How many times a day do you find yourself having a conversation with yourself?
Buddhists call it monkey brain, the ceaseless chattering of the brain.
At times, you wish it would shut up so you can think!
I have blogged about the work of James Allen who wrote As A Man Thinketh. I won’t repeat my previous posts, but his thesis is that if we change our thoughts we can develop a more positive and productive life.
But this riff is more about the chatter that stops you from doing things.
“I’d better not try that in case I fail.”
“I will look stupid.”
“I might lose my job.”
Seth Godin calls this the Lizard Brain, and Steven Pressfield the Resistance (with a capital ‘R’). It’s the voice inside your head that speaks to and reinforces your greatest fear(s) and persuades you not to try something, do something different or speak out when you know you should.
What I have come to realise is that if you can find a way to properly tune into this chatter, you will understand what it is that you should be doing that isn’t wrapped around the meme of necessity. In other words, the voice that speaks to you most loudly, is the voice that is holding you back. You have to act diametrically to this voice (the Resistance) and use it as the touchstone for action – simple to say, but much, much harder to action.
In a practical sense, when you think about something that might change your life for the better, you will immediately discover that your internal voice seeks to persuade you that said action is folly. It is at that moment that you have to turn your face against the chatter, and go do precisely what ‘it’ says you shouldn’t.
Even if you move part way in that direction – but enough to challenge your fear – it will give you the confidence to try and try again.
I appreciate that this sounds pretty metaphysical, but all I know is that by doing more of the things that the Resistance is constantly talking you out of is the only way to overcome self-doubt, procrastination and our self-limiting actions.