Winning the tug of war in your mind is critical to finding the happiness you seek

Do you remember as kids playing tug of war? Some youngsters would pull one end of a rope while another group did the same on the other side. Well, in this situation,  the battle goes on quietly inside your skull and...you are on both sides of the rope.

There is the you that is thinking about your hopes and dreams wanting to get things done. While, at the same time, there is the you that is negative, fearful and focused on defeat. It is the you that is pushing you towards your dreams while at the same time setting up barriers and detours, along the way, driving you further away from life's possibilities.

Tug of War happens every day, many times a day. It is an internal process that determines much of the success and failure everyone experiences in life. It is a process that torments most people and adds to their daily confusion. And ignoring it jeopardizes their future happiness. It is that powerful.

The pain it produces might show up physically in the form of a headache, or perhaps as merely an uncomfortable feeling. Nobody escapes this tug of war.


Fighting Your Negative Side

How do we go about fighting the side that is negative? First, we have to understand why our brain is pushing us away from what it is we want to do. The process comes from what is known as the primitive part of the brain (some people call it the Reptilian brain). This part of the brain has one function - to protect us from pain.

To see how it holds us back, we start with two causes for taking action. The first  involves times we don't want to do something, but have to. It can be demands from our job or something as simple as doing chores. Whatever the case, we do not want to follow through. We are feeling psychological pain and the desire to leave it be.

We need to do is also something we do not want to do and the primitive part of the brain says, stop, don't move. Stay were you are. Or it might say ignore it and go in a different direction.

But that's not what has to happen if we want to succeed. We have to follow-through. Hence, the war that is going on in our brain. One side says go and the other side says stop.

In the another case, we are going after our goal, our dream. That being the case, you might wonder why the primitive part of our brain would want us to stop? Well, it could be the pain happening because of the amount of effort involved. Or perhaps it could think there would be pain because going forward would require too much time. In either case, we have to go outside our comfort zone. But, it really doesn't matter what the reason is, the tug of war begins.


This Tug Of War In Your Mind Has Real World Consequences - Don't Ignore It

You can see this tug of war going on everyday, everywhere. No one escapes. What can one do about it? First, notice what you are focusing on, or perhaps, better yet, what you are not focusing on (your goal or dream). Face the reality of what is happening within you.

Then you have a few choices. The technique I think works best is to say the definition of initiative to yourself and see if that alone will get your mind focused in a better direction.

Here is the definition of initiative:

Initiative is the ability to judge something needs to be done and to then take action.

Obvious, isn't it? But, it needs to be front and center in your mind. That gets your focus on what needs to be done and says, in essence, take action now before anything negative comes to mind. It sounds too simple, but in many cases it really does work.

If necessary, you can use The 5 Second Rule to bypass any negative thoughts. Or you can pick from any of the other techniques in the Motivational Toolbox.

The more often you defeat the negative thoughts, take action, and get results, the easier it will be going forward. You will be developing new habits helping you to win the tug of war game going on inside your mind.

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