I was enjoying an evening out with my wife last night, listening to Ruby Wax ‘waxing’ on about neuroplasticity. And very funny it was too. Not to mention insightful.
As I sat there, I was reminded, in a most entertaining way, just how we can so easily fall into the trap of repeating the same old mistakes as we stumble from one crisis to another, in the rush of things that fill our lives. Often small things that take on gargantuan proportions as they slap us in the face (actually in the Amygdala, as the neuroscientists would tell us) in rapid succession.
From birth, deep inside our brains, patterns are laid down, habits formed and responses programmed in – all just waiting to jump to our rescue. Sometimes with both feet. The cycle is there for us to observe: We experience something (that slap in the Amygdala), which gives birth to an all too familiar emotional response, spawning a thought, that gives way to action, leading to a consequence and before we know it, our life has been altered in a way we hadn’t planned and we feel as if we had no control over it.
We just tried hard to do what we do best and it just didn’t work out. Or did we miss a trick? What if we had noticed that emotion? And paused for a moment? And asked: Where did that come from? Is it congruent with what just happened? And all of a sudden, in that space, if we look hard enough, we see options. No need for a knee jerk response. No need to be at the mercy of our own habits. And in the process, we start to change those habits.
We can’t control all that happens to us or around us, but we can control our attitude, our response and our behaviour. And through these choices we can influence what happens.
I love the way that coaching can provide the space and time to help notice these patterns and habits and, in time, provide the means to take a different path.