Your brain is changing. And you?
Peter Koijen from in2motivation, an Amsterdam-based personal and professional development company, gives us a different view on dealing with change.
Every day, more than twenty articles labelled “scientific” and “life-changing” appear on my Facebook or LinkedIn feed, or pop up via e-mail. I don't have time to read them all, and I probably wouldn’t want to anyway.
These articles normally want to present me with an opportunity which I had not been able to see until now, so that I can become a better person, and be more successful in different areas of my life. Some even claim to show me the truth: the scientific truth.
I must confess that the last ones are the ones that I laugh at the most! And, maybe because of my rebellious streak, just for fun I do a search on Google, looking for at least three different scientific articles saying the complete opposite!
Yet, as in any field, you come across inspiring people, the kinds of people that are doing a great job challenging themselves to be better. And this is why I really admire Antonio Damasio, the neuroscientist who is so much more than just that!
For me, Antonio Damasio's most impressive study is that of a man who had a serious work accident where his brain was damaged by an iron bar. He survived, but his emotions and decision-making changed because his pre-frontal cortex was transformed. Did you know that this part of the brain isn’t fully developed until you are 25? Do you realise how many big, life-altering decisions you have made before you have even turned 25?
If the brain is able to adapt, change and transform itself, why is it so difficult for some people to change? Or are we changing every day, and does the difficulty therefore lie in accepting that change? In my opinion, the latter is true. Every day we are changing. Our cells are changing. Our hair is falling out and growing. Our skin is new. The challenge is to change the belief that we don’t change easily!
Every Saturday morning, I run with a group. Every one of us has a different reason which motivates us to be there. But one intention I believe we all share, is the idea that after only one hour of running we feel different. The belief “I feel new again” is the belief that allows us to be a different person after only one hour.
The question is, how can we continue with this mind-set in other times, places and contexts? How can we continue with the mind-set that “we can change easily” and “being the best version of ourselves” in any context?
How to deal with change
For me, the answer is simple. Here are three practical ways to deal with change I would like to share with you:
Congruency over consistency
Firstly, try to be more congruent than consistent in your life. If you have the belief “I am a calm person”, don’t hold on to this at all costs, even when a situation changes or just because people are expecting this from you. Be honest with yourself; you are able to change.
Secondly, reframe, reframe and reframe every situation. Reframe your mind, your body, your emotions, your behaviours and your results. Find new meanings. You could say: "I changed and that is bad because I am a different person". But you could also say: "I changed and that is good for me". Another example that you could say is “I am open to opportunities” instead of "I lost my job". And instead of saying “I don’t have time”, say “I am useful and that is why I am busy”.
Feel change with all of your senses
And thirdly, be aware that when you feel change, you will see change and hear change in yourself. In other words, use all of your senses, and enjoy the opportunity to change. Feel change, and be aware of it, despite expectations or what you have always told yourself.