Thursday, 13 July 2017

Preconceptions - are they ruling your life?

Something I often come across is people making assumptions about someone or something to a degree where they can’t move past this assumption and learn from it. So I ask you, do your pre-conceived ideas about something stop you from being completely open to growth or a new experience?

For example (and I have many)...

Example one: “If I lift that weight I will hurt my back.”

By thinking this before it's even happened you have already reduced your ability to actually lift the weight safely, and therefore implanted the concept of injury into your very clever brain. This is the same for my personal pet hate: “It's not hurting...yet.” You have pre-empted something that may not even happened, but now your body is in flight mode and that injury is more likely to occur.

Example two: Assuming that a person has no idea what they are talking about because of their beliefs, ideals or demographics.

By assuming this, are you closing yourself off to the notion that this person has crossed your path for a reason? What if that person has had more life experience/trauma/relationships and has chosen to utilise those experiences as gifts to serve others? I have seen people ignore opportunities because the person presenting an idea in front of them was “too young.” What if this person could LITERALLY change your life by helping you regardless of their circumstance? What if they were sent to you for a reason? From a personal point of view, had I allowed my preconceptions about age and life experience to get in the way, I would not be experiencing the life changing joy and deep love of my current relationship.



Example three: Assuming that you can no longer do something the way you used to because of a past experience.

My purpose in life is to show women that they can choose to follow whatever path they choose, lift whatever weight they want and do as many reps as they wish…no matter what! Sometimes it just takes a little longer, a little more patience, a little more determination and potentially a few more setbacks. I remember being told that I would never squat a heavy weight again after my hysterectomy, that my body would no longer be capable due to the internal trauma. I now hold the National squat record in my age group and am aiming for a World Record on the 21st July 2017, three years after my surgery and subsequent rehabilitation.

But don’t just take it from me. I spoke to Nat Hodges, good friend and Director of Nxt Lvl Academy about his take on this. He says, “An assumption is the missing piece of information that is auto-filled by your ego-fixated narrative or personal story.

“Our brain organises our environment in a binary system (yes/no; black/white; wrong/right), which simply isn’t the reality. The reality is many shades of grey, so in an attempt to conserve energy our brain will feed us our lives in simple to understand rules and if we don’t know the whole picture we tend to fill in the gaps without questioning it (classic assumption). By the way, all of the above is never front of mind.

“There are three common styles of thinking. Whatever you use the most will become your ‘default mode network,’ which is another way of saying it will become stronger, even if it’s not the correct thinking for the job at hand. We have analytical thinking, reflective thinking and observational thinking. It’s only on reflection that we become aware of our assumptions, by which time it’s normally too late. It’s critical that we have people around us who can provide immediate feedback, or even point out assumptions before action is taken, so that we can formulate the best outcome.

“We look through our own eyes and our visual field seems so utterly complete. We have decent depth perception, peripherals and colour, right? Actually, we are only ever taking in between 60-70% of what’s in front of us. Have you ever been searching for your keys only to find they’re right there in your hand? That is because your eyes and optic nerves are not only receivers but are also responding to input from the brain. Whatever you are thinking about you tend to see. So if you send the command ‘where are my keys?’ but the majority of your thoughts are somewhere else, the keys will be in the hands of the gods.
Nat Hodges - Friend, mentor, business owner,
young person with a shit load of life experience. 


“What this means is the rest of our visual field is made up of assumptions – assumed locations, colours and textures. These assumptions are once again formulated by what you are currently holding in mind. For example, if you are thinking about how frustrated you are, something as innocuous as a little old lady slowly crossing the street will somehow become frustrating to you.

“The more practice you have at bringing your assumptions front of mind, being open to feedback on your assumptions and actively questioning them, the more growth you will experience.”

Thank you Nat!


What does this teach us? My greatest fear for the human race is that we will allow perceptions about ourselves or others to close us off from the incredible opportunities that are available. Don’t be that human on their final days, wishing they had been more open to change, growth and adventure. Open your heart, open your mind and watch your world change.



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