Consciously Wanting Something You Don’t Believe You Deserve

Your mindset is the single most important habit you have. Attached to our mindsets are our beliefs, expectations and narratives that literally govern our lives. The majority of us did not initially create the mindsets we have but the behavioral mechanisms and processes we all have insures that we perpetuate them even if we decided we no longer want to, unless we take a few necessary steps.

Language is our species greatest asset. It evolved approximately 50,000 years ago and evolved from the first tunes of music we created. Language is powerful, it literally shapes our brains, it connects us to others via culture, it powers the transmission of culture. So why are so many of us so bad at using it?

The brain using the least amount of energy to get any job done. It is an efficiency beast. Once the brain determines the organism (that’s us) has or does enough to survive, eat and procreate, it stops optimization. Only by developing and strengthening the inherent mechanisms (which most of us don’t do) can one tap into the infinite potential that rests in those two pounds of squishy matter that looks like cauliflower inside our skulls. Every culture has a language. Everyone learns and speaks their respective language flawlessly, but so very few of us have command of it.

The messages we receive from one another in our communicative processes are overwhelmingly through body language and tone. Ninety percent of what we receive in communication is nonverbal. For most of us words don’t matter, unless they are meant to hurt us. This is because it is a subconscious process.

The adaptive subconscious manages ninety percent of what we do on a daily basis and no less than fifty percent of this is in the form of our habits. Language is so complex and is ultimately the reason why so many of us are incongruent in our lives. We say one thing but do another. Allow me to explain. When language evolved it co-opted an insane amount of neurological connections in our brain and this caused some significant neurological shifting. Keep in mind our species had been using the same nervous system, the same brain for two million years then Homo Sapiens (us) evolved two hundred thousand years ago with culture and language arising around fifty thousand years ago then writing maybe ten thousand years ago and reading a few thousand years ago. (Reading en masse only five hundred years ago). So we are looking at something that barely registers as a dot on the bar graph of our evolutionary history so its no wonder so few of us are good at using our language.

Think about this for a second. The majority of the time you get emotionally engaged in a conversation, it is seldom what is said but more of how it is said or the implication of the “unspoken meaning” behind what you believe was said that triggers a Fukushima meltdown. This is the point in an argument where absolutely nothing anyone says makes sense and both people look at one another like their crazy.

When we desire something, claim something, set a goal to achieve something, sometimes we find ourselves habitually coming up short and sometimes we have a tendency to turn this into some sort of self indictment. That would be a bad habit. It could also just be maybe on a deep subconscious level we don’t believe ourselves worthy of what we are consciously wanting. Remember the adaptive subconscious rules the behavior. It is impossible to know what lurks in our adaptive subconscious. I operate from the premise that we all have the same everything down there. We all have the infinite potential to change the world, we all have the infinite potential to ruin it and everything in between.

So how do we get what is conscious into the adaptive subconscious? This is the million dollar question and the answer is something called downward causation. If you are familiar with The Little Rascals you will recall Mrs. Crabtree making Alfalfa write on the board one hundred times “I will not sing in class.” This is downward causation in its most rudimentary form. It is learning through repetition, through action. It is doing something to the point where that ‘thing’ becomes your new normal, your default setting. This is how you form new habits, a new mindset, new belief systems and construct new narratives. This how you improve and develop your six areas of personal development (emotional, social, intellectual, financial, spiritual, and physical). It is how you develop the skills you want to develop including mastering language. The brain has mechanisms that empower to stop an action (including thoughts) on a dime and create space. They just have to be strengthened. It called consciousness. People can argue free will and they want, we most certainly all have “free-won’t.” But it is not an automatic process contrary to what most people believe.

We all hold in very high esteem those who master language. It is why we love music, poetry, literature, and cinema. The mastery of language taps into something in our emotional and transcendent selves we are not even consciously aware of. If you find yourself coming up short of obtaining or achieving something you consciously claim, keep at it. First be certain it is something you want. Then just be more diligent in your resilience and pursuit. You may just have to change a subconscious belief you are not aware you have. Water penetrates and cuts stone not all at once but by being persistent. Downward causation.

Elliot is a personal development author. His latest book, "The Bitter & The Sweet: Benefits of a Balanced Perspective in Life, and How to Achieve It" out now.