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Why Self Help Books Won’t Change Anything

Dr. Laura Foster / Lifestyle  / Why Self Help Books Won’t Change Anything

Why Self Help Books Won’t Change Anything

Why Superfood Smoothies and Self Help Books Won’t Change Anything About Your Life … Unless This Happens

A couple years ago I took part in a 3-day program with one of the titans of leadership, Robin Sharma.  The information, mindset and strategies I learned were invaluable, but it was one little sentence that seems to have stayed with me the longest:

You are your conversations.

Simple concept with significant implications. He means that your life is greatly influenced by what you spend your time doing and who you spend your time with.  In other words, garbage in – garbage out.  Jim Rohn said it another way:  “we are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  100% true.  If you want to upgrade your life experience, upgrade your habits and the people you choose to spend your time with.  Amazing strategy.  Life changing.  I had been taught this concept years prior and it was something I had become conscious of.  This time, however, it occurred to me that ‘you are your conversations’ had a bigger implication in the context of my life.

What Am I Allowing My Mind To Contribute To The Conversation?

Let’s be honest.  All the inspiring friends, yoga, Danielle LaPorte books and superfood smoothies won’t create an iota of change in the trajectory of your life if the thoughts you have TEN MILLION TIMES A DAY are destructive, critical and self-limiting.

The super difficult part of all this is that we believe our thoughts (in other words, our MIND) is based in reality and we tend to take what it says with a high level of faith. In order to understand why this strategy may be your most limiting behaviour, let me walk you through a short anatomy lesson.

Your cerebral cortex is the bulk of what most people imagine when they see a picture of the brain.  The cerebral cortex is further separated into two main parts: the neocortex (newer) and the allocortex (older).  The neocortex has approximately 10-14 billion neurons with a massive job of being responsible for higher thought processes, decision making, language, motor and sensory integration, memory and consciousness. The allocortex, on the other hand, is part of the older primitive mammalian brain which evolved tens of millions of years ago.  And THIS is why it’s interesting.  Your primitive brain is the major source of mood and emotion.

When we “think” about things (consciously or subconsciously), the primitive part of the brain becomes incredibly invested in the idea of keeping you safe. When you say, “wow, I’d love to take on that venture” there is a part of your mind that wants to convince you to stay small, avoid perceived risk and be safe.  In fact, these thousands of subconscious conversations that go on in the recesses of your ‘mind’ are often what leads us astray.

So the statement, ‘you are your conversations’ is more poignant than you know because the conversations that most contribute to our life experience are the ones that happen in our mind. In fact, practicing mindfulness has taken on a different connotation for me. I no longer seek mindfulness as much as I seek soulfulness.

Where the mind will feed you limiting ‘thoughts’ designed to maximize your time in existence, your soul knows what you are truly capable of. Your soul is your ultimate guide to living your greatest life expression.

So, be careful with too much ‘THINKING’. It may lead you astray.

The dance is to observe your thinking and line it up with the guidance from your soul.  Easy right?  <imagine I’m smirking>  I know, it doesn’t seem easy. It takes practice … which is why soulfulness is a practice.  Learning to tap into the wisdom of your soul allows you to create an alignment within your being that always has your best interest in mind and knows your gifts, your genius and your purpose.  You know you are making decisions from the level of your soul when it feels easy, when you feel excited, when you feel passionate and when you know-that-you-know-that-you-know.

We’ve all had these experiences when you find yourself saying YES to something or someone and you aren’t even sure where it came from. Or you said YES and you had no idea how it was going to happen but it just did. These are examples of times when you made soul decisions based on guidance from your soul … not from your mind. Many times we hear the guidance from our soul first and then the mind chimes in;

“I don’t think that’ll work.”

“That sounds risky.”

“Who do you think you are taking on that project.”

“What if it doesn’t work.”

