LET­TING GO

Friday - - Self-Help -

While re­duc­ing mind-stim­u­la­tion and phys­i­cal mess are great ways to pre­vent new thoughts clut­ter­ing our mind, it is also im­por­tant to take a broom to old be­liefs that have re­mained resid­ual in our brains for decades.

A clas­sic ex­am­ple of why this is sig­nif­i­cant is pro­vided by Sana*.

She’s a suc­cess­ful me­dia re­la­tions of­fi­cer with a re­cent pro­mo­tion in the bag, but a bad ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing a uni­ver­sity pre­sen­ta­tion, when a Pow­er­Point file she had pre­pared to ac­com­pany her speech failed, means she still freezes at the thought of public speak­ing – a fear which, she says, has held her back from achiev­ing even more.

“I had based my speech on the pre­sen­ta­tion and when it failed, I had noth­ing to rely on. I be­came ner­vous and red-faced and just could not con­tinue.”

Sana says that the in­ci­dent left her ex­tremely ner­vous and started lim­it­ing her ca­reer growth.

In this case, ex­perts say what Sana needs to do is al­most give her mind a ‘re­set’.

“Pre­vi­ous bad ex­pe­ri­ences can lead to lim­it­ing be­liefs or neg­a­tive self-talk,” says José. “It’s vi­tal to be­come aware of th­ese be­hav­iours be­cause they can stop us from living a ful­fill­ing life.

“Once we be­come aware of our neg­a­tive thought pat­terns, half the battle is won. We can then start re­plac­ing them by pos­i­tive thoughts and con­sciously fo­cus on what we want to achieve.”

For Sana, that meant re­call­ing that fate­ful uni­ver­sity pre­sen­ta­tion and iden­ti­fy­ing what went wrong. In this case, now she looks back, her nerves were a di­rect re­sult of not pre­par­ing prop­erly. More­over, while her course mates ap­peared un­in­ter­ested, they were teenagers who prob­a­bly paid the same limited at­ten­tion to ev­ery­one else too.

That way, the 29-year-old has ad­dressed and ra­tio­nalised two of the rea­sons for her fear of public speak­ing. “Iden­ti­fy­ing the causes is the first step to progress. Once you know what is lim­it­ing you, then it is easy to find so­lu­tions and mov­ing ahead,” says José.

“It’s strange,” says Sana. “I al­ready feel more con­fi­dent about po­ten­tially speak­ing in public.”

Ma­hesh*, an oil dealer, is in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion. He was never great at sport at school and was of­ten picked last for team games. That re­sulted in him never try­ing, cre­at­ing a vi­cious cir­cle in which he shied away from all sport.

Now, at 37, hav­ing ra­tio­nalised his lack of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in later life, he says he is start­ing to un­der­stand that not be­ing a sporty per­son is not an unal­ter­able fact; it’s just a rem­nant from a child­hood ex­pe­ri­ence. “Maybe I will join my col­leagues play­ing squash,” he muses.

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