I am sure, like me you have wrestled with your psyches in the quest to change your unhelpful behaviours!
But one area that is often overlooked is the effect of our biology, on how we make sense of the world.
Understanding how the human eye works will change how you see the world!
The functioning of the human eye has evolved so that only a tiny central part of the eye (the fovea) sees in high-resolution. Because if the whole eye worked that way, we would need a brain many times the size it is today, and that would make natural childbirth impossible.
Seeing in high resolution requires enormous amounts of brainpower to process what we see. So our eye has evolved into seeing just a narrow range of things, while the rest of the world is rendered in low resolution, first in the eye and then in our brains.
This evolutionary expediency to focus in on what is most important to us affects everything we do. If we focus in on getting a better job or meeting the perfect partner, then all of our brain’s circuits orientate towards it.
Even our genes (Epigenetic’s) will get involved with specific genes switching on and other genes off so that we can direct maximum bodily resources towards achieving our goal.
In short, our desires blind us to what is happening in the real world.
Knowing how the human eye works, is essential for success.
So all this other information, our eyes and mind ignore, doesn’t matter to us when we are getting what we want, but it presents a terrible problem when things are going wrong.
Because if you are not getting what you want in life, it may well be because you are too focused on your goal and you are blinded to the solutions that are right in front of your very eyes.
But we are very invested in seeing the world the way we do, we have invested time and effort building up our skills and neural pathways to quickly deal with the world the way we want to and so giving that up is not going to be easy.
All change, no matter how much desired, requires a min-death to our psyche, neural pathways will have to die and new ones created, this takes time and energy for our brains to do this.
We have evolved to conserve energy, and we never knew where the next meal would come from, so our brains are the most power-hungry part of us and so they do not engage in aimless rewiring if they don’t have to.
How to make changes in your life
- You first must admit to yourself that you need to change, that you can’t carry on pursuing a goal that is causing you so much suffering.
- Is your pursuit of this goal blinding you to what else is possible?
- Admit that your current knowledge is insufficient to achieve your goal
- How well are you following your moral compass? Does your value system need updating? Check out my blog article on finding meaning for a useful visualisation exercise
- Be accountable to someone for your progress, post your intention on social media, or tell a good friend and ask them to help keep you on track.
- Failure is so critical, and if you are not failing, then you really are not trying hard enough. A setback is a setup for your comeback!
So, it’s time to do a full audit of your ambition and make a different plan that would ultimately make your life better and that you will start working on it right now.
Simple goals to help you move forward each day.
- Tidy your desk so that you can think more clearly
- Read two pages of an inspiring book
- Listen to at least 10 minutes of an inspiring podcast while doing something else, like exercising or cleaning the dishes
- Watch a TED talk by someone who has done what you want to do to see that it is possible.
- Share your goal and your daily steps towards it with a friend
- Help someone else with getting clarity with his or her own goals.
Our biology limits us, and that makes change expensive for our brains to take on. So we need to get inventive and work with our limitations and compound our little everyday changes in behaviour into a new life that your heart desires and your life needs. That is compound interest at its most potent!