Bad news: Your brain is probably less powerful than you thought. If you’re like me, you thought your brain could do just about anything. That it was infinitely powerful. But it’s not… That’s the bad news. But there are two gigantic silver linings to it. Stay tuned…
Your brain: the single processor
If you were born prior to 1995, and my most recent reader survey suggests that 97% of you were, you remember single processor computers. The other 3% of you will have to use your imaginations for this illustration. A single processor computer is r-e-a-l-l-y slow and does not allow you to have 37 programs open at the same time. In other words, you can’t IM on Facebook while tweeting and hosting a Google Hangout, all while listening to Pandora. Any attempt to do so would most likely result in the “blue screen of death.”
Think of your brains the same way.
Yes, your brain is more powerful than any computer ever made. But, it’s essentially operating on a single processor.
It can only allot a limited amount of its power to experiencing the world around you. You can’t process both gratitude and depression at the same time. You can’t process rejection and hope, pessimism and optimism, or hate and love at the same time. Your brain cannot accept the input of despair and negativity from the television news and, at the same time, express the beauty of the world. It’s literally impossible.
Because of this, you must choose how you use that limited power.
You can either use your brain’s limited resources to:
See only negativity, despair, stress, pain, and hate.
View the world through a lens of optimism, hope, gratitude, purpose, and love.
The good news, part one
The first positive of this is that you get to choose.
No, you cannot change the reality of the world through positive thoughts alone or through magical unicorn beams. You cannot even change your own reality that way.
But you can change how you view the events of reality. You can alter how you process the world.
That changes how you act in response to negative events.
The good news, part two
The second silver lining is that it can work in your favor.
If you choose to view the world through a positive lens, it becomes that much harder for negative thoughts to take root.
Andy Andrews says it this way:
It is impossible for the seeds of depression to take root in a thankful heart.
Psychologically speaking, that is sound wisdom.
Lest you think this is all feel-good mumbo jumbo, Shawn Achor, the author of one of the five books I recommend everyone read, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, explains what a positive lens is and isn’t:
not about lying to ourselves, or turning a blind eye to the negative, but about adjusting our brains so that we see the ways to rise above our circumstances.
Related link: The 5 Books I Recommend Everyone Read
Action item: What is one thing in the world that you have typically seen through a negative lens? Decide now to view it in a positive way. Change how you process that.
If you want to change the world, it starts with seeing it in the right light. Your brain is less powerful than you might have thought. You must choose how you see the world.
It’s up to you.
In the past, how have you chosen to process a negative event as a positive?