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  • Writer's pictureJustin McLennan

Learn from your Patterns

We live in a world of chaos and uncertainty. A world, so chaotic that it can cripple us at any moment unless we are able to find order within it. When we are able to see order instead of chaos, we are able to understand how things work. When we have a sense of understanding, our confidence increases and we gain a feeling of control. For example, have you ever watched a sports practice? At first, it may seem like the players are just running around at random. But what happens when you start to focus on only one player and their movements? Then another player's movements. Before you know it, the player's movements make sense, and you realize you are witnessing an organized activity. So, how do we turn chaos into order in our minds?

We create patterns by organizing our observations into meaningful categories. Patterns bring order to our lives and help us maintain our balance. When we allow ourselves to step back and be an observer, we provide ourselves with the opportunity to see patterns and to make predictions on what's to come in the physical world and in turn, our mental world. Predictions help us decide how we want to think, feel, and act at the moment.

Patterns surround us, and when we notice them, they can set up expectations, make us smarter and even change our lives. At times, recognizing patterns can be quite simple, especially in the physical world. For instance, what predictions can you make from the following patterns.

1. The winds pick up, you notice an odor in the air and dark clouds roll in. 2. The traffic light turns yellow, and the car ahead of you slows down. 3. The crowd stands at a ballgame and removes their hats.

Other times, patterns can be challenging to recognize, especially within our minds. Even harder than recognizing our own mental patterns, is being aware of when those patterns break. And when those patterns break, what do we do with ourselves? How do we act? Or more importantly, how do we re-act that allows us to create a new, and maybe even healthier pattern.

There is a direct correlation between the way we think, how we feel, and how we act. Many times, we get caught in our own habit loops, and before we know it, a trigger occurs. We fill our minds with negative thoughts, which lead to undesired feelings, and unguided actions. Separate the positive patterns from the negative patterns and take action. Just to help us understand our mental patterns, here are a few examples of some thought-feeling-behavior patterns.

1. Keep: Accomplish a goal, praise yourself, feel confident, set a new goal. 2. Break and Change: Expectations not met, become angry, keep working in a frustrated state. 3. Remove: Negative trigger occurs, lash out, quit.

In this ever-changing world, we are starting to recognize the powers that we have as the observer and the bricklayer of our mental patterns. It is time for us to empower ourselves and our future generations by recognizing the positive patterns that help us thrive and actively change the negative patterns that hold us back.

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