One critical fact that most of us never realize unless we go through some real mindset work or self-development courses, is that we are tremendously impacted/programmed by the events that happen in our lives. We take facts or events or emotional experiences and we have this internal “need” to make them mean something. The meaning is then stored as “FACT” in our subconscious and controls our behavior the rest of our lives…unless of course we uncover this and set out to replace the meaning we gave with something true! Let’s delve into this to see how this shapes our lives.

First, recognize that not all of these meanings we give to happenings in our lives necessarily are negative. In fact, if we were taught earlier in our life (and remember, most never are) that we undergo this type of mental analysis, we would clearly take a more cognitive approach: knowing that whatever meaning we give a fact, set of facts or emotional experience, shapes the rest of our lives. Each of us would clearly give everything terrific meanings that would only serve us. But that just is not the real world.

So, let’s take a bigger “dive” into all of this to see if we can’t play Sherlock Holmes in our own lives. First, let’s start with some basic examples.

Take for instance whether you were first born or last born of a group of children. If you were first, you were given incredible attention by your parents due to being “the only child.” But as other children are born into the family, all of a sudden you are not so important. Depending on the ages of the others as well as the sensitivity of the parenting (versus overwhelm which seems to be prolific in our society with both parents working), you can go through some real separation anxiety with regard to loss of parental time/touch/attention. Losing attention can cause you to “lash out” at the other children but more significantly, you might start devaluing yourself. Fact: no longer the only child; Meaning: I must have disappointed my parents so they needed more. How many variations could you come up with on this? As many as your mind allows to happen. The issue is only how is it impacting you today??

In my instance, I was born in a very poor family, four children in 3 1/2 years (no twins or triplets), and I was the last to come out. Start with the knowingness that when we are born our minds are “blank slate.” Why do I emphasize this? Because if you never discover this fact, you may catch yourself for the rest of your life claiming when someone asks you “why are you so competititive/shy/outgoing/whatever,” you quit saying “because I was born that way.” No truth to that as we are born pristine little babies. Psychologists suggest that our brains/personalities are not developed enough to truly grasp concepts until we are around 3 years old.

Back to Merri-jo; well at 3-4 years old I came to the conclusion as I watched my world of three older siblings and no money around, that in order for me to ever get my share, I would need to compete. What did that cause in my life? Do I need even tell you? I was so very competitive…had to WIN everything: every game, every election, be top of my class (or as close as possible understanding there were others quite smart in my classes), and let’s not forget every game at home and every argument (are we seeing how the choice of becoming a lawyer as a career took shape?). You can imagine the Christmases when I would play games…always sweating bullets and making the game(s) miserable for many as how can you have fun when one of you sweats because they “have to win?” I saw this very uncomfortable behavior but had no idea how to control it…it was just part of my personality, and my analysis was “I was born that way.” NOT! But I had no recollection of choosing it at 3-4 years old as that was by default. FACT: last born in poor family; MEANING I gave it: I better compete!

I live to tell the story so there must have been some cognitive process for growth to uncover, discover and recover? Yes, and you can too. All of us are capable of these incredible discoveries in life to “set ourselves free.” But the reality is…most never do! They live a life with these foibles controlling their behavior and just write them off to something like I always used to say…”I was just born that way.” So there I was, incapable of being a good “loser” (as I had to WIN at everything including disagreements in marriage which caused the my divorce after only 2 years). ENOUGH ALREADY! This is one of the reasons I am so dedicated to teach and train on mindset…take back control of your mind, and you will take back control of your life! What is critical is that you go through a discovery process first and foremost or you will have only the bad behavior to attempt to justify whenever it raises its ugly head!