What you do on auto-pilot
So many of us are running about on default or auto-pilot and we don’t even realize it. This is a huge disservice to you. Find out why this is a problem and what you can do about it to show up more authentic and genuinely in the world.
I used to teach music lessons. For years I taught piano lessons and voice lessons. In our first few lessons, I would tell them that we were going to make a lot of weird and odd sounds at times, especially during warm ups. Learning to sing is like learning to play any other instrument in that you have to learn how to create different sounds and practice again and again. But it’s much more difficult because I can’t tell you to change fingering or a quick fix like that. This instrument is internal and we’d have to shift the body, something inside the throat, create a different shape and it would be challenging.
Despite my best efforts to tell them ahead of time and to work with them during these lessons whenever they’d make a mistake or make a sound they didn’t’ like they’d apologize and something in their demeanor would wilt for a second. Since they’d been using this instrument from the time that they were born they felt somehow that they should “know” how to sing properly already.
Difference between voice and piano lessons
When my piano students hit a wrong note they didn’t’ think something was “wrong” with them. It was a wrong note, wrong fingering. It was the mentality of, “okay. I’ll work on it and practice it.” But for voice, because they couldn’t see an instrument it was internal and mentally they went to, “I did something wrong. I am wrong.” and it was a challenge to get them out of that mindset at first.
Our thoughts vs Auto-pilot
It’s similar to us and what we do. For years and years I operated from default or auto-pilot. Although I thought I was making conscious choices – and I was at times. I wasn’t really making deliberate, guided, thought about choices. It was more of going on auto-pilot. My brain did what it had always done.
If someone said something kind to me, I felt happy. I felt my bucket filling a little bit because that’s what I had always done. But when someone said something rude or off to me, I would feel offended and feel like my bucket was being drained a bit because again, that’s what I had always done.
It didn’t really occur to me that I could feel differently. Why would one want to? It made sense. People are nice = you are happy. People are not nice = you are not happy. Also, when someone didn’t like something I said or did I internalized it and thought about what was wrong with me. What did I do? What should I have done? again…because that’s always where my mind had gone.
It didn’t occur to me that when someone said or did something that I didn’t like that nothing was wrong with me. Maybe they’re having an off day. Maybe it really had nothing to do with me and it had everything to do with them and their thoughts.
This is auto-pilot. The natural man/the ego – whatever you want to call it and if you’re not careful and deliberate, you’re probably running on default or auto.
So today, like I did with my voice students I want to tell you a few things that hopefully will help you.
1.) Some of your thoughts are NOT your own.
Have you ever had a crazy, crazy, off the wall thought like, what would happen if I didn’t turn and drove off this road here? Just for a split second and you quickly think, WHOA! NO! That’s insane! and instead you hold the wheel tighter and turn extra cautiously. That wasn’t YOUR thought of curiosity. It doesn’t mean something is WRONG with you. It’s just auto. We have odd thoughts when we’re not deliberately creating our own thoughts. The moment you chose to say, NO! That’s crazy! THAT was you. You taking the wheel and consciously choosing what you wanted to think and what you wanted to do.
2.) It’s okay when you have odd thoughts. It requires AWARENESS of them first in order to change them.
Most of us don’t take the time to realize exactly what we’re thinking. We hold on to limiting beliefs for YEARS because we haven’t taken the time to actually look at what they are and question them. It’s important to write down your thoughts and physically LOOK at them. You’ll be surprised at what’s swirling inside that beautiful head of yours. Auto pilot is CONVINCING too. It’ll put up a good argument. But ultimately YOU are the boss. You are in charge. You get to decide what stays and what goes as long as you’re aware of it first!
3.) Practice choosing NEW thoughts:
Like ANYTHING, there is practice involved. We don’t become aware of our thoughts and then BOOM! Changed. Done. No, Unfortunately there’s well developed neuro-pathways that your default or auto will want to go to. It’s going to take a lot of practice to stop going there in your head.
If you’re used to yelling at your kids when they do something off it’s going to take practice to find new ways to cool off and to teach them a different course of action. Once you decide this it’s not going to happen overnight. The next time you want to yell you’re going to have to PRACTICE deliberately thinking those new thoughts much against the strong will of your auto-pilot that’s going to want to just yell. But it CAN be done. You CAN choose how you want to act. You CAN choose how you want to feel.
You’re never MADE to do anything
All of this is great news. You never need to feel like you were MADE to do anything. That well meaning but coarse person at church didn’t MAKE you mad or sad. No one can MAKE you anything….even good ol’ auto-pilot. YOU get to decide how you want to live your life REGARDLESS of the circumstances.
Isn’t that wonderful? You get to choose when you’re happy, what caliber of happy that is, for what duration you want to be happy. You get to choose when you want to be upset and for how long it’s going to last. You get to choose. Agency is such a beautiful thing, I’m so grateful for it.
It IS work. But it is absolutely WORTH IT!
Not everything you think is YOURS – don’t claim the thoughts you didn’t deliberately
Before you can change anything you first need to become AWARE of it. Grab some
paper and spend some time getting to know you! The investment is so worth it.
It’s going to require a lot of practice to get out of auto-pilot and into authentic YOU.
Practice isn’t always easy. It requires energy and time but you can totally do this.
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