from the


from the Top of the Mind


from the
Top of the Mind

“Dr. Crawford’s presentation was the highlight of the conference and a much needed reminder for all of us (especially nurses) to keep it all balanced. Bill’s psychology background surely protruded through his messages and I know it was well-received by all!”

Nancy Perovic, RN, BSN
University Of Chicago Hospitals, Chicago, IL

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How to Rid Our Lives of Clowns

This is another cool quote that I found on Pinterest, and each time that I remember to mention it to those in my seminars, it gets a lot of smiles and knowing nods. The reason this resonates with so many of us is because it gives us such good information about why we keep putting ourselves in positions where we are eventually disappointed, let down, frustrated, or betrayed.

In other words, while it’s certainly true that there are people behaving in problematic ways in these situations, it’s also true that we aren’t really surprised by their behavior… offended, annoyed, even outraged, maybe…but not surprised. We had a pretty good idea that this was going to happen because it has happened so often in the past.

This reminds me of the story of the frog and the scorpion who wanted to get across a river. The scorpion asked the frog if he could ride on the frog’s back and the frog said, “Are you crazy? You will sting me!” The scorpion responded with, “No, I won’t, that would be suicide because we would both die.”

Finally, the frog agreed, the scorpion hopped on his back, and they jumped into the water. About halfway across the river, however, the scorpion lifted his stinger and brought it down on the frog’s back. As they both sank beneath the waves, the frog looked at the scorpion and said, “Why did you do that? Now we will both die!” The scorpion responded with, “Yes, but you knew I was a scorpion when you put me on your back. What did you expect?”

What all of this means is that when we know what we are getting into (or getting back into), we shouldn’t ask why the clown is acting like a clown, but why do we keep going to the circus?”

Of course, for those of you who follow my “Life from the Top of the Mind” philosophy, there is a potentially deeper and more valuable lesson here. That is, why do we keep trusting a part of our brain that is hypersensitive to negative information (our limbic system) to give us good information on how we should create the life we want.

In other words, if we want to have as much influence as possible in our experience of life, we need to understand why we keep going to the “circus,” or why we keep trusting the worried, fearful, anxious part of the brain to give us good information about life. This lower 20% of the brain exists to help us react, without thinking, in situations that are dangerous, and call for a fight-or-flight reaction, not a purposefully-thought-out response. Unfortunately, many of us have unwittingly allowed this reactive brain to become our default guide, and, therefore, tend to find ourselves feeling anxious, worried, and confused much more than we would like.

If this resonates with you, I suggest that we change destinations, which means, instead of going to the reactive “circus,” we become skilled at accessing the clear, confident, creative part of the brain (the neocortex, or what I call the “Top of the Mind”).

This means becoming clear about what we trust. In other words, if creating an experience of life that is meaningful and that we would recommend to someone we love is important to us, we want to become more purposeful in what emotion we feed.

There is a quote that came to me when I was working with a client that says, “It’s not what we feel but what we feed that creates our experience of life.” Or, put in terms of today’s quote and comment…it’s not that we will never feel worried, anxious, or confused again, it’s just that we will no longer feed those lower-brain reactions by going to the “circus” and blaming our misery on the clowns (or any other external situation or person).

In other words, the moment that we change directions from the road to the “circus” to the clear, confident, creative part of who we are, we will become much more influential in our experience of life, and we will be able to make much more purposeful decisions about what directions to trust and what roads to take in the future.

If this sounds like something that you would like for yourself and/or those in your organization, I suggest that you contact me and let’s make this happen. Until we recognize that we are being lead down a path of worry, anxiety, or confusion, all roads will lead to the “circus.”

~ All the best, Dr. Bill

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