Four kittens were placed in a room made up purely of horizontal lines. Horizontal lines were on every wall. Horizontal stripes were on their feeding bowls and even small toys and items throughout the room.
The other four kittens were placed in a room with vertical lines everywhere. Vertical lines were on the walls, dishes and everything that was visible.
When the kittens were about eight weeks old the researchers switched rooms. The “horizontal kittens” were placed in the vertical room. And the “vertical kittens” were placed in the horizontal rooms.
For days the vertical kittens stumbled over horizontal items, tripped over feeding bowls and bumped into walls. Meanwhile the vertical kittens bumbled their way through the horizontal room, banging into walls and walking into food dishes.
The horizontal kittens could not see the vertical lines because they hadn’t developed the neural receptors to do so. Meanwhile the vertical kittens hadn’t developed horizontal neural receptors in their brains.
So what’s the point? Naturally, the kittens eventually developed the receptors to see what they could not at first see.
But how do we awaken to our habits – the ones that are so deeply entrenched from childhood that we can’t even see them? Are we stuck with what we’re raised with? Or can we profoundly and irrevocably shift our reality?
I’m very thankful that I’ve had many mentors in my lifetime: men and women that have helped me along the way. I got in an argument with one such mentor many years ago over a point that he said was true and that I could just not see.
He asked me if I was willing to see it differently and I answered that I was, but that I didn’t know how I could do that when I didn’t believe it. And he said this, “The secret doorway to a new reality is etched with three questions.”
Now I was curious, “What are they,” I asked.
“Number one,” he said. “Are you willing to change?”
“I am,” I answered quickly.
“Number two,” he continued, “Will you embrace the beginner’s mind?”
“I will,” I answered slowly wondering what was coming.
“And finally,” he said. “Are you willing to pretend?”
“What do you mean,” I was puzzled at this one.
“Can you act as if what I’ve told you is true for about two weeks and observe the result you produce when you do that.”
“Okay,” I was hesitant. But because I trusted my mentor I did as he said. And as if by magic the receptors in my brain began to open to the new reality he offered.
I have never been the same since. I now use this formula every time I approach another ceiling in my thinking. So here in bullet form is the habit master’s secret formula to changing any old reality…
- Am I willing to change?
- Am I willing to be empty and embrace the beginner’s mind?
- Am I willing to pretend?
Then act as if the new reality is true and observe the results in your world. Have fun with this. You can change anything; even childhood habits cannot hold you. You are a remarkable being with the power to transform your life. Use the magic formula of childhood; make believe that what you want has already come into being.