Who Am I?
My name is Jeff Bogaczyk and I write about and produce a podcast on personal development. I am very interested in the intersection between our thoughts and actions and explore this in my writing and podcast. I hope you enjoy!
What is Mind For Life?
Mind for Life is a podcast/blog designed with your best life in mind based on the idea that how you think greatly affects the way you live. This seems obvious at first glance but a deeper probe into the question reveals how important this fact is, and also how often it is forgotten in our daily activity. The majority of our life experience is done on “autopilot.” What this means is that our actual lived experience is comprised of thousands of things each day that affect what we choose to do, how we respond to people, the choices we make, and the actions we take. There are so many factors involved that we cannot consciously be aware of all of them and so our brains “choose” for us based upon past experiences and decisions. Our brains act for us and make “autopilot” decisions beneath our conscious awareness.
Of course some of these decisions are minor and don’t have major affects on our lives – we are tired of sitting so we stand, we stretch our arms, we fidget in our chair because we are uncomfortable. Usually, we aren’t aware that we are doing these things because it happens subconsciously. However, there are other decisions our brains make for us that have greater consequences in our lives. How we respond in a conflict situation with someone we love, for example. See, our brains have been “programmed” to respond in these instances based upon the past experiences in our lives. In other words, our environment has taught us how to respond simply by experiencing things and events. To use the conflict example – we usually respond to conflict the way we have been “taught” – not intentionally, necessarily – but by the examples of the people that we have been around and grown up with. Our parents, our household environment, our friendships, and other relationships all influence how we learn about managing conflict. So, if we have grown up and lived in an environment that has been characterized by shouting, slamming doors, demeaning others, etc. in conflict situations, we learn that unconsciously and that becomes the “default” for how our brains operate in similar situations.
We Can Change
The good news is that we can change our default thinking patterns by establishing intentional, productive thinking processes in our life. Recent research into our cognitive development has shown that our brains have a quality called neuroplasticity. This basically means that our brains, our thinking patterns, our thought processes are still mold-able and can be adjusted and improved. This is good news because we all understand, if we are honest with ourselves, that we have areas in our lives where we can improve. Self-awareness is the ability to see those areas of weakness in our own lives. The challenge is finding ways to correct them. This is where communication can make a difference.
Really, if you think about it, thinking is simply a process of communicating with ourselves in a particular direction. When we think, we enter an internal dialogue with ourselves where we ask questions, provide answers, state premises’ and hopefully solve problems and come up with solutions and answers. This podcast/blog is basically about helping to turn our attention to this entire process as it is taking place in our lives and helping to establish proactive thinking patterns that will, in time, provide better outcomes and a better life. If our default thinking patterns in particular aspects of our life are dysfunctional due to bad experiences in our past, then the default thought process will result in a habitual action that results in a destructive outcome. Think of it like this. Though the “computer” model of brain function has many problems, in this area we might be able to say if the programming is bad, the output will be bad. Garbage in, garbage out as they say.
The solution? Though we can’t always fix what goes in, we can take steps to address these inputs in constructive and productive ways. Changing our thinking involves self-awareness – a realization in all facets of what has happened to us and where our areas of difficulty lie. Secondly it involves education – learning about what is really happening, how these processes are taking place and how we can respond positively and productively. This is what Mind For Life is all about. Join with us on the journey!