I had an experience yesterday that painted the picture of how our brains can work for us and sometimes against us. How we perceive our world around us obviously has a great impact on our lives. It influences who we think we are, who others are, how the world works and the opportunities that are available to us in any given moment. Here is my experience yesterday…

This is how our brains work…last night I joined the team at F45 Training East Perth for a fantastic workout ??. While I was in the middle of my kettlebell swings, a bus pulled up in front of the window. On it was a advertisement that read “double date” or so I thought. It was accompanied by a close up photo of two faces placed side by side and it had some other text but I didn’t really take much notice of it. At first glance I thought the advertisement was for a new movie or maybe even a dating agency. However upon glancing at the advertisement again, I noticed the words read “double data” and it was in fact an advertisement for a phone company. Completely not as I originally thought. I had a little giggle to myself and returned my focus to the task at hand…making myself sweat!

What occurred for me in that moment was a generalisation (when I see the word double and a word with the letters ‘dat’ in it along with a photo of two people then this information is about dating or relationships) and a distortion (the word ‘data’ appeared as ‘date’ in my mind) and these two things are occurring in our brains all the time. This is what your mind does constantly to make sense of the abundance of information it needs to process in any given moment. It generalises and distorts what is real into what it is similar to and familiar with.

The other action our brain performs is a deletion. There is so much, too much, information available to us at any given time that our brain simply can not process it all. It does observe it all, but it deletes what is not relevant at the time. Last night, while I was observing the bus advertisement there were other events occurring that I wasn’t consciously observing (ie it was a deletion in my mind) and this is important because within these moments there could have been a opportunity for me, if I had of had my focus elsewhere.

My reason for sharing this with you is to bring to your attention that what you think you see is not always what is really there but is more so a distortion or generalisation based on filters such as social expectations, your beliefs and your past experiences. This may not seem like a big deal at face value but it can be if it is causing you to perceive yourself in a way that isn’t healthy, if it means that you miss out on opportunities to succeed or it stops you from being your best.

Here’s another example. A woman is walking down the road. She is listening to her headphones and enjoying her walk in the sunshine. Underneath her quite confident exterior, she is well dressed and she looks like she takes care of herself, actually lies thoughts of self doubt and a belief that she isn’t good enough. She is never really satisfied with anything she does, she often disregards praise (outwardly she smiles and says thank you but inwardly she disregards it) and she is forever trying to perfect herself and her behaviour. This often causes her to feel exhausted and worn out…just another frustration she has with herself. As she is walking along, she notices a man standing in his driveway, fixing something on his car. He says something to her. She can’t hear what he says properly because of her headphones but she instantly takes to the defence and assumes he has said something impolite. She removes her headphones, feeling annoyed but before she could say anything, the man repeats “Your jumper is dragging on the ground”. She looks down and her jumper, that she had hung over the top of her bag had slipped down and was now dragging in the dirt. The man was doing her a favour by letting her know before it became even more dirty or it dropped to the ground completely. She thanked him, picked up her jumper and continued walking feeling a little embarrassed that she had jumped to conclusions but thankful that she didn’t open her mouth too soon to give him a piece of her mind.

How your mind see’s the world is only one possibility or one version of reality. If you would like to have a better relationship with yourself or if you would like to get better results in any area of your life, but particularly in health and fitness then this is available to you when you start to see the world differently.

Shifting how you perceive the world can be achieved over time. It happens automatically for some people, particularly when they go through a major life event or crisis. But if you don’t want to have to experience a crisis to experience a reality check, then coaching with a qualified coach can allow you to make this shift for yourself.

Our minds really are such a wonderful thing. They can create the most amazing reality and experiences of the world. Make sure that your mind is working for you rather than against you to create the experience of life that you want and deserve.

Until next time!

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