Recently, I’ve become aware of the way my mind behaves when a situation doesn’t go the way I intended – it falls into cynicism. I tell myself things like “What can you expect?” or “It never works out. “ or “It’s always something.” This is an unconsciousness crutch, conditioned by my family upbringing. Its purpose is to protect me from disappointment.
Of course it doesn’t really work—I’m disappointed anyway. What it does do is limit my belief in what’s possible. And I’m a life coach who supports others in believing in possibilities and opportunities! I guess we often teach what we most need to learn.
So I realized it was time to expose this negative self-talk to the light of day and create a new groove in my brain that supports more positive self-talk like “The world is full of possibilities and opportunities and I want to stay aware and open to them.” This is a much more refreshing conversation to have with myself.
The energy of cynicism is so different than that of believing in possibility. Cynicism darkens our outlook and narrows our choices. The energy that’s engaged when believing in what’s possible is lighter, more playful. It widens our outlook. While leaving room in our mind for disappointment and things to not always going as we intended, increases the odds that they will, because we’ve focused attention on it.
There is a system in our brain call the Reticular Activating System and part of this system is a process called Reticular Formation. Reticular formation helps the brain select what to focus on out of all the information that is constantly bombarding us.
An example of how this filtering system shows up in our everyday lives is when we are in the market for a new car. Suddenly we see the brand of car we are considering purchasing everywhere on the road. That brand of car has been there all along, but now we’re focused on that particular brand. It has moved from the background to the foreground of our attention.
With reticular formation we’re able to discover opportunities, possibilities, and resources that were always there but until this point undetected. We can see these possibilities by consciously choosing to focus on what has been outside of our usual sphere of attention.
What better way to go—to believe in what’s possible and use what is available to us to manifest the life we desire? I vote for that over cynicism any day!