“I can’t”

“I shouldn’t”

“That’s too much”

“As if you can do that”

…. I could go on and on. You know exactly what I mean because it happens thousands of times a day, week and year and we have a tendency (if we are not living in a state of awareness) to believe that these thoughts are accurate. That they are based in fact when they are more likely to be based on nothing other than the allocortex taking over the show.

The biggest difference between mindfulness and soulfulness is that mindfulness is steeped in thinking and soulfulness is steeped in feeling.

To practice connecting to your higher self through the guidance of your soul, tap into the feeling you get from the level of your gut and place more priority into aligning with your intuition around decision making.  What feels right? Often it’s the first ‘thought’ you receive when you ask yourself a question (before the cerebral cortex has a chance to chime in).

You will NEVER make a bad decision when you listen to the longings of your soul. It knows exactly what you should lean into and exactly what to say ‘no thank you’ to. Every. Single. Time.

To increase your awareness around the messaging of your soul, try these techniques:

*Connect with your breath.

Your breath calms the fight or flight response of your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and puts you into a place of receiving by turning on the calming nature of your parasympathetic nervous system(PNS).  Your soul desires are easiest to connect to when your PNS is active.

*Create time for reflection

Whether it’s a walk in nature, an extra 5 minutes in the shower (do you ever notice some of your best “ideas” come while you are showering?) or 10 minutes of journaling and doodling first thing in the morning, your soul requires space to connect with you.

*Meditate

Ah yes, I know. We certainly over ‘think’ the practice of meditating, don’t we?  There is no right or wrong way to meditate. It’s simply sitting your butt down and calming your breath. How long you do it and whether you do it guided or not is your choice.  Do not underestimate the value of meditation.

*Incorporate movement into your daily life that involves inner connection 

Not just 100% exertion and effort. Trust me. As a 2 time ironman triathlete and purveyor of all things endurance, I’ve lived this. Incorporate more grounded exercise and movement into your daily life. My #1 recommendation is yoga. It is a fantastic way to ground down and expand upwards and encourages the dialogue of your soul to come forth more readily.

*Be willing to increase your level of awareness around your thoughts.

When you find yourself saying yes to something (… anything), ask yourself, “how do I feel about that?”  Your first response will often be your most aligned messaging. Notice what you notice. Notice where you feel it when you imagine yourself saying yes or no. If you feel your breath constrict, your chest tighten or your stomach restrict – that’s my sign that my soul is guiding me to say no. Conversely, if I feel light and expansive in my breathing or chest, that’s a yes.  A really big, “YES.”

 

Living more consciously is a practice that will create more ease and alignment within your life simply because you begin to lean into what your soul longs for. Life is meant for joy, ease, love, passion and connection. It’s not meant to be hard.  We’ve confused the program.  Working hard (for things that are in alignment with our soul is called passion) – but being hard because we have told ourselves that it needs to be hard to be productive is not true.  Your soul has big plans for you in this lifetime and I encourage you to tap into what it wants you to hear.

“I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the the teaching of my soul.”

Rumi

And let me remind you…

You have the time to practice soulfulness.

It doesn’t require money or training.

It requires desire.

You already know how.

You’ve simply forgotten.

With love,

laura

PS> I still advocate superfood smoothies and Danielle LaPorte books, but it will all be far more powerful when you align it with a lifestyle steeped in soulfulness. #truth #consciousliving #selfloverocks

Comments:

  • Kristin Bower
    May 21, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    When I speak and write about mental health I often emphasize the power of our inner dialogue. When you have a mood disorder, that negative dialogue becomes heightened and extremely difficult to shift. But it’s like anything, with a little (OK, maybe a lot) of practice, you CAN do it.

    And yes, the five people who you spend the most time with have a HUGE impact on your life and overall wellbeing. Negative energy? Maybe it’s time to say goodbye…

    This is a fabulous post and I am sharing it everywhere and with everyone!

    Kristin

  • Bablofil
    June 4, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Thanks, great article.

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