Sometimes we feel that life is just a sequence of random events and we have little chance to change anything about it. We are responding to the changes that the life brings and ask when will it finally turn to our advantage again? But now… the time has come for you to learn how to manage your life YOURSELF.
In the last article, we talked about that happiness actually comes from our state of mind. The problem is that your thoughts are not working for you but against you. That’s a pretty big problem, don’t you think?
How can my thoughts work against me?
One would expect his thoughts to work for him. To support him and help him in his life. Let’s see if that’s what is actually happening here.
Think about your thoughts about yourself. What do you think about yourself? What are you like? And what are you good at and what not? Are you beautiful? Are you clever? Do you think, that you are amazing? Are you worth loving? Are you capable to do everything you want?
Or do you ever have any doubts about yourself? Do you feel that you are poorly educated, stupid, boring and your character is not to your liking? Do you feel that people don’t like you? Or do you believe that you won’t be successful? That you don’t have what it takes? That you are lazy? Do you think you deserve all that you dream of?
Fill up the following sentences:
- I’m great, but …
- I like myself, but …
- I would like to be more …
- And I would like to be less …
- I would change about myself …
Uncomfortable feelings about ourselves
If any of these sentences have made you feel uncomfortable, then it is clear that your mind is working against you. And that also means that you don’t manage your life, at least not fully.
Ideally, everyone would have only pleasant feelings of themselves, wouldn’t they?
Of course, arrogance and cockiness is something completely different. I am talking about healthy self-esteem and self-love. About the fact that one should accept oneself as it is and not try to be someone or something else.
And yes, of course, it is always good to continue working on and developing yourself. It is not a matter of perceiving oneself as infallible or flawless, no.
But to love yourself without feeling bad, to be aware of your space for improvement and to work on it, that’s all right. To love and accept oneself unconditionally, always trying to be the best version of yourself. This is the mind of a man that works for him and not against him. This is the mind of someone who can manage his own life.
And that’s how it is with everything. Whenever our thoughts evoke unpleasant feelings in us, be it work, relationships, money, health or any area, at that moment our thoughts work against us and not for us.
In the articles How Thoughts Work: 4 Secrets That Change Your Life and How to hack your mind: insider scientific explanation I explain exactly why negative thoughts and negative emotions bring absolutely nothing positive to our lives.
How to manage your life better?
So if you want to improve your life for the better, you will never succeed from the position of negative thoughts and negative feelings. Only when our thoughts and feelings shift to positive levels on the scale will the changes we desire begin to happen in our lives.
And sometimes it can be literally miracles. Only from the position of positive thoughts do you begin to achieve your dreams and goals.
Remember: If you want to change your life, you have to change your thoughts.
But to get into this “positive position” in your thoughts and feelings, you must first learn how to manage your thoughts and feelings.
Right now your thoughts are running on autopilot.
The problem with autopilot is that it is designed for survival and not for fulfilling human dreams and goals.
How does your autopilot work?
When you switch to autopilot, you do not consciously perceive the thoughts that are taking place in your head, nor are you trying to work with them.
These automatic thoughts then induce in the body automatic reactions – physiological and emotional. Just as you do not control your thoughts, you also do not control your emotions, just experience what is happening within you.
What amygdala does with us
How autopilot works, has its own developmental rationale. Our brain consists of three brains. The oldest in development is the reptilian brain that controls basic instincts. After that came a mammalian brain that controls impulses and emotions. The youngest is the brain of primates, which is in charge of rational behavior.
Part of the mammalian brain is called the amygdala. It is very powerful because it has the task of reporting emergency situations and taking command of other parts of the brain.
So if the sensory organ comes to know that it is a dangerous situation, before we have the opportunity to think rationally about it, the amygdala has already taken control.
Which is great. When we meet a tiger, we certainly do not want to wonder whether the tiger will actually attack us or not. At this point, the amygdala triggers an automatic response, giving us the best chance of survival at the moment.
However, the amygdala is also the seat of emotional memory. It preserves emotionally tinted memories. The amygdala compares everything we experience with the experience of the past.
It does so associatively, so if one key element of the current situation is similar to the past experience, the amygdala begins to respond before it is rationally verified whether this reaction is a good one. This is not always so advantageous, as I will explain in a moment.
The highlight of all this is that the amygdala is programmed to always react as if it were a life-threatening situation. The moment the boss criticizes you, or you argue with a partner, according to the amygdala, it is a fight for life and death. 🙂
Autopilot in action
So if I let my brain function on autopilot, I basically shut down the power of my consciousness, and let my brain function as it has evolved over millions of years. Part of everything is controlled by our rational brain, and the amygdala jumps into it whenever it wants to.
Imagine that when you were a kid, your mother was mad at you once. It all started by glaring at you and then you got scolded. Maybe you were arguing with her, and so she also spanked your butt.
From the perspective of an adult, this may not be anything a big deal, but from the perspective of a small child, it is a very unpleasant experience that has created a lot of discomfort in you. These feelings were deposited in the amygdala.
If your brain goes on autopilot, it is enough for you to be frowned upon in adulthood now, and your amygdala automatically evaluates it associatively and compares it to the childhood memory. In a split second, all the bad feelings that you experienced as a child in that situation will arise.
But perhaps at that moment, these feelings are completely inadequate or unnecessary.
If you take control over …
If you were to consciously control your thoughts and feelings, you would stop at this point and wonder why you were starting to feel bad.
You would evaluate that this is unnecessary and continue to enjoy your day in peace and good humor. But if you leave everything on the autopilot, you will start to feel bad.
This triggers a chain reaction. As soon as you tune in to the unpleasant thoughts and feelings that run associatively in you, you automatically begin to attract even more unpleasant thoughts and feelings for the rest of the day / week / year / life. This will last until something improves your mood again and you begin to have pleasant thoughts and emotions.
If you do not understand why is it that you are attracting other bad thoughts and feelings to one unpleasant thought, really read How Thoughts Work: 4 Secrets That Change Your Life where everything is explained.
So how do you manage your life? From autopilot to manual mode
The autopilot is therefore suitable for survival. However, we have much more complex needs than simply wanting to survive. But your autopilot cannot take your wishes and goals into account, and manage your thoughts and emotions to bring your wishes and goals to you.
The autopilot only responds to external stimuli. Whatever happens out there has a direct effect on your inner balance. On your own feelings and thoughts. In that case, you don’t control your life, but your life controls you.
The secret to how to manage your life is to stop being a passive recipient of what is happening to you in your life and start actively creating it.
By switching from autopilot to manual mode.
Only in manual mode can you prevent the outside world from affecting your thoughts and feelings. Only in manual mode can you see what programs are taking place in the background in your mind, which triggers an unpleasant sensation through an automatic response. If you recognize these programs and erase them from your mind, you will become an active creator of your life.
In the next article, you will learn more about how these negative programs have originated in your mind, and with a few examples from life I will show you exactly how these programs affect your life.