Changing your mind
“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” Marianne Willamson
It is a damp September day and I am working as a camera assistant. I am standing in a forest, knee deep in wet grass, with my arms full of camera batteries. I haven’t eaten for hours. A camera operator is yelling at me in front of the whole crew because I forgot to bring him a piece of equipment I didn’t know existed.
I take the shouting (not hearing anything he’s saying as I’m focusing on not crying). Later that day I am running exhausted through the forest with a battery that's needed on set. I trip over a tree root and end up flat on my back with a cracked rib. In that moment I decide that this isn’t the job for me. It is time to give up this route to my dream.
When I changed career, I knew it would feel hard to start again, especially when I didn’t know what I wanted to do instead. But I hadn’t anticipated the criticism and dismissal I would encounter from “friends” who said:
1. I was overreacting
2. I was too far in to change now
3. I was being flaky giving up when things got hard.
Looking back, this was when I first experienced the stigma attached to changing my mind. From birth we’re conditioned to reject uncertainty to choose something and stick to it. If we do this, we’ll be safe. The problem is leaves us with no space to change our minds.
What if, changing your mind was the only change you had to make to change everything?
When you change how you look at something, what you are looking at changes.
Here are three exercises we use when we need to change of perspective and get out of a negative feedback loop.
Throw the ball out
Find something safe to throw, we find a ball of paper works well. Stand on one side of the room and think about a situation you would like more clarity on.
Throw the ball of paper across the room. Now walk across to the ball. The position of the ball represents you in the future. Here either the situation has passed or you have solved the problem you’re facing. Take a moment to stand in this space and breathe. What one thing would this future you tell the you about the present?
Walking backwards, also called retro-walking is a ‘neurobic activity’. This means it stimulates your brain into making connections. We traditionally focus on making connections to improve memory but we are going to use it to get new ideas owing.
Take 5-10 slow steps backwards. Before you start make sure to check for any obstacles! Remember walking backwards has to focus your attention. Take your time and engage your senses. They will heightened by this experience. Be aware of any new ideas that come to you or focus on enjoying the calming sensation.
Sit on the floor or on the stairs
As adults we and end up with very limited planes of vision. We sit down, we stand up and we lie down. When you sit on the floor you see different things and not just the dust behind the sofa!
When you want to create something new try sitting on the floor or the stairs. This literal change in your perspective triggers your senses. This sends a signal to your brain know you are looking for new ideas.