A lady said to me that she'd love to be able to sing. As a performer and singing teacher, I replied with a truthful response - you can. I will teach you! This caused her to recoil with an awkward laugh, explaining that she'd be rubbish and has never been able to sing!
I had to disagree! I tried to explain why and how singing is a teachable skill that anyone could learn but by the end of our conversation, I knew I hadn't convinced her and thought it was unlikely she'd discover her singing ability.
This got me thinking. What makes this lady believe she can't sing and make me believe I can? So in this blog I explain what our minds are doing to prevent us from learning something new or stop us pushing beyond our comfort zone. It all has to do with how we think and the thoughts we have exposed our brains to in the past.
We are all familiar with the theory that different parts of the brain are used in different ways, known as the conscious, sub conscious and unconscious mind. But few of us consider how these parts of the brain influence the decisions that form our destiny.
Whilst it appears the conscious mind is in control, processing and rationalising thoughts and making decisions using data from the outside environment. In truth the conscious mind is influenced more by the unconscious mind.
The unconscious mind is a powerhouse of data, holding images and memories from the day we were born. Everything from recognising our parents faces to playing an instrument is stored here. Every thought including memories we thought we had forgotten are kept until they are needed! As a thought is prompted in our conscious world, the memories of previous encounters are retrieved from the unconscious database and brought to our conscious attention. For example when I see anchovies come with the Caesar salad I want to order it brings back my memory of trying them and wanting to vomit!
Memories that do not get recalled regularly will sit deep in the unconscious mind and seem forgotten. Like the memories of when we were small don't get talked about in detail as we get older so are never brought back to consciousness and we are not able to visualise them well. But as this lady was prompted to think about singing, her mind was hard at work bringing back memories of her good and bad experiences that involved singing. This is when her sub conscious came into play.
The sub-conscious mind works in a different way to the unconscious and conscious mind. Not only does it handle the involuntary actions of our body like breathing, changing our body temperature, dealing with stress, giving us intuition, sensing danger and changing our mood, it also monitors the changes of both the conscious and unconscious mind.
As this lady's conscious thoughts changed to being rubbish at singing and her unconscious mind retrieved her past experiences. Her sub conscious mind gave her the feeling that this is something she should avoid. The sub conscious mind tries to protect us from anything it feels we won't enjoy, threaten or endanger us but it doesn't recognise whether information it observes is outdated or incorrect.
This is where we can change the course of our destiny by changing our perceptions! Our minds are such wonderful organs and can grow and change based on the information they are fed! If this lady kept an open mind, accepted that she will make mistakes and told herself that this is something to try, her experiences with singing become positive. The data collected from her consciousness provide the positive memories that will be stored in her unconscious. This then encourages her sub-conscious to have a good feeling about the experience and welcome her to do it more!
So my message to anyone who is nervous about trying something new. Review you're past experiences and question whether they could be holding you back? The memories your brain is collecting today will be retrieved more often than the memories you stored 10 years ago so don't let a bad experience continue to grow. Each one of us is in control of the memories we choose to bring into our consciousness!