I have spent thousands of hours over the course of my career talking with people about the difficulties in their lives. What I see repeatedly is that people want to feel better, but don’t realize that if they keep thinking the same thoughts and rehashing the same emotional difficulties from the same perspective, they will keep having the same experience even though the people and settings may change. Most people see the source of their angst as outside of them – as if they are having difficulty because of their job, friends, finances and so on.
It requires strength of character and emotional maturity to recognize that the source of any emotion or state is within.
Your brain is conditioned to look outside for the source of problems as a mechanism of survival. The most powerful thing you can do for yourself is to realize that all inner states and conditions, which create your vibe, depend on you. Understanding this concept is crucial because results arise from actions and actions arise from states.
Your inner conditions are what I call your BEAT: that being your Beliefs, Emotions, Attitudes and Thoughts. Your BEAT creates your vibe (or consciousness), which creates your experience of life.
In 12-Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, there is a slogan: “If you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting what you have been getting.” That is not only true of our actions but our thoughts and emotions as well. If you keep thinking and feeling the way you have been thinking and feeling, you will keep getting what you have been getting. In fact, changing your thinking and feeling must precede changing what you do.
To change your inner experience you must first believe that it is possible to do so. But on top of belief, you must add awareness, willingness, and consistent practice. That is the key to creating change. I teach these techniques in my Life Design Coaching Program.
To create consistent change in your life you need to understand the basic formula for how human beings operate, and fortunately there is somewhat mechanistic structure to human beings. This makes it much easier to understand (albeit, not always easier to address and change).
There is part of our personality structure that is called the ego. The function and role of the ego is two-fold:
First, the ego supports your executive functioning so that you are capable of getting things done. You go to work or school, take care of your home and pay your bills, and so on. In the Freudian understanding of the ego, it is the psychological apparatus that mitigates the tension between your impulses and your values and societal expectations. So in that sense, the ego is a good thing. You want to be able to weigh the pros and cons of storming out of a business meeting because you can’t stand the office politics any longer!
It is this second aspect of the ego that causes difficulty for people who are growth-oriented. That function is that the ego is designed to keep us safe from anything that feels threatening – and the ego is at risk by nearly anything unknown, new, and beyond the comfort of the familiar. The ego isn’t designed for happiness, but for safety.
We feel comfortable and safe when we are surrounded by what is familiar. People have varying degrees of skill and flexibility when dealing with change and new circumstances. So changing your vibe may not be as easy as it seems.
Neuroscientists Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, in their book How God Changes Your Brain, discuss this phenomenon from the perspective of brain function. “After spending decades building a somewhat stable personality to handle life’s tribulations, the brain is hesitant to alter its underlying beliefs. After all, even if your behavior is dysfunctional, it has helped you to survive, which is what your brain is primarily designed to do. It took decades for your brain to form these habits, and it’s not easy to turn them off. Old neural circuits do not disappear, especially if they are tinged with negative or stressful memories.”
I recently hired a strategist to help me re-engineer some aspects of my business. It was astounding to me to see how differently he and I think about business. The guy is brilliant. But time and time again I found myself saying, “That makes perfect sense. I wish I were more inclined to think that way, but I can only think the way I think.” You can only think the way you think unless and until you have significant exposure to new and different ways of thinking. Working with this strategist exposed me to new ways of thinking, which I can then incorporate into my BEAT, which in turn raises my vibe.
You may not realize it, but right now you have the power to create a new direction in life. You have been determining your direction all along, but instead of creating what you want, you have likely been unconsciously conjuring up stories of unworthiness, stress, and strife.
You are the cause of your life. Never waiver from that belief. Always claim that you are solely responsible for your life. You will find life much easier to navigate that way. You must convince yourself that the only source of your happiness and well-being is your vibe or consciousness.
The ego has a mechanistic stimulus/response pattern to it. What that means is that once your Human iOS is set, and your BEAT is in place, you develop a very predictable pattern of how you experience and respond to life. That predictable pattern establishes the vibe that both creates and attracts what happens in your life.
The process of the Human iOS looks like this:
1. Something happens that is as routine and random as the weather (someone says something to you or does something that leaves an imprint on you)
2. You make it mean something about yourself or the world (I can’t trust them, the world is not a safe place)
3. You unconsciously carry that interpretation to other situations (I’d better keep my guard up, play it safe)
4. That unconscious interpretation becomes your belief system
5. You surround yourself with others who think, believe and behave the same way thereby reinforcing your beliefs, behaviors and world view
6. You think, “That’s just the way life is.” No, it’s not just the way life is. It is the way you have become.
I had a coaching client a few years back that inherited $250,000 when her parents both passed away. My client, Sarah, is a very upbeat, optimistic, “high vibe” person who thoroughly enjoys life. While she is not wealthy, she runs a successful small business and enjoys the fruits of her labor. When Sarah learned about the inheritance, she was elated and talked effusively about how grateful she was that her parents had shown such care for her and her sister Maureen in putting this money aside for them to enjoy. Maureen has a different BEAT and vibe. She has always struggled financially, living on public assistance in a tiny, run-down trailer home. Upon hearing the news of the inheritance they would soon acquire, her response was markedly different than Sarah’s and yet completely in alignment with her vibe. Maureen responded with frustration and anger, wondering why her parents waited so long to give them the money. She lamented about how she would not give any of the money to a financial services broker as “they are all crooked thieves” who would take her money, and she made no mention of how the inheritance would help improve her living conditions. Her entire perceptual frame, one of difficulty and struggle, continued to perpetuate her experience of money, despite the fact that she just inherited a quarter of a million dollars!
