Discover how unlocking the full potential of your mind involves living by priority, reflecting before reacting and asking the right questions.
Knee-jerk REFLEX or governed REFLECTION?
You may have heard people speak of a “knee-jerk reaction”. This term originates from the sudden kicking movement of the lower leg in response to a sharp tap on the patellar tendon, which lies just below the kneecap.
This type of response, known as a “stimulus response”, is unlearned, rapid, involuntary, predictable and primitive. It has very few options in that it either fires or it doesn’t. It is black or white, never grey.
Think of how you react to painful stimuli like placing your hand on a hot stove. You don’t need to think, strategize or plan to remove your hand – it happens instinctively as a reaction to external stimuli.
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All this take place in the most primitive part of the brain that operates as a survival mechanism – one of seeking and avoidance.
When in that part of the brain, you’re most likely to have very limited potential with very few options and very little freedom.
As you go up into the very front of the brain (the forebrain) where there are massive amounts of interneurons and their associations, you’ll be more likely to reflect instead of react.
At the bottom, most primitive level of the brain, we have a REFLEX; at the higher, most advantaged part of the brain, we have REFLECTION.
Reflection indicates that you stop, process, think about it, decide what you’re going to do with it, and then control the responses below. In other words, you have GOVERNANCE when you’re in the more advanced part of the brain.
For example, you’ve probably had a situation where you had a bug come close to you. A normal response may be to react, move away or run away – in other words, a primitive response.
Now, what if you quite enjoy learning about or studying bugs and choose instead to investigate it closer and explore it? In that way, you’ll tend to go up into the more advanced part of the brain, where you pause and reflect instead of primitively reacting.
The more you move into the more advanced forebrain, the more options and freedom you have in terms of how you will respond.
At the bottom, we are a by-product of what is around us.
If your perception around you represents prey or predator, you tend to seek or avoid it and not have much choice. However, if you go up into the higher and more advanced parts of the brain, all those associations give you a series of options to reflect and decide on the wisest choice before acting on it.
I’ve been teaching the Demartini Method® in my Breakthrough Experience program for many years now.
In brief, the Demartini Method® is a series of questions that helps you take a stimulus and link new associations with it. In that way, it can help you cognitively take something that you had originally perceived to be terrible and find the upsides, or things you had originally perceived to be terrific and discover the downsides.
In doing so, the world outside is not likely to run you.
You will run you.
Every time you neutralize the polarization of your perceptions, you liberate yourself from the bondage of your perceptions.
Think of a time when you have been angry and resentful. You may have reacted angrily or said something that you would seldom normally tend to say.
The same can apply when you’re infatuated with someone and may do or say something out of the ordinary for you.
In times like these, you tend to operate down in the primitive part of your brain where you allow yourself to react and have the external world run you.
Your real self can only run you if you have reflective awareness, which is a sign of higher consciousness.
You’re in “survival” when you’re dealing with the primitive part of the brain.
You’re in “thrival” when you are in the advanced part of the brain.
How does this relate to an individual’s highest values?
You have a set of priorities or values in your life, things that are most to least important in your life.
- Whenever you set goals aligned with your highest value, the blood glucose and oxygen go into the forebrain or executive centre of the brain.
- Whenever you set goals that are maybe injected values from other people or try to be somebody you’re not, you end up in the more primitive part of the brain where reflex and not reflection occurs.
I’ve said many times that when the voice and the vision on the inside is louder than all the opinions on the outside, you’ve begun to master your life.
It’s unlikely that you can master your life with primitive reactions and behavior, and when you are externally driven.
However, suppose you choose to live according to your highest priorities and values. In that case, you will activate your forebrain and wake up your executive center.
This is where you are most likely to have the most:
- Strategic Planning, and
- Execution of those plans
- Impulses, and
- Instincts of seeking and avoiding.
When you live by your highest values and by what inspires you, you tend to ACT SPONTANEOUSLY. When you live by your lower values, you tend to REACT EMOTIONALLY.
You can have a stimulus and have subconsciously stored perceptions associated with it and react to it, or you can have a stimulus and process it, put in selected associations, and neutralize it.
When you neutralize it and balance it out, you go into the forebrain. It’s one of the key reasons why I teach the Demartini Method®.
I can take any situation that you have ever perceived and take you from that primitive response into an advanced response by asking very precise questions that balance out your mental perceptions.
In other words, if you see all black or all white, all bad or all good, all negative or all positive, the primitive part of your brain will tend to run you. As a result, you are not likely to have very many options, and your potential will be weakened.
However, when you choose instead to balance your mind by asking questions that allow you to see the things that you are unconscious of, you can experience the freedom to decide how to act. You are also able to see both sides and be centered, instead of feeling polarized and emotional.
