Same Same, Not Different

Erin Roberts
April 24, 2023
4 min read
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Why we need to change how we think, what we do and who we are in order to create a different reality.

“Dream your dreams with open eyes and make them come true.” — T.E. Lawrence —

The human brain is a fascinating universe. Small but mighty, our brains weighs on average just three pounds. Yet, they house a network of 100 billion neurons connecting at 500 trillion different points through synapses that travel at a speed of 300 miles an hour.

Just sit with that for a moment. It’s mind blowing when you think of what our brains do.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average human has 70,000 thoughts a day. Not all of these thoughts are deliberate, in fact a very small percentage of those 70,000 thoughts are deliberate. Because behind the scenes our subconscious minds are always thinking. But they’re largely thinking the same thing over and over again.

The same inputs leads to the same outputs

According to neuroscientist (among many other things) Joe Dispenza, on average 90 percent of our thoughts are the same day to day. He asserts (and this is backed up by a lot of data) that we cannot change our lives unless we change ourselves. His work is centred upon helping people do just that.

The crux of the problem is that, as Dispenza argues, the same thoughts lead to the same behaviours which lead to the same experiences which culminate in the same emotions which influence our biology in exactly the same way. Essentially the same inputs equal the same outputs.

Neurons that fire together, wire together

As our neurons and networks of neurons continue to fire and wire together, neural pathways are cemented into our brains. This leads to what Dispenza calls “the same level of mind”.

In order to change our lives we need to make different choices that will lead to different outcomes.

The tricky part is that this means getting uncomfortable. Sometimes very, very uncomfortable. Because the reason we have been making the same choices day in and day out is because they feel familiar and safe. Doing things differently usually pushes us beyond our comfort zones. And while that can be challenging, it’s also where the magic happens.

The magic lies beyond our comfort zones

As we do different things we have different thoughts, experiences and feelings and that leads to different outcomes. Eventually we become different people. Conversely the process can be a whole lot easier if we change our identity first to become someone who does or doesn’t do certain things.

It requires a bit of effort. Our minds might have a little (or big as the case may be) tantrum at first. But if we want to change our reality, we have to override them.

Before the pandemic my life was pretty varied. I travelled a lot and while it was’t always ideal not knowing what continent I was on (let alone the country I was in) when I woke up each morning, it did expose me to a lot of different experiences. Though to be fair, within those changing contexts my subconscious mind continued to churn out the same thoughts.

During the pandemic I got to have a routine for the first time in a long time. That was amazing. Doing the same thing every day? Bring. It. On. I’m still not over that to be honest. I get to go to the gym — the same gym — and cook food at home every day. I don’t know that it will ever get old.

But at some point I knew I had to start changing in order to create a different reality. Boxing was part of that. And more recently I try to do something that scares or challenges me every day. And every week I try to take on a bigger challenge.

Later this week I will start a hula hoop class. I haven’t hula hooped since elementary school. I’m really looking forward to it — but also bit nervous if I’m being honest.

Some change is easier than others though. I take different routes when I walk to nearby villages, often getting lost on the way. But I tend to walk the same paths during my daily walk in the country because it feels familiar. And I know I won’t get lost. I need to move beyond my comfort zone and challenge myself on that front.

That’s still a work in progress.

It helps knowing that not only is novelty important for changing my reality, it’s also good for my brain. So I encourage you to find something this week that you can do to break out of your routine. And I’ll circle back with updates on my hula hooping experience.

Originally published on Medium here: