Does Anything Good Ever Happen to Me?
Hey there, this is Bethanie, your coach. I’m so excited to be with you today!
I want to talk with you about saboteurs in your brain, and it’s an answer to a question that some people ask themselves all the time. Are you a person who ever wonders if anything good ever happens in your life?
Why might it seem that after a good start, things eventually just don’t work out?
I have noticed that more and more people I get to know and work with, and meet, have this thought. There are people all over the world who believe nothing good ever happens to them. That things just don’t work out. When they get their hopes up, or when you get your hopes up, things get in the way. Someone will stop your progress, or someone will block your direction that you’re trying to go.
Whatever it is that seems to be getting in the way of your dreams, some of us have even stopped dreaming, or setting goals, or wanting to do anything new in the future.
For you, I want to speak directly to you today with some experiences that I’ve had in working with some of my coaching clients.
As a teacher, as an educator, I often get people in my classes who just want to learn something new. And they come, and they learn something new. In my younger professional life, it was that they would learn how to play a musical instrument. And then as I got older, and I moved into the online college world, it became music appreciation.
And even then, when people would come to learn something musical, we never really got into the automatic thoughts that we have about ourselves. Sometimes, we cover them when we’re talking about your study skills. Or how you can be a better student, or how you can take this knowledge and go out into the world and do something with it. But, it’s in coaching other people that I have learned so many of us have these thoughts, believing that we are bad or that we are fundamentally flawed in some way.
Or there’s a reason that we don’t get “picked” for things, or that people just don’t like us, or maybe nothing good ever seems to really happen on its own. If it happens, it’s luck.
But if you’re trying to make it happen, it’s just not going to work out. I want to reach out to you today because I don’t believe these thoughts are true.
Here is an explanation about what gets in the way.
In fact, over the last year, I came across a system of thinking called the Positive Intelligence operating system invented by a man named Shirzad Chamine, who was a Stanford student; and he had an experience that you might be able to relate to.
He was interacting with some classmates in a group, and he learned that they did not like him. They didn’t like the way he behaved. They thought he was arrogant, and they were really offended by the way he behaved.
He had no idea.
He actually did not realize the impact that he was having on other people. And then, when he got to the bottom of his thinking, his realization was that he had an inner mental “judge” that was criticizing him in his own mind, all the time.
Have you ever noticed that happening in your own mind? We talk to ourselves all day long. Our brain is constantly talking to us. It’s giving us suggestions, ideas, promptings.
It’s giving us inspiration, creativity, motivation, and it’s giving us criticism, judgment, suspicion, fears, reasons, we should not try things. And, in some of us, that voice is exceptionally loud.
We’re going to call that your inner judge. And when you try something new, and maybe you make a mistake, that inner judge might say, “that was stupid… don’t do that again.”
Now, my inner judge doesn’t exactly speak to me in those same words. But for a lot of people, that’s exactly what the inner judge sounds like.
If that’s your experience, I want to point out that this voice inside your mind is not coming from your loving, rational mind. It is part of your brain that’s looking to protect you.
It’s looking to keep you safe, and it’s building a pattern of thought that simply comes from the fact that the brain wants to think in patterns.
Awareness Tip #1: That the brain loves patterns and familiar thoughts.
The brain loves easy, easily accessible thoughts. So, if you’ve ever thought a thought like that, the brain says, “I’m going to grab that one again in a hurry.”
And when it’s convenient for you, it’s going to grab that thought again and feed it to you. And you’re going to believe it, because it sounds like you, talking inside your own head.
But it’s that part of your brain that is judging you.
Awareness Tip #2: The brain is a problem-solving machine.
Now, you may have heard me say this before in other episodes of this podcast, but the brain is a problem-solving machine. So, the brain is, of course, looking for problems.
The brain is exceptionally good at finding flaws, finding fault, finding openings, finding places to pick and criticize, and improve stuff. But if we let that part of the brain take over, then pretty soon, we are beating ourselves up on the inside intensely, all day long.
And it makes sense why some of us think, does anything good ever happened to me?
The truth is, good things are happening to you all the time. But we develop a negative filter when our brain talks to us this way, and we believe it.
Awareness Tip #3: The brain filters information out with a bias toward what’s familiar.
Because there are billions of bits of information coming into our brain all day long, and our brain can only process a few 100 bits at a time (that’s just basic neuroscience), we cannot process every single thing that comes into our eyes, ears, etc. So, the brain filters out what is most unfamiliar, and it keeps what is most familiar. That makes sense, right?
The brain is scanning for relevant, familiar information for comfortable input. It’s almost as though the brain is predisposed to look for problems and to filter out evidence to the contrary.
It’s more looking for evidence that it’s right.
And it’s feeding that to you.
Awareness Tip #4: The brain presents evidence to support existing beliefs and experiences.
So, your brain thinks things won’t work out because they never have. Things won’t get better, because they never do. Things are always a problem, because they always are.
And the brain’s just gathering evidence trying to help us, truly it is. But this is not helpful.
In the world we live in today, that kind of a brain is actually making us feel hopeless.
How to tame your mental saboteurs and become more successful than your past self.
Here’s one solution that I offer you today, and I hope that you will think about it. First of all, the brain has mental saboteurs. These are thoughts of certain kinds that it feeds us. Learn what they are. Notice your own internal, sabotaging thoughts.
They come as different kinds of characters. Some of the characters are like the victim or the hyper-vigilant. Some are people pleaser or controller. How about the hyper achiever? There are many kinds of voices we can typify with little personas. And the more we do this, the more we can separate ourselves from feeling like it is us.
Yes, it’s our brain, but it’s our brain doing things that we need to train it to stop doing.
So, a lot of those thoughts that we have where we doubt that anything could change, that we don’t reach for opportunity, and we get stuck in a pattern. Those voices are not helping us. I give you four questions that you can ask the voice in your head the next time you start doubting yourself, or looking for problems, or judging other people or yourself or criticizing yourself.
The first question is: Is the thought you’re having true? Is the thought true?
The second one is: Can you absolutely know that it is true? Is it possible to know factually, by evidence, data and observation beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is true? (Chances are… probably not).
Third question is, when it happens: How do you react when you think that thought? So, whatever the judgmental thought is you’re having in your head, what kinds of feelings do you have? What kinds of additional thoughts and behaviors do you have? What kind of results do you get from thinking that thought?
And the last one is: Who are what would you be without that thought? In other words, if you were to discount the thought question and challenge it, how would you be a different human being by letting the thought go, or in some of our cases, wrestling that thought until it gives up and then we take more control?
Now recently, I have been coaching some of my clients around these ideas to identify what’s getting in their way of happiness, of success, of feeling love for themselves, of feeling opportunity is calling. Of changing anything in the future. And what tends to get in the way the most are these sabotaging thoughts.
Once we identify the thoughts, we have some tools to disarm those thoughts and take much more control for the future–and increase happiness, increase success, and start to believe that anything good does happen to “me.”
Everything good will come to me in the future.
All kinds of opportunities are waiting for me in the future, and they’re happening now as well.
Now, I can feel joy, I can feel happiness, I can feel a load lifted off my shoulders when I remember that those sabotaging thoughts are not true and they’re not helping me, and I can let them go.
And I believe the same is true for you as well.
You can let go of those thoughts that hold you back:
- Perhaps you’re in a meeting, and you’re afraid to speak up because you might say something silly, or others might not agree with you.
- Or, maybe you overwork, checking your work 345 extra times so you don’t look like you made a mistake. You want to be accurate; you want to be correct about everything.
- Or maybe you’re internally questioning, should you even show up for that meeting, because everybody else seems more prepared, and you don’t have anything to contribute? So, you’d rather not look bad, and not show up.
If any of these thoughts ever happen to you, it’s time to notice those saboteurs and to call them out, and to stop listening to them.
One of the things that I teach my clients that I’d love to share with you today is the idea of “self-command,” which is the moment you notice your sabotaging thoughts are speaking to you, you interrupt them, you step outside those thoughts, and you observe them instead of being part of them.
Try tools to disarm your mental saboteurs and get beyond them.
And when you can observe the thoughts your brain is offering you, you now have a different option available, you can choose something else.
You can choose to argue with your brain; you can choose to ignore it and move on.
You can choose to get curious.
You can choose to learn something from it.
You can choose to do something else creative.
You could meditate.
You could walk on a treadmill.
You could listen to some uplifting song.
You could go outside and get fresh air.
You have joy within you waiting to come out, waiting to fulfill you and help you to feel great in even bleak circumstances. And you can do that today when you notice your Saboteurs and you quiet them.
I want to share this topic with you today, and as I wrap it up, I hope that you will think about what kinds of comments you’re making to yourself inwardly–what kinds of thoughts you are having about YOU.
What kind of thoughts what kind of thoughts you’re having about yourself, your contributions, your creativity, your very essence. And challenge the thoughts that are not building you up; and start believing that good things can come to you in the future.
We call that principle learned optimism. And it’s time to start grabbing on to it and practicing it. Thank you for being here. Thank you for listening to the Mindset for Life podcast. If now is a great time for you to start challenging those sabotaging thoughts within your own mind, I’m starting a group that will be working through a six to eight week program of mental fitness to notice the saboteurs to get some self-command activated, and to engage your inner wisdom, your sage that will help you to be the best version of you, and find those good things in your life and grab onto them.
Let me know if you’re interested; just reach out. I would love to have you in the group. We’re starting next week, and I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks a lot. Have a great week, and here’s to being the best version of you.
This episode’s theme song is “Sunshine Club,” by Ishan Dincer. Used with Permission.
Like what you read here? In this podcast, I’m sharing some core principles I’ve learned in coaching that have completely changed my life. These ideas restore personal power and bring the confidence to grow our unique traits, strengths, and attributes, to live with purpose and joy as we make each day a little better. And when we do that, we’re putting good into the world. Right here, you have the tools to take one small step. And with a personal coach, you can take it deeper, to make these changes a lasting part of your life. You can live your true purpose with joy, every day.