“At birth, a baby’s brain contains 100 billion neurons, roughly as many nerve cells as there are stars in the Milky Way” according to an article in Time magazine.
My first reaction? “Wow, we get all that power and hardware with no owner’s manual or instruction booklet.”
Just imagine what we could do if we understood a tenth of what our brains are capable of.
Now, I certainly don’t presume to offer an owner’s manual, but I can offer a few suggestions about what and what not to put into our brains.
The power of the words we use and how they affect what we think has been grossly underestimated.
You’ve probably heard someone say, usually while losing an argument, “Well, that’s just semantics.” I’ve learned that, when it comes to managing our brains, it is all semantics.
This is because the brain is simply a computer that takes in what we give it, whether it is in our best interest or not.
For example, there are words I call garbage words.
A garbage word is a word that, if you allow your brain to use it on a regular basis, will lead to garbage thinking. Garbage thinking leads to garbage feelings and garbage actions, all of which can keep us from living the kind of lives we want to live.
Garbage Words & Phrases
“I have to”
There are very few things in life we have to do. There are very many things in life we choose to do.
Constantly saying “I have to” diminishes our power of choice. Replacing “I have to” with “I choose to” or “I get to” allows us to choose and bypasses the brain’s natural resistance to being forced.
This is one of the most powerful garbage words in common usage. For example, try to pick up your computer mouse. You either pick it up or you don’t. Those are the only two outcomes.
In the words of Yoda in the Star Wars: “Do or do not. There is no ‘try.”‘
This garbage word convinces our brains not to do something. It’s an excuse for fear and/or laziness. Saying something is hard does not make it any easier to accomplish. Remember, though, that some things are difficult. But difficult things are still doable.
This one usually means “I won’t” or “I choose not to.” A good replacement is “If I could, what would I do?”
I love this one. Consider how many times you or someone you know has said he or she wants to lose weight. Now consider what the brain hears.
What have we conditioned our brains to do when we “lose” something? We find it and get it back. Instead of “losing weight,” we really want to “get rid of” weight.
“Yes, but …”
Our brains automatically disregard everything that comes before the word “but.” That’s because when you hear the word “but,” you think, “Ah, ha. Here comes the truth.”
Instead of saying “but,” use the word “and” (as in, “You did a good job with this, and you could also do that”).
Is what I’m suggesting just a form of positive thinking?
While positive thinking can be good, it’s not enough all by itself. If you are walking in the rain during a thunderstorm saying, “It’s not raining, it’s not raining,” you still are going to get wet.
What this is about is using words to operate your brain properly.
Here’s a suggestion: Try replacing – oops! – I mean, replace garbage words with these replacement words, at the rate of one a week.
Eventually, you will eliminate the garbage words from your vocabulary, and get better results.