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From the desk of Coach James

The hard truth about hard times that will make your life easier

When life is good, we feel good and like nothing will stop us; things just flow and life feels effortless. On the flip-side, when things go awry and life seems to be an uphill struggle when nothing works out, or goes our way things become hard and we get angry at the world, and sometimes those around us.

The human brain is designed to look for what’s wrong, not what’s right. When our brain locks onto what’s wrong we throw up our defences and protect ourselves from threats, we’re not designed to look for what’s good in the world. It’s human nature to seek out threats and look for ways to stay alive. Self-preservation is part of the human design, that was useful for our ancestors in the Hunter Gatherer Age of living in the wild with life-or-death situations lurking behind every tree. Seeking out danger to prepare to flee or run in an instant was handy all those years ago, but that way of being no-longer serves us. Sometimes when there is no threats, our brain makes things appear worse than they are, just so it feels like it’s doing its job.

The hard truth is; it’s in our DNA to look for what’s wrong in every situation. It’s not human nature to feel happy and safe in the world all the time. If you constantly felt happy and safe, you would cross the road without looking, unaware of the possible consequences.

We are conditioned to seek out what is wrong, to find ways to make it right. It is possible that if we re-condition ourself to look for what’s good in the world, we will seek out more of what’s right than what’s wrong.

Forming a new habit is not something we can do overnight but consistently doing something will eventually become an automatic action, like driving a car; at first it seems daunting but after repeating the process it becomes second nature to: mirror-signal-manoeuvre.

In the arena of personal development, a great resource for helping to begin to build this new habit of seeking out what’s right in the world is the simple act of gratitude journaling, and putting on paper things to be grateful. By bringing these things to the forefront of our minds the brain will start to look for more things to be grateful for and then we will feel different about the bad things.

The idea of journaling makes me think of writing a long article about my day, so I’m unlikely to want to do this as I’m winding down for bed. If like me; on hearing about journaling you think of a, ‘Dear diary….’ monologue, then we can just write a list of five things to be grateful for. Done consistently, this will soon recondition your brain to look for what’s right in your world more than what’s wrong in it.

Some people say it takes 21 days to form a habit, others say it’s longer; but we are all different so don’t put a number on it, just do it consistently until it becomes part of who you are and what you do.

The hard truth is that we are hardwired to look for what’s wrong in the world, to keep us safe. By understanding that fact we can then re-wire ourselves to look for what’s right, and what to be grateful for.

Our brain is like a targeting system, but we are targeting the wrong things.

Seek and you will find – so look for the positives.

What are you looking for?


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