Limiting beliefs and the lizard brain


I’ve spoken before about limiting beliefs, our beliefs shape our world, it is how we view people, places, situations and events in our life. Some beliefs we think help us, some beliefs hinder us. (Here is link to future blog where I elaborate on this point further and clear up a potential point of confusion) As the name suggests, limiting beliefs, limit us; these are the constantly repeating thoughts that we come to believe as truth – the “I’m not good enough”, “Why does this always happen to me”, “I’m scared”, “I don’t know how”, “I can’t do this” thoughts that stop us doing and achieving.  Also, as part of the SEJ we talk about the “filing cabinet” the place where all our beliefs are stored and where our mind goes for information every time it experiences stimuli either from seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, or touching something.  


            It has always puzzled me why we have so many limiting beliefs. Surely there is something wrong with my brain, or maybe the way everyone’s brain is wired – why do we always have to have these limiting thoughts ruling the roost?


            The truth was explained to me recently during a very interesting and inspiring course that I did on engaging with customers and being a better presenter.  The person taking the course explained that when man and woman first came out of their cave they didn’t open their arms wide, bask in the sunshine, breath in a lungful of crisp clean air and say “Ahhhh, this is wonderful, let’s go exploring”.  They didn’t do this because they would probably have been eaten or struck by one of the many dangers early man faced.


            Instead they would have peered out from their cave, slowly surveying the landscape and horizon for potential threats. This is because our brains are hard-wired to look for threats, it is what has kept the human species alive to this point in time.  This part of our brain has many names given to it – Lizard Brain, R-Complex, to name but a few. It is programmed to look for threats, in essence a very important part of our make-up whose job it is to keep us alive. This has served us well, keeping us safe from predators and the many other dangers early man faced.


            Fast forward to today and we have to get up on stage and present. We are a bit nervous, and apprehensive – our brains go to the filing cabinet to keep us safe from danger (the same brain that is programmed to keep us safe from predators and danger!) and brings out the “I CAN’T DO THIS FILE”.  ‘You must be careful as you might make a fool of yourself, you might forget your words, get something wrong, fall off the stage, never be able to show your face in public again’. This always reminds me of the Doctor Pepper Adverts “What is the worst that can happen”


However, your brain is doing its job - to keep you safe. It will disregard the files in your filing cabinet on how you’ve done something before and all the bad things that you though might happen and didn’t. 


            When we use the SEJ moment to moment we bring truth to this process.  The truth is that I’m about to present, I’ve done this before, I know what I’m talking about, and we get the mind to not dive deep into the negative file, and we live from inspiration.


            I’ve done quite a few presentations in my life, and although I still get nervous, I’ve not fallen off the stage or been eaten by a predator yet!


            As I’m writing this blog I’ve just received an email about a recorded presentation that I did a few weeks ago. At the time I was preparing for this presentation my brain was accessing a range of files from “This is too difficult”, “I don’t have the time to learn the content”, to “what will my management think of me if I get this wrong.” I had the awareness of these thoughts when they came up, and I put some of them through the SEJ process, before going to record the presentation. I just followed my inspiration as I spoke and I’ve just received the email to tell me that I scored 100%. I wonder what my percentage would have been if I had followed my fears? I’m guessing it would have been “my management weren’t very impressed with me because I was too busy (scared) to record it” percent :-)


Live in Joy!


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