‘I THINK THEREFORE I AM’
Rene Descartes ~ French Philosopher
We are in the eye of a global storm. The world seems dense and tightly wrought with conflicts about ideas: religious ideas, political ideas and social ideas. Ideas exist at the centre of our being.
Our immediate environment is often a small-scale version of the world at large. So is it any wonder that we sometimes face internal conflicts about who we are and what we want?
‘Cogito Ergo Sum’ – I think therefore I am, is the Descartes adage. Our ideas of who and what we are, become the truth: simply because we conceive them, and put most of our energies into believing them. We then manifest and support these beliefs (regardless of their inherent veracity or usefulness) with action.
What if what we think about ourselves is erroneous and confused? What if it is a lie that we adhere to, based on the fanciful notions and self-serving beliefs of others? If you listen carefully you can hear them:
‘Oh really? I wouldn’t have thought that you’d be the type of person to want to become an entrepreneur/ business owner/property developer?’
‘You’ve never shown an interest in further study before, why do this now, with all your responsibilities?’
‘Please believe me when I say that I mean this in the best possible sense but, you find public speaking so difficult. Why give yourself extra stress by taking on that role?
‘Come on. You know you can’t ….’ etc., etc. (you fill in the blanks).
In fairness to the doubting-Thomas-es, there may have been evidence to support their views in the past, yet we hold on to our (and their) memories of our past performance and programming, and use them to create thoughts and ideas about who we are now, and could be in the future.
What is the answer? It is all in the mind. Change your thoughts: change your existence; change your reality.
Those ‘neigh-saying’ haunting voices are ghosts. They are nothing but phantoms that belie a truth: we can change our experience and existence. We can create and make them real with the right resources and motivation.
Like many people today, I’m a massive music fan. I am never far from a listening device and a set of headphones. However, I don’t listen all of the time. Sometimes the volume on my device is switched to very low. Sometimes the device muted.
Similarly, do you always have to pay attention to a recording of a painful past that confines you? What do you gain and lose from attending to it? Notwithstanding the negative impact, it is sometimes advantageous to acknowledge dissenting influences and opinions, because they give us the opportunity to assess their value, identify where they come from, and provide us with the chance to debunk and reject them. If you deny their very existence, then they have the power to be a surreptitious monkey on your back forever.
When you are ready to break the connection, here are some tips:
- Find a quiet spot away from everyone. In your mind, treat the limiting belief like it is a recording on a device. Scan through the device until you find the ‘delete’ sign and savour pressing the button as you delete it.
- If deletion is challenging, try playing with the quality and characteristic of the voice. Speed it up, then slow it down until every word is nothing but an incoherent drawl.
- Hear the limitation as inane noise – babble, diminishing as it drifts away from you.
- Mock the din – make it an infantile squeak, like Mini-Mouse on helium. Make the voice nothing more than a ridiculous blather that you can laugh at and dismiss.
Negation is good. Affirmation is even better. What is it that you really want to do or achieve? Create a positive sentence in your head. For example: ‘I can speak publicly to a room full of strangers.’
- Again, find a quiet space, and speak the sentence. Play with the volume, timbre and quality of your voice as you speak. Say it loud. Say is louder. Say it clearly. Stand in front of a mirror, look yourself squarely in the eyes and watch yourself saying it. Say it with confidence and conviction in an even pitch.
- Now support the idea to make it true. Garner about you appropriate resources. Some people are great public speakers. How do they do it? Find and use excellent models. Learn their tricks and incorporate them into your identity. Read, watch, study, listen, visualise, imitate, self-evaluate and learn from others who are successful.
- Set yourself up to succeed by starting with what is small and manageable, and then scale up. For example, find a micro group and speak to them for 3 – 4 minutes. Elicit constructive criticism and feed it back into your performance. As you gain confidence increase the size of the group and the length of the talk.
Whatever it is that you want to improve, it’s okay to reflect on past shortcomings. Others will welcome this, as it shows fallibility and perseverance, and will make you seem more accessible. As you reflect on yourself remember to reframe your experiences by putting things in their proper context. For example ‘…back-in-the-day, when I was inexperienced I used to ….BUT now I ….’
Support your new ideas with new truths. Think newer, fairer thoughts that reflect your positive expectations for better realities. Nurture your mind-set NOW.
I think therefore I am.
You think therefore you are.