I want you to draw a quick map to your local gas station. Then call a friend that lives nearby and have them draw the same thing. You will find when you compare maps that everyone’s map is a little different, even if they’re drawing the same exact route. Now get out and drive or walk to that station and see how much you missed. Why am I having you do this?
We all operate from our own personal mental map of the world. We are hit with 11 billion bits of information daily, and our prefrontal cortex filters out what it thinks is important and focuses on that and that only. How many things did you eliminate from your map to the gas station? How many things did you put in the wrong place? How many things did you make bigger than they actually were? You see, our brains distort things according to our worldview.
You see our mind filters and labels information based on our beliefs, values, and experiences. Unfortunately, some of these experiences are passed down from generation to generation and are not a part of our own hand-drawn map. The great thing is we can change our maps of reality. We can modify our belief systems, limiting mindsets and values.
Our brains have something called a Reticular Activation System. I like to call Raz. Raz is a bundle of nerves at our brain stem that filters out all the important things around us. The hippocampus labels the situation, and then the Raz seeks out what you have labeled important.
If you don’t believe me, here’s a little game.
- Look around the room for 90 seconds and look for everything red.
- Close your eyes and try to remember everything in the room that was green.
- Open your eyes and see how well you remember the green things surrounding you.
I bet you missed quite a few. Your mind was focused on finding red.
You see, our mind distorts things and eliminates things. How many burgundy things did you see, and you classed them as red? How many pink things did you call red? How many green things did you miss completely? I know this seems simple, but the way our brains work is amazing. If we can figure out how our brains operate, we can hack our systems for success.
The key is to remember everyone has their own original map of the world. And everyone’s map is wrong. We hold the key to rewriting our map. So next time you’re arguing with your spouse, stop and realize their map is different from yours. How can you guys come to a conclusion? Can you find some middle ground that you can agree on and start from there? Perhaps it’s time to rewrite your maps.
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Surviving Christmas with Gratitude:
Transform your chaotic holiday season with this journal and 5 minutes a day!
Not everyone enjoys the holidays. After losing loved ones, it’s hard to continue with the festivities, but it’s vital to learn how to live again. After suffering through trauma, it’s hard to celebrate with a loud and rowdy crowd. Did you know a daily gratitude practice will change your life, both mind, and body?
Studies have proven that our brains literally cannot be fearful, anxious, or stressed and be grateful at the same time. Did you know that? The part of the brain that handles these emotions cannot do both simultaneously. It has to shut one off to open the other. Now you can be anxious and immediately grateful afterward, but you cannot be both at the same time!
What if you reprogrammed your brain to refocus on gratitude and shut off the anxiety during this season?
With a daily gratitude practice, you will do just that!
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