Do you have hidden genius? Although genius has various definitions, it’s true that there are untapped areas of your mind that you can access to achieve better results and happiness in life. On Love University podcast, we had the pleasure of having as our guest, Dr. Timothy Wilson, award-winning social psychologist and pioneer in the fields of adaptive unconscious (Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By: Wilson, Timothy D., Gilbert, Daniel: 8806391102055: Books: Amazon.com) and self-knowledge (Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By: Wilson, Timothy D., Gilbert, Daniel: 8806391102055: Books: Amazon.com). On the show, he enlightened us on new research about the amazing abilities of our brain and how we can access these higher order connections. Here’s what we learned:
*Become Friends With Your Adaptive Unconscious. The Adaptive Unconscious is the quick thinking, effortless, unconscious part of your mind that interprets information and helps guide you through life without you realizing it. Malcom Gladwell calls it “Thin Slicing”—your mind’s ability to come up with generally accurate findings and conclusions based on a small amount of information in a short period of time. Some people call it “gut instinct,” “intuition," or "super quick thinking." To tap into your Adaptive Unconscious, observe your own behavior so you can determine what you’re really thinking or feeling inside (Are you helping someone because you want to feel better than them, or because you genuinely like them?). When you become aware of how the Adaptive Unconscious works, you will make better and quicker decisions, you will be more accurate in your assessments of yourself and others, and you will live in a more positive and self-enhancing way.
*Redirect your inner stories. Your narrative or inner story is what you believe about yourself. It is your internal script and self-concept; what you tell yourself about yourself and life. Do you have a Money Scarcity Story (“Money doesn’t grow on trees”) or a Wealth Story (“I can gain more riches—material, emotional, and spiritual—every day”)? Your story shapes your thoughts, feelings, actions, and ultimately, your life. If you have a negative or self-defeating story playing in your head, here are some ways Dr. Wilson suggests you can change, or redirect, your story to a more positive one:
1. Step back and Ask Why? In this exercise you will recall an upsetting event and see yourself as a “fly on the wall”—standing a good distance from the situation to observe it objectively. When you do this, you will see the event from a bigger perspective and you will ask yourself, “Why did I feel like I did at the time.” Perhaps, you felt insecure that your lover would leave you so you reacted with unreasonable jealousy and anger (you lost the relationship). Now that you see that, you can forgive yourself, and move to a place of harmony and healing.
2. Imagine Your Best Possible Self. Imagine your best possible self and life in the future. See what you will look like, what you will be doing, who will be around you, and how you will feel 5 or 10 years into the future. Then, ask yourself, “How did I get here?” Maybe you pursued your dream career, became involved in activities you loved, and met great people along the way, including a wonderful romantic partner. By focusing on how you did it, you will have a clear roadmap to help you achieve your future success and happiness.
3. Do Good, Be good. One of the interesting paradoxes in life is that you can change your feelings and thoughts by doing certain actions. For example, if you act like a good and loving person—give to the needy, volunteer to help others—you will start to feel like a quality and loving person. This will, in turn, motivate you to be more giving and helpful—thereby creating a positive feedback loop of positivity and peace.
Yes, it is possible to tap into the hidden aspects of your mind to accelerate your success and well-being. As Dr. Wilson’s research indicates, you can transform your life by becoming aware of how your Adaptive Unconscious works, and by redirecting your inner stories/narrative to positive, uplifting ones that enable you to live your best life possible. At the end of the day, happiness boils down to 3 universal truths: Know yourself, Love Yourself, and Help Others. If you do this, you can begin to actualize your fullest potential and enjoy a life of joy, love, and contribution.