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Why Do We Struggle With Our Minds So Much?

The way our minds evolved means that we naturally experience psychological suffering, but there is a way to train and transform it.

One of the things I get asked very often is, why do I struggle with my mind so much? And I, you know, I often hear people say to me, yeah, look, other people could be mentally strong, but you don't know what it's like in my mind, you know. I know it can feel that way, like you're the only one who has a mind that's kind of, you know, really crazy or tumultuous, but the reality is, is that what your crazy mind is doing, all of our crazy minds are doing. Let me explain a little bit about the human mind and why we do all struggle with our minds so much. So the human mind has evolved to operate in such a way that it naturally creates psychological suffering. That's the bad news.

You see humans have been evolving for about 200,000 years. And, you know, for most of that time, our ancestors lived as hunter-gatherers or, you know, what we sometimes refer to as cave men and women. And their lives were very difficult and dangerous, very different to the lives we live today. So in order to survive, really their minds had to be constantly on the lookout for potential threats, for problems, for dangers. If they were not constantly hypervigilant, constantly on the lookout for danger, they didn't survive long.

So the default setting of the human mind is survival and safety above all else. That's the way the mind is programmed. So we in the modern world, even though we live a very, very different life to our ancestors, we still have inherited this mind from them. You know, 200,000 years of human evolution, it's only been a tiny slice of that time, a couple of thousand years at best, that life has been anywhere near what it's like today. So even though we do live in a very different world to the caveman, our minds really still operate like cave men and women minds.

So the modern mind is still trying to warn us constantly about things that could go wrong, threats problems, dangers. In the caveman days, the mind might've been saying, Hey, look out that shadow over there could be a tiger. Or, be careful there could be a rival clan coming soon so sharpen your weapons. Today, our mind still operates like that. It still fixates on problems.

It worries, but instead of being worried about rival clans or tigers, we worry about other things. We worry about our relationship, our work, our finances, our health. The mind says, Hey, what if you lose your job? Or, Hey, what if he or she leaves me? So this pattern in the mind creates a lot of anxiety, a lot of negativity. This is what keeps us up having these restless nights. And it's also a mind pattern that can really hold us back from being our best selves.

Now in the caveman days, humans only survived in tribes. We just didn't survive alone. So our survival really depended on fitting into the group and having the approval of other people in the tribe. So because of this, the mind is wired to constantly compare you to other people in the tribe and assess. Am I fitting in? Am I contributing enough? Am I following the rules? Am I doing anything that could get me rejected? Because rejection is going to mean death.

Does this sound familiar? Any of this sound like how your mind works? Now, even though we don't live in tribes anymore, our mind is still doing the same thing. And now we've got a huge challenge because the media and the internet are now a part of our lives. And that gives us this opportunity to constantly scroll through all these glossy and polished and airbrushed images of people who look happier than us, sexier than us, more successful, more wealthy, more attractive, having more fun. And the mind will compare ourselves to all of those images. And that ramps up the fear circuitry in the mind.

So we start to feel more and more like we're just not good enough. We're not measuring up. And the mind starts to anticipate rejection. This is probably one of the reasons for huge surge in depression around the world over the last decades. So this creates a lot of suffering, you know.

And another challenge with the mind, the way our minds work is that in the caveman days, resources were very, very scarce and life was very, very hard. So the mind would constantly fixate on getting more resources and improving life circumstances. So the mind would say, you need more food, you need more water, you need better clothing, you need better shelter. So unfortunately these days, this tendency of the mind manifests as a constant sense of dissatisfaction and craving. No matter what we ever get, the mind just keeps telling us it's not enough.

We want more, more, more. And consumerism is having a seriously detrimental effect on the planet that is not really making us any happier. Now, as if all this wasn't challenging enough, these out-of-date patterns in the mind are greatly ramped up by the demanding busy and complex nature of modern life. So when your mind is doing all of this unhelpful stuff, when it's playing out these patterns, here's a really important thing to know. You are not alone.

This is just what the human mind does. There's nothing wrong with you. It's not your fault. You just have a normal human mind. And it's precisely because the mind is wired this way, that it's so important to train and transform your mind so that you can unwind the stress, the negativity, the anxiety, the unworthiness that can hold you back from unlocking your potential.

So through these mindfulness based practices in this course, you can really do that. You can unlock your potential and become more of your best self, and of course, enjoy your life more fully.

Talk

4.6

Why Do We Struggle With Our Minds So Much?

