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Column: 'What is holding you back from getting the results you want?'

This is an edited extract from The Little Book of Results.

Image: Shutterstock/GaudiLab

THE SINGLE BIGGEST barrier to progress – and the cause of most frustration, stuckness and suffering – is an innocent and widespread misunderstanding about how our minds work.

This trick of the mind is validated and reinforced by the media, politicians, teachers, employers, friends, relatives, self-help books and even our own perceptual systems. As you start to ‘see through’ this false belief, you’ll be waking up to your true power as a results-creator.

Your experience is being generated from within you, right now

The human mind has an extraordinary job to do. Millions of bits of information arrive at our senses every second.

Our minds process that data, combine it with information from our memory banks and weave a coherent and stable perceptual reality that we experience as ‘real’. The mind-made perceptual reality we construct seems so real to us that we rarely question its validity.

Look around at the environment you’re in. Your experience of everything you can see, hear, feel, taste and smell is being generated from within you, moment to moment (a process that neuroscientist and consciousness researcher Anil Seth describes as ‘a controlled hallucination’).

Even the things you can see and hear ‘out there’ are experiences being generated from within you (albeit with a live data-feed). It seems to us as though we look out through our eyes at a world ‘out there’, but our perception is less like looking through the lens of a camera and more like a projector or a set of virtual reality goggles.

Please note: I’m not saying that everything ‘out there’ is being generated from within you; I’m saying that your experience of everything ‘out there’ is being generated from within you, using the power of THOUGHT: the reality principle.

THOUGHT: The reality principle

People think. The principle of THOUGHT refers to our innate capacity to generate a perceptual reality; an outer and inner world that we can see, hear, feel, taste and smell. This principle is also the source of the countless thoughts and perceptions that arise in the course of a day.

  • You were born into the principle of THOUGHT just as you were born into the principle of gravity.
  • You use the principle of THOUGHT, automatically and effortlessly to generate a coherent perceptual reality, moment to moment.
  • You’re always living in a THOUGHT-generated perceptual reality and experiencing it as an actual reality.

Reality check

‘Thanks Professor’, I hear you say, ‘but so what? What difference does it make that I’m living in a THOUGHT-generated perceptual reality? I still get evicted if I don’t pay the rent.’ Here’s the difference it makes:

Your THOUGHT-generated perceptual reality is like a pair of glasses that colours everything you see. Your feelings are giving you feedback about the glasses you’re wearing, not what you’re looking at. Don’t take my word for it; check your own experience. Have you noticed how:

  • When you feel irritated, it can seem like it’s caused by whoever or whatever you’re thinking about.
  • When you feel grateful, it’s easy to find things to be grateful for.
  • When you feel down or low, it can appear like there are really good reasons for it.
  • When you feel happy, it seems like there are really good reasons for that.
  • When you feel stressed-out, it often seems like the causes are outside you.

In fact, sometimes the very situations or people which seem annoying or frustrating on one day can seem sweet or charming the next. That’s because your feelings are giving you feedback on THOUGHT taking form in the moment, not whatever you’re thinking about.

Thinking and feeling are two sides of the same coin. You’re always living in the feeling of THOUGHT in the moment. But it often seems like you’re feeling something other than THOUGHT.

This is an edited extract from The Little Book of Results: A Quick Guide to Achieving Big Goals by Jamie Smart (Capstone, April 2018). Jamie Smart is a Sunday Times bestselling author, speaker, and executive coach. 

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