We generally like it to be very easy, us humans. We don’t want to have to change, and our brain conspires with us on this (most of the time, although novelty is rewarding). This is because doing things differently will require more energy and therefore is considered to be energy intensive for the brain. We literally have to think about it.
New thinking means making new connections between neurons and whilst the brain loves to do this (hey, it needs stimulation!) this necessitates electrical impulses which use energy. The brain is hungry: it gobbles up twenty per cent of your calorific intake every day.
Neuroscience helps to explain why it is easier to say “no, I don’t want to do that” than give it a go and why staying in the comfort zone of predictability is very appealing: it is efficient for the brain as energy will be conserved.
Expand your thinking of you
However, as far as our personal and professional growth is concerned the opposite is true. Challenging ourselves to try something new, especially something that we do not fully believe that we can succeed at is about expanding our sense of who we really are.
Frequently, the thing calling us to pay attention feels like hard work. From stopping using our smartphone as much or lessening use on social media, to exercising more or changing what we eat to enrolling in a class to pursue a new professional interest to of course applying for a promotion or a new job or even starting a business or exiting a personal relationship. Phew! All of these actions call on you to change and all of them demand new thinking – and that you face your fear(s).
We run endless streams of questions through our head examining the potential problems such as: “What will happen? What will it be like afterwards? How will my life change? Will I be the same person? Will others still like me? Will I be good enough?”
Yet, something tugs at us and eventually if we listen to our courage, we are compelled to take action and do the thing! Yes! We have done it! Woo hoo! Of course, once we have tackled the dragon, we realise that actually it is not as scary as we anticipated. In time, when we experience the benefits and the results from having done it, we wished that we had done it sooner. And do I speak on behalf for everyone in experiencing that we NEVER wish that we had not done that thing?
Go on, do that thing you are not sure about! What is on the other side will delight you now, or if that feels to big a stretch to anticipate, trust that it will sometime in the future.
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