Turns out, your behaviors are only the tip of the iceberg. Here’s why root source thinking is the real key to unbounded human potential.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- You want to make friends and be loved, but you’re afraid of opening up to new people and stepping out of your comfort zone.
- You know what you want out of life, but you secretly worry that you might not be smart or talented enough to attain your goals.
- You promised yourself that you’d start making healthier life choices, but you struggle to stick to those choices long enough to see results.
- You long to have the type of confidence you see in other people, but you can’t seem to stop second-guessing yourself.
- You want to take your career to the next level, but for some reason, you keep seeing opportunities pass you by.
It’s natural to feel frustrated in the face of these outcomes – especially when you don’t know how to fix them. But you’d be wrong to think that you can’t change for the better.
As it turns out, unlocking human potential is easier than one might think. Modern brain science has taught us that, generally speaking, what’s actually holding us back in life – the seeds that always grow into frustrating outcomes – are as flexible as the thoughts we choose to think.
The trick is recognizing what those thoughts are, and where they come from.
What’s really going on in your head
There’s a lot more than logic that goes into your everyday decision-making.
Have you ever felt yourself reacting to something as though it were a fact – even though you technically knew it wasn’t?
Perhaps when you were in school, you felt less than confident about passing an exam – and subsequently found it almost impossible to take the test well?
Or maybe you found yourself wanting to lose weight, even though your friends (or even the scale) told you that you were just fine as you were.
This all-too-common experience is called “emotional reasoning”.
First coined in the 1970s by Aaron Beck, the founder of Cognitive Therapy, emotional reasoning is the process where we create “emotional truths” – ideas based on our deep feelings about something – and act on them as though they were indisputable facts.1
Beck discovered that each time a person concluded that their emotional reaction to something was valid, it became their reality. Even when evidence was presented to the contrary, persons would often dismiss or disregard it in favor of the “truth” that felt right.
Let’s revisit that test-taking example. Let’s say you were preparing for a very important exam, but most of your test-taking memories have been less than positive. As the day of the exam gets closer, your brain may be reciting this script: “I always fail tests like these.. What if what I studied isn’t on the test… What if I forget everything as soon as it starts?… I’m not a good test-taker… I’m going to fail”.
In reality, you may be just as prepared as the next person. But after this internal battle, you’re now convinced that the battle is already lost – and your scores will undoubtedly meet your expectations.
So where do these “emotional reasonings” come from? Beck theorized that the “spark” for such reasonings were negative thoughts – thoughts that are almost imperceptible to the conscious mind.
In other words, human potential is inextricably linked to our thoughts.
More accurately, there’s an order to our lives that starts with our thinking, and ends in oh-so-familiar outcomes – and it follows this pattern:
Thought → Beliefs → Feelings →Behaviors → Outcomes
The outcomes in your life are a product of specific behaviors, repeated again and again. Those behaviors are influenced by your feelings, which are triggered by certain basic beliefs.
And those basic beliefs? They start from very simple (and often erroneous) thoughts.
This understanding has given birth to what we know as modern Cognitive-Behavioral Theory (CBT), which maintains that your emotions, your root thinking, and your actions all work together to influence your behavior. Using this concept, CBT therapists are able to help individuals make drastic changes, even when they feel trapped by certain emotions or behavior patterns.
Of course, the thinking patterns that precede your beliefs, feelings, behavior, and outcomes do not stand on their own – they’re mediated by internal mental processes. These internal mental processes, which we refer to as Root Source Thinking, use data from our intrinsic and extrinsic experiences to create the foundation for how we see the world, think about the world, and ultimately behave in the world.
So what are those processes?
The 8 basic psychodynamic processes that mediate human potential are: (a) perception, (b) learning, (c) language, (d) thought, (e) attention, (f) memory, (g) motivation, and (h) emotion.
A thorough explanation of any one of these processes could fill an entire article. But for the sake of our discussion, we’ll give a brief overview of each:
This is the basis for your concept of reality.
Perception is how we process, or organize and give meaning to, the information we receive from our senses. Without this, we wouldn’t know how to interact with the environment around us, or properly adapt to change.
Learning is how we use information from the past to acquire new knowledge and develop new abilities, skills, and behaviors. This process is also important for obvious reasons. It allows us to change based on what is happening or has already happened to us – something vital for survival.
Language is the next highly-valuable process, as it allows us to be the social creatures that we are. Our ability to communicate through language lets us describe the things we’re experiencing, have experienced in the past, or will experience in the future.
As an internal process, it allows you to maintain your most complex social relationships, and your ability to use it determines your effectiveness in navigating society.
There’s often some confusion around this process, partly due to the many ways the word “thought is used. For purpose of our discussion, thought refers to “the process in charge of transforming information to organize it and give it meaning.”2
Thought serves as “a control mechanism in the face of situations presented to us”, allowing us to act effectively in our environments.
In a sea of stimuli, attention is what allows you to dedicate mental resources to specific stimuli. Without it, we would quickly be overwhelmed.
Motivation is the process in charge of activating the body and putting it in the ideal state. It gives us resources to perform behaviors, and direction to exert our energies. It also prevents us from standing still, and is closely related to emotion and learning.
Nearly every decision in life you’ll make will be mediated by emotions – which frankly is a good thing. That’s because your emotions guide our behavior and help us act quickly in response to stimuli. They have three components:
- Somatic: the physiological changes provoked by emotion
- Behavioral: the spectrum of behavior triggered by an emotion
- Feeling: the subjective experience of the individual
Memory is the foundation of the other basic psychological processes. Without it, the others could not exist, as each process requires using past information.
Allows us to act on information gathered in the past, and expectations made about the future. It empowers us to use explicit information like names and locations, or procedural information like how to perform tasks at work.
Now that you understand the processes behind root source thinking – how do you start changing that thinking?
Harnessing the power of your root thinking for change
Your thinking patterns are a product of years of reinforcement. But they can be changed.
Developed through a study of the principles of neuroplasticity, the Think-X diagnostic is designed to maximize human potential by helping you identify the hidden thought patterns– or “root source thinking”– that either empower or obstruct your efforts to grow.
Unlike a traditional “personality test”, where persons are categorized according to personality, intelligence, and behaviors, Think-X actually helps you measure, and correct counterproductive thinking.
Want to learn more about the secret to fully unlocked human potential? Check out the Think-X Diagnostic here..