The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe - Albert Einstien
The phrase "you can create your own reality" has been buzzing around the self-development world for a while now. Without really understanding it's significance it can seem like a vacuous, self-righteous statement when the truth is, it's so much more. In fact, it hasn't just been made up by an enthusiastic life coach, others have expressed the same thought for centuries: Buddha said, “What you dwell upon you become.” Hindu teachings from Shankaracharya says, “Whatever a person’s mind dwells on intensely and with firm resolve, that is exactly what he becomes.” Mahatma Gandhi says "Your beliefs become your thoughts and it says in the Talmud, “We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
Your thoughts control your reality
So what does all of this mean? In simple terms, it means that your system of beliefs, whether conscious or subconscious in their existence, actually control the reality you experience. This rather bold statement is also supported by science.
If you think you're incapable of something, it's very unlikely that you will ever prove yourself wrong. This in psychology, is called the "self-fulfilling prophecy". A widely accepted principle that your own beliefs, shape your behavior and therefore directly influence your reality.
On a subconscious level, our beliefs have a stronger influence on the reality we perceive. Dr. Leonard Mlodinow explains it in his book, “Subliminal—How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior. “The point is that we are not like computers that crunch data in a relatively straightforward manner and calculate results. Instead, our brains are made up of a collection of many modules that work in parallel, with complex interactions, most of which operate outside our consciousness.” Mlodinow goes on to make a very interesting point about our memory in that we "smooth out memories". This describes the process of us adding information to, or self-editing past memories when they seem incomprehensible to us so that those past memories can fit in with our current realities. In short, we are making stuff up!
What does this mean for us? Well, it's an important reminder that our life experience is constantly being shaped, motivated and influenced by our existing beliefs. Our belief system is a collection of the memories/experiences we have absorbed from our past. It impacts our reaction to new situations as our unconscious will automatically search our belief system for easy and automatic responses and fill it in. If our belief system is primarily negative, in relation to a certain new experience—the experience will automatically be filled in with negative responses. If our belief system sways to the positive— then the circumstance will be created with a positive spin.
How to create your own reality
- Have a concrete idea of what your core beliefs systems are
- Try to be self-aware about how past experiences can shape future reactions. It won't be easy to dip into your subconscious but writing a timeline of life events and gaining an understanding of how these could impact your future reactions is a great start
- Work towards eliminating any negative beliefs such as insecurities and fears - this is not an easy process but you cannot hope to achieve the reality you desire if you carry all of this baggage.
Becoming more self-aware is no easy task and in fact, it's a lifelong lesson but every day we can make progress and become the best version of ourselves.
To read more about the science of creating your own reality, read here