Behavior Validates Belief – How to Change a Habit
I’m sure that we have all heard ideas or information from time to time that really resonated with us. We probably thought, “Wow! That’s really interesting. I never thought about that in that way,” and even looked forward to using this new information in some aspect of our lives. Then, for most of us, “life” happened, and chances are that this really powerful idea faded or was replaced by all the other demands on our time and attention.
There is a reason for this, and it has to do with how our brains process information. You see, the part of the brain that is responsible for transferring information from short term to long term memory is the middle brain, or limbic system. Unfortunately, this is also the part of the brain that is responsible for keeping us safe and alive as a specie, which means it tends to pay more attention to negative information versus positive information, because for most of our history on this planet, negative information had the potential for containing a threat. Therefore, when given the choice of holding on to powerful, positive information, or worrying about all the things we are “supposed to do, or have to do,” this middle brain tends to opt for the latter.
If this sounds familiar and you would like to change this tendency, the key will be to take Mr. Bach’s suggestion and “choose to use” the powerful information before it is replaced by the “should’s” and the “have to’s.” This means transform the idea into a behavior and bring that behavior to life.
The reason this is important is not just because good ideas are easily replaced by worry, but because behavior validates belief. In other words, if we like an idea but do nothing with it, this validates the belief that it wasn’t that important to begin with. On the other hand, if we purposefully take the idea that we found to be valuable and literally bring it to life, this validates the belief that our original perception (that the information was meaningful) was correct.
Plus, the experience of practicing something on purpose, actually creates and strengthens new neural pathways in the brain that will eventually (if used again and again) become a habit. Therefore, the question we must all consider as we go forward is what are we going to do with the powerful ideas we encounter? Are we going to bring them to life by turning them into a behavior and using them to rewire our brain? Or, are we going to let them fade into oblivion by doing nothing?
If we choose “on purpose” (from the purposeful part of the brain) and in a way we would recommend to those we love, the choice will be clear, and the result will be increased clarity, confidence, and creativity in all we do.
~ All the best, Dr. Bill