“An excuse isn’t real – it’s nothing more than a thought that you have had a bit more often than is helpful.”
Neuroscientists have proven that a thought we think regularly becomes hard-wired in our mind. Like a well-trodden footpath, it is easier and quicker for our mind to follow that path than a pathway that is newly-forged and still quite overgrown.
An excuse is a thought we have had often enough that it becomes a well-worn path and we no longer just think it; we believe it. Once we believe it, it becomes a filter in our unconscious mind for our experience of life. It has earned a place in our repertoire of auto-pilot programmes for life.
But an excuse isn’t real. It isn’t something we can pick up and hold or wrap up in a bow, no matter how solid, real and true it might feel to us.
It is no different to all the other neural pathways in our brain.
Want to know how to change – or even release – an excuse?
NOT using Pollyanna-style positive affirmations.
To change an excuse (belief), you need to create a new neural pathway in your mind by choosing another thought to believe, and then walk that pathway regularly.
Our unconscious mind will have chosen that old belief / excuse carefully and – at some level – deliberately, to protect us from something. It is pretty convinced of the truth of it. So simply telling it that it is wrong by reciting the opposite belief (the ‘Pollyanna’ approach) is likely to meet with considerable resistance and require major willpower to produce any kind of results.
Think about a time when someone tries to sell you something. If they try by telling you that you are wrong and they are right, what happens? How does that feel? Which emotions come up for you? Are you more or less likely to believe them and then buy into their idea?
So why would you use that approach with your unconscious mind? After all, you’re trying to sell it the idea that the old excuse is ready for an upgrade…
If your belief is along the lines of “I’m not able to do this,” the likelihood of your mind welcoming a ‘counter-belief’ of, “I AM able to do this,” is pretty low (unless you have hard evidence).
What can you do instead?
Instead of directly contradicting your unconscious mind – and setting off its ego warning alarm – you’re much more likely to see success if you start thinking about possibilities.
“I wonder if I could do this…”
“What would it feel like / how would I act, if I could do it?”
“Perhaps I could do this, after all?”
Your first job is simply to open the door to thinking that things might be possible, rather than beating yourself up about the old excuse.
Creating new thoughts in the form of possibilities or questions reduces your mind’s natural resistance to change and makes it more likely that you will choose a thought that sits comfortably for you – that is potentially believable – and that you will think more often.
How about trying it out right now?
Is there something you want to do or a change you want to make, where your excuses have been getting in the way?
Which new thought could you think about it, that would start to turn your ship around and steer it towards its new course? Think that thought a few times. How does it feel? Do you need to tweak the thought? You can change it whenever you want. In fact, changing it regularly (to become wider, more expansive and more open to possibilities) will prevent it from ever restricting you in the future.
Then all you need to do is to cover your home / office / inside of your eyelids with post-it’s and other types of reminder to tread the new pathway!
Remember: each and every thought you have creates a pathway in your mind or reinforces an existing pathway. Choose those pathways with care – and love. They create the ‘future you’.
You can choose your thoughts. All it takes is conscious effort. It isn’t difficult and it doesn’t hurt, but it does require choice. And the bonus is that it can change your experience of life.
Which new pathways might you choose to walk today?
If you experiment with this technique, I’d love to hear how you get on. Please let me know by commenting on this post. If you have found this article helpful, how about sharing it with your friends, perhaps via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest?
Wishing you a day full of sunshine and laughter.