“I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was.”
Muhammed Ali (1942-2016)
I can picture him saying that, with a twinkle in his eye and a twitch of his lips as he waits for the audience’s chuckle in response. A philosopher, a wit, and a wise man, it seems, as we now know from modern brain research what he knew instinctively: that our brain cannot tell the difference between imagination and reality, so if you say it is so, then it will believe it is so.
This means if we negatively forecast the future or negatively introspect about the past, the brain will think it is really happening, and will move into the primitive survival-mode of flight, flight or freeze. And because it is in survival-mode it will encourage us to continue to think negatively about a situation because it wants to trigger our survival response of getting out of there in a hurry. This can tip us into a downward spiral of depression, anxiety or anger, or a combination of all three – all are primitive op-out clauses. And because we continue in this negative process we find it difficult to come up with solutions, so we stay angry, depressed or anxious.
Powerful things, thoughts! Muhammed Ali knew it, and we do, too. Sensible to make our words, thoughts and beliefs of a positive nature then, because our brain will believe us.
So this year, why not resolve to tell yourself that life is great, even before you know it is?
Wishing you a Happy New Year, and a warm welcome to 2018.
It’s going to be great!