We spend a great deal of time and energy here at Rewire helping our clients think their ways to greater outcomes. Our team has an idiom that states “we cannot help people take different action until we help them take on different thinking”. Good thinking should always precedes right action.
It’s not that one can’t take action without different thinking. The issue becomes a question of sustainability. This is not too hard to believe. We have been on diets, made resolutions, and committed ourselves to all manners of action only to do them for some temporary time frame. You see, action is good and we are all for it here. But if we wish to transcend the normal human response of starting and stopping because something (like an exercise plan) didn’t take, then we must become students of the way we think.
At this point, I wish to re-introduce the second characteristic of the Lizard Brain: Being Right. In his book Strangers to Ourselves, Dr. Timothy Wilson points out that the unconscious mind has little capacity to distinguish right thought from wrong thought. Did you know that our brains always believe they’re right? Well, perhaps I am referring to the lizard part of the brain, but still, whenever you choose to do anything, in that moment, you believe you are right. In plain speak we might call this rationalizing.
Now if you give your logic center enough time, it does have the ability to see right from wrong. You have heard yourself say to yourself “Oh, I shouldn’t have said that”, or “I shouldn’t have done that”. So, with some time, we know we’re not always right, but in any given moment Our Lizard Brains are in control.
Let me return to taking action and thinking differently. Let’s say you wake up today and you want to grow your business, or make a call to a new prospect, or take a new action that you haven’t before. You have a choice, you can choose to think little new about the action and simply white-knuckle it, or you can actually consider ways you have thought about this action in the past. Spending even a little time thinking about how you have thought about the action may make all the difference to this action being something you stay committed to for more than just once or twice.
The issue becomes that new thinking “feels” wrong. And this, then, is why the Lizard Brain prevents so much authentic, sustainable change. As we learn to still our Lizard Brains, we grow in our capacity to actually think differently. As we think differently we give ourselves a much higher chance at sustaining actions that have eluded us for far too long.
You have an uncanny capacity to do new things, to start new programs and even sustain them. Start first by thinking differently and when you “feel” weird or bad, know that you are on the right path.