The way our minds evolved means that we naturally experience psychological suffering, but there is a way to train and transform it.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

One of the things I get asked very often is, why do I struggle with my mind so much? And I, you know, I often hear people say to me, yeah, look, other people could be mentally strong, but you don't know what it's like in my mind, you know. I know it can feel that way, like you're the only one who has a mind that's kind of, you know, really crazy or tumultuous, but the reality is, is that what your crazy mind is doing, all of our crazy minds are doing. Let me explain a little bit about the human mind and why we do all struggle with our minds so much. So the human mind has evolved to operate in such a way that it naturally creates psychological suffering. That's the bad news.

You see humans have been evolving for about 200,000 years. And, you know, for most of that time, our ancestors lived as hunter-gatherers or, you know, what we sometimes refer to as cave men and women. And their lives were very difficult and dangerous, very different to the lives we live today. So in order to survive, really their minds had to be constantly on the lookout for potential threats, for problems, for dangers. If they were not constantly hypervigilant, constantly on the lookout for danger, they didn't survive long.

So the default setting of the human mind is survival and safety above all else. That's the way the mind is programmed. So we in the modern world, even though we live a very, very different life to our ancestors, we still have inherited this mind from them. You know, 200,000 years of human evolution, it's only been a tiny slice of that time, a couple of thousand years at best, that life has been anywhere near what it's like today. So even though we do live in a very different world to the caveman, our minds really still operate like cave men and women minds.

So the modern mind is still trying to warn us constantly about things that could go wrong, threats problems, dangers. In the caveman days, the mind might've been saying, Hey, look out that shadow over there could be a tiger. Or, be careful there could be a rival clan coming soon so sharpen your weapons. Today, our mind still operates like that. It still fixates on problems.

It worries, but instead of being worried about rival clans or tigers, we worry about other things. We worry about our relationship, our work, our finances, our health. The mind says, Hey, what if you lose your job? Or, Hey, what if he or she leaves me? So this pattern in the mind creates a lot of anxiety, a lot of negativity. This is what keeps us up having these restless nights. And it's also a mind pattern that can really hold us back from being our best selves.

Now in the caveman days, humans only survived in tribes. We just didn't survive alone. So our survival really depended on fitting into the group and having the approval of other people in the tribe. So because of this, the mind is wired to constantly compare you to other people in the tribe and assess. Am I fitting in? Am I contributing enough? Am I following the rules? Am I doing anything that could get me rejected? Because rejection is going to mean death.

Does this sound familiar? Any of this sound like how your mind works? Now, even though we don't live in tribes anymore, our mind is still doing the same thing. And now we've got a huge challenge because the media and the internet are now a part of our lives. And that gives us this opportunity to constantly scroll through all these glossy and polished and airbrushed images of people who look happier than us, sexier than us, more successful, more wealthy, more attractive, having more fun. And the mind will compare ourselves to all of those images. And that ramps up the fear circuitry in the mind.

So we start to feel more and more like we're just not good enough. We're not measuring up. And the mind starts to anticipate rejection. This is probably one of the reasons for huge surge in depression around the world over the last decades. So this creates a lot of suffering, you know.

And another challenge with the mind, the way our minds work is that in the caveman days, resources were very, very scarce and life was very, very hard. So the mind would constantly fixate on getting more resources and improving life circumstances. So the mind would say, you need more food, you need more water, you need better clothing, you need better shelter. So unfortunately these days, this tendency of the mind manifests as a constant sense of dissatisfaction and craving. No matter what we ever get, the mind just keeps telling us it's not enough.

We want more, more, more. And consumerism is having a seriously detrimental effect on the planet that is not really making us any happier. Now, as if all this wasn't challenging enough, these out-of-date patterns in the mind are greatly ramped up by the demanding busy and complex nature of modern life. So when your mind is doing all of this unhelpful stuff, when it's playing out these patterns, here's a really important thing to know. You are not alone.

This is just what the human mind does. There's nothing wrong with you. It's not your fault. You just have a normal human mind. And it's precisely because the mind is wired this way, that it's so important to train and transform your mind so that you can unwind the stress, the negativity, the anxiety, the unworthiness that can hold you back from unlocking your potential.

So through these mindfulness based practices in this course, you can really do that. You can unlock your potential and become more of your best self, and of course, enjoy your life more fully.

Talk

4.6

Duration

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Included in

Q&A on Mental Strength null Playlist · 4 tracks

Q&A on Mental Strength

Playlist · 4 tracks4.9

More by this teacher

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