Day 12

Video transcription

In yesterday’s video I talked about how beliefs about ourself create an invisible “glass ceiling” on our expectations. Indeed that’s one of their purposes; to predict what is going to happen in a certain situation. They act as a useful shortcut to save us the effort of trying something that our previous experience has shown doesn’t work.

The only trouble with these beliefs is that they believe themselves :-), and can’t see the possibility for change. They are the ultimate “fixed mindset” partisan. Beliefs are automatically being created all the time by us from our experience. So whenever we make a commitment for instance and don’t keep it, a belief is formed or reinforced. And then the next time we try something similar the belief that has been formed is inaudibly whispering in our ear “you can’t do that”.

But we are more than our beliefs. Indeed whilst we don’t consciously do it, we are the author of our beliefs. And in the same way that an author’s story doesn’t limit the author, our beliefs not need limit us.

Now one of the first distinctions I made last week was that we are not a single coherent self, but rather a complex community of selves. We are both the author of our story, as well as the struggling protagonist or grunt. Picture this scene. A dimly lit room. Our Grunt opens their weary eyes. The moment calls for them for them to boldly step into action. But (sigh) they’re oh so weary, their motivation sadly depleted. “I can’t do it”.

They are reading off and acting out of a belief script, and doing a fantastic believable job. We can literally feel their struggle. There is no Keanu Reeves in this scene. Its full-on Meryl Streep.

But let’s just pause the scene there for a sec, and remember our author. Incidentally I call him the self-author. Our beliefs create invisible boundaries on our imagination, on our sense of possibility. But. Our future is not limited by our history. For instance I’m sure we have all had lives experiences in our lives of having pushed through what we thought we couldn’t do.

Can you remember one of those now? Perhaps pause the video to reflect.

They are moments when the imagination of your author was stronger than that of your protagonist. In contrast to the fixed mindset of our belief scripts, our author has a full-on growth mindset. He or she knows that we can build our strength and capability to go beyond the limitations of what we have previously been able to do.

And its not easy. Our beliefs are the reflection of a kind of fitness; what I call our “Self-authoring fitness”. And just as physical fitness is built by pushing through and beyond our current comfort levels, so too is Self-authoring fitness. There is no such thing as fitness without struggle, effort and sacrifice.

Just because in any one moment your self-author may not have the same intensity of feelings as your protagonist grunt, that doesn’t make him or her any less real. Indeed maybe they are the most real part of you.