The good news: we are each born with unique gifts that are meant to help us achieve our highest potential in life. They are gifts given to us by the Creator with the express purpose of making the world a better place.
The bad news: many of us are not actually using them to their fullest capacity. In short, we are woefully far from doing what we came here to do. “Every single one of us is not living up to our potential,” says Michael Berg. “If we are honest with ourselves, we are not even doing 1/1000th of the work that we are supposed to be doing.”
The thought is overwhelming. With so much spiritual work left to do in this lifetime, how can we start to make a difference? How can we get closer to our highest potential and truly live out our purpose?
We can start by shifting the way we see ourselves in the world. “The singular reason why we are all falling short of the work that we need to do,” says Michael Berg, “is because we don’t truly have an appreciation for who we are … for the greatness of our soul, and the potential of our soul.” But through research and scientific study, neuroscientists have learned that we can actually rewire our brains to think differently about ourselves and consequently, behave differently.
Our brains like efficiency. A specific thought (whether positive or negative) triggers a response in your brain, like switching on a light. The more often you think that thought, the quicker that switch is flipped on and the brighter that light is going to glow. Repetition strengthens connections in your brain over time. This process in the brain is why we do not need to relearn how to do certain things, like riding a bike or making a grilled cheese sandwich, even if you haven’t done them in years. But it is also the reason why negative thoughts are so insidious. One seems harmless, but if we repeat a negative thought enough times, it eventually becomes the script by which we live our lives.
Our thoughts have a direct impact on our lives because they influence our actions. For example, imagine two employees of the same company are interested in a new position that just opened up, which comes with a title promotion and a pay increase. Employee A really wants the job, and believes she is qualified. Employee B really wants the job, but doubts she has what it takes to actually land the promotion. Without taking into account skill level or experience, who do you think is more likely to get the job?
The answer seems obvious. Employee A is more likely to let her boss know she is interested in taking on more responsibility, inquiring about the position, or submitting her résumé. If employee B could rewire her thoughts, she would be more likely to make positive steps towards bringing more Light into her life.
You can begin to rewire your thoughts by identifying the kind of positive ideas that are aligned with the goals you want to achieve and the person you want to be. Write them down and keep them accessible. Then take a close look at your self-talk patterns and your immediate internal responses when opportunities present themselves. When negative thoughts arise, have compassion with yourself, but stop them right away, replacing them with positive thoughts (refer back to your list as often as necessary).
Next, take action. Believing you can be promoted, finish a marathon, write a novel, or complete a degree will only get you part way to accomplishing your goals. You must take positive steps in the direction you want to go in order to eventually get there.
Now repeat those positive thoughts and actions as often as possible. Over time, your brain will begin to rewire itself, until living proactively as a channel for the Light of the Creator becomes second nature.
The gifts we are meant to share with the world through acts of kindness and sharing, indeed, reaching our highest potential is a huge, and sometimes, lifelong endeavor. The spiritual strength we need to get there can only grow with positivity and self-compassion. By rewiring our thoughts, we can position ourselves to take more positive actions in the world, and therefore, become closer to reaching our highest potential.