A famous research study was done on a clique of youngster goldfish. They were raised in a luxuriously long aquarium with a pesky glass wall smack down its middle.
Every time these goldfish tried to swim to the far side of the aquarium – ouch — they’d hit their little fish noses on the glass wall’s hard surface.
Eventually the goldfish became resigned to their limited swimming options. They thereby stayed swooshing around in the mere half-sized portion of the aquarium which they now recognized as home.
After a few months, the researchers removed the glass wall from the aquarium’s middle. The goldfish were now allowed full reign to swim wherever their little gills could gather speed to take them.
We humans are no better. Over time we amass limiting beliefs about how life supposedly is. However, these beliefs are not valid. Even so, we still allow these limiting beliefs to stop us from living our happiest life.
Indeed, if you want to experience maximum happiness, more important than whether you see that metaphorical glass as half full or half empty, is whether or not you see a metaphorical glass wall in your way.
After all, you could be the most optimistic person on this planet. You could consciously believe you deserve bundles of cash and heaps of lovin’. Yet you can still remain blocked from getting all you want.
That’s easy. Your life is difficult.
You keep finding yourself saying:
Another way you can tell if you have glass walls – and where exactly you have them – is to look at various Life Categories:
Next you should rate yourself on a Happiness Score of 1 to 10 . in these categories.
Whenever a Life Category garners a Happiness Score of 5 or 6 or under, most likely it’s because your subconscious mind is blocking you with a glass wall belief – telling you:
You’re simply being blocked by a mirage of glass flashing in your subconscious’ face!
Basically if you’re not fully leading your happiest life, it might be because your subconscious has created an incomplete, shortsighted map of the world!
If you’re a “foodie,” a good analogy for “Glass Wall Limitations” is to say it’s as if your subconscious has given you a very limited menu of your life options.
It’s funny how we humans love to blame other people, “glass ceilings” and all kinds of outside forces for holding us back.
I call these “(b)lame” excuses and “myth-taken” thinking – for the obvious reasons.
The truth is: Often our success and happiness are being hindered by our own limiting beliefs and limiting habits – caused by our learned imaginary Glass Walls. As a result, we develop learned self sabotaging behaviors.
So what stops us from seeing that there’s no Glass Wall to be seen? What I call “The 3 C’s”!
Your learned (b)lame excuses, mythaken thinking and false fears — created by the pain, disappointment, and repeated patterns you learned from family and friends when you were young and spongelike.
Your learned (b)lame excuses, mythaken thinking and false fears – created from society’s messages of false limitations, stereotyping and biased trends.
Until 1954 most people believed that a human could not run a mile in less than four minutes. Until Roger Bannister did just that. After Bannister accomplished this, running four-minute miles has since become run-of-the-mill.
“Doctors and scientists said that breaking the four minute mile was impossible, that one could die in the attempt,” said Bannister, right after his accomplishment. “Thus when I got up from the track after collapsing at the finish line, I figured I was dead.” Hence why it’s important to wake up to our Culture’s Limiting Beliefs — or they can create a limiting “that’s impossible” self fulfillment!)
Your learned (b)lame excuses, “myth-taken” thinking and false fears –created from very specific crises.
Yes, there’s an abundance of ways you can limit your life with limiting thinking due to these 3 C’s.
If you’re presently having a repeated pattern of failure, disappointment, and unhappiness, then it’s time to consider you might be doing self sabotaging behaviors because of one, two or all of these 3 C’s.
Be aware, this could happen, even if you’re not conscious about doing self sabotaging behaviors!
Actually, especially if you’re not conscious about it.
Basically, “destiny” is just a pithy little word which means:
“Your subconscious’ limiting beliefs which make you do the things you do – and thereby get the things you get.”
This is so very important I will repeat it again – this time in bold italics!
Let’s say as a child you grew up in a home with lots of screaming and very little emotional support.
As a result you developed lots of Childhood’s Limiting Beliefs.
The big problem with your learned Childhood’s Limiting Beliefs is that you’re comfortable with keeping them around.
They work sort of like an old tattered security blanket – which you feel uncomfortable holding – even though it’s dirty and worn.
Similarly, you actually feel a sense of comfort in your learned beliefs’ familiar discomfort.And you are not alone in wanting to repeat the same feelings of pain from your past – due to the lure of familiarity!
Freud called this urge for duplicating our past in our present “Repetition Compulsion.” He explained how we humans have two methods for keeping our past alive.
Meaning, we can try to relive our past by:
Basically, it’s as if we all have a Portable Childhood we take with us as we head into adulthood. We then try to find new people to re-portray old family members.
So if you had a mom who was very Mommy Dearest (and shrieked at you all the time) you will attempt to recreate “Shriek Two, The Saga Continues.”
In the early sixties Martin Seligman discovered this principle of “learned helplessness” when he performed a “bizarre-o-world” version of the famed Pavlovian Response test.In Seligman’s rendition, instead of teaching his doggies to associate a bell tone with yummy food delivery, he paired the bell tone with harmless-but-mighty shocks.
Then Seligman immediately restrained his doggies in a harness.
Seligman’s goal? To test his theory that eventually the doggies would learn to fear the bell tone, and run away.
