One of the most common pieces of advice ever given is “Just be yourself.” And it’s often just what we need to hear. We as people too frequently modify our personality to please others. We say, do, and act a certain way to win their approval rather than from a place of authenticity. If this describes you, “Just be yourself” can be great advice. However, there’s another sense in which we all rightly want to stop being ourselves. What if we struggle with anger? What if we’re depressed, anxious, or peak stress all of the time? What if we’re simply not living the life we know we’re capable of? That’s when not being ourselves is in our best interest. And it’s the most sensible thing we can do primarily for our own well-being and, secondarily, to have a more healthful effect on those around us.
Joe Dispenza has dedicated his career to improving life outcomes using the power of the human mind. He studied neuroscience in college and is a practicing chiropractor. Dr. Dispenza is author of the best-selling Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One. I was initially introduced to Dr. Dispensa through an online lecture that he gave on his book. I was struck by how deeply what he was saying resonated with what I know to be true from my own research and experience.
I’ve created a transcript of Dr. Dispenza’s fascinating lecture on Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. His main thesis is that to truly change is to think outside your environment.
Good evening. I want you to turn to the person next to you I want you to look them in the eye and introduce yourself as a genius–let’s begin. Now geniuses, so happy to be with you this evening. I have a few questions for you before we begin. How many people in this audience actually believe in the idea that the way you think has some effect on your life? You believe that, yes? So how many people here actually woke up this morning and consciously created a future? You know the biggest reason why people don’t do it is because you don’t really believe it’s true. You see if you knew on a gut level that it was absolutely true would you ever miss a day–come on– and would you ever let any thoughts slip by your awareness that you didn’t want to experience?
So your brain according to neuroscience is organized to reflect everything you know in your life. Your brain is a record of your environment–an artifact of your past. So if you believe this, then does your environment control your thinking? Or does your thinking control your environment?
If you wake up in the morning and you get out of bed on the same exact side as you did the day before, you shut the alarm clock off with the same finger, you slip into your favorite slippers, you shuffle into the bathroom and you use the toilet like you always do, then you walk over to the mirror and you look at yourself to remember who you are, then you get into the shower and you wash yourself in the same routine way, then you groom yourself to look like everybody expects you to look, then you go downstairs and you drink coffee out of your favorite mug, then you drive to work the same way as you did the day before. You see the same people that push the same emotional buttons. You do the exact thing that you know how to do, and you memorize and can do so well that you’re an expert at. Then you hurry up and rush home so you can hurry up and check your emails. So you can hurry up and go to bed. So you can hurry up and do it all over again.
Here’s my question: Did your brain change at all that day? We can say that you were thinking the same thoughts, performing the same actions that create the same experiences that produce the same emotions, but secretly expecting something to change in your life. Would you agree? So then, as the environment turns on different circuits in your brain, you begin to think equal to your environment. As you see the same people and go to the same places and do the same things at the same time, it’s the external environment that’s turning on different circuits in your brain, causing you to think equal to everything that you know. And as long as you think equal to everything that’s familiar or known to you, what do you keep creating more of? Same life. Now the quantum law is still applying to you. You’re just thinking equal to everything that you know, and you keep creating more of the same.
To change–to truly change is to think greater than your environment. And every great person in history knew this. Whether it was William Wallace or Mahatma Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, or Queen Elizabeth I, or Joan of Arc–they all had a vision. They all had an idea. Couldn’t see it, couldn’t smell it, couldn’t feel it. But it was alive in their mind. It was so alive in their mind that they began to live as if that reality was actually happening now.
So can you believe in a future that you can’t see or experience with your senses yet? But you’ve thought about [it] enough times in your mind that your brain is literally changed to look like the event has already happened. Neuroscience says it’s actually possible. Now your personality creates your personal reality–that’s it. It’s that simple. And your personality is made up of how you think, how you act, and how you feel. So the present personality who’s sitting here today–you–has created the present personality reality called your life. Would you agree? Would you also agree, then, that if you wanted a new personal reality, that on a fundamental level you would have to change the thoughts that you’re thinking, the behaviors and habits that you’re demonstrating, and the emotions that you’ve memorized that have become part of your identity?
