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7 Ways Your Brain Conspires Against You

Brain syanpses firingThe human brain is a weird and wonderful thing.

It’s both incredibly smart and incredibly dumb, often at the same time.

One of it’s major flaws is the way it sees itself and judges its inabilities and abilities because it can get things hopelessly wrong.

And I do mean hopelessly wrong.

Here are 7 ways your brain conspires against you.

1. You Think Being Tough On Yourself Helps

If you go easier on yourself than you do on others then you are a rare exception.

Most people hold themselves up to higher standards than they do those people closest to them.

And for the most part they do this because they think if they don’t, their standards will slip or that they will become lazy and get nothing done.

It’s total and utter bollocks!

People who are kind to themselves actually do get shit done, often more so than other people.

Equally they don’t feel crap all the time because they’re not living up to some ridiculous and unachievable standard.

For the most part the only thing being tough on yourself achieves is a reduction in self esteem and a heightened probability of succumbing to depression.

Go easy on yourself, you’re worth it.

2. Your Brain Under-Estimates Your Ability To Cope

Have you ever heard a story of someone who has overcome terrible difficulties such as beating cancer, keeping going after the death of a loved one or being the victim of a serious crime?

Then after the person has finished telling the story you’ve responded by saying something like:

“Wow, they’re so strong, I could never have coped with that!”

Yes you could.

Your ability to adapt and deal with what life throws at you is supreme.

I know for a fact that you have dealt with every single event and situation life has thrown at you up to this point, and you shall continue to do so until the day you die.

You’re stronger than you think.

3. You Think Some More Time Will Make A Difference

If I was to loan you my Time Fairy and offered you an extra 30 minutes every day, what would you do with it?

Think for a moment and make a mental note of how you would utilize that time before you move on.

Maybe you’d learn a foreign language? Maybe you’d spend half an hour reading for fun or meditating even?

Now forget all that.

You wouldn’t do any of it, because if those things were really that important to you you’d already be doing them.

Your life would expand to fill the extra time and within a month you’d be wanting another 30 minutes to do the things you really want to do.

If you really want to do something you can find away, just don’t whine that there aren’t enough hours in the day because there’s exactly the right amount.

And anyway I just shot the Time Fairy because she was being a real pain in the ass fluttering about like she owned the place.

4. You Think You’re Lacking Something

Maybe you think you lack confidence?

Or perhaps you lack money, the right job, an attractive enough body or a good self esteem?

I don’t know what it is, but I know there’s something.

But what if you didn’t? What if you could accept that you have everything you need right here and right now.

Well you do.

At this very moment you have all you can hope for.

Isn’t that a better place to start from than one of lack?

5. You’re A Poor Judge Of How You’ll Feel About Future Events

Have you ever agreed to attend a party that you knew you probably wouldn’t enjoy, babysit for a kid you don’t really care for, or work on a project that you have no interest in?

If you have my guess is that unless you had no choice, you probably didn’t agree at the time you had to undertake the task.

Agreeing to go to a party in 6 months doesn’t seem like a big deal and neither does babysitting for one night in the summer for friends.

Even taking on a boring project that is due to start months in advance doesn’t seem daunting.

That’s because you are very poor at judging how you’ll feel about future events and think that because you don’t want to do that now, doesn’t mean you won’t want to at a later date.

If you don’t want to do something today there’s a reasonable chance you won’t want to do it in a few months or years time.

How could you use that information when making major decisions like taking on a job that doesn’t enthuse you but pays a lot of money I wonder?

6. You Think Stability Exists

Most people understand at an analytical level that there is no stability in life.

Equally there’s no certainty, and unfortunately security doesn’t exist either.

Sorry.

Wealthy people go bankrupt, good marriages go bad and every day hundreds of people wake up to find they’re dead.

Yet most people strive to attain the unattainable.

Maybe you have refused to start up your own business because you like the security of working for somebody else.

Or perhaps you have stayed in a loveless marriage because at least it’s stable even if it doesn’t make you happy.

Look for areas in your life where you are clinging on to the irrational belief that you need stability and security and see if there are better alternatives.

7. You Mix Up Beliefs With Facts

Do you think God exists? – That’s a belief.

Do you think God is a figment of peoples imagination – That’s a belief.

Do you think Obamacare is a disaster? – That’s a belief.

Do you think Obamacare is a resounding success? – That’s a belief.

There is no correlation between how fervently you believe something and the likelihood of it being true.

Let’s leave religion and politics to one side because there can an even darker side to this.

You will be holding beliefs about yourself and your own abilities that you think are facts.

