“Reality is created by the mind. We can change our reality by changing our mind.” – Plato, Greek philosopher
I took my girls to the park this week. My 5-year-old is so excited about being able to climb a tree there. She’s the type of kid that when she’s excited about something, she HAS to share it with people.
We got to the tree and I helped her onto the bottom branch. Off she went. She quickly climbed up the first few branches and was 15 feet up in the tree. She was so proud to show me this new found skill that she clearly was good at. I loved celebrating the accomplishment with her while she was in the tree.
She came down the tree with the same ease she went up it. She got down to the bottom branch and asked for my help getting down.
Sometimes as a coach, I can’t help myself. Seeing how effortlessly she climbed up and climbed down, the next skill is getting up and down by herself. Instead of taking her off the limb, I showed her how she could grab hold of the adjacent limb, hang on it like the monkey bars and easily drop down to the ground.
I know she could do it. I was really confident in her abilities. Ellee was scared. It seemed too high and she was not confident in her skills.
Here’s the existential question: who’s version of that situation was real? Was it mine that believed she could get down? Was it Ellee’s who didn’t think that she could?
This question is at the heart of the conversation on the recent FitMind podcast interview with Donald Hoffman, PhD. Dr. Hoffman came on to talk about the research from his new book: “The Case Against Reality.”
The net of the conversation is this: we have this mass of information and energy in our environment. We’ve been engineered over time to only take in a tiny fraction so that we can live and keep society going. Of that subset of information, there’s an even smaller subset that makes it into our conscious awareness. All of that information is filtered through our perceptions, beliefs, experiences. That funneling process is what creates reality as we each know it.
The host and Dr. Hoffman break down what we can do with this information. We have the power over our mind and therefore our world. The reality that we live in essentially is what we make it out to be. We can make it great with our thoughts or we can have a mindset that sets us up to struggle.
Most importantly, we can change our reality by changing the way we see the world through our own mind.
It turns out Ellee and I were both right in our own minds about the tree. Her fear was her reality. My confidence in her was my reality.
She resisted getting off the branch herself in spite of my efforts to show and encourage. I took off my “coach” hat and put back on my “Dad” hat. I helped her off. Ten minutes later, she climbed the tree again. As I was pushing my 2-year-old on the swing, Ellee came up to me and said “Hi Daddy.” She had figured out how to get down from the tree.
She changed her mind about the scariness of getting down from the tree. Then decided she could do it all by herself. She changed her mind and her reality changed with it.