As a former English teacher, I love metaphors. They can help us understand complexity in a clear and meaningful way. A dear friend, Owen Phelps, recently sent me a message that included a meaningful metaphor. Owen compared our brains to a radio and we are the radio tuners.

A radio gets a lot of stations, but we can listen to only one at a time. The station we listen to is the one we have selected. Once we select a station, we get whatever that station is broadcasting. News, fine. Weather, okay. Sports, whatever. If it’s a sad song, we feel a little sad. If it’s a favorite happy song, we smile a bit. However, if there’s something particular to which we want to listen, say our favorite team playing or a certain kind of music, we have to make a deliberate choice and turn the dial to get the station we prefer.

It’s that way with our brains, too. If we want to think about a particular thing or look at things from a specific perspective, we have the power to direct our brains to that station. Sometimes our brains do that without much effort. For example, if we want to fill our head with memorable thoughts with a loved one, we need to select the W-LUVD1 station. If we select W-CNFLICT, we get to listen to old arguments, replay heated words, and experience the anxiety of those experiences.

Often, we just listen to whatever our brain is playing and try to deal with it. If we grew up with a parent who was overly critical, it’s likely that our brain will play that parent’s hurtful comments over and over again. We frequently tune into W-NOT-GOOD-ENUF. This becomes self-talk that holds us back and makes life a vale of tears and disappointment.

The good news is that we have the power to get our brain to change stations. We can consciously replay a time when someone affirmed us for something we did. When we do that, we not only replay those times and successes, we relive them. As such, our current life is enhanced.

Let’s reflect on this.

  1. What’s playing on the station to which you are usually tuned?
  2. Is it time to change stations? What’s playing on the preferred station to which you’d like to listen?

Try it. Do it now!! Change the station.

Of course, our brains can be like a cheap radio where the signal changes all by itself. We put our brain on the W-YES-I-CAN station and it drifts to the W-WOE-IS-ME station. We may have to retune our brain from time to time. We can do that. We have the power of choice.

Best wishes from W-TOP-20…Willow Sweeney, Kevin Brennan, and Tom Cody…who know how to change my station for a better experience in the moment.

Paul Bernabei, Director
Top 20 Training