And because you think they are facts you won’t do anything to change them.

Question your own beliefs, especially when it comes to your own abilities.

Put splints under their nails, attach electrodes to their nipples and shine a bright light in their eyes.

Then poke them hard with a pointy stick and get them to admit they’ve been fucking lying to you all this time and aren’t really truths, but beliefs masquerading as facts.

Now it’s your turn. What are you going to do with this information?

Not believe it?

Forget it?

Put it to use and make some positive improvements in your life?

Let us know in the comments.

30 comments to 7 Ways Your Brain Conspires Against You

  • Kevin Heffernan

    Ha! Love the end of this post

  • Fabiana

    Good points Tim! I’ll have to remember no. 1 and no. 4 particularly. And no. 7 to challenge certain beliefs!

  • As always, you give me much to think about including the untimely death of the time fairy and electrodes attached to unfortunate nipples. But the one that stood out the most – maybe because it’s the area I require the most work – is confusing beliefs and facts. Hopefully I can remember where I put the electrodes and sharp stick.

  • Being a poor judge about future events resonates with me. OF COURSE I can’t judge it since I’m not *in* the moment yet – clearly the brain is to be blamed. Not as reliable as I’d thought …

    How about another – your brain wears rose tinted-glasses when thinking of past events….

  • What am I going to do with this information? Run to the FBI and report this conspiracy, Tim! Do you think they’ll just take in my brain or do I have to accompany it!!

    Some beliefs are stubborn, some have developed from life long experiences and some we don’t even realize as being beliefs. I used to believe that simply because Costco handed out free samples of snacks, all stores did this. Then I started self-sampling at other stores til one threatened to charge me for the meal I had eaten. That woke me up from my belief pretty quick that all stores offered free samples.

    So I guess beliefs can be changed once you have an experience that proves you wrong? Or can we simply call beliefs out for what they are? You make a good point – we can challenge and change beliefs without having to experience a contrary life experience proving that belief wrong.

  • Evelina

    Your blog has become my daily motivational. Thank you for the boost.

  • Love it. You are a God, Tim. That’s a fact, not a belief.

  • “People who are kind to themselves actually do get shit done, often more so than other people”

    Such eloquence. Such truth :)

  • Tim
    You are doing a great job. Just keep it up. No 6 strikes me so much. People keep smacking themselves to attain the unattainable and in the process forget to enjoy what the present has to offer. Eventually they don’t attain it and still they don’t enjoy the present they had opportunities to.
    I will continue to remember this and also to teach my friends.
    Keep it up please.

  • I can definitely relate to often holding myself up to unachievable standards. I also have a tendency (not all the time, but frequently) to believe that something is unachievable simply because I’m the one attempting it… But that belief is one I’ll definitely start poking at more persistently.

    It’s funny because in my work I usually have no problems setting practical standards, whereas in my personal life I struggle to do the same. Makes me wonder… if I cared about my personal goals as much as I do my professional ones, what could I easily accomplish?

    Good food for thought! Thanks!

    • I don’t think it’s not caring Michelle. There are a lot of other factors that come into play when we step out of the working environment.

      Not least of which can be we used up all our resolve and determination for the day at work. People vastly under estimate this. You only have so much energy, resolve, willpower or whatever else you want to call it and if you’ve burned through it, then without a massive amount of motivation it can be tricky.

      Make sense?

  • “I don’t believe my thoughts”.. but hey. That’s a thought. Gah.

  • Literally all of these things describe me, but no. 1 and no. 6 are particularly spot-on. I am particularly susceptible to the arrival fallacy, thinking that I’ll get “there” someday and then everything will be satisfying/meaningful/calm. It’s so important to question how we accept at face value that we feel … when we don’t. I’ll be doing more of this.

    • I can be guilty of that too Sarah. When I’m really busy as I have been lately I have a tendency to be focusing down the road when things will ease off.

      The reality is though, if I want to achieve what I want to achieve, then things easing off is a bad sign.

      It’s just a case of reconnecting from time to time. It’s a process.

  • Hi Tim! Thanks a lot for your article! I knew many of those things but I just need to be reminded sometimes! I feel like I keep loosing track of the essential but this article will help me focus on my goals again!

  • This is a great post. I really enjoyed reading (and laughing). I think my fave part was when you said you shot the Time Fairy because she was being a pain in the ass for fluttering around. That got me laughing out loud. Really good post.

  • Crystal

    How do express to someone they are treating beliefs as facts? I if they continue to argue because you don’t share the belief . Even when you say you understand what they are saying you just have a different opinion without making them mad or making a fight start?

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