The first one, the wise and courageous; he always tries to do what is just, he respects others, never gives up on his goals, keeps a positive attitude throughout his life, stays focused, disciplined and have great self-control. He is bold and driven and has the potential to become a great pack leader one day.
The other one is quite the opposite, he is a very unstable killer, most of the time irritated and ready to pick up a fight with anyone who looks in his direction. His general bad temper and disposition for out-of-control aggressive behaviour are without any doubt related to all the wounds that cover his body. His dark attitude is fueled by what happened to him in the past and the fear of what could hurt him again.
Sometimes, it is challenging to live with these 2 different animals inside me, while both of them always fight to control my mind!
Which one is going to win?
The one I feed!
The attitude you have in life today is what is going to set the foundation for the world you will live in tomorrow. It is impossible to completely get rid of fear because fear is a primal emotion that is hardwired in our subconscious mind for our own protection. A long time ago living on this planet was quite perilous and fear was an important survival tool.
Now, in our safe and modern society, a fear-based mentality does way more harm than good. It is of great importance to minimise it as much as possible if you don’t want to freeze in front of all the great opportunities life is about to present you.
First, you need to develop your self-awareness. Has much has you can, observe the dialog that append in your mind. Listen to yourself talking to yourself and realize that some discussions are negative and based on fear, frustration and anger while others are positive based on courage, ambition and creativity.
Those thought-patterns are usually synergic, meaning negative thinking usually brings more negative thinking, and it goes on and on…
Being self-aware of your inner dialogue is an essential step in order to control and shape them.
You need to feed the good wolf while starving the bad one
The “wolves within” story is a great metaphor because the synaptic pathway in our brain that creates our experiences and habits become stronger when we use them and weaker when we left them unused. This is called synaptic plasticity, and it also means that once a certain pathway becomes stronger, it is more likely to be used by default without you taking conscientious decision.
It’s like electricity; the lighting will always tend to strike where there is more conductivity.
The more the circuit get strengthened, the more the juice will tend to flow in.
That’s how habits are formed.
By feeding the good wolf, not only you make him stronger but you also make the bad wolf weaker.
That’s how you can shape your mind.
Being successful and having a great life has a lot to do with your habits. How much people you know are limited by their bad habits?
Bad or destructive habits are not impossible to change. You just need to identify the bad thought-patterns that lead to the behaviour and feed the opposite one.
There is this guy, Stephen Guise, who wrote about a very clever way to implement new habits, a method especially good for those who tend to be lazy or procrastinator when it comes to self-improvement. He call it the “Mini habits”. Basically, you start so small, that it is impossible to fail. For example; instead of trying to implement the habit of strength training 3 session of 1 hours each week at the gym, you implement the habit of doing a minimum of 1 push-up a day at home. Very clever, Its like seeding a habit. Because its quick and easy, it sticks and then grows with time into something bigger. Smart guy, great book, if you have trouble to implement new positive habits, read it: Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results
But, the most difficult part is to increase your self-awareness, but again, it’s a habit that can be developed with practice and time. You can start by doing periodic taught inspection a few times a day. Just take a minute here and there to observe and identify what is going on in your head at that moment.
The elastic rubber band snap
This is an old and well-known technique that is pretty effective to get rid of bad habits or bad thoughts. You just put an elastic rubber band around one of your wrists.
During the day, each time you notice the rubber band, do a quick introspection, and ask yourself: What wolf am I feeding right now? If it’s the bad wolf then, inflict yourself pain by snapping the rubber band against the inside of your wrist, and then force yourself to feed the good wolf instead and act without pity; it must be painful!
This is called self-administered aversive conditioning. The idea is to create an association between the bad wolf and the pain of punishment.
Who is going to win the fight?
Watch out for negative self-talk and inner frustration; they might indicate that your current paradigm doesn’t answer your needs anymore and that it is time to evolve to something greater. Those thought-patterns that are looping in your head are what’s modelling or blocking the evolution of your mind, so you better take charge if you don’t want to become an incoherent grumpy old man around your forties.
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