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Perceptions and Thoughts About Thoughts

Over the last while I've been referencing Stamford University Neuroscience Professor Andrew Huberman.

A stand out theory he presented was an idea that there are 5 "gates" into our psychology, which is largely determined by our Arousal state.

The "gates" are:

  • Action

  • Perception

  • Thoughts

  • Sensations

  • Emotions

The order I've written those isn't significant in any way other than it demonstrates my clear biases.

First a little story.

I was out with my lads the other day at a park, they were on their bikes and I was running behind.

Going along rough muddy trails through the woods, the odd spill was inevitable.

One area in particular was tricky, my youngest was out in front, out of my sight, and he got there first.

My eldest, in front of me, suddenly accelerated, so I did.

He'd spotted his wee brother climbing out from under his bike.

As I got closer, he was wiping the tears from his eyes, stood up with his bike, looked at me, grinned and stated, "I nearly made it!"

He demonstrated the use of Perception to change his mental state.

Going from thinking he'd failed, think he was hurt, to noticing he wasn't hurt at all and had almost cleared the obstacle.

He went from upset to glee

Disappointment to satisfaction and determination

All in the blink of an eye

Without any prompting.

In a split second he'd thought about what he was thinking and changed his perceptions.

A perceived failure became a near success.

The above diagram is something I've been working with.

I'm reticent about sharing it widely in case people lose the idea that it's a concept, a work in progress and start assigning it more weight and relevance than we have evidence for.

And if the symbolists get hold of it.......

The key, as far as I can see, is working out which "gates" you are best able to control.

Or which gates are causing the most issue.

A great many people I've worked with, looking back in hindsight, have struggled with their perception of their abilities.

They think they can't do something

They think they aren't able

We encourage them to gradually challenge those perceptions through gradual overload, which gets them to challenge how they think.

Very often when they think about how they think, they see the errors.

Because as Henry Rollins says in his famous article about how the Iron never lies.

200lb will always be 200lb wether you like it or not.

Challenge your thoughts, challenge your perceptions.


Dave Hedges

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