That’s how a recent social media commenter labeled what I discuss in the above video.
This particular commenter regular stops by my posts to share his latest bit of negativism, but he claims he doesn’t have a scarcity mindset — he says he’s just “realistic.”
So let’s break this down a bit to show that it’s not sorcery or magic. It’s basic science, mixed with a bit of common sense.
First, let’s talk about programming. Were you raised in a strongly Protestant household? As this Pew study finds, “Among those who were raised in a single religious background (especially within Protestantism), the family’s religious commitment is closely linked with retaining one’s religion into adulthood. ”
How about politics? This study finds that more than one in five Americans inherit what they believe are their parents’ political leanings (even when they mistakenly think they know what those leanings are).
How about relationships? Researchers have found that “children who experienced high levels of family conflict — parents fighting, worrying about money, abuse, etc. — were likelier to get divorced as adults.”
Here are some other examples of programming:
- You’re raised in a household in which your parents constantly bad-mouth people with wealth. As such, when you’re an adult, you find yourself doing the same thing. You watch a show like Shark Tank and think to yourself, “Those fat cats, don’t they have enough money? When they earn money, they’re taking it away from the rest of us!”
- You have the belief, like the majority of people in our society, that a college degree is the best way to find success and fulfillment in life.
- As Randy Gage writes here, you’ve succumbed to the barrage of Hollywood messaging that you must be poor, orphaned, or lose all your money in order to be good and virtuous.
- You (and probably your doctor) have been programmed by the barrage of TV advertising making you believe that the key to good health is one or more pharmaceuticals.
- Hell, Facebook has already proved it can program your mindset, mood and behavior with a simple shifting of your news feed.
I could go on and on. But programming exists. To be sure, some programming is good. Some is bad.
And we know that we are especially susceptible to programming during the first seven years of our lives. As Aristotle said:
“Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.”
While this psychologist attempts to allay parent’s concerns that they are condemning their under-7 kids to unfulfilling lives, the author readily admits programming is occurring during that time period:
“While the first seven years don’t determine a child’s happiness for life, the rapidly growing brain lies down a sturdy foundation for how they communicate and interact with the world by processing how they’re being responded to.”
As Dr. Bruce Lipton points out here, those first 7 years are crucial to the programming of our subconscious mind.
Science, not sorcery.
So, why is this important? It’s important because of this simple behavioral flow:
Thoughts fuel emotions fuel actions fuel results.
Think about someone to whom you are physically attracted. What happens? You feel a (ahem) physical reaction in your body.
Now, think about a past traumatic experience. Feel that dropping in your stomach? Or the rapid heart beat?
Those physical reactions are actually chemical reactions in your body, fueled by your emotions.
Those emotions were fueled by your thoughts.
This is an important survival mechanism for humans. Have you ever walked to the side of a tall building or a cliff and feel the “falling” feeling in your stomach and jumped back? That’s your body taking your thoughts (what you’re seeing in front of you) and fueling a chemical reaction (in the form of cortisol, your “fight or flight” hormone) to protect you.
That cortisol sparks the emotion of fear, and you step back. In other words, your thoughts fueled an emotion with fueled a specific action which fueled the result of you not dying by falling off the cliff.
Now, apply this same example to your habits and activities in every day life and combine it with your programming.
If you grew up in a family where wealth was seen as bad, or in which your parents never could hold down a job or get ahead financially, it’s likely you also have a bad relationship with money. So, when you think about making more money, the emotions that are triggered are less likely to fuel decisions that will create actions that take you in the direction of wealth and prosperity.
Or how about your social media addiction? You just “know” that you waste too much time surfing your Facebook or Twitter feeds each day, but you feel like you just can’t control yourself. Why? Because when you think about your Facebook news feed, your mind remembers the dopamine rush you felt by seeing the “likes” and comments on your latest post. That dopamine rush is a chemical reaction making you feel excited or joyful. That leads to you reaching for your phone and seeking more actions (i.e., reading, posting, commenting for hours) that will give you the result of more dopamine (even if you “know” it’s making you angry, depressed, or less productive.)
So, it’s not magic, and it’s not sorcery.
Simply thinking something won’t make it come true. Otherwise, the behavioral flow would be thoughts fuel results.
But the results you receive are dependent on the actions you take, which are most likely to be decided by the emotions you have, fueled by your initial thoughts.
In other words:
Garbage thoughts in, garbage results out.
If that sounds like magic or sorcery to you, that’s fine. How’s your program working out for you?
But most people intuitively understand that their thoughts drive everything from their work to their self care to their relationships — even if they have a difficult time shaping those thoughts.
As Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations:
“Our life is what our thoughts make it … very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.”
Are you programmed for abundance or scarcity?
And how is that programming fueling whatever results you’ve been attaining?