trainer Marisa Peer, we make most of these decisions early in life and create beliefs around them.

As Marisa says most human beliefs are around 3 major topics.
1. I am not good enough
2. I don't belong
3. I am on my own

Sounds familiar?
I might be even more familiar with these:“How could you be so stupid.”
"I can't find anyone I wanna go on a date with, I will be single forever."
"I’ll never get promoted"
"I was just lucky"
"It's all my mistake"
"I should be more disciplined"
"I feel useless"
etc.
Maybe you don’t use these specific words but I bet you are familiar with negative self-talk. We all are!

How can you change your beliefs?

We are born with billions of neurons but very few connections between them. These connections are called neural pathways and they are similar to the roads we have in our city.

As we grow up, we experience the world (we have thoughts, emotions, activities) more and more roads are getting built in our brain. The building material of these roads is called myelin. Myelin is very abundant before age eight and during puberty. But after the age of 25 myelin is as abundant and this is why learning new things or building new habits require more effort.

For example, if you called yourself stupid every time you made a mistake - this road in your brain becomes a highway and this thought comes naturally to you because the electrical impulses travel always chooses the path with the least resistance - like a car driver that prefers to drive on a highway than on a forest road.

Now, calling yourself stupid - had a chemical effect on your brain -> it increases your cortisol levels - and constantly high levels of cortisol with time can reduce the volume of the area in your brain dealing with positive thinking.

So if you are used to negative thinking, it feels so natural to you because the structure of your brain is adapted to these types of thoughts.

Now - if you want to change things - a new neural pathway has to be built - that means choosing consciously every time you make a mistake to say to yourself - Mistakes are human, I forgive myself, this is what I will do differently next time … this thought may not feel natural to you but if you repeat it over 3,5 months or 144 days as studies say - a new highway will be created and this thought will come with easy for the rest of your life.

With these in mind, we created SelfTalk to facilitate these processes of building new neural pathways.Everything starts with an alternative thought that will make you feel different and take different actions, and with consistency, it becomes a new life.

Join our journey, get your self-talk audio!

Sources:
You Have Power Over Your Brain Chemistry
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-neurochemical-self/201610/you-have-power-over-your-brain-chemistry

Creating New Neural Pathways in the Brain
https://www.thealternativedaily.com/creating-neural-path-brain/

What you’re seeing right now in the past, so your brain is predicting the present https://theconversation.com/what-youre-seeing-right-now-is-the-past-so-your-brain-is-predicting-the-present-131913

The Neurochemistry of Positive Conversations
https://hbr.org/2014/06/the-neurochemistry-of-positive-conversations

How Your Nervous System Works & Changes | Huberman Lab Podcast #1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-XfCl-HpRM

How to Focus to Change Your Brain | Huberman Lab Podcast #6
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LG53Vxum0as