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Re-Conditioning Your Mind

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We read an article the other day on women in the world of Physics and how there is still such a difference between how many women go into the world of science vs. men. 

Is it because men are better at science than women?

Girls in single sex education are more likely to pursue physics than those in a co-educational environment. Why would this be? The article essentially boils down to conditioning - how does what we hear around us affect our long term outcomes?

Our thoughts...

Your mind is an amazingly powerful tool, but it can be conditioned to work certain ways if you let it. 

From a young age we are subjected to being told what we can and can’t do, what is right and what is wrong, what is real and what is false. We may be told what our limitations are or where our abilities end.

These influences come from our family, our friends, our social circumstances our education and then our own experiences.

We aren't born with these ideas of limitations or abilities. We are told. And then when we are old enough, we start experiencing and allowing ourselves to draw our own conclusions - further limiting our beliefs. And the dangerous thing is, this becomes hardwired into our minds!

And when you believe something, you naturally find ways to prove your belief right rather than try and prove your belief wrong. 

These beliefs have essentially become part of our subconscious.

A very personal example to me would be the belief that I should only speak when spoken to. This is something that I realised when I started going to social events. I would clam up!

I realised where this limiting belief came from - my childhood lessons, but I also realised that I needed to change it!

(By the way - I am not saying my parents were right or wrong, just that I recognise how that has developed me into who I am and how I would behave sometimes).

But you can start to re-condition your mind. You can take back some of the control that you have given it.

  • Reflect before taking immediate action.
    • We go on autopilot all too often and the automatic nature of our reactions is our normal conditioned response. Stop and contemplate and ask yourself if there is another way, another reaction to have that would better serve you long term.
  • Understand and think about the root cause of your belief.
    • Where does it stem from? Why does it exist? Are you allowing it to exist for some other reason? Where has it come from? A very common example of this would be the belief that "you don't have time to exercise" as an example. Find the reason why you believe that, and then find why you believe that - until you get to the very root of the problem. (This can be quite an emotional experience).
  • What is the new belief you would rather have? Are you sure it will serve you?
    • So for example, if you think you are frightened of walking home in the dark because something will happen to you - it may be a belief that you want to keep hold of! Is the new belief going to be beneficial?
  • What is the evidence about your belief? We need to reframe that.
    • So take whatever it is you are saying to yourself and the evidence that you have been building up about it and turn that evidence around. For example - I may have a belief that I am not good in social situations, evidence is that I feel uncomfortable with new people and that I don't think I have anything interesting to say. BUT, actually, if I reframe this, I like to listen to what other people are saying in social situations and like them to talk about themselves, which is great for then having something meaningful to say and building stronger relationships!
  • Take your knew wanted belief and build evidence to support that belief.
    • What evidence or examples do you have to support your knew wanted belief? My own example would be this. I did not achieve my target in the Great North Run this year. However, from being unsure of it, I now believe I can go below this target. What is my evdience? Well, I was 6 minutes off the target, that is do-able, I can run the pace needed to for 5 miles, I just need to increase endurance. I know I didn't train as hard and as much as I could last year, and I was really close. If I plan and focus properly, truly focus, I always achieve my goals.
I was really lucky. My parents never told me that I wasn't capable. Quite the opposite. So I actually struggle to find examples where I have had to radically change beliefs about myself. But I do use these techniques when I need to, to give myself a boost, or remind myself that I can or when doubt creeps in.
Here is the link to the article about women in science,

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Published on 22/10/2012 by Emma Harle.

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