- “If you want to have a healthy mind, first and foremost, pay attention to the information that is coming in. What are you consuming? What are you looking at? What are you watching? What are you reading? Who are the people who are around you?””
- Do you know how your mind works? In this episode, learn about the ladder of perception and how it can help you become a more positive person!
- “The way that you’re perceiving the world is controlling how much you progress in the world.”
- Becoming more positive starts with understanding how your thoughts work. Learn how to examine the way you interpret things and how that impacts your attitude every day!
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Break Bad Habits
The Power of Identity
How to Create Enduring Happiness
How to Stay Positive During Your Worst Days
How to Reprogram Your Mind for Positive Thinking
[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Brendon Show. Please note that this episode, like all TBS episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, The Brendon Show has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)
Now I want to share with you what I call the ladder of perception. It’s just a way of understanding how your mind works. So often we go through the day, something happens and turns us into a bad mood, and for the rest of day, we were kind of racked and ruined and upset and frustrated. And it’s not until we go home, have five glasses of wine that we finally chill out.
So what can you do in the middle of the day to get yourself back? It’s just helping you understand, well, how do your thoughts work? How is it that you’re getting into these times in your life where you’re just emotionally so upset or so frustrated? Or you feel like you’re just not in control? And how can we use that same reasoning to figure out how you can shape a more positive mindset? ‘Cause we all want to feel better, right? We want to have more positive thoughts. It’s just hard when the day is crazy, we all want to have a lot more buoyancy and vibrancy and pop to our life, but it’s hard when we keep taking in so much information that’s not always positive, right? So this is going to be a way to explain how to get you in a better mindset. And it all begins with this first part.
The first thing that happens to shape the way you think is, you get some information, right? Super basic, I know, but hold with me for a second. Sometimes we don’t realize how much information is coming in, that is turning us into a negative person. And sometimes information happens and we grab hold of it and make it more than it is. I mean, has anyone said to you in the last couple months, “Hey, it’s not a big deal, calm down”? If they had, it’s because there’s this information coming in, and you’re grabbing it in a specific way that’s turning your mind towards negativity. I know this sounds very, very basic, but I promise we have to start with what’s coming in, right? It’s just that old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.”
So what I tell people, if you want to have a healthy mind, first and foremost, pay attention to the information that is coming in. What are you consuming? What are you looking at? What are you watching? What are you reading? Who are the people who are around you?
All of that is shaping your mind, which I know you already know. Here’s the question, when’s the last time you did sort an assessment or an analysis of the people and the information coming in? Like what blogs are you reading a lot? What do most your emails seem to say? Who are the people who are around you? What’s the emotion and the energy and the information they’re giving you? I know this sounds really crazy, but I am so, so controlling of that in my life. I don’t have a lot of negative people who are always giving me negative information. I don’t consume very much media at all, I don’t watch horror films, or I don’t consume a lot of information that just tends towards the negative at all, not because I’m a pollyanna, but because I understand how it’s going to affect me long term.
So pay attention to the information you have coming in.
Second, as the ladder goes up, well, we get the information, and then we interpret it, in one way or another. This is where obviously we know—we see something, some information comes in, we interpret it as bad or good, positive, negative, something to interact with and react to or not. The challenge is most people take little pieces of information, and they blow it up, and they interpret it to mean something very personal, and very negative. If you’re in a place where you feel like you have a lot of arguments and fights, it’s rarely about what’s coming in, ’cause we all deal with negative information or bad things or the day gets interrupted. It’s how you interpret it.
Then as we move up, we move to identity, right? This is, “What did I see? What does it mean, positive or negative?” Then it says, “What does this mean about me specifically,” right? And this is where people take things very, very, very personal. You know, someone comes in to work and says, “Well, I have some bad news, we’re going to have to let some people go today.” And then they interpret it, “Oh my God, this company is going to fail. Oh my gosh, I’m going to have to quit. Oh my gosh, I might get fired. Oh my gosh, what’s going to happen in the future?” And then identity. “Here it is again, I failed again. Here it is again, I never seem to get good things for me. Here it is again, I just don’t seem like I’m deserving of anything.”
And people take things at a personal level in their identity over a period of time. Now you can see how this ladder is building because negative information can come in, you interpret it negatively, and then you take it personally negatively, and this is what happens to people. They don’t realize little simple things. Someone cuts you off in traffic, how do you interpret that? See, when someone cuts me off in traffic, I go, “Oh, well, they didn’t see me. They were trying to get ahead here.”
Other people you know what they do? They’re like, “That son of a—” you know? They get completely angry, they completely freak out, they say all drivers are horrible. “I hate this commute. This sucks.” And then they say to themselves, “I’m going to get back at this person. I’m not going to be wrong, I’m not going to be disrespected.” So they speed in front of them and cut them off, ’cause they took someone passing in front of them to be what? Disrespect to who they are. ‘Cause they’re a person who always feels disrespected. If you always feel disrespected, what are your thoughts going to be like? So you see how all this is starting to build to how you feel, and then it shapes what you intend in the world? What are you going to do, right?
Your mind is all focused towards this one simple set of questions. It’s: What does all this information mean? How do I need to interpret it? Pay attention to it, not pay attention to it? Important, not important? Good, bad? Then we take to us, “What does this mean to me personally? What does it say about me as a human? What am I dealing with here?”
And then it ultimately shapes our intention. “What do I want in this world?” So the next time you find yourself in emotional craziness, where you feel really upset, or you’re saying, “I don’t know why I’m thinking this way,” you can step it back.
What did I hear?
How did I interpret that?
What did it mean to me?
What do I intend to do?
Because all of that led to what you ultimately do. The initiative that you take in the world, right? What you’re actually going to be doing.
So here’s the payoff, when you’re doing things that you are not proud of, when you are doing things you think like, “I don’t understand why I’m not taking more action. I don’t understand why I keep beating myself up. I don’t understand why I keep getting in fights with the people that I love. I don’t understand why I can’t stay more persistent towards my goals.” If that ever happens, just take a pause and go, “I need to think about what is happening here.”
Because it’s the way that you’re perceiving the world, that is controlling how much you progress in the world, right?
And a lot of people, when they’re having a negative behavior, they just think it’s happening to them. And I say, “Let’s just step back. You were mean to your husband, okay? You found that you were really short with them. Where did that come from?” And then we can just step it back. “How are you feeling about yourself in that circumstance or that situation that led this way? What happened? What did your husband do? What did he not do? And how did you interpret it? And ultimately, what did you see or not see and experience?”
I know it sounds so basic, but try it. If you can work this through on a couple different examples from your recent past, just think about those times when you really struggled or you didn’t feel good, go through this, write it down, journal it, and you’ll start to feel a lot more understanding about who you are and how your mind works.