This Is The One Time It’s Okay To Lie, Cheat, And Steal
Lie to your mind, cheat your fears, and steal back the confidence you were born with.
Something many of us can agree on is the need for better human beings in society — people who exercise empathy and compassion. We do our best to be as close as we can be to both of those things, but we oftentimes fall short. It is in our nature as human beings to want more out of our lives and to want decency filling our circle of influence. So, if this is the case, where does lying, cheating, and stealing come into play?
Lie to your mind. Cheat your fears. Steal back the confidence you were born with.
If I could write a book about every scenario where our fears talk us out of necessary risk, I would be neck-deep in profit, but each of these events would have one thing in common — they all occur in our adulthood (and why wouldn’t they?) No one is writing novels about the adventures of toddlers, but there’s something we can all learn through infant observation and it is this:
We are all born with the birthright of confidence. We do not have an inherent belief in false realities, project what the future will bring, or feel fearful of things that have yet to happen. Instead, babies judge their feelings based on exactly what is happening to them in that present moment. But here is the exciting part: You can be exactly that way too.
Consider that everything we feel is a result of two things:
- The pictures you make in your head.
- The words you say to yourself
Everything we know and experience is in the context of our own belief and tainted by our own misconceptions of self. Take, for instance, a hamburger: Four people can have remarkably different feelings towards the hamburger, despite the fact that their bodies would have more or less the same reaction to it and that is to digest it. Someone with an active eating disorder might feel abject to fear at the prospect of eating a hamburger full of calories, while someone who is a vegetarian might feel indignant outrage at the ethics of eating an animal. Similarly, a Hindu might feel great sadness that a sacred being has been killed for a meal, and a hungry carnivore who hasn’t eaten all day might feel excitement and joy.
All of these people biologically have the same relationship to the hamburger: their body craves the fat and calorically dense food that we are conditioned to enjoy because these foods were once scarce in our times as hunter-gatherers. Despite this fact, each of these people has constructed an entirely different picture from the next and that picture directly informs how they feel about it.
Another one of my favorite examples is the well-documented placebo effect. If someone even thinks their body is being given a life-saving or curative medicine, their body will do some of the work of making the patient feel better — even if they were just given a sugar pill. This observation isn’t a fantasy, but well-documented proof that your brain has tremendous power and it is dependent on what it believes.
Need another example? Let’s take the needle of a heroin addict — the person has no qualms about a needle being injected into their arm because they have associated it with something they desperately want and need. Now consider the many other people who can hardly tolerate a vaccine. The needle itself is agnostic to our feelings — just as the hamburger and sugar pill is — yet they all have the same power over us, but it all depends on how we think about each one.
You Don’t Need Anyone Else’s Advice
All the answers you need, you already have. You just have to start speaking in the third person to find them.
So if you can lie to your brain about a hamburger, a needle, or a sugar pill, then you can certainly do it when it comes to more important things in your life too. Most human beings don’t even realize that this option exists, because we are so systematically hard-wired to be attuned to what could go wrong.
“This is what makes bad news especially compelling: In our evolutionary past, it was a very good thing that your attention could be easily seized by negative information since it might well indicate an imminent risk to your own survival. The cave-dweller who always assumed there was a lion behind the next rock would usually be wrong, but he’d be much more likely to survive and reproduce than one who always assumed the opposite.” ~Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian
This is, perhaps, the exact reason why we, as humans, find it easier to hold onto a negative expectation than one of positive nature. Our instincts tell us that we are more likely to survive if we were to think with negative expectations. Think about something as simple as a seatbelt — most of us would describe it as preparation for a crash and less a resource that provides us greater opportunity to survive should something happen while we are behind the wheel.
We all visualize continually throughout the day so by re-shaping the framework through which we see these visualizations, we can inevitably commit to the ‘lie, cheat, steal’ methodology.
What Your Dreams Are Really Trying To Tell You
Dreams can include important narratives for the dreamer about unresolved issues in their life.
We have the ability to choose to actively counter our inclination to expect the worst and instead, expect the best or perhaps a more manageable version of our best instead. Though you can’t control the external factors that influence you, the way you think about things and engage in inner dialogue can be.
What you present to your mind, your mind will present back to you.
Begin to interrupt the negative thought with something more positive. Rather than saying, “I cannot deal with the stress,” say “I am excellent at handling stress.” Instead of saying, “My children are terribly behaved,” say “My children can be challenging at times.” Introduce repetition to these same internal conversations, just as you have for decades with the negatively sourced ones. Personify the inaccurate perceptions and use the revised statements as interruption tools the next time an untrue and self-deprecating thought comes to mind.
In order to underachieve, you must fill your mind with negative thoughts, but in order to overachieve, you have to do the opposite. When we adopt the habit of lying to our mind by way of phrasing things in a positive light, we are making it easier to negate fear and move forward with a redefined sense of confidence.