I just got off the phone with someone who asked for informational consultation about Neurofeedback. However, all I heard from her was, ‘yes… yes… okay.’ It wasn’t the kind of YES where you understand that change is needed and are in agreement. It was the perfunctory yes, that means that nothing is going to happen.
For you, how many times have you sought out good information and then ignored it? You listened to an inspiring Ted talk and then forgot about it by bedtime. You read an inspiring blog post and shared it with all your friends, but now you can’t even recall what it said. Or better yet, you go to a seminar or to therapy and then take no action? What is this about? Are you crazy, messed up, or something more clinical in nature?
No. This is Normal.
Let’s not make it about right or wrong, but let’s just keep it accurate. It is normal to do nothing to change our destiny or the direction of our lives. It is normal to say one thing and then continue to do another for years to come. It is normal to hear something that you KNOW will make a positive change in your life and the lives of your children and STILL do nothing different.
Over the years, I have had some cases of very bright parents who come to my seminars and then to therapy to get help. Yet, nothing really changes despite repeated exposure to the information. How is that possible?
It’s normal. If we simply look at how often humans are exposed to life-changing information and just simply make no change, we see this as the norm. Plain and simple.
How Is It Possible …That This is Normal?
We normally and conveniently forget life-changing information.
Yes, perhaps an over-simplification, but the essence of it is that we forget. We conveniently forget because our minds struggle to assimilate what we do not already know to be true. In fact, it’s hard to perceive what we do not already know, and the human mind ignores the validity of everything that poses a threat to strongly held beliefs. Thus, the ‘ego’ or mind forgets this new information because it’s just easier to carry on moment-to-moment with the same old habits of thought and action we have always had. Brain wave patterns have momentum, and that momentum is powerful. We can see this struggle by simply watching human behavior, and we can also see the role of this momentum when we observe brain waves with Neurofeedback technology.
Could fear also play a role here? Of course, as change not only represents a threat to all those deeply held patterns of belief and thought, but it also opens the door to some unknowns, and for many of us, this is quite scary. Again, think of the momentum that old beliefs and thoughts have.
Could change require effort? Of course, it does! And for many of us, we feel too depleted already, and thus the idea of effort makes us feel worse, so we abandon the idea.
In each instance, we can readily find comfort (if that is what you seek) in stating conclusively, all if this is normal. Almost everyone tends to abandon serious change efforts with ease.
And yet, NOT everyone. There are those we might call ‘abnormal.’ They are abnormally happy. They are abnormally achieving. They are abnormally successful. They have abnormally pleasant and responsible children. So, what if we turn our attention to:
The secret to being joyfully successful is to abandon the normal. And to do so requires a bit of abnormal thinking and even more abnormal action. And by abnormal, I mean NOT doing what the herd is doing—and NOT going where the herd is going.
There are many, many pointers for a better, happier, and more successful life. If we are to integrate those pointers, we must begin to embrace this so-called ’abnormal path.’ Next week, I will cover five important pointers to help direct our attention toward the abnormally satisfying life.
For now, consider how often you find yourself or others in the very normal position of abandoning interest in a topic, a discipline, a practice that you and I know would be beneficial. Remember those inspiring videos or quotes and the implications that they might have for positive change. Make a note of the ones that you have abandoned, and consider revisiting these valued moments. Perhaps you have abandoned a commitment that you know will be useful or helpful if you return to that commitment. If so, consider revisiting your resolve. But mostly, in the next seven days, just note (without guilt or frustration) how often potentially useful ideas float by you without any sincere engagement. I look forward to our follow-up next week.