I was having lunch with a girlfriend a couple of weeks ago and we started talking about the strange scripts that have had an impact on our lives over the years. You know what I’m talking about – those ideas and thoughts that were planted in our heads at an early age and persist despite all forms of logic that can dispute them. It was a funny and lighthearted conversation until suddenly I was struck by a memory from my early childhood that made me stop in my tracks.
Growing up, we rode the bus to school which was about 30 minutes away. Our bus was assigned a monitor whose name was Mrs. Standley. She was a rather large and very intimidating woman. She had a lot of rules and there was absolutely no arguing with her. It was her way or … well, her way!
I’m not sure what the context was for this comment, but I distinctly remember the day when Mrs. Standley said to me, “You know. If you sing before breakfast, you’ll cry before dinner.” Crazy? Check. Illogical? Check. Ridiculous? Check. And yet, that statement has stuck with me over the years. That script ingrained itself so deeply in my brain, I convinced myself that to be happy in the morning was to guarantee doom later on in the day.
It’s often said that there are two types of people in the world – those who love mornings and those who don’t. It’s safe to say that I don’t love mornings. But it actually goes far deeper than that. As I’ve considered this new discovery I realized that I have carried a deep ingrained fear of mornings since that moment when Mrs. Standley imparted to me her dubious wisdom. Her statement programmed my brain to fear and avoid mornings. And for years, mornings have brought with them a sense of dread and unease that has resulted in tension for my family and missed opportunities for me.
Soon after that lunch, and the epiphany about this strange script that has haunted me for almost forty years, I made a decision to change my thoughts about mornings. Using the principles I have learned through my self-talk training and the book, The Power of Neuroplasticity, I created a new script for myself that specifically dealt with overcoming those deeply ingrained fears. For two weeks, I have been repeating my new self-talk about mornings and already I am feeling differently when my eyes open in the morning.
So what about you? Do you know what scripts, thoughts, and words have formed your attitude and reality? Whose words have programmed your brain? And are those programs leading you toward the life you want? Or are they a roadblock to accomplishing your wishes and dreams?
The good news is that you hold the power to change in your hands. Take the time to listen to yourself and document those words, thoughts, ideas, and programs that are holding you back. Now change them. Through repetition, you can build new neural pathways in your brain and replace the old ones.
The first step is to decide that you want to change.