When you first learned how to drive, what did you have to do?
You had to think about every little thing. Put your foot on the brake, start the car, adjust your mirrors, put the car in gear, take your foot off the brake, step on the gas, etc, etc.
Now what do you do when you get in the car and drive? You do it all automatically via habit.
So have you ever wondered who or what is doing this habit when you are not thinking about it?
It is your unconscious mind.
We like to think that our conscious mind controls our life. But it doesn’t. Your conscious mind only controls your life when you are consciously remembering to do it. The second you stop thinking about it, your conscious mind takes over. And does what you trained it to do.
You spend 80-85% of your time letting your unconscious mind do what you have trained it to do.
A good analogy is thinking of your conscious mind as yourself riding a horse, and your unconscious mind as the horse.
The problem with change is, it can be difficult.
Have you ever been on a trail horse? What happens when you try and make the horse go off the trail? You have to really fight the horse. Then what happens if you let the reigns go as you think about something else? The horse goes right back to the trail and what it is familiar with.
This is perfect when you are doing stuff that you want to do. But when you have formed a habit you are trying to change, this makes it really difficult to get the horse to change. Like trying to get the horse to go off the trail.
Another problem with our horses is it will fight change at all cost. Why? Because who was your horse trained by? You. And what you and your horse have done your entire life has not killed you yet. So why change? That is what your horse try’s to tell you.
That is why change is so difficult. The horse says it has not killed you yet, so why do anything different.
Another problem with our horses is the horse is very judgmental. Your horse was raised by the right people, trained by you, I mean it knows it all, right?
Ever hear your horse say things like, you cannot do that, that won’t work, that is impossible, but I don’t know how to do that, I can’t do that, etc.
This is your horse judging what it thinks is true, what it thinks is going to make you safe, what it thinks you need. The problem is, does your horse know everything? No it doesn’t. It only thinks it does.
Every time you hear your horse or that voice in your head say, should, or could, or need, or have to, that is the horse judging what it thinks things should, or need, or could or have to be like. Different than what they are like.
Your rider is in control in life and your future and your change. But there will be a bad day, and the horse will speak to you. And you will listen, and your horse will bring you right back to where you were.
For example, dieting. Your rider is in control, eating and exercising and doing what you know you should. But then one day, you have a bad day, and what do you do say to yourself? What do you do?
Your horse speaks, you listen, and you believe that you deserve this crap food that is not going to give you the results you want, because the food tastes good and you deserve it.
If there is a conflict between your horse and your rider, who do you think usually wins? Dr. Miller will tell you, your horse almost always wins. And when it does, it feels good and in control. And you feel what?
See why it is so hard to change?
You have a horse that is going to fight you bucking, kicking, screaming and horses are very powerful. This horse of yours has formed habits of doing things they way you have been doing them for about as old as you are. This is what you are trying to change. That is why it could be difficult. If you didn’t know this.
The longer your horse has been doing it that way, the harder it is going to be to change.
For example, is something almost every 3 year old learns easy or difficult?
Common sense would say yes it is easy.
But if you have never used a computer, is it easy to learn?
Or how about learning a language?
It is easy for them because their horse has not formed many, if any, fixed ways of being yet. Their horse is not trained yet.
As adults your horse gets so trained, that if you try something once, and fail, you usually quit trying to learn that in the future.
How many times does a kid fail before they learn something when they are trying to learn something? Many, and then finally, they get it.
So are you going to let your Horse control your life? Or are you going to choose to ride your horse?
This is an excerpt from the course, Self-Discipline & Emotional Control by Tom Miller.