brain filters and visualizations

I went through a training at work a few years ago called 21 Keys.  Essentially, it was training in effective goal-setting, visualizations, affirmations, and the why/how they work.  I was totally captivated by it and have used it frequently for various purposes in my life.

There were two main threads, from my recollection and interpretation:

1- Your brain finds things that you are focused on.  It is impossible for us to process everything that we absorb through our senses — we’d be on constant overload.  So our brain filters.  Can you think of an example of a time when you heard/saw what you expected but that’s not what was actually there?  That’s the filter (messing up).

Other filtering: my friend Jane and I are walking through the mall.  Jane is single and is laser-focused on finding a guy.  I’m married.  Jane notices and points out every hot guy within her field of vision.  How many of them have I noticed before she pointed them out?  None.  I’m not looking for hot guys.  The guys are just as visible to me as they are to her, but her filter is set to finding them and mine is not.

If your filter is set to sweets, or to all the reasons your boss sucks, or all the reasons you can’t exercise … well, that’s what you’ll see.  What if you set it to healthier foods, or to all the things going well at work, or all the times/exercises that are available?  Do you think it would change your perspective?

2- Your brain wants everything to match.  It likes consonance.  So for example, if you believe about yourself that you are clumsy, your brain will help you to trip over nothing to ensure that your actions match your self-schema.

The idea behind the affirmations and visualizations is to see yourself as you would like yourself to be, as if it were already true.  Over time, you convince your brain that this is true, and then your brain does what it can to make reality match.

Since I spoke of food yesterday, let me give you an example of a visualization that I have used to help me curb my horrendous eating habits.  In addition to loving bad foods, I have historically eaten much too much in a sitting.  When one serving might have been sufficient, I took two (or three) if something was tasty.

My visualizations: I picture myself sitting at our dinner table, where there is a pot of whatever dinner sitting in front of us.  I have eaten a serving, and I am sated.  I picture myself looking at the pot, not wanting any more, not taking any more.  I see myself getting up and putting the leftovers in the fridge without eating another bite.

I have a similar visualization that involves buffets and parties.

It works.

Can you redirect your filters on something in your life to align better with your goals?  Can you picture yourself different in one small respect to convince your brain that it’s true?

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Stephanie on 17 March 2010 at 15:23

    This is good stuff. love it! Keep it coming!

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