brain

Seven more tricks your brain is playing on you

Friday, March 23, 2012 by: Mike Bundrant
Tags: mind games, optimism, tricks

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(NaturalNews) After several interesting responses from readers on the original seven tricks article, here are seven more tricks your brain may be playing on you. Beware of these assumptions that, for one reason or another, your brain cannot help but make.

1. You just need to discover the secret to...

This is a dangerous one, as we tend to be so drawn to secrets - those elusive solutions to problems and keys to success that will make life so much easier if we could only gain access. Personal development gurus and McSpirituality scammers understand how well secrets sell. Our natural, hard-wired anxiety about life and its various challenges makes us vulnerable to those who would sell us the "secrets to ease and success."

The message that there are secrets that make life easy is not helpful, as it perpetuates the delusion that life really should be easy, or that it is possible to navigate life's challenges without stress. Not only is this a lie, but often makes people feel worse about themselves when they discover that it still isn't true for them even after they learn the big secrets.

Paying for access to information is fine, but rarely do you find truly secretive information behind the vault. There is no secret that will solve your problems. There may be helpful information you haven't learned yet, but I guess that isn't as sexy to sell.

2. It won't happen to you.

Classic. We tend to believe that bad things won't happen to us, a form of unrealistic optimism as mentioned in this interview with Mike Adams. This denial of the more difficult yet clearly realistic side of life is pervasive throughout Western cultures. For example:

• Second-year MBA students overestimate the number of job offers they will receive and their starting salary.

• Students overestimate the scores they achieve on exams.

• Almost all newlyweds in a US study expect their marriage to last a lifetime, even while aware of divorce statistics.

• Professional financial analysts consistently overestimate corporate earnings.

• Most smokers believe they are less at risk of developing smoking-related diseases than others who smoke.

Unrealistic optimism is risky business, but it probably doesn't affect you, right? Just keep doing what you are doing. No need to look at risk, increase self-discipline or implement a healthy lifestyle. Things will all turn out fine and I am sure you will change your whole life later.

3. You can avoid things you don't like doing.

Avoidance. You can learn so much about people by noticing what they avoid. In particular, you learn what they fear. Perhaps you need to have a difficult conversation with your child or spouse. Maybe you've been putting off going to the dentist. Your checkbook register may be in dire need of balance or your blood sugar may need to be checked. Are you doing it? If not, you may be holding fear of the perceived outcome or the consequences of the problem you need to confront. In most cases, however, avoiding the inevitable turns out to be a mistake.

Once I consented to giving a speech against my better judgment. As the day approached I knew I needed to prepare, but the whole idea of giving the speech made me so uncomfortable that I avoided even thinking about it. Funny how the days we dread most still arrive! If I had prepared myself adequately, I could have gotten by with an OK performance. Instead, the outcome is too embarrassing to talk about.

Avoiding necessary but uncomfortable situations leads us from discomfort to sheer pain, yet some of us still tend to do it. Be careful.

4. If you just had X, then you'd be satisfied.

This refers to the tendency to believe that there is one thing, one final resolution, that will solve your problems or fulfill your needs. Rubbish, unfortunately.

Most people are hard pressed to admit this tendency, but their actions prove otherwise. They continually buy new programs, new diets, and new methods with the expectation that "this is the one, the missing link." Of course, there is nothing wrong with learning new things, but you will be disappointed if you expect that each new thing is "the one."

I asked my mentor years ago, how do you change a belief? What's the best method? As if there were one magical technique that could wipe out a limiting belief and install a new one. Unethical or naive promoters of Neuro-Linguistic Programming often suggest this is true (it is not).

Anyway, the reply I got was that to change a belief you should go on a journey. Do your work. Changes in belief will happen over time and as you develop character. Don't look for magic. What a relief!

5. If you were only as together as....

Many people tend to think that others have it all together. They are somehow smarter, more mature, more talented and do not suffer the anxiety, worry and other shameful experiences that you may suffer daily.

From a certain perspective, the belief that others have it all together is a form of narcissism. If things are so smooth for them, then they can't be suffering as much as you and therefore, life isn't as difficult for them as it is for you. Therefore, you must deserve a special break, right?


Wrong. Life is full of challenges for everyone. No one is immune to anxiety, discouragement, grief and any number of obstacles that tend to make life difficult. Assuming that others have it easier than you do is tempting, given your close proximity to your own feelings, but not accurate. Again, what a relief! We are all in this together.

6. You use only 10 percent of your brain.

This myth isn't so much a trick your brain is playing on you as much as a trick others are playing on you. It ranks as the most perverted scam in the world of phony spirituality. Tell people that they have so much untapped potential and (if they buy your program) 90% of their brain will be unlocked! Please.

The 10% (or pick any small percentage, I guess) of your brain myth has long been debunked. Does this mean you are doomed to remain unhappy? No. Does it mean you have already fulfilled your potential? Nope. You have plenty of potential and tapping it doesn't even require accessing fake unused portions of your brain.

Tapping into your true potential has more to do with learning new skills and directing your energy and natural talent in new and exciting directions. Is this not enough?

7. All you need to do is believe in yourself.

I have heard too many personal development gurus say this, specifically. While you do need to believe in yourself, so much more is required. Social skills, for example, are inseparable from success. Job skills. Education. A mentor. Good decision making skills. Timing. Luck. Success is not so simple as "just believe in yourself."

A former client of mine came to me frustrated because, while he believed in himself fully and possessed tons of self-confidence, he still hadn't been able to achieve his primary goal of running a restaurant (circumstance changed). He wanted it. He projected confidence. He felt confident. Yet, the owner of the restaurant consistently passed him over. "What's the problem?" he complained.

A deeper look into his circumstance revealed the reason. He was uneducated and unskilled with financial management. He was great with people. He knew food. When it came to budgets, payroll, projections and cost control, he didn't have a clue. Since being in charge of a restaurant required overseeing the money, he was passed over again and again, and appropriately so. For some, a good dose of self-doubt goes a long way, as it opens the door to self-improvement.

Is your brain playing tricks on you? Undoubtedly. The real trick is noticing when it happens.

Sources for this article include:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10%25_of_brain_myth

About the author:
Watch the free video The AHA! Process: An End to Self-Sabotage and discover the lost keys to personal transformation and emotional well-being that have been suppressed by mainstream mental health for decades.

The information in this video has been called the missing link in mental health and personal development. In a world full of shallow, quick-fix techniques, second rate psychology and pharmaceutical takeovers, real solutions have become nearly impossible to find. Click here to watch the presentation that will turn your world upside down.

Mike Bundrant is co-founder of the iNLP Center and host of Mental Health Exposed, a Natural News Radio program.

Follow Mike on Facebook for daily personal development tips.

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