Negative thoughts can be hard-wired into the brain.
Short-circuit your current thought patterns to kick-start your career.
By Jayne Gardner, Ph.D.
“You just can’t win in today’s economy.”
This generalized statement looks absurd when printed here in black and white. After all, there are plenty of people advancing in their careers – even in a tough economic climate.
But for many people in the workforce, this negative thought about the economy is actually holding them back from accomplishing their goals. Others are stymied by an idea or view of themselves created long ago that stands as a barrier to success.
No matter when they were formed, these limiting beliefs are actually hard-wired in each of our brains. The good news is that you can literally change your mind. By rewiring a limiting belief into an empowering belief, you can energize your career – no matter the economic climate.
Sapping away your energy
The amount of career success you can generate is directly related to your energy level. You wake up with a certain amount of natural energy every day. Yet as the hours pass and events occur, that energy drains away. In many cases, energy is sapped by limiting beliefs.
If you are “wired” with certain beliefs about yourself, hearing news about the recession might bring down your energy level. This will leave you less able to move forward and meet your goals on a daily basis. Some common limiting beliefs about money and job performance include:
- It is not possible for me to become wealthy because of my education level
- I am not good enough at what I do to make a lot of money
- I am middle class and will always be
- Working more hours is the only way to make more money
By removing these limiting beliefs, you can actually increase your energy level. As a result, you will perform better on the job.
The ant bully
Consider a past client of mine, who was a job description at a company type. Although he was a good employee, Bob never developed into a truly great leader and boss. He failed to hold his team members accountable – even when that was what they needed most. In fact, Bob needed to fire several employees but feared he would hurt them. He was worried about being a mean person.
I worked with Bob to uncover his limiting belief. Why did he avoid taking a stand with his employees?
Bob told me a very interesting story. One day when he was just 6 years old, Bob was outside building a model airplane. He accidentally spilled some blue paint in the grass. He noticed a line of ants becoming attracted to the liquid. Soon, the ants were walking into the spilled paint. As Bob watched with glee – like any little boy might – the ants marched to their deaths one by one.
As he lay on the grass watching with fascination, Bob’s dad arrived home. Bob adored his father, who was a very kind and quiet man. Upon seeing the ants dying in the paint, Bob’s dad asked him, “What did those ants ever do to you, for you to kill them?”
This simple comment stuck with Bob for years, to the point that he dreamed about it and pondered it frequently. Why? Because that day, when the father he respected made an off-hand comment, Bob came to believe, “My father thinks I hurt others, so I must be a mean person.” This limiting belief contrasted with Bob’s longing to be kind like his dad, so he decided to fight the perception he might be mean.
Once Bob discovered his limiting belief, he was able to rewire his brain. As a result, Bob developed into a boss who was kind, but firm. Both he and his employees benefited.
Rewiring your brain
You can rewire your brain for success. This is not simply feel-good positive thinking. It is a very real technique for creating new neural pathways in the brain.
According to neuroscience, which is the study of the brain and nervous system, old thinking patterns actually become physiological. In other words, when you experience a particular thought, that thought travels along the same nerves, in the same manner, each time.
To break out of an old behavior or thought pattern, you must actually create a new neural pathway in the brain, re-routing your old thought in a new direction. This new thought pattern must be repeated for a period of 21 days. That is the amount of time it takes to change the actual structure of the brain at a cellular level.
When the change is made, your energy no longer will be stolen by negative thoughts or habits. In just three weeks, you will be back to your natural, high energy level. Rather than reacting negatively to bad news or limiting beliefs, you will be freed to stop and think before responding and making decisions.
Don’t be the victim of old habits and thoughts any longer. Start rewiring now to put your career on a new pathway to success.