Monday, February 18, 2013

Transforming the Movies in Your Life


Are you a superhero in the movie of your life? (courtesy of Man of Steel movie)

Do you know that you play between 12,000 to 60,000 movies in your head in a single day?

Or that your subconscious occupies 90% of your mind?

I learned this and more at a recent workshop on the power of personal movies, thanks to an invitation from my friend Kevin Shepherdson. Using a broad range of materials from Hollywood movie clips, neurological research, to behavioural economics and psychology, Kevin and his team shared how movies could shape our minds and influence the way we live.

Movies are metaphors for our lives. While a good proportion of our existence is probably less dramatic than the average Hollywood fare, we do have our fair share of drama, fear, excitement, sorrow, anger, and jubilation. This is played out in the movies of our life - from childhood to adolescence, adulthood and our golden years.

From advanced medical technologies such as Functional MRI (fMRI), scientists discovered that our Limbic system manifests memories in 4D, ie visual (sight), auditory (sound), and kinesthetic (touch). These memories form an integral part of our subconscious. They comprise sensory, short-term and long-term memories.

Unfortunately, your mind can be fooled by your senses. It cannot deal with strange and alien contexts. To cope, it creates its own versions of reality, aided by prejudices and stereotypes buried deep in the subconscious.

Because of this, our deep seated perceptions becomes our reality. We become beholden to gut responses and automatic behaviours that sabotage our chances of making the right choices.

To "reprogramme" our minds, we need to walk back in time. We need to revisit and rewrite the old scripts which haunt our childhood. We need to eradicate the ill effects of emotional wounds sustained during our younger selves. We also need to stop those negative movies centred on anger, fear, sadness, failure, helplessness, and pain from replaying in our minds.

Once we're aware of these limiting scenarios, we should challenge our mindsets and adopt affirmative beliefs through the power of words and thoughts. This works through a "reverse engineering" approach in this order:

Change environment --> change behaviour --> grow strength and capability --> build positive beliefs/values (while dispelling negative ones) --> affirm identity (sense of self) --> refresh purpose/mission

Surrounding ourselves with positive people, books and movies is a necessary step. Uplifting statements which can liberate our full potential should also be recited as mantras to motivate us. We should also change our actions and embrace positive behaviours that reinforces our strengths and capabilities.

Thereafter, we should focus on positive memories. By doing so, we dispel negative thoughts (which form an alarming 80% of an average person's thoughts), and use these positive episodes of our life to affirm our beliefs, identities and missions.

Finally, we need to create our ideal life movie by dreaming. Here, we can seek inspiration from trailblazers like Walt Disney, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Disney himself has shared that "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."

With perhaps an inspiring soundtrack running in the background (maybe "Superman" or "Lord of the Rings"?), you can script and produce a positive movie. One that is full of achievement, excitement, confidence, love, pride and joy.

Once you've vividly built that positive movie, mentally replace that old movie with this new one. Visualise this new "dream movie" of yours often, and anchor your sense of self worth and mission on it.  

As the saying goes, life is a stage. We're all actors and actresses in an ongoing movie called "The Story of (insert your name)".

By embracing the tools of movie making and building positive and empowering scripts, we can live lives that are fulfilling, enriching and victorious. Ones that can hopefully lead us to a more happy ending.

For more information on Kevin Shepherdson and his company Straits Consultancy, check out the link here.

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