Being centred provides more opportunities to act wisely and with foresight.
You can maximize your fullest potential by staying on priority, living by what is most important to you, and saying no to things that distract you.
It is wise to take situations that normally stimulate you and cause you to react and use the Demartini Method® to neutralize it and bring yourself back into a balanced, objective and neutral state.
Many people live their lives as automatons who react to misperceptions and subjective biases that surround them instead of stopping and neutralizing them.
You may have seen how various people have responded to the Coronavirus pandemic – some have chosen to see it as a terrible event. In contrast, others have chosen to take the time to find upsides and blessings. The ones who see the blessings are the ones most adaptive to the times. The ones who don’t are the ones reacting with emotions.
Anytime you have a highly polarized state, you are likely to activate your reactive mind.
The reactive mind is not where you feel empowered. It is where you’re more likely to lose touch with your authentic identity.
When you infatuate with something and minimize yourself in turn, or resent something and exaggerate yourself in turn, you’re not your authentic self.
Instead, you’re likely to display your minimized and deflated, or maximized and inflated persona.
These are all masks that you wear, and that is not where your power is. You’re not going to have maximum certainty and power in that state.
However, the second you level the playing field, balance the equation, bring in the associations of the forebrain and neutralize them so that you’re acting, not reacting and internally not externally run; this’s when you’re most likely to be authentic.
You maximize your potential to the degree of your authenticity.
You also maximize your capacity to have foresight and to be able to create what it is you want as a co-creator of your world. That’s where your power is.
As long as you are in judgment, in a reactive state, misperceiving things and polarizing your perceptions, you’re not likely to maximize your potential.
You’re most likely to maximize your potential if you ask the right questions.
The quality of your life is based on the quality of the questions you ask.
The most powerful questions are those that neutralize and balance out the mind so you can get back into your executive center to maximize your fullest potential. When you do, creative genius and innovation are born.
When you live by your highest values and pursuing challenges that inspire you, you activate your most innovative mind.
It would be wise to ask yourself, “What’s the highest priority action I can be doing today at this moment to allow me to maximize my potential and fulfill my highest value and purpose, and do the greatest service to other people in the most efficient, effective way, in a way that inspires me?” – If you do this, you are most likely to maximize your potential in life.
Suppose you choose to do lower priority things, subordinate to others, judge others, go into pride or shame in yourself, and lose touch with your identity. In that case, you’re not likely to maximize your potential.
As Empedocles said, there is love, and there is strife. When you live in strife, you disempower yourself, but you empower yourself when you live with love.
Love means that you can love yourself and others with reflective awareness.
That means not allowing your initial perception to run you but instead neutralizing the perception by finding upsides to perceived downsides and downsides to perceived upsides. Your intuition will constantly try to make the unconscious conscious so that you can be fully conscious and mindful of your experience.
The moment you do that, you liberate yourself from the bondage of the misperceptions that caused you to react like an animal, as a survival mechanism in the amygdala, your desire center.
Instead, you become more likely to look for long-term visions, see long-term strategies, which opens up the doors of greater possibility.
Long-term visions allow you to take whatever happens in your life and turn it ‘on the way’, not ‘in the way’.
You’d be wise to ask quality questions so that you can bring your perceptions back into balance on the inside, no matter what is happening on the outside.
When you do, you’re likely to be poised, present, purposeful, patient, prioritized, and powerful. It’s also where you have the greatest potential, adaptability, objectivity and resilience. It’s your place of personal power.
Unlocking the full potential of your mind involves:
- Living by your highest value or highest priority;
- Realizing that no matter what happens, it has nothing to do with what is out there and everything to do with how you perceive what is out there. As many great philosophers have said, it is not what you are actually experiencing but how you interpret what you are experiencing. You can make a heaven or hell out of it.
- As William James said, the greatest discovery of his generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their perceptions and attitudes of mind. It would be wise to ask new questions, such as the Demartini Method® that I teach in my Breakthrough Experience program.
- If you allow yourself the voice and the vision on the inside to be louder than all opinions on the outside, you will begin to master your life.
- You live as a victim of history when you let your reactions run you. You live as a master of destiny if you live according to what is really important to you in life.
- When you prioritize your actions, you tend to maximize who you are and do things that you didn’t even know you’re capable of doing.
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About Dr John Demartini:
Dr. John Demartini, is a human behavior specialist, a polymath, philosopher, international speaker and published author. He has recently been awarded the IAOTP Top Human Behavior Specialist of the Year as well as the IAOTP Lifetime Achievement Award.
His work is a summation of over 299 different disciplines synthesized from the greatest minds in most fields of study today. His extensive curriculum focuses on helping purpose driven individuals master their lives so that they are able to more extensively serve humanity with their inspired vision and mission.