This story is a perfect example of how the Human iOS operates. We unconsciously transmute our interpretations and perceptions into our belief system, which gives rise to our emotions, attitudes, and thoughts, which translates into our experience of life. We also unconsciously gravitate toward people who think and believe similarly which then reinforces the beliefs we have established.
To what thoughts are you giving power? With what feelings do you identify? Most people do not realize the extent of their feelings and thoughts of scarcity (There is not enough), worry (There will not be enough) and personal insufficiency (I am not enough). These are all lies that the ego creates to keep you from taking risks or venturing too far from your comfort zone.
Having a high vibe increases your ability to achieve your goals and dreams. It will serve toward the elevation of your self-esteem and having a higher self-esteem increases your vibe. It is a positive feedback loop that continues to elevate and expand. People who believe in themselves and have a high consciousness create great things. The higher your vibe, the less inclined you are to let external circumstances dictate you. You are more focused, more confident and more at ease.
Rather than being an unconscious participant in your inner dialogue, holding onto it as Gospel Truth, you can begin focusing your mind and using it in ways that you direct and orchestrate. You become the master of your thinking. This shift occurs through a three-step process I call “Identify-Disempower-Transform.”
IDENTIFY: Beginning with neutral, impartial self-observation, start to notice the inner dialogue you have about money. Watch what you say in your conversations and how you feel when you experience an unexpected expense or even a sudden inflow of money. Like my student who received over a million dollars of unexpected income or my client’s sister who received a quarter of a million dollars inheritance, their response demonstrated fear and angst. These are the ways you begin noticing your money vibe. How do you respond? What do you say? What do you think? Open up to yourself and become aware. Tell the truth if only to yourself. Know that the vibe of your BEAT causes your discomfort and suffering.
Don’t pretend that your problems are beyond your control. Once you believe you are at cause in life and never depart from that position, you will find that your future improves dramatically. Waiting for things outside of you to change gives away your power and authority. Believing that you alone are the creator of your life is the most empowered position you can employ.
You begin this process of self-empowerment by becoming keenly aware of what you are thinking, feeling and saying. You may believe you are responsible for what you do and not for what you think. A Course in Miracles teaches that you must become fully responsible for what you think because it is at the level of thinking that all action and behavior begins.
You identify your BEAT simply by noticing – through impartial self-observation. Then, when you observe thinking, conversations and behaviors that are not what you want to create and experience, you go to the second step.
DISEMPOWER: Disempower thoughts that do not reflect the experience you want to have by “talking back to the thought” and debunking it. That may sound like a ridiculous notion. Am I suggesting you walk around talking to yourself? I suppose I am. When it comes to changing your inner landscape, you must begin asserting the authority of your higher vibe mind over your unconscious, habitual thought patterns. You train your thinking to alter your beliefs and create a new vibe.
Here is an example of how this works: Suppose there is a piece of your work that you do not enjoy; maybe it is paperwork or a particular meeting. As you approach that task you might think, “This is such a drag.” As you notice that thought (Identify), you can debunk it (Disempower) by asking, “Is that what you want to experience? What else could you think and feel about this? How could you make a difference for others?” As you do this you are asserting authority with your higher vibe mind over the lower vibe, habitual thoughts that often drag you down. You are choosing a different thought which generates a different feeling, which raises your vibe.
Simply by recognizing that you have this ability is the first step. Your brain is programmed with a system of habitual responses. How you alter those habitual responses is by focusing not on your immediate unfiltered reactions to life, but on what you want and desire.
You disempower lower vibe thoughts by challenging them from the perspective of your higher mind. Here are some questions geared toward disempowering the lower vibe mind:
• What do you want to experience?
• Do you want to continue believing that?
• What has that thought created in your life?
• Where does that thinking lead?
• What higher thought or emotion could I choose?
I tend to ask myself these questions with a not-so-minimal twinge of sarcasm. It would sound something more like this: “Is THAT what you want to experience?! (As in, “You can do way better than that!”).
TRANSFORM: How you then change your mind is by replacing the lower vibe thinking with what you want to experience. So instead of, “Look at those folks. They are so lucky to have that gorgeous house. I’ll never have that,” you identify the lower vibe thought and then ask, “Is THAT what you want to believe? If you continue thinking that, how are you ever going to grow your finances? Is that objectively true that you’ll never have that? No, it’s only true if you believe it and then act that way.”
