Do you ever wish your life would change? That you would be happier or more popular or richer or less alone, etc.? Well…it can…and it’s all up to you, and it’s surprisingly simple to do.
“All the world’s a stage, and we are merely players.”
What if your life really WAS a play – would we be watching a comedy, tragedy, or just repeating history (Yours? Your family’s? Your nationality’s?) over and over like a broken record? What part would you be playing? The hero, a fool, the lover, a villain, or what?
Are you the protagonist – do you know what you want and face the challenges to get it, or are you just a minor character in your own story, and/or are you also the antagonist at the same time, all wrapped up into one, undermining all your efforts while trying in vain to get what you want?
And now for the important question – do you like your story? If not (or even if so), how would you like it to change?
Let’s get this out of the way: plays can be edited and revised. You CAN change your story by changing your character, and you can begin immediately.
The most important way to revise your life doesn’t rely on any outside factors. You don’t need more money, more love, better weather, better looks, a miracle pill that gives you confidence, or the next season of Sherlock or Dr. Who to come out on Netflix. Those things happen later.
Possibly the only way you change your life is by changing your thoughts and attitude. The problem is that it seems hard!!! Very hard. But it’s not. It’s easy; it’s merely uncomfortable at first, and this discomfort is the main reason why most people continue living the same sub-optimal life until they die when they could be living a fantastic story instead.
The other reason people don’t change is that they don’t know how to change their thoughts, though it’s quite simple, or they don’t even realize that the option is available to them.
Okay, let’s get started. We’ll make this easy and painless.
Step One: observe your attitude.
How’s that for easy? You barely have to even do anything!! Simply start paying attention. What are you thinking? How do those thoughts make you feel? In the back of your mind where you usually don’t notice, what is that little voice saying about life? About yourself? About other people and your job and your friends and the idiot in the car in front of you, etc.? Do those thoughts make you feel AMAAAAAAAAZZZZIIIIINNNGGG or crappy? Motivated or discouraged? Happier and more popular and richer or…just more of the same old thing?
Are you starting to understand why your thoughts shape your world? Thoughts create feelings, feelings create motivation (or kill it), motivation determines actions, and actions directly create your life and destiny.
Step Two: choose your thoughts and feelings.
Step two isn’t hard either, but it’s…tricky. All you need to do is choose a thought that will make you feel better and keep on thinking it until it makes its home in your brain. It’s important to not only think words, though, you must also choose the feelings that go with them.
This matters because your subconscious mind (this is the part of your brain that really runs the show) isn’t rational. You can’t persuade it to change by sitting down and having a logical conversation with it, because it speaks a different language. Its language is largely visual and emotional, so use those to better access it.
Once you learn how to communicate with your subconscious, it accepts whatever you put into it, though initially it may resist because the new thoughts probably conflict with old ones and it hates contradiction. It hates to be wrong and will actively twist your perception of events that happen to you in order to match what it already believes and thus keep you stuck in the same ruts where you’ve been spinning your wheels all your life.
Once you change what it accepts as the only truth to something positive and productive, however, then it will work tirelessly to make your outward life match its new belief. You’ll finally be on your own side, and you can’t help but win!
Many people get excited about “The Law of Attraction.” They believe that thoughts send a message to the universe that delivers to you whatever you think about. There’s probably some truth to this (at the very least, this idea has motivated millions to choose their thoughts and feelings more proactively), but the intentional mapping of your neural circuits and that’s effect on feelings and actions is a far more powerful way of getting you what you want and taking you where you want to go.
WISHING life would change but FAILING to choose your thoughts and emotions is like saying, “I would sure feel better if the kitchen was clean, but it’s messy, so I guess I’ll just live with it.” Yes, the kitchen is messy. Yes, you may not be as happy or social or rich or active or whatever as you want to be. But IF YOU CLEAN THE KITCHEN, it will be clean, and then that will be the reality you’re living in. That will be the new normal. Those will be your new thoughts and that story will become yours to live and enjoy.
Here are some specific examples of thoughts and feelings to choose:
A. “I am valuable.” Everyone deserves (and needs) to believe this basic idea of self esteem. Most experts will tell you that you learn self esteem by experience – when you achieve goals, do hard things, develop your talents, etc., it teaches you that you can handle living and that makes you secure and confident. This is true, but you can also CHOOSE to believe this and work it into your brain by repetition. Observe your feelings when you tell yourself that you’re valuable and generate positive ones, because if your brain is kicking out negative arguments against it and you don’t also choose positive feelings with it, then you’re just reinforcing the doubts.
B. “I am the best looking person on the planet.” Actually, this is a BAD EXAMPLE. Do not lie to yourself. Your subconscious hates lies and this will only create cognitive dissonance. Besides, why do you want to believe you’re good looking? So people will love you? If so, then skip this secondary thought and go back to core idea – “I am valuable.”
C. “People are good.” If you believe that you’re okay and others are okay, then what else is there? By working this idea deep into your brain, your brain will begin noticing abundant proof that people are, in fact, good. Even when people do bad things, you can either still see the good in them or at least continue believing that most people are good most of the time. As Ghandi put it, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
D. “I am grateful for _____.” Gratitude creates such a positive atmosphere in your brain that it is a proven method to make you happier and better off. If you honestly can’t find anything to be grateful for then it’s only because you’ve been secretly telling yourself that everything sucks. Does that make you happy? No, so revise your story now.
You can also “blend” these positive thoughts with negatives and let the positive teach you better insight about the negatives. I was just speaking with a client who had an issue about people leaving her and that made her feel less valued. By repeating, “People sometimes leave me and I am valuable,” her brain eventually pointed out that people leaving has little to do with her value, that her value remains intact no matter what, and the better she believes it herself, the better her life will prove her value in multiple ways.
You want more money? Positive self-talk will make you brave enough to ask for a raise or get a better job or write that book you’ve always wanted to write, and it will attract the right people to your sunnier personality who will support you on your journey.
Want more love? Same story.
Better weather? Well, you can move or take a vacation if you want, but “better” is purely subjective. It’s a judgment you make in your own head. And if your out head feels sunnier and more optimistic, then everything you see will also look brighter and warmer and, well, better.
Better looks? A positive attitude not only puts a smile on your face but also adds a light in your eyes that not only makes your physical presence more attractive, but makes you more pleasant to be around. You’ll be more likely to exercise, eat healthily, and take care of yourself; stress will decrease; and a rosier, healthy glow will appear. Other people’s “better” filter will make you look twice as good as before.
Confidence? How can you not be confident with your subconscious continually reminding you how great your story is and what an amazing part you’re playing? YOU ARE AMAZING!!! Why, you can do anything you want! Even when you fail, you won’t take it so hard, because your new habit of choosing thoughts and emotions will catch the doubts and toss them happily out the window.
Sherlock/ Dr. Who? Well…you’re going to have to wait for those; and while you’re waiting, why not turn your attention to your own story and play the brilliant, invincible hero? Living your story, once revised by choosing your thoughts and emotions, is far, far, far, far, far, far more entertaining and rewarding than watching somebody else do it on a television screen.
By the way, did you realize that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Who don’t actually exist? Someone invented them, and they’re great, just like you can be when you decide to reinvent yourself to your liking. It’s totally elementary.