What if I told you that your life was being run by a 4 year old? Or maybe even a 8 year old a 16 year old?
Odds are that to some extent, I’d be right. And no, I’m not talking about your children.
We have all built our lives around key decisions that we have made in our past, filed away, and then never re-examined if it still made sense. These decisions changed the course of our lives forever.
Maybe in the 2nd grade someone embarrassed you, threatened your social status in front of all of your peers and you resolved the conflict by meeting on the playground after school for a fight. When you knocked the other kid to the ground and everyone cheered, you made the key decision that when you felt threatened, you settle your conflicts with violence. A decision that maybe worked out in the 2nd grade, but at 18 or 25 when you felt disrespected in a bar you ended up in jail. Your fight pattern certainly isn’t helping you navigate your corporate job.
Or maybe you wanted to be a doctor, but got confused in your 8th grade algebra class and decided that math and sciences just weren’t for you. When you decided that math was too hard, you altered the entire trajectory of your life because you didn’t understand what the teacher was saying about the quadratic formula. That’s why you gave up medicine at 12 and got an English degree instead. You still take orders from your 12 year old, confused self today when you push budgeting off on your spouse or don’t plan for your financial future because numbers aren’t for you.
Or maybe a girl turned you down when you were 7 and you decided that it was too painful to fully invest yourself in another person and have thus had shallow relationships ever since.
All our behavior, to some extent, is dictated by the experience of our past. These experiences led us to make perfectly valid key decisions to protect ourselves, or to be content at the time we made the decision. However, the human brain tends to move these key decisions into the unconscious brain where they affect every decision we make in the present day.
Isn’t it time you start to re-evaluate some of these decisions?
Think of somewhere in your life where you’re unhappy. Is your relationship stalled? Would you like to make more money? Do you withdraw in social settings?
What decisions did you make when you were a kid that is no longer working. What new key decision can you make today.
What would happen if you replaced the decision that “math isn’t for me” with “I can learn anything if I apply myself”? What if you replaced “a romantic partner isn’t worth getting hurt” with “love is worth the risk of potential pain”?
Almost anywhere in your life where you feel unfulfilled or incongruent, there is a key decision running in the background influencing your behavior without you thinking about it in a meaningful way.
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