Instead, when Seligman eventually untied his test doggies, and allowed them the option of escaping after bells were rung, his doggies didn’t scurry for those exit doors.
The doggies simply lay there, immobile and indifferent.
Initially Seligman was surprised. Until he understood.
Over time these poor doggies had begun to tell themselves a sad doggie tale – about how it just wasn’t worth it to attempt escape.
He recognized how this lethargic attitude can also overwhelm us humans – if we’ve endured painful scenarios.
Eventually we humans can also wind up martyring ourselves to pain, instead of working to change circumstances.
There is one exception to this rule! You must be a special happier category of human – the kind of positive breed of human who creates a “Positive Explanatory Story.”
In other words, if you want to change the negative patterns of your life, you gotta teach your old brain some new tricks!
You must train your brain to tell you a “Positive Explanatory Story” about life’s pain – which will then free you from your limiting beliefs.
As soon as you can do this, you will go much further in your life!
Psychologists call this brain upgrade “attaining higher consciousness.”
And psychologists recognize how thinking from a higher consciousness helps a human to become their “highest self.”
Or I guess if we keep in mind my aforementioned goldfish/aquarium story, we should rename those terms:
After all, attaining higher consciousness is all about seeing FURTHER past your false Glass Walls. So you can swim FURTHER towards new, better, more life options!
There once was a little farm girl who was wandering in the forest. She found an eagle’s nest filled with eagle’s eggs. But she saw no mama eagle in sight.
The mischievous girl quickly scooped out one egg and headed home.
She then slipped the egg under a mama to be chicken.
A week later all these chicken’s eggs hatched!
There amongst those chicklettes, emerged a single eaglette.
This single eaglette then learned how to walk like a chicken, squawk like a chicken, eat chicken feed like a chicken.
This eaglette, however, was not a happy camper.
But the eaglette couldn’t understand why.
So the eaglette tried harder to be the best chicken walker, the best chicken squawker, the best chicken food gobbler.
Still the eaglette was not happy in its heart.
One day ihe eaglette took a walk to a cliff where for a moment the depressed bird felt ready to jump.
Then the eaglette looked skyward, and saw a gorgeous bird with widespread wings flying by.
The eaglette had this – CLUNK — flash of a brand new insight. It wanted to fly too!
Then the eaglette looked down at the huge valley below and became afraid.
Within moments a large group of soaring birds flew by – each with widespread wings. The eaglette watched — with eagle eyes – then developed A PLAN for how to fly.
But fear set in once more.
Thankfully, another gorgeously soaring bird flew by – and the eaglette felt a PUSH from within and instantly jumped.
With its wings a-flapping, the eaglette found itself flying skyward – directly in path with the other soaring birds.
That’s when the eaglette knew it was not meant to live the life of a chicken.
It was meant to become a happily soaring eagle all along.
We humans need to experience what I call ” CLUNK, PLAN, PUSH” in order to break free from self sabotaging behaviors.
You need to awaken to the CLUNK/TRUTH that you are participating in self limiting beliefs – which are creating self limiting, self-sabotaging behaviors.
This CLUNK can show up after you experience one huge CLUNK of a painful event. Or it can show up with little CLUNKS if you’re experiencing a pattern of painful events. After a pattern of pain, it becomes harder to deny there is some self-sabotaging behavior to be examined.
These CLUNKs then create a helpful wake up call – followed by an inner willingness to explore what can be done differently.
Also…these CLUNKs are what allow you to create a POSITIVE EXPLANATORY STORY for all the pain you’ve been through – so you can create new POSITIVE BELIEFS AND HABITS!
Oh – and these blessed CLUNKs don’t always have to come in the form of a CLUNK of great pain.
The CLUNKs can also come from the CLUNKs of reading an inspiring essay which resonate – maybe this one!
Or CLUNKs can come from seeing a pattern in someone else – then CLUNK – recognizing their self sabotaging behaviors as your own.
However these CLUNKs arrives, they creates a loosening to previously tightly-held beliefs and habits. As a result, you’re now freed up to create a new positive explanatory story – and thereby create new positive beliefs and habits.
But you need these CLUNKs first and foremost in order to create meaningful and lasting change!
After these CLUNKS, you need to create a PLAN for change.
If you want to change your present self sabotaging behavior, I personally recommend you do a STOP AND SWAP – not just a STOP.
By creating a new “redirection,” you become less likely to return your old ways.
With this in mind you need to create a specific clear PLAN for where you want to go – and how you hope to get there.
Studies show that people experience far greater success at creating life change when they put their dreams to paper.
So take some to write out the steps you need to take – both the small steps and big steps.
Read these steps often. Hold your vision. Drop the excuses. Remember your “why” behind your wanting to change. Swerve around obstacles. And trust the process.
You need to find a consistent form of inspiration which will keep you following your PLAN – even when you feel ready to quit.
Change is challenging. So if you want change to stick around in a lasting way, then you not only need a good PLAN- you need a good PUSH.
Finally, you should also remember to celebrate small successes on your way to your big successes.
Need further support to think happier? Check out my bestselling book, Think Happy!
What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read about self sabotaging behaviors? Do you relate to any of these 3 C’s ? What are your thoughts on Clunk, Plan, Push? Share your personal story down below!