Most people try to create a new personal reality as the same personality, and it never works. We have to become somebody else. So then, as you keep thinking the same thoughts, performing the same actions, and living by the same experiences that produce the same emotions–there’s a principle in neuroscience that says nerve cells that fire together wire together. And if you keep repeating the same states of mind and body over and over again, your brain begins to fire in the same sequences, in the same patterns, in the same combinations. And whenever you make your brain work in a certain way that’s called mind. Mind is the brain in action. So as you re-mind yourself every day who you think you are, you’re causing your brain to fire in the exact same ways. And as they fire and wire in the same patterns, over time the brain moves into a very finite signature, and that’s call your personality.
Now that box in your brain isn’t literally a box, but it’s the most commonly wired, neurologically-fired programs that run redundantly because we keep doing the same things over and over again. To change your mind, then, is to make the brain work in new sequences, in new patterns, in new combinations–to begin to make the brain work differently. And the one ingredient that allows us to do that is knowledge, or information because every time you learn something new you make a new connection in your brain. That’s what learning is. Learning is forging new connections. Remembering is maintaining or sustaining those connections.
So now, every time you have a thought, you make a chemical. And if you have a great thought, or an unlimited thought, or a joyful thought, you turn on a set of circuits in your brain that fires in a very specific sequence, pattern, combination, that produces a level of mind that turns on another part of the brain that makes a chemical for you to begin to feel exactly the way you were just thinking–great or unlimited or joyful.
Now if you have a negative thought or an unhappy thought or a self-depreciating thought, you turn on a different set of circuits, and a different combination, and a different sequence and a different pattern that produces a different level of mind. And the brain then begins to make a different batch of chemicals that signals the body for you to begin to feel exactly the way you were just thinking–negative or unhappy or unworthy.
So the moment you begin to feel the way you think because the brain is in constant communication with your body, you begin to think the way you feel. Which makes more chemicals for you to feel the way you think, and then you think the way you feel, and then you feel the way you think, and then you feel the way you think. And some people do this for 20 or 30 or 40 years.
Now the redundancy of that cycle over time creates what I call a state of being. And a state of being is when your mind and body are working together, or your thoughts and feelings are aligned to a concept. So thoughts are the language of the brain and feelings are the language of the body. And as people get caught in this cycle of thinking and feeling and feeling and thinking, over time they can condition their body to memorize that emotion as well as the conscious mind.
And whenever the body knows as well as the mind, that’s called a habit. A habit is when your body is the mind. Now 95% of who you are by the time you’re 35 years old is a set of memorized behaviors, a set of emotional reactions, beliefs, perceptions, attitudes that run just like a computer program. So 5% of your conscious mind begins to work against 95% of what you’ve memorized. So the person wants to think positively, but they’re feeling negatively. They want to create their dream board, and put up their future life, but they feel unworthy. That’s mind and body in opposition. We have to recondition the body to a new mind.
So how many people here know someone who’s memorized suffering? It doesn’t have to be you, it can be anybody. And you say that person, “Hey, did you read the book I gave you?” What do they say? “No [sad voice]” “Did you see the DVD I gave you?” “Oh, no. [sad voice]” “Hey, listen, we’re going to go out to dinner, we’re going to go see some stand-up comedy, we’re going to go for a walk along the water, do you want to come?” “No. [sad voice]” What do they say? I’m insisting on this chemical order that no person, no thing, no experience can move us from it. And we have these three brains to allow us to move into a new state of being. And the quantum-field, universal mind–whatever you want to call it–responds to who you’re being. Not what you’re thinking, not what you’re feeling, but the combination of what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling called a state of being.
Most people wait for crisis or trauma or disease or loss to really want to change. They wait until the point where the ego is brought to such a low level that they cannot go on business-as-usual any longer. That’s when we begin to look at how we’re thinking or what we believe or how we act or our attitude or what emotions we’re living by. And my message is why wait? We can learn and change in a state of pain and suffering, which tends to be the human model. Or we can learn and change in a state of joy and inspiration.
Now you want to learn the hardest part about all of this–are you ready? The hardest part of all of this–the hardest part of all of this–is making the time to do it. That’s it. That’s it–making time for your precious self.