Recently my mother bought herself a new car. It was a small 4×4 model, a lovely shade of midnight blue. It was a car that I hadn’t really seen before. The next day, when I was driving to the shops I noticed my Mum coming towards me in her new car and lifted my hand to wave only to realise that a rather bewildered man was waving back at me .Probably trying to remember who I was and obviously failing. It was the same type of car and same colour but not my Mothers. For the next few weeks I kept noticing this small car everywhere I went. Not the same confused man fortunately, but the make and colour of my Mums car. What a strange coincidence I thought.
Not long afterwards a friend came over to visit and show off her new sports car. It was lovely and she was quite rightly delighted with it .Again the next day I was driving on the motorway and was passed by a car exactly like hers. This occurred on several occasions over the next few weeks. So what was going on? Had there been a massive sale of these particular types of cars and everyone was buying one? Of course not, it was simply that I had unknowingly switched on that part of my brain to look for them.
Our brain is the best computer in the world and just like a man made one it is programmed to take our commands and run a search for them. Previously as I didn’t know anyone with those two makes or colours of car, to see them was of no interest to me. That changed as soon as I associated people close to me with those cars and those particular colours I unwittingly started to look out for them. I had in fact unconsciously given my brain a command and that was to look out for those cars, so it immediately started to search everywhere for them.
We give our brains unconscious commands all of the time and the problem is that often these commands are meant to be positive, in that we are intending them to be used to protect us from the things we are concerned about, but actually what happens is that the effect is negative. We have switched our brain on to look for the very things we really do not wish to see or experience. Take for example a child who reaches out to touch a precious ornament; we may say “Don’t touch that”. Instantly what does the child want to do? Touch of course as we have switched their brain on to think about really wanting to touch the ornament, it becomes the total focus of the child’s attention and it is our entire fault. We should have told the child what we wanted him/her to do. “Come here look at this” and offer a suitable alternative. Instead what we had done was switch on their attention to touch the ornament. The very thing we did not want them to do.
The same thing happens when we tell ourselves I don’t want to be scared or sad or hurt .What we are actually doing is telling our brains to look out for the things that make us scared, sad, angry, hurt or anything else that we wish to avoid. We are doing this with the intention of protecting ourselves but to be able to do this the brain first of all has to look for the things we want to avoid, in order for us to avoid them! This in turn can make us quite fed up and in some cases despondent or miserable believing the world is full of the very things we wish not to see.
In order to change this we first have to change the commands that we give to our brain. Instead of telling it to look for what we do not wish to find, direct it to find the things we want. Simple really, instead of saying “I don’t want to be hurt “you could switch that command to “I want to be happy” and then start, at first consciously, to look for the things in life which make you happy “I don’t want to be angry” could become “I want to be calm “Then look for the things in life or the people in life that make you feel relaxed and calm.
To begin with this new approach might feel a little strange, after all most of us are not used to thinking about what we want .Before long a wonderful thing begins to happen. Your brain gets used to looking for the things you want and automatically starts to do it without you needing to give it a specific command. It now knows your preferences and will go out of its way to find these positive things for you.
Wayne Dyer, a bestselling author of positive thinking books says: “ If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Leo Tolstoy the Russian writer said: “ Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”.
This is not a new way of thinking. Positive people have known this for years but some of us have taken a while to learn and listen to their advice. It takes a little effort to begin with but the results are well worth it. See for yourself, start today by telling yourself in a positive manner what you want to notice now and from now on and just see how much better it makes you feel.