Here is the 2nd of the 8 Rules of the Mind: What is Expected Tends to be Realized.
This rule explains why so many people feel like they “always” or “never” experience some type of experience. “I never get the girl.” “I always end up dealing with bad traffic on the way to work.” “It never works for me.” I will note here that these types of *false* but self-reinforcing beliefs are also usually expressed as generalizations, as I’ve written them here. THAT is a verbal clue that you can listen for both in your own language and that of others to know when this Rule of the Mind is having an effect.
The University of Alaska describes this rule of the mind like this:
Rule 2 – What is Expected Tends to be Realized
The brain and the nervous system respond to mental images. It does not matter if the image is self-induced or from the external world. The mental image formed becomes the blueprint, and the subconscious mind uses every means at its disposal to carry out the plan. Worrying is a form of programming a picture of what we don’t want. But the subconscious mind acts to fulfill the pictured situation. “THE THINGS THAT I HAVE FEARED HAVE COME UPON ME.”
Many people suffer from chronic anxiety, which imply a subconscious mental expectancy that something terrible will happen to them. On the other hand, we all know people who seem to have the “Magic Touch.” Life seems to shower them with blessings for no apparent reason, and so we call them “Lucky.” What seems to be luck is in reality, POSITIVE, MENTAL EXPECTANCY, a strong belief that they deserve to be successful. “WE BECOME WHAT WE THINK ABOUT.”
Our physical health is largely dependent upon our mental expectancy. Physicians recognize that a patient expects to remain sick, lame, paralyzed, helpless, even to die, the expected condition tends to be realized. Here is where self-hypnosis can become the tool to remove despondency and negative attitudes and bring about a hopeful positive expectancy – the expectancy of health, strength and well-being, which then tends to be realized.
There is really quite a lot going on here. And while you don’t have to understand all the underlying psychology and neurology of why this Rule of the Mind is in fact in play for all humans, I like to dig into it at least a little bit because I’m a “why” person. Maybe you are too?
So here are just a couple of underlying things going on the help to explain the “why” behind this Rule.
- Deletions, distortions and generalizations. (For those of you in my Next Level NLP class, how about that! We just covered this concept in our class last night!) This is a Master’s NLP level concept that describes how our minds manipulate the information coming in, in order to maintain the validity and congruence of our internal maps of the world. Nobody experiences actual, 100% factual, “objective” reality. Our minds change reality in these ways to protect us, to keep us feeling in integrity with our personal set of beliefs about who we are and what this world is all about. So we twist the information coming in to line up with our previous experiences and expectations. We may delete, or drop out of our consciousness, certain information that would conflict with our internal map. We just don’t notice the things that would put the lie to our expectations. We distort things, twist them to match our expectations. And of course we generalize, as you see in the examples above, so that our experiences turn into “always,” “never,” “everyone,” and so on. Of course all of this happens at the subconscious level. Our conscious minds are COMPLETELY unaware that this is happening. So from our perspective, those statements FEEL absolutely true and valid.
- The training of the Reticular Activating System, or RAS. The RAS is a small part of your brain back in the occipital lobe (back of your head) and it’s job is to FILTER the information coming in so that only the important stuff, the stuff that is worthy of your conscious attention, comes through to your conscious mind. If this wasn’t happening, you’d feel overwhelmed all the time. There’s SO much information available to us at any point in time, and MOST of it needs to be filtered out. You program your RAS with your emotions. That’s how it learns what’s important, and what to ignore. So the things you feel strongly about are the things your attention will be drawn to in the future. So the more you are upset about the bad drivers, the more bad drivers you notice.
The takeaway? Listen to your use of language, and start to question your assumptions about “how things are,” especially when those expectations continue to lead to an outcome that isn’t serving you. When you catching yourself saying, “See, there THAT is again, that ALWAYS happens to me,” or things of that nature, stop yourself. Take a moment to think logically, wait, have there been times that DIDN’T happen? Is it possible I just didn’t NOTICE it? Train yourself to begin to notice when the opposite of your expectations are true — when a driver is courteous, or even when driving is just, well…normal. That will start to reverse the programming of the RAS and bring you closer to a true representation of actual reality. Which really gives you better data to use in making decisions and taking actions in your life. And certainly changes how life FEELS to you — as they say, “perception is reality!”
Always be growing!