“If you gave your inner genius as much credence as your inner critic you would be light years ahead of where you now stand.” – Alan Cohen
Inner Genius or Inner Critic?
This past weekend we held a workshop designed to help people gain new ideas on how to prosper. We kept it to a small intimate group, so that each would have ample time to explore their own inner critic. They examined the different defining moments that conditioned their thoughts and limiting beliefs around prospering.
What is a Belief?
Anything you say or think, “This is the way it is,” is a belief. The more we enable those thoughts and “re-think” and “repeat” them inside our head or outside, the more they continue to be “our belief about our abilities.” Anything that you state as fact is a belief.
What Is a Limiting Belief?
In class, we explored the idea that any thought that limits your ability to move forward is a limiting belief. Whether you believe you’re too old, too young, not educated enough, over educated, you are a man or a woman and not the right gender, too fat or too thin, or don’t have enough money or time, or it will take too long are all limiting beliefs that were shared. Many of these beliefs had a critical voice.
What does the inner critic sound like? It is THAT annoying voice that continues to show up at the most inopportune times, that says:
“You are never going to make it.”
“There’s something wrong with you. You’re defective.”
“Mom loved someone else better.”
“You’re never going to be good enough.”
A question we asked about this annoying voice is, “When did it start and how old were you?” As odd as it sounds, we ask, “What is its positive intention in talking to you the way that it does?” Otherwise, “How is the inner critic thinking it is helping you in some way with that voice?” Everything has a positive intention (even if you don’t consider it positive), and even if the way in which it is happening does not feel very helpful.
Have you ever wondered if you could change the inner critic?
In class we played with some ideas on how to change the inner critic voice, and either remove it or make it more useful.
According to Daniel Goleman, author of the book Focus, one of the challenges we have is, “when our thoughts wander, the thoughts usually are about me, and tend to be negative. What I wish I had done, or not done. What I wish I had said, or not said, and what others think of me.”
Most of the time when your mind gets quiet it goes to something negative. We need to capture and coral those thoughts. We need to invite our inner genius to the party.
What is an inner genius? It’s those moments of insight that come when you’re taking a shower, walking, waking from a nap, when you’ve been staring out the window, wandering in your car, hiking in nature, or just sitting in your back yard … and along comes a moment of insight! The AHA! It comes to your mind with something fun, an activity you could do, something you could design, create, or be!
Goleman advises, “Once a keen moment of insight happens then we need to hone in on it.”
We need to take advantage of those AHA moments in a creative, playful way. Some ways include “mind scatter” or getting words on a page in no particular order or “mind maps” to brainstorm with a visual process. You can then organize them playfully after you get the ideas.
New ideas come from putting ideas together in novel and unusual ways.
One of the main points of this workshop was the effective use of mindfulness in being more aware of the now moments. You want to keep your energy open for better moments.
Inner Critic or Inner Genius Teamwork
Bringing in prospering thoughts is not about quieting the Inner Critic, rather it is about “re-training” and “re-making” them to be more useful and/or have them team up with your Inner Genius to give you more useful ideas.
Every single moment you can create a new you. Here are some thoughts for you from our class:
- Wake up! Do what you do, because you can’t not.
- I am the master of my soul.
- You are not who you think you are.
- Sometimes we have things back there and we have to take a look so we can move forward.
- Have permission to dream.
Each of us is unique and special, so focus on your uniqueness.