how to stop unhelpful patterns and make BETTER ones
How long has it been since you have laid on the grass and investigated the clouds imagining rabbits, dragons, or cars (or anything your mind created) out of thin air?
My most recent cloud imagination adventure was two years ago when I was floating the Schlitterbahn near San Antonio, Texas with a friend. We laid back on our hot-rubbery inner tubes as we floated down the cool and calm river for hours. We forgot about the busyness of the world. We felt ourselves moving with the flow of the water and all we saw were the clouds above us. We were fully immersed in “designing” a world in the sky with our quirky and vivid imaginations.
There is something special about allowing a space and time for these imaginary adventures. To do things that most of the world would call pointless because it does not have an end goal. There is no award. And it is not going to help anyone win a popularity contest. But why does it feel so important? So pure? Almost vital.
Your Imagination and the Value of Dreaming
I believe dreaming and a positive imagination have the power to break the chains of bondage that hold so many of us back from living a more full and free life. All of us have astounding gifts to share with the world, and these gifts are seeking to have their expression through us! And all of these results start with our thoughts. Our thoughts determine our actions.
Because as the famous saying goes:
“Whether you think you can or you can’t — you are right.” – Henry Ford
Here are two thoughts to compare as an example: “I would love to…” and “I don’t know if it will work out…” Which of these thoughts is going to have a greater chance of being backed up with action — the imagination of what someone would love, or the fear-based thought that is most likely coming from someone’s negative experiences?
Action is most likely going to follow the thoughts of passion and hope. This is because our thoughts and imaginations are built to be a powerhouse for creating and BECOMING.
A superb example of how thoughts can affect “someone” can be seen in the elephant kingdom. There are many elephants that are raised to work on farms in Thailand.
In Thailand, baby elephants are tied to a stake with a thick rope around their ankle when they are not working. At first they can be frustrated and pull at the rope and try to get loose. But over time they get used to the feeling of the rope tugging on their ankle when they are trying to wander away. So they give in and they stop tugging.
As the elephant grows bigger and bigger, guess what they tie the elephant with instead…river reeds. Thin and measly river reeds. You would think it would be the opposite right? Nope. They use something even weaker — something you and me could break. But why? They do this because the elephant has been repeatedly trained for years in their mental and physical responses that when they feel a tug on their ankle, that it can’t break free. And it finds no need to ever try again. A little tug of the river reed on the ankle is enough to give a 2-ton elephant a thought and a response that it is wandering too far. And to stop.
This is the power of the mind. Our thoughts create the results we see around us. So if we think we can’t, we can’t. But what if there was only possibility? What if we expanded our awareness of the possibilities around us and re-patterned our thinking? As a Dreambuilder, that is exactly what we do through laser-focused coaching and weekly lifework.
Here are 3 simplified versions of how to look at your thinking and the concept of re-patterning and re-designing your life.
Insight #1: Recognizing Patterns
What are 3 habits or patterns you express currently in your life? Your proverbial river reed on the ankle. This could be the rituals you do everyday after work, how you get ready in the same order each morning, how you treat others, etc.
Once you come up with 3 patterns, pick one that speaks to you the loudest and make a decision to do that task or interaction differently 3 days in a row. Let’s mix things up and start laying down some new brain patterns. This process isn’t to make huge and direct changes in your life, but rather to create awareness of the patterns that are there. This practice will lead you to greater insight into the bigger habits that govern your life. It all starts with recognizing patterns in the first place. And by taking action to change little things, it can give you confidence for the bigger changes later on.
Insight #2: What Would You Love?
If we live another 12 months, each of us will have a total of 525,600 minutes to live. Everyone gets access to the same amount of time. What would YOU LOVE to invest this time into? Use your imagination to reach deep. To reach past the, “I should do this or that (which is easy to do).”
Instead, focus on what would bring the biggest smile to your face. List two things you would love to do, be, give, or have this next year. After that, list the possible outcomes of these time investments. What good can come out of it for you and others?
Insight #3: Limiting Beliefs
Most of us have believed that we need the right education, income, and image to ensure a perception of success. Some of these limiting beliefs are programmed into us at a young age by people in the world around us, such as our family, teachers, and friends. Or from the media and by our culture.
And now let’s look at 1 limiting belief you hold right now. Something you can sense you have patterned into your mind that tells you are not enough, don’t have enough, or can’t do this or that. Even though you would LOVE to grow in that area and shine. What you are going to do is take your current limiting belief, and replace it with a life-giving belief instead.
Here is an example: I grew up working seasonal jobs. This was over the course of two years in high school and nine years in college. That is eleven years of doing jobs according to the school season! Habits were made for sure. At some point after college, I noticed I was STILL doing seasonal work. I started to see the pattern, and I was shocked that I didn’t notice what I was doing all along. There was not a reason for me to have a seasonal job anymore but it was soooo easy to still live that lifestyle because it was comfortable and what I was used to. It was my pattern. It was what I believed the world was supposed to look like. And I had wondered why I didn’t have the professional stability I was wanting to experience. After I recognized the pattern, that is when I was able to do something about it. I changed my career patterns by searching for and discovering more reliable and permanent jobs. What is your limiting belief and new life-giving belief?
The Big Takeaways:
- Say no to elephant ankles — break free.
- Use your imagination to your advantage, and for growth.
- Create the thought patterns that are helpful for the results you want.
I am grateful I had the opportunity to share these insights with you and I look forward to writing to you again. Keep being amazing!