Get to know your brain
Understanding how your brain affects your thoughts, your emotions, and your ability to act is a huge ‘must do’ if you want to live your best life.
In simplified terms, you have two parts to your brain. Your prefrontal cortex can make all your dreams come true. It can decide ahead of time, create goals, envision dreams, and devise plans. It’s where our humanness resides. It’s the most evolved part of our brains and where executive function occurs. It’s where we make conscious decisions. The prefrontal cortex uses a lot of energy. It’s only going to be recruited for big jobs that we want to put a lot of effort into.
The other part of your brain is the cerebellum, your automatic consciousness that’s efficient and already programmed. It comes up with reactions, solutions, and actions very quickly without much energy involved. The brain likes to be efficient. It likes to expend as little energy as possible. It defaults to the pre-programmed brain whenever possible.
Because the brain likes to be efficient, it likes to be familiar and comfortable. We have developed an attachment to the familiar in order to survive. The brain is not motivated to go in and re-evaluate things that it does efficiently. You must direct your prefrontal to do that evaluation on purpose because it takes more effort and energy.
Many of us have neural pathways of desire that are in our brains, and we think those neural pathways are part of our personality. The fact is, we’ve learned to like something or not like something. Think about the automatic pathways that you have created in your brain that aren’t serving you. False desire is a neural pathway that produces a feeling of desire, but it’s not something you want, like the desire to overeat or overdrink.
A thought error is a neural pathway that’s running in your brain that you haven’t looked at to decide whether it’s a neural pathway you want to keep or not.
Neural pathways are formed by paying attention to something and then repeating it over and over.
Slow, deliberate effort consistently repeated, is what makes something unconscious and effortless. Old neural pathways can be replaced with a new desire for something else, but it requires attention and repetition. It takes practice and effort.
You cannot rely on yourself in the future to do what you are planning without using your prefrontal planning mode in detail. The decision must be made ahead of time, and then it must be non-negotiable once you get there.
Use your highest executive prefrontal to design your life instead of letting your automatic cerebellum decide for you in the moment.