Reprogram Yourself to Let Your Creativity Flow
Our sons love broccoli.
They've been known to request broccoli over french fries when ordering at restaurants.
Don't get me wrong, I think this is a good thing. But it's also light years away from my childhood aversion to almost all green vegetables.
Why do they love broccoli while I hated it?
In short: Programming.
Between the ages of one and seven, they ate a lot of broccoli because we served it in our home.
Think of this: Kids in different countries grow up eating diverse arrays of foods. Children in China or India grow up eating foods that would make my kids cringe; and vice versa.
It's all programming.
Both Aristotle and St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits) are credited with the quote:
“Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man.”
Aside from being a catchy, philosophical slogan, there is science to back up this assertion by Aristotle and St. Iggy.
Cell biologist and author Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. argues that the human brain is like a powerful supercomputer. It's in the first seven years when the children's brain moves from a state of delta to a state of theta — making the brain most conducive to the uploading of our "software" programs.
"A child’s perceptions of the world are directly downloaded into the subconscious during this time, without discrimination and without filters of the analytical self-conscious mind which doesn’t fully exist. Consequently, our fundamental perceptions about life and our role in it are learned without our having the capacity to choose or reject those beliefs. We were simply programmed."
Studies, such as this one from Harvard back up Lipton, concluding that "brain architecture and developing abilities are built 'from the bottom up' during this early childhood period."
You can be programmed to love broccoli; or you can be programmed to love french fries (or both).
Let's forget food programming for a second.
What if you witness a toxic relationship between your parents during your first seven years?
Or if you grow up with parents who have a poor relationship with money?
How about if your parents and early teachers surround you with a climate of scarcity thinking?
The software programs that are uploaded to your brain as child can lead to the thoughts, mindset, behaviors, and results you exhibit as an adult.
Several years ago, I had a 62-year-old client who loved color. She wore custom eyeglasses, the frames of which had a variety of bright colors. She told me how she had painted various walls within her little rented coachhouse different colors. Her CliftonStrengths assessment revealed she had talents such as ideation and futuristic.
So I asked her if she ever painted or engaged in artistic pursuits.
The answer was a resounding, "no."
She told me she wasn't creative and, furthermore, didn't feel comfortable putting herself out there by creating.
What did I do? I sent her several links to painting classes in her town.
She picked one, signed up, and started letting her creativity flow.
Long story short, a few months later she was selling her watercolor paintings online.
As my client explained to me, she grew up in a household in which her strong-willed mother made it clear that my client's place was to move to the back and let her brothers lead. The men in the family were the ones who should express themselves, get educated, and excel.
So my client was programmed to let her creative talents wither on the vine.
She went from her toxic relationship with her mother into an abusive marital relationship with a husband who also expected her to be "seen and not heard." Investing in her talents was once again out of the question.
Programming as a child led to thoughts, behaviors, and results as an adult, which led to a life in which her biggest challenge when she hired me was, "just being able to get up and out of bed in the morning."
Her painting class was one step in her reprogramming process.
That one step allowed her creativity to flow, which led to confidence and fulfillment and happiness. She quit her toxic job, and got a new, better-paying job in which she asserted herself more and built healthy workplace relationships.
When I spoke to her a few years later, she had purchased (for the first time in her now 64 years on this Earth) her very first home, and was in a healthy relationship with a man.
It all started with that painting class, which empowered her realize her programming was all wrong.
The programming we receive as young children can direct us for only as long as we are unintentional about our thoughts or in denial about ourselves. There's a reason that "Know Thyself" was the first of three maxims inscribed within the ancient Greek Temple of Apollo at Delphi.
The first step to de- and re-programming yourself is knowing that you're programmed and how you're programmed. It's akin to Neo choosing to take the "red pill" in The Matrix. It's a touch choice because it will require admitting that what you've come to know your entire life is the result of a program.
It might require admitting to yourself that your behaviors up until this point were the results not of conscious choice, but rather of subconscious instinct programmed into you by other people.
It's a form of freedom, but freedom can be messy; it can come with tears; it takes work; it requires accountability.
It can lead you to wonder, just as Cypher did aloud to Neo in The Matrix:
"Why, oh why, didn't I take the blue pill?"
The blue pill can feel safe. It represents "order" as you've come to know it. It can feel like freedom, even though it was constructed by your programmers. And it can certainly provide a comfort zone, even if it is a comfort zone of misery.
But here's the deal...
When you begin seeing the underlying code of your programming...
When you begin to uninstall the programs...
When you begin to create your own programming to realize you can craft your thoughts, leading to more fulfilling behaviors and results...
You create a comfort zone that expands you life, rather than contracts it.
You create a life that is a Choose Your Own Adventure versus a prewritten tragedy.
As I wrote here, freedom is creativity and creativity is freedom.
To unleash both you need to free yourself from the shackles of your 0-7 programming, write your own code, chart your own path, and lead an intentional life in which your subconscious instinct begins to reflect your conscious, creative thoughts.