Despite our many differences, modern humans share a common failing. We consistently handicap our own very best efforts, with disastrous consequences.
The world is full of different people!
Which one are you?
You want to be successful, but you’re afraid you will fail and will look stupid.
You want to find a girlfriend or boyfriend, but think you’re too ugly.
You want to be patient and kind, but always seem to lose your temper and shout at everyone.
You want to be focused on your work, but end up wasting time on low priorities … or Netflix.
You want to be brave, but you’re always anxious.
You want to welcome feedback, but always close down defensively.
You want to be happy, but wake most mornings with a head full of sadness.
If you’re anything like the rest of us, at least one of these descriptions resonates painfully with you! So, perhaps we’re not all that different after all?
We’re united in one common ailment … we struggle to get out of our own way.
That’s right, every one of us has a part of ourselves standing between us and success, guarding the gates of triumph!
And that part is in your head … the same place you find the greatest gift of all … your powerful brain.
I know that we don’t really understand where our brain ends, and our mind begins, or even the exact nature of the relationship between the two (if they are in fact two). But here is a very curious observation …
Every organ in your body works for you, except your brain.
Your heart beats 72 times per minute to distribute blood and oxygen around your body, and to remove waste from working tissues. Your lungs move air in and out of your body 12 times every minute in order to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the atmosphere. Your kidneys filter your blood to remove unneeded chemicals. Your digestive tract breaks down food substances to internalize the nutrients you require to operate your complex body systems. Your muscles contract and relax to move your limbs, enabling you to navigate your physical environment.
Whether under your voluntary control, your involuntary control, or both, all of these organs and systems work for you.
In some instances, organs are controlled locally. Chemicals or hormones in the immediate vicinity regulate their function. Without needing to think about it, when you have too much sugar in your blood, the pancreas secretes insulin, and excess sugar is taken up into cells, protecting you from a glucose overdose.
But, for the most part, your organs are controlled by your brain, either consciously or subconsciously.
You can deliberately accelerate or slow your breathing. When you exercise, your brain does this for you without your conscious intervention. Your brain gets your gut working, or puts it to sleep between meals. Your brain controls the aperture of your eyes to allow more light in during the dark hours, and less in on a long walk in the sunshine.
Your brain is the ultimate control center.
So, perhaps it’s not unreasonable for the brain to assume it has responsibility beyond your physical survival and homeostasis.
Who gave your brain permission to take over your life?
Who gave it permission to limit your happiness, financial success, romantic accomplishments, or the realization of your dreams?
You’ve probably read enough self-help articles, and read enough quotes from famous people to know who is responsible for this painful predicament.
Yes, it is YOU.
We are each powerfully and individually responsible for our own limitations. We alone control our brain. We give it permission to curtail our achievements, or we license it to unlock success.
The why and how is different for each of us. Your specific combination of hereditary traits, parental influences, and environmental pressures makes your relationship with your brain and mind as unique as your fingerprints.
Fortunately, we have the authority to command our brain to serve our own interests and needs.
I call this Personal Mastery … because, when we have all our organs, systems and faculties working for us, including our brain, we have truly mastered our own biology.
Many of us spend hours, days, even years learning to master modern technology to enhance our lives. We learn to drive cars, we master our computers and cellphones, and we increasingly harness the collective intelligence of the internet of all things. On top of this, we also strive to engage (or manipulate) the other humans in our own biosphere for our individual benefit.
Isn’t it alarming that we devote so much time and effort to learning computer algorithms and digital gadgets before we have mastered our own enormous power? Isn’t it strange (even dangerous) that we’re reaching beyond our own capabilities, trying to control others before we have achieved SELF control?
Modern science has taught us that we can take clearly defined steps to achieve Personal Mastery. The brain is a plastic organ. We used to think it was limited; cast in stone soon after our intellectual maturation. Today we know that we can make substantial structural and functional changes well into our final decades.
Personal mastery is achieved through knowledge of our complex neurobiology, personal insight and hard work. Like skeletal muscles, our intellectual and emotional muscles can be trained.
This is why I believe that everyone who wants to succeed should have a coach. Not any coach, but a professional coach with intimate knowledge of your neuroscience. This is no longer a luxury for the chosen few.
The emerging science is empowering and may soon be the differentiator between those who are successful and those who are not; between those who are happy and fulfilled, and those who are not.
With escalating competitive pressure, life is no longer a game for amateurs. We must each equip ourselves with the best possible insight and guidance.
Human society is advancing at a terrifying pace, faster than the pedestrian dawdle of natural evolution. One day soon, the very survival of our pinnacle species, the mighty Homo sapiens, may depend on our collective personal mastery.