Here it is, the middle of January and I haven’t set my goals for the year. Didn’t feel like it yet.
My son suggested that I listen to last week’s This American Life Podcast, entitled Batman. They asked: “Can thoughts influence a rat’s behaviour?” It turns out that yes, whether scientists believe their rats are smart or not directly influences their ability to perform tasks.
So of course the next thought is how does that apply to people? They explored in detail Daniel Kish, a man who lost his site as a toddler and how he uses clicks to navigate and do most things that sited folks do. Just search “blind guy who rides a bike” on YouTube to see him for yourself.
But can he actually “see”? A German neuroscientist, explained that images are not external but created in the visual cortex of the brain. She discovered that for Daniel and others who have trained themselves to click, their visual cortex lights up when they use clicking to identify objects in their environment.
It is similar to the peripheral vision you might have when you are walking down the street, texting on your smart phone. You can vaguely see traffic and people around you, but not be able to read signs.
Cool, eh? But how did he manage this, when millions of other blind people are much more dependent on others? It turns out that as a young child, he was not subject to the usual restrictions placed on blind kids. Nobody stopped him when he tried to do things and he developed the clicking methodology (similar to the echolocation used by bats – hence the Batman appellation).
I had a conversation at brunch with friends last week about their worry about their university student son’s lack of social skills and how they are petrified that his life could out badly. I was shocked and asked if they were aware of how their fears were probably communicated to their son? And how this expectation might actually help create the result they most fear?
And then I thought of my expectations on my grownup sons. One I expect to be thoughtful and easy to communicate with. The other is volatile, impatient and hard to get along with. (Yes it’s painful to expose my beliefs about my kids.) And of course I KNOW they are both incredibly intelligent. (They are Jewish after all — cultural expectation – we think our kids are geniuses.) Have I programmed them this way with my expectations?
And what about me? For many years I have expected that I will be “almost” successful. I only recently became aware of this belief/expectation. I’m not sure where it came from —- but it’s possible that I picked it up from expectations in my environment.
We can be influenced by the expectations aimed at us. From my work with Motivation Triggers, we are External, (affected by factors outside of our body/mind). At least at certain times and places in our lives.
Why, just this morning I listened to the American Life podcast and was inspired to write this piece. It inspired me. And inspired me to really think about what I could do, if I expected great things of myself.
I think I’ll hold that thought for a day inside me. Feel it, see it, hear it, touch, taste and smell it. I expect that I will do great things. This year. Starting now.
What if you surrounded yourself by people and thoughts that are inspiring?
Would that change how you feel and what you accomplish?
Well, there’s only one way to find out!
Please let me know what happens!