In Scotland the busy time for study, projects and exams is fast approaching. Recently I was working with a young student who was struggling to make progress with his dissertation due in a few weeks. In his case he was putting in the hours and actually knew his subject well, but felt he was going round in circles when it came to the writing up. He was then worrying about his lack of progress to the extent that his busy mind was causing insomnia. This in turn led to him not feeling fresh the next day, and he then tended to be even less productive.
In our first session we discussed how feelings are created, not by outside circumstances, but entirely by thought in the moment. Gradually the student became clearer on the fact that neither a dissertation nor a deadline had any power to create a human experience. Only transient thought can do that. This realisation alone helped him to be more productive. [It’s not simply the intellectual understanding that provides the relief. That occurs when a client has a deeper realisation of the fact.]
During our second session the idea that this young man had a fixed idea about success began to emerge. In our conversation it became clear that in his current project, along with previous academic exams, he was creating a mark which was ‘acceptable’. When I say creating, the process is quite invisible and yet it does occur entirely within him. Many people do something similar. Only 70% plus is acceptable to some, a good B for others, any pass mark for yet others, or even just being in college is attainment for others. These set points are actually quite arbitrary. The point is that wherever the goal is set, it has been created by the power of thought within the individual who feels bound by it. As we discussed this phenomenon, another invisible thought appeared. The student also had a belief [which is just another thought] that he would struggle to attain the level which he had innocently and unwittingly set himself!
While these beliefs are running below the level of awareness they have a very powerful effect on performance. And because this limiting belief system is actually created of nothing more than thought it can actually dissolve instantly in a moment of insight. As a coach I am looking for evidence from a client’s own life which shows the fallacy of the belief. This in turn can prompt such an insight.
On this occasion there was a really clear event which did just that. A year prior to the dissertation the student had been required to write a class essay on the same subject. [Apparently class essay’s were not caught by his ‘acceptable mark’ criteria.] He was so interested and knowledgable in the subject that he had initially written a massive piece – nearly as long as the word requirement for the dissertation – in only a week. He had then edited it down to essay length, and been graded A+ for the work. This was well above his normal ‘set’ grade.
From this example the student was clearly able to see that he had the ability to write the dissertation; that it could actually be fairly effortless; and that it was his own invisible thinking which was interfering in that process. In some ways the most important, long-term insight for the student was the final one: the power of thinking can be immense. Fortunately it can also dissolve in a single moment of insight.
If you have an issue where its difficult to see what’s stopping you and you would like to have a conversation, please do get in touch.