Then you transform the dialogue. “Good for that family. I can see myself in that kind of home. That house fits my vibe now and even more so as I grow and prosper.” This approach is not “Fake it ‘til you make it.” It is transforming your mind through self-awareness and training.
Let yourself feel the lower energy thought, and it will pass through you. When you acknowledge your negative thoughts and feelings without attaching to them (and that is the trick), you can feel them, let them pass through you, and then transform them.
Replace lower aspects of your BEAT with what you want to experience. You can come up with a few practiced visions that you return to over and over again. One of my visions is my family spending time at our summer cottage, sitting on the deck overlooking the St. Lawrence River just before sunset, feeling relaxed and happy. I use that image to reset my state.
I also have mental visions of giving my spouse a high-five after accomplishing a big goal. I carry an emotional imprint of how these images feel and they immediately shift me into a higher state. I have taught this method over and over again and have watched hundreds of clients and students change their inner landscape and outer conditions.
Remember I said that these principles are simple, but not easy to practice? Most people try this once and think that their habitual lower vibe thoughts won’t return. They will say to me, “Oh, I tried that. It didn’t work.”
I always ask, “Really? You mean you were not able to transform the thought or feeling with that three-step process?”
“Oh, no, it did transform, but the next day it was back just like before.” No kidding! Of course it was back! I can imagine it was back not just the next day, but also the next hour, or even the next MINUTE! That is what I mean when I say this process is straightforward but not easy.
It has taken your brain decades to create the neuropathways you have established, and they won’t just transform overnight. The process of changing your thinking is exhausting. It takes energy to think in new ways.
Your thoughts are embedded in your brain through neural networks. Think of neural pathways as a trail in the woods. Taking the same route over and over again creates a clear and easy route to an intended destination. As the trail wears over time, it becomes less cumbersome to walk that way. Veering off the path requires effort, as you must clear away the forest growth to get to the same destination. The same applies to your brain, which gets patterned with consistency and repetition. Your thoughts and responses to life are habitual, whether you recognize it or not. It takes concerted focus, effort, support, and practice to unwire and rewire your brain to think from a higher perspective.
Bring rigorous self-examination and willingness to change the thoughts and feelings repeatedly as they arise. You can change your BEAT through practicing the principles described above. Science is teaching us so much about how to enhance our life experience by using our brain and, in fact, training our brain in new and different ways. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s amazing capacity to change and adapt as the result of how we choose to interact with our internal and external environment. With the advent of this discovery and understanding that the brain can and does adapt to our environment, it now becomes scientifically verified that you can change your BEAT. Your brain will acclimate according to your focus.
Pay attention to the level of your thinking throughout your day. Notice how you respond to the day-to-day events. Observe the quality of your conversations. Are you taking responsibility or speaking as if you have no control? As you practice rigorous, non-judgmental self-examination you will notice the perceptual level from which you live and experience life.
Your goal is to go one step higher in consciousness from where you are now. If you find yourself in constant survival thinking, your first task is to recognize that is where you are operating, and then change your thinking just to the next highest level. Most often that means beginning to understand that with effort and focus you can make a difference in your life. You give up on your cynicism, blame, and despair and get actively engaged in creating different thinking, looking for new and different opportunities and engaging in higher level conversations.
Massive overnight transformations in consciousness happen, but they are rare. Most people plod along, changing their inner landscape a little at a time. Knowing you “should” do certain things or be a certain way does not make it happen. It is not enough to know important principles; you must demonstrate the principles you know in every aspect of your BEAT. There is no limitation on how you can experience life with the vibe you create.
To practice this three-step process, you must possess one prerequisite belief. You must come to recognize that your thoughts are not “the truth.” Your thoughts are just what you think. They are neurological firings in your brain. Many cultural and evolutionary factors program your BEAT. You believe you are a “free thinker” but nothing could be further from the truth. Your thinking primarily depends on the vibe you experience and create. The people you are around, the messages you hear, and the culture all impact how you think, how you act and what you believe.
If you spend time with positive, proactive and productive people who are committed to success, it will impact your “success vibe.” If you spend the majority of your time with people who chronically complain and who have a low vibe toward life, money, and success, it will drag you down.
You will know that you have changed when you have a different reaction to familiar stimuli. Observe your reactions. To change at a deep level, you must desire something so different from what you now know that you are willing to commit to a new way of thinking and being. There is no problem whatsoever that cannot be resolved by changing your vibe.
Change is possible. It is not easy but with help and support you are more than capable to achieve whatever your heart desire. If you knew that you would, beyond a shadow of a doubt, be successful – what would you try? What more could you accomplish and achieve? Think about it for a moment.
If you like what you found here and want to know more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have short videos on the subject and some other material that will help you Live The Live You Want To Live.