Full transcript of world renowned therapist Marisa Peer’s TEDx Talk: To Reach Beyond Your Limits by Training Your Mind at TEDxKCS conference.
Best quote from this talk:
“Your body doesn’t care if what you tell it is right or wrong, good or bad, helpful or unhelpful, you respond only to those words and images.”
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: to-reach-beyond-your-limits-by-training-your-mind-by-marisa-peer-at-tedxkcs
Marisa Peer – Internationally known therapist, speaker, author, and columnist
Today is about collaboration and I’m going to talk to you about what I think is the most important collaboration you will ever get. And that is the collaboration between you and your mind.
When you can collaborate with your mind and tell it what you want, you will get what you want. Now I’m very lucky that I’ve been voted Britain’s best therapist several times. And I’m in the tab to guide to the best of the best. And people say to me but you know the brain, that’s really complex and complicated and takes years to understand. Actually that’s not true.
What I believe is you need to know 4 things about your mind. And if you put these 4 things into practice, you will have success across the board at every level. So let me tell you what these 4 things are about your mind.
Your mind does exactly, specifically, what it thinks you want it to do. It always does what it thinks is in your very best interest. If you haven’t got what you want but you’ve got behaviors you don’t want — you are not collaborating properly with your mind. I’m going to change that for you.
Secondly, your mind is hardwired to move you towards pleasure and away from pain. And that’s why it’s interesting that thrives people — you survive on the planet by avoiding pain.
Thirdly, the way you feel about everything all the time is only down to two things. The pictures you make in your head and the words you say to yourself.
And fourthly, your mind loves what is familiar. It is programmed to keep going over and over again of what is familiar. If you want to succeed at any level, you have got to make what is familiar unfamiliar and what is unfamiliar familiar.
So let’s start with one.
Your mind does what it really thinks you want it to do.
It’s always acting in your own interests and your mind listens all the time to your language. It works out what you’re doing and feeling by the words you are using. So if you say, these exams are killing me, I’m dying under this paperwork, my boss is a nightmare, I’m overwhelmed, I can’t cope with the stress.
When you say “I’m dying under the pressure, this workload is killing me” you are telling your mind you don’t want to do it. And if your mind thinks you don’t want to do it, guess what? It will encourage you to procrastinate, bunk off and not apply yourself.
Your mind is so very very specific to the words you use that if you say, I’d love a week off in bed, I’m overwhelmed with this stress. I just wish I could have a week off at home lounging around.
Your mind goes, there you go, I’ve given you the flu. Didn’t you ask for that? You said you wanted a week off in bed and I’ve given you the flu. There’s your week off.
If you say, I’m dreading having to give that presentation next Wednesday. I’d do anything to get out of it. Your mind’s like, OK, why don’t I wake you up with a migraine or an upset stomach? There’s your get-out-the-presentation behavior.
And that sounds a little silly but that is how your mind works. It does what it thinks you want. If you haven’t got what you want, it’s because you use words like, it’s too hard, it’s too difficult, it takes all my time.
When I wrote my first book I was only in my twenties. And when I got a book deal, I kind of knew that, that involved isolating myself in writing and I didn’t want to do it. And I spent a long time procrastinating. Until I realized I had to say I want to write.
I have chosen to write. I’ve chosen to feel great about it. And those words, I have chosen to do this and chosen to feel great about it will change your life. This is way more than positive thinking. It is collaborating with your mind.
So, look at your behavior and if you haven’t got what you want, you’re not communicating properly with your mind. And I learned this when I worked with premier footballers and marines.
I was doing a television show with some marines. And I was watching them running in pitch black, little miner lights on their head. It was raining sideways, it was muddy and they were singing. And of course when you sing, your mind is like, OK, it’s pouring with rain, it’s dark, it’s freezing cold, you’re running up a hill with a big pack on your back and you’re singing. Oh I get it! You like this.
Now imagine if you were to run a marathon and you started by going, OK, 24 miles to go, oh I hate this, oh it’s so boring, oh it’s so hard, it’s so difficult. You’re not going to finish it. You have to go, I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it. Even when it isn’t true.
So that is how you collaborate with your mind. You must tell it using very specific, very detailed, very precise words, what you want. And when you are doing, you say, I want this, I’ve chosen this, I like this. And you must link pleasure.
Because here’s Step 2.
Your mind will always move you towards pleasure and away from pain.
If you eat something that makes you sick and you link pain to it, you can never eat that again for the rest of your life. You are hardwired to avoid pain. But if you link pain to studying, speaking in public, being – in some way of getting attention, that’s very very difficult.
And you can choose everyday what is pain and pleasure. You are the only person that can do that. You can’t put a cat in a Jacuzzi and it goes, it’s cool, the bubbles, the heat. They don’t like water. But you can choose.