Brain Drain

If you aren’t programming your brain, somebody else is.

A lot of people hold what I believe to be an erroneous belief, which is that you have a set of beliefs that are natural and thus “genuine,” and any attempt to deviate from that set of beliefs is self-delusion. Or “not being true to yourself” or something like that.

Which is, of course, utter hogwash.

You don’t have any “natural” beliefs. What you have are inputs that you allow to hold sway over you. You’re a blank slate by default, but you can’t remain that way. As long as you can have beliefs, you will. You can’t hold empty slots. So if you don’t deliberately tend to which inputs become beliefs, your brain will just grab whichever ones present themselves.

The first step in this process is recognizing that just because you believe something now, doesn’t mean that it’s some sort of “natural” or “genuine” belief that you’re in any way beholden to. Your mind is a factory that converts stimuli into actions, with “conversion to beliefs” as the central engine. But you have control over every aspect of that factory.

I don’t mean to imply that it will always be easy. It won’t. If you were badly injured by a dog when you were at a young and impressionable age, then your belief that “dogs are threats” may feel very core to you. It’s been around for a long time, driving your actions for many years. The machinery of that belief may be rusted into place. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no function by which you can change it – just that it would be difficult.

Unfortunately, too many people adopt the belief that “beliefs aren’t changeable” too early in their life. They simply become a product of whatever easy sensory input is sent their way. They become slaves to whim and impression rather than agents of reason and will.

Start with that belief. Change that one. Then the rest of your beliefs, old and new, will have to meet a new standard in order to be worthy of space in your mind. And many will fail to meet that standard, and you’ll have the power to let them drain away.

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