Do you ever say or think any of these things?
- I’d rather not deal with this, especially if it will upset someone.
- Nothing gets done around here unless I make sure it does.
- I must work harder to achieve more.
- Decisions should be made from logic, not feelings.
- I take every precaution so nothing bad happens.
- If I do even more I will be liked and appreciated.
- This looks more interesting than what I’m doing now.
- This isn’t good enough.
- Everything is hard for me.
Of course you do! I do too. We all have mental Saboteurs that mess with us and keep us from being our best self. The trouble is we justify these beliefs we tell ourselves. We probably don’t even know we’re doing it. And they’re just lies.
Our Saboteurs convince us that we need to avoid, control, achieve, prove, secure, please, multi-task, perfect, or complain in order to control our life. What if we can’t control our life?
What if we could judge less and accept more and not tie ourselves in knots? We’d actually succeed more often and be happier and healthier.
Of course there’s nothing inherently wrong with taking control or achieving. It’s often required. It depends on where the behavior comes from. Are your thoughts and actions fueled by your Judge and accomplice Saboteurs, or by your Sage? Does it feel like stress and struggle, or ease and flow?
These different systems operate from different parts of the brain and feel quite different. Sabotage comes from our Survivor brain that is motivated by negative emotions like fear, anger and guilt. Our Sage brain is motivated by empathy, curiosity, passion and purpose.
So how do we get to experience ease and flow? We build mental muscle. Just like lifting weights in the gym to get physically stronger, simple exercises focused on the senses shift the brain to get mentally stronger. We’re changing the neural pathways in the brain, becoming more resilient while increasing happiness and performance.
With mental fitness we can achieve physical fitness, weight loss, relationship bliss or anything we put our minds to. And there’s more – a book, in fact. But this is good for starters. Stay tuned for the five Sage Powers.
This article is based on the NY Times bestselling book, Positive Intelligence, by Shirzad Chamine. As a Positive Intelligence trained coach I am licensed to share his material and offer training.