What Drives Your Actions?
It’s Not What You Think.
You might believe that what drives your actions is what you think, however, what is actually in the driver’s seat and in control of the brake and gas pedal is how you feel. This means it’s your emotions, not your rational thoughts, that are the instigators.
In her book Pathways to Possibility, author Rosamund Stone Zander, states “The most recent part of our brain in evolutionary times, the neocortex, or “thinking brain”, allows us to analyze, investigate and problem-solve. While the neocortex is clever in its ruminations– it predicts, it compares, it figures things out – it is important to understand that, contrary to what you might expect, it does not lead our actions. Instead, the emotional limbic system is the nominal commander in chief, and prompts us to do what we do.”
What does this mean? Let’s say that you know that you want to spend at least one day a week doing some form of recreation outdoors. That would be good and makes sense for many reasons, however you don’t. The reason why you don’t is because your limbic emotional brain has a problem with that option. In fact thinking of doing it is actually evoking a fear response, fight, flight or freeze if you will, to the degree that you don’t do it.
Once you understand this is not about will-power, you can get curious and ask yourself, “why am I not spending time outdoors one day a week?” The answer might be, “I feel guilty about spending more time away from my family” or “there’s so much to do around the house”. Thinking of spending a day hiking or golfing evokes strong emotional resistance.
It works the same with a positive response too – especially love. Even though your partner may not match up with all the ideal qualities you have on your list, the limbic brain will override all of that and have you love with passion.
We can turn the tables with our emotional limbic brain, especially with resistance or avoidance. You guessed it – Emotional Freedom Technique. Think about what that term really means. We can have the emotional freedom to do what we really want without the brakes being applied by our fearful emotions. Freedom indeed.