Written by: Dr. Charryse Johnson, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Your brain is constantly receiving signals, whether from the outside environment in terms of perceptions or memories from your past. It then activates different patterns through waves in the brain through billions of synapses. In this way, your thoughts grow more complex as they interact with other content produced by your brain functions.
It goes without saying that your thoughts are linked to your emotions in a bidirectional way. Whenever you have a thought, there is a corresponding chemical reaction in your mind and body as a result. This is important to realize because it means that what you think can affect how you feel. Mindset matters.
Every day we have the opportunity to upgrade our mentality. This process calls us to embrace the relentless pursuit of learning and unlearning and acknowledge growth will require both intention and personal responsibility.
The comfort of what's familiar and known is a space where often many of us find ourselves sitting in for too long. It could be as simple as staying in the same job, even though you know deep down that you're capable of more, or as outlandish and risky as committing to a bungee jump on holiday.
However, sometimes forcing ourselves to take that leap of faith and try something brand new can feel like swimming against the current. It's uncomfortable and sometimes downright scary. In fact, some studies suggest that we fear an unknown outcome more than we fear a bad one. Thus, we must overcome the fear of trying to become the true owner of our destinies. It is courage and determination that helps us overcome difficult situations, and as a result, become mentally stronger and more confident.
There are several reasons we can convince ourselves to stop trying. Perhaps life feels like a string of disappointments, other people are constantly letting you down, or you have found yourself in a place that is different than what you expected. Maybe the people around you aren’t matching your effort, so the mindset becomes: if they aren’t going to change, why should I. Consider the wise words of Nelson Mandela, “There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” When we stop trying, when we give up, we are relinquishing our power to write our own story. Discomfort holds power beyond bringing us to our knees. It can push us to abandon our outdated ways of living life.
The manner in which you speak about your efforts will directly influence how you personalize the outcome. A mindset rooted in resilience will choose the language that is a balance of truth and optimism. If you accept the scientific view that your thoughts are physical parts of your brain and that changing your thoughts can have an effect on your body, then you've just developed a powerful weapon.
Language is the vehicle of our intention. If we change the manner in which we talk about something, then we change our belief system ‒ the way that we think about that thing ‒ and, in changing our belief system, we can change our entire system of consciousness. This isn't a soliloquy on the power of positive thinking, it's a template for re-envisioning ourselves and our outcomes through a shift in self-perception that will ultimately compel and perpetuate a maximization of our human potential.
It is inevitable, you will fail, and consequently, the task is to separate the failures from your identity. Being human means failing often. In truth, human history is characterized by more failures than successes, and this is good. It is how we learn resilience in the face of adversity and to accept that we will never fully be in control. Avoiding failure is not the major key, it is our response to failure that we must give the most concern. In learning to fail forward and validate our efforts, we build the courage to repeat the process.
Your subconscious mind is a powerful force to be reckoned with. It makes up around 95% of your brain power and handles everything your body needs to function properly, from eating and breathing to digesting and making memories. The subconscious correspondingly plays a significant role in the connection between what you believe and how you respond. It’s important to be aware of repeating the “right” habits.
In an era where we want everything on demand and most things can be delivered that way, repetition is often considered as a boring unnecessary thing to do. However, in the field of learning, repetition is what creates mastery of any skill and any mindset.
Affirmations are repeated positive statements designed to bring about a desired result. The repetitious aspect is meant to influence and trigger the subconscious mind into positive action. They are helpful in pursuing personal development and setting goals. It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to new beliefs.
There is no shame in repetition, in having to begin again at anything in life. There is no glory in being a “one hit wonder” or magically conquering something the first time. Most often, we place less value on the accomplishments and relationships that came without effort.
I often equate repetition with run training. When you first set out your body is in total shock, you may even ask yourself “why am I doing this”. Yet deep within, you know that each time you show up your body will respond, you will become stronger, and you will build your endurance. More importantly, with each new race, you come to the starting line as a different person. You are willing to embrace the course, you know more about how to navigate a hill, or how to pace yourself so you don’t bonk.
In many ways, life runs in a similar parallel. It is a race that requires us to keep trying, to push through failures, and to repeatedly work towards our definition of success. It humbles us, and at other times it causes injury, but if persistent, it also offers us a chance to do what we once thought was impossible. Perhaps, the truest secret of success is found through our failures. It is found in our willingness TO TRY… TO FAIL… TO REPEAT. It is found in brushing ourselves off and recognizing that we don’t lose or fail, we either win or we learn.
Dr. Charryse Johnson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Charryse Johnson is an author, speaker, and mental health consultant whose work focuses on the intersection of integrative wellness, neuroscience, and mental health. She is the founder of Jade Integrative Counseling and Wellness, an integrative therapy practice where personal values, the search for meaning, and the power of choice are the central focus. Dr.Johnson works with clients and organizations across the nation and has an extensive background and training in education, crisis and trauma, neuroscience, and identity development.