Our brain tricks us into believing whatever it wants us to believe. I have previously mentioned some fatal flaws of the brain but perhaps its biggest flaw the brain has is that when presented incomplete information it will fill in the missing spots with whatever information it assumes to be correct. Once our brain has filled in the missing information it pretends that all the information was presented from the external source instead of being hacked together by our brain. This is a problem for a number of reasons: Firstly, our brain might not fill the gaps correctly. It fills the gap with a "best guess" approach using information it already has. If the missing data is something our brain has never seen before then it will be impossible for it to correctly fill the gap.
Secondly, by pretending the whole picture of information came from an external our brain will give more weight to it and thus will believe it to be true. This means that the data supplied from our brain (correct or otherwise) is assumed to be true even though it was fabricated just to fit the gap.
With that in mind I thought I would share an example that proves that our brains are masters of filling gaps with information and assuming it to be correct. The first time I did this little test I blew my mind.
Exercise: Proof by Optical Illusion
This little optical illusion exercise will prove just how easy it is for your brain to trick you. We often hear about blind spots in our vision, or when driving a car, but did you know that we have a blind spot right in front of our eyes? When we have both eyes we do not notice because they are positioned on our face in such a way to maximise our viewing potential. However we an discover the blind spot very simply and, at the same time, prove how our brain deceives us by assuming it is always right.
Step 1: Get a bank piece of paper (A4 size works best) with nothing on it. Draw a filled circle in the centre of the page about 1cm wide (that's 1/2 inch for those non-metric people).
Step 2: Close your left eye
Step 3: Chose a spot on the paper about 5cm (2 inches) to the left of that centre dot. Hold the paper up to your face with the chosen spot in front of your right eye. You should still be able to see the drawn circle in your peripheral vision but you should not be focusing on it.
Step 4: Slowly move the paper away from your face, all the while focusing on the spot you picked to the left of the drawn circle. Eventually that circle you draw will just disappear from your vision - it will look like you are holding a plain blank piece of paper again!
What is Going on Here?
Even though your brain controlled your hands to draw the circle, and even though you KNOW that the circle is there, your brain has filled in your blind spot with a "best guess". It analysed the rest of the information coming in, which was predominately blank paper, and chose to fill the gap with what it thought was most likely. But whatever is most likely is not necessarily correct.
The Blind Spot in Action - Our Self Belief
This proves that our brain is not always right. Just because it tells us something is true does not make it so. There are countless examples for how this applies to our lives but the biggest (and worst) is with out negative self beliefs. When we doubt ourselves, or speak negative of our skills and actions, or stop loving ourselves, then we are providing an incomplete picture of our self-image to our brain. We are giving it the opportunity to take all these negative thoughts and try to figure out the patten to fill in all the missing gaps.
The result is obvious - our brain deduces that the gaps must be filled with self loathing, anger, resentment, and a whole range of other negative emotions. It fills all the gaps in our self-image with these, and then presumes them all to be correct. We end up with a grossly exaggerated negative self-image which we assume is correct. Self-fulfilling prophecy anyone?
Luckily this also works for positivity. If you start providing an incomplete picture of positive thoughts about yourself to your brain then it will start filling the gaps with positive emotions. Your self-image will become one of happiness, love, and positivity. And because we already know that our brain tries to prove itself right it will start manifesting scenarios in your life that will reinforce this belief.
So stop assuming all your negative beliefs are true and start providing some positive information to your brain. Your life will change because of it.