Your Rehearsal can Change your Mind

Your Rehearsal can Change your Mind

Our self-talk can keep us depressed and anxious, but we can learn new thinking tracks. Your rehearsal can change your mind.

I always marvel at how the experts seem to effortlessly do something that I would difficult.

My earliest experience of this was watching shearers shear our sheep on the sheep farm I was raised on. I would be mesmerized by the smoothness and speed by which a fleece would be removed.

He had done this over and over again. Rehearsed and practiced the skill repeatedly. There was speed, but there was also a gentleness and fluidity to his movements that seemed to come so naturally. Like he was born with a shearing handpiece in his hands.

He had created muscle memory. He had created thinking tracks in the brain that were automatic. He could have done it blindfolded.

The Rehearsal

I also marvel at musicians who practice and practice a piece of music to get it just right. They are preparing for the performance. They go over a few notes time and time again.

It’s the same in sport. Sportsmen and women spend incredible amounts of time practicing their skills. They probably spend more time off the field training their bodies than they do in the game.

They are rehearsing and preparing for that moment that a particular skill is needed.

Think also of the actor preparing for a play. They read their lines. They memorize and take them into themselves as if they were the very person they are portraying.

It all flows naturally.

But what comes naturally to you?

Think of something you have learned and how long it took to get it right, but now it comes naturally.

Back to the shearing shed

When I was a boy watching those men shearing our sheep, I said to myself, ‘I could never do that.’

I was quite unwell as a child with Asthma and other illnesses, and I couldn’t contemplate doing anything like that. So I said into my brain that rehearsal note – ‘I could never do that.’

But in fact, I did go on to learn how to shear sheep. I didn’t shear many, perhaps a dozen, but I learned the basic skills.

I never thought I would be a writer either, but here I am. I had quite a traumatic event related to my writing in school from an angry teacher. It paralyzed me in so many ways.

But I kept rehearsing the lies – ‘I could never do that,’ ‘I’m not a writer,’ and ‘I’m not good enough.’

I rehearsed them so many times that they became the truth. First, I thought like a child, but now I want to think like an adult.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;
when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 1 Corinthians 13:11

I rehearse some new lines.

Rehearsing some new lines

I recently heard this sentence.

You don’t get progress without change.

I think it comes from this quote.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds
cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw.

Many people I have met want the progress, but they don’t want the change. Change is work. It’s hard and takes time.

They want the magic pill or quick-fix solution.

Very few want to rehearse some new lines each day for the play they are currently in.

I love to watch cricket, and a cricket player has to constantly learn and perfect new ways of playing the game because the game is changing. They spend hours and hours practicing both old and new skills. They listen to their coaches.

All of this so that when the pressure comes on, and it will, they are rehearsed and ready for it.

It’s unlearning the old and learning the new.

Spectators watch and think it all comes naturally, but in reality, it was many long hard hours of practicing and rehearsing. Few of which any of the spectators are willing to do.

A daily rehearsal

What is your daily rehearsal practice?

You already have one. It’s those little lines of self-talk that you say over and over again.

But what about intentionally making a daily practice of repeating new and positive self-talk to yourself.

I talk about this in my course’ Dig yourself out of your hole.’

I have a daily rehearsal that I listen to every day. It’s an audio version of my Thinking compass.

Slowly and steadily, my anxiety and depression have shifted. The old thinking tracks are gathering cobwebs through lack of use. New and better paths invite me every day.

Here are but a few that I listen to every day.

  • I am training the brain by rehearsing the truth.
  • I am making garlands for God, our God. Psalm 20:7
  • I am making a difference in the lives of people that God intimately knows.
  • I am reaching people beyond what I can understand and know
  • I am enjoying writing and creating every day.
  • I am meditating, researching, collecting stories, quotes, and filing every day.
  • I am writing from the heart.
  • I am discounting my mistakes before they discount me
  • I am holding myself to a standard of grace, not perfection
  • I am building my life on great thoughts repeated over and over again until they are programmed in.

Do you need some help in creating some new thinking tracks? Please send me an email. I would like to help. 

Some Bible passages to consider

  • Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:18, 19
  • “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. Deuteronomy 11:18
  • Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
        bind them around your neck;
        write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3
  • Bind them on your heart always;
        tie them around your neck. Proverbs 6:21

Quotes to consider

  • Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw.
  • The difficulty and pain of change is the fear of giving away my identity to become someone I don’t readily recognize. Real progress means adopting a new and different identity. David Riddell
  • Change is difficult. Only when the pain that comes from remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of change, do we get serious about getting help. David Riddell
  •  The key to growing any psychological resource, including compassion, is to have repeated experiences of it that get turned into lasting changes in neural structure or function. Rick Hanson
  • Nothing digs ditches like shovel fulls of dirt  Rick Hanson 
  • Simple ideas are easier to understand. Ideas that are easier to understand are repeated. Ideas that are repeated change the world. Simon Sinek

Questions to answer

  1. When you were a child, you thought as a child. Now, as an adult, what are the new thinking tracks that you have to rehearse?
  2. Consider a sportsman or an actor or anyone exceptionally good at some skill. Ponder on the amount of time they have spent rehearsing and practicing their craft. What are you being invited to ‘do the work’ on?
  3. In my list of daily rehearsed sentences, was there a sentence that stood out for you? Why? What could happen to you if you heard someone say that to you every day?

Further reading

How to Create New Rope Bridges in our Thinking

Seven Steps to Change your Default Thinking Patterns

What to do with your Curve – Incurvatus in se

Barry Pearman

Photo by Javad Esmaeili on Unsplash


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