Training (or Retraining) Your Brain

August 12, 2013 | No comments yet

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by:  Staci Stallings

Last time we talked about which came first the experience or the belief.  Basically, the answer is either one and often we don’t know which came first.  For example, when I was younger, I was terrible at sports.

I knew this from a rather young age.  As I grew up, I accepted it as true because I was always picked last for whatever the P.E. sport of the day happened to be.  I couldn’t run well, I couldn’t catch.

But here’s the thing….

Years later I figured out that a great deal of my difficulty in sports had to do with my eyes “bouncing.”  Some of you may know what I’m talking about.  Others will think I have lost my mind.

One day about 3 years ago, my son grabbed my hand to cross a street, only he was afraid of the cars and said, “Run!”  So I ran.  Now this street was only four lanes across.  It was flat asphalt, so it shouldn’t have been that big of a challenge. But when I got to the other side, I said, “Stop!” right before we got to the curb because I couldn’t tell where the curb was!

The whole world seemed to be “bouncing” before my eyes.

Always before that, I had known that when I would go hiking or biking or skating, it wouldn’t take long and my gaze would be glued right in front of me.  It was like I could NOT look forward.

I thought that was something I was doing wrong, and it was.  Only it wasn’t ME.  It was my eyes.  They had me so discombobulated, I couldn’t accurately tell where I was.  So to mitigate the damage, I would literally look one step in front of myself to get at least THAT step right.

Now how long did I do this, not realizing how impossible it made sports for me?  41 years?

So my experience was I was bad at sports.  Only I didn’t stop there.  I said, “I’m bad at sports. I’m clumsy and uncoordinated.”

Except that wasn’t totally true because I could type faster than anyone in the class, and I was the flag corps captain.  I was GOOD at hand coordination but because I couldn’t see and thus had feet coordination issues, I thought it was all of me!

(Stay with me here, we’re getting to the point!)

For years, I kept myself on the sidelines for any physical activity.  Then my kids got a Wii, and I realized I really liked things like downhill snowboarding and skateboarding!  What was THAT?

It had to do with my eyes being able to be stable in reality as my body went through the virtual motions.

So my very real (physically caused) experience of being bad at sports formed my belief that I was bad at sports.  My belief fueled my unwillingness to even try, which kept me from enjoying anything that might require my physical movement–things like skiing and even walking as exercise.

I have come, however, to realize that I can retrain my brain by inserting new experiences that I AM good at that ARE physical.  I can walk with the Wii for hours, and I love it.  I can dance with the Wii.  I can snowboard and skateboard and ski.  It’s just that I have to have the activity modified so my eyes are not freaking out while I’m doing it.

Now my question for you.

Are there things that you have come to believe about yourself in this world that hold you back from doing things you might love to do or try?  Maybe you need to modify how you are choosing to experience that.

For example, let’s say that you believe you are bad at doing laundry (I thought the same thing until a couple days ago!).  I would go to my mom’s, my sister’s, and my sister-in-law’s and their towels were like heaven!  I would ask what they used for detergent, softener… what they did different, and they thought I was crazy.  They just put the things in the washer, and voila!

Then, I suddenly had a revelation!  We have incredibly hard water where I live. I looked it up on the ‘net, and sure enough!  Guess what hard water will cause… stiff, hard towels and laundry!

Now I’m taking steps to mitigate that.

So if you’ve got something that is vexing you in life.  Don’t just “accept it” that that’s you and will always be you and there’s nothing you can do to change it.


Look at your belief and question it.  “I’m not coordinated.”  “Really?  Then why can you type and do flags?”  “I’m not good at sports.”  “Really?  Then why can you do it with the Wii for hours?”

Start questioning.  Stop just accepting your beliefs that may have been born of experiences that, if modified, would give a completely different result!  It might change your whole world!

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