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We fill our minds with false stories, myths, and legends that justify our emotions. While it’s possible to use this human “glitch” to feel happier, most people use it to deepen their depression and worthlessness. 

Why does this happen? 

Because your brain only entertains a tiny fraction of your entire experience. Once you cling to a myth about yourself, your brain filters for this story and ignores the rest. That’s why so many adults struggle with childhood traumas decades later. 

That’s the bad news. The good news?

Once you become aware that you do this, you can stop creating legends and experience reality. 

In this episode, you’ll discover how you can stop yourself from doing this so you can experience an unlimited sense of joy. Listen to the episode now. 

Show highlights include:

  • How your memory betrays you and creates false stories (and how to use this “glitch” to enhance your life) (2:01) 
  • The “Cherry-Picking Reality” secret of the human brain that creates unnecessary suffering in your life (8:42) 
  • The insidious way your emotions fabricate reality and make you feel defeated and worthless (9:44) 
  • How justifying your emotions prolongs them and sends you into a downward spiral (even if you justify “good” emotions like love and joy) (13:29) 
  • The weird “Lego” mindset shift that helps you heal from your past traumas in record time (15:38) 
  • How watching a baby learning language helps you leave your emotional baggage in the dust for good (16:47) 

If you want to radically change how much control you have over your emotions in as little as 20 days, you can go to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and sign up for the Choose Your Own Emotion course. 

If you or somebody you know is looking to drop the ‘F’ Bomb of freedom in your life and break free from addiction, depression, anxiety or anything that’s making you feel flat-out stuck, head over to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/ and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

If you’d like to buy a copy of my book, Is That Even Possible?: The Nuts and Bolts of Energy Healing for the Curious, Wary, and Totally Bewildered, you can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/That-Even-Possible-Healing-Bewildered/dp/1512336041

Read Full Transcript

It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F-word here: Freedom. We'll share, straight from the trenches, what we have learned from leaving our own addictions behind, and coaching hundreds of others to do the same—and since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it. [00:27.6]

Bob: All right folks, welcome back to the Alive and Free podcast. Today, I want to talk about how quickly legends are made. I think this would be really good for you. And maybe in concert with the history of Satan episode in some way, though, this is a totally different tack, and I may have shared this before, but I think it's a good, a good thing to look at. The way that we tend to cherry pick reality to add meaning to it and the way that our memory starts to distort everything that's there in order to feed back into our lives, this sense of meaning and purpose and identity. It's not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. It happens, but when that becomes problematic in your sense of what life is and what your identity is, is hard to deal with. It's important to step back, pull back the covers and look under the hood and see, whoa, what's going on and how quickly have the legends been made in my life. [01:24.4]

Back, many moons ago when I was teaching martial arts, I had my own martial arts school. And, and then I also was teaching classes at Arizona State University for the students there. And there was a set of four students that really latched on. They used to come to my classes at the school and then they would also go to classes there in the university. They had a great time. They took my Tai Chi class; they took a levels one and two of the Kung Fu stuff and they were really having a great time. So, at the end of one of the semesters, the first semester, I think it was that they were with me, and we'd really connected and have a good time. The very last day of class, we finished up by the bit everyone could buy and they're like, Hey, can you come over here and help me out? And so one guy's doing a whole, and so I'm walking over there and right as I go over there to kind of look at what's going on, somebody behind me screams…NOW, and I didn't know what was going on. My experience of it was like, what the heck does that mean? And then all of a sudden, four of them come at me. [02:18.8]

Now, they came at me like anybody would come at a person dressed in a, in a ghee with a fourth degree, black belt on who happens to have been the student of that person, probably tentatively. They probably didn't come at me like somebody who deliberately wanted to take me out or somebody who felt that they were an equal in some way. So already I had some level of advantage, and it took them a little bit of a hesitation before they dove in. And at that point in time, they were around and I slid my hand out at one place and I got one person's hand finger, and I bent that one back, but they pulled me down slowly and I had a couple of them kind of in pain going around. One guy never got in there, he just stood off to the side watching, like not sure where to go in. Like you would see somebody in stands at a hockey match or something like, who do I punch? Who do I punch? Maybe I don't want to get hurt. So, and then pretty soon they eventually all just kind of like gave up. And we were done. That ended with me on the ground pinned. And if it had gone on longer or the other guy had gotten in, I'm not sure that I would've gotten out of that one with any level of my dignity. [03:17.3]

The summer goes by. And then I go back the next semester and one of them is in my class again. And, and we're having classes in about the second or third class. I'm walking into class, just past them to get started with teaching. And I hear him telling another student just what had happened that day. And I hear this. Yeah, last semester, like at the end of class, we had four of us jumped on him all at once. And he took every single one of us out within like less than a minute. And everybody was on the floor screaming like in pain and everything. He took us out so fast. Now that was not my experience. Here was a man who had been 18, 19 years old who had been inside of that experience, who had watched it had been a participant of it, who within a few months’ time, his own memory of it had built it into something that it totally wasn't. His memory had built me into some kind of martial arts superstar who took on for able bodied college students at once and managed to take each of them out unscathed effortlessly within a short amount of time. [04:22.0]

Where my experience was here was a man who got jumped by for able bodied college students who were worried about hurting their teacher or getting hurt themselves and weren't sure how it was going to go and it was just a practical joke, and they weren't all that invested in it. And the shine of the instructor’s belt and possible skill level was enough to count out them. And then they got into some pain, and they couldn't do anything about it, but maybe that's just because they didn't realize the advantage they had. Like the ants versus the hoppers in a bug's life. Yes, I did just referenced Pixar. Congratulations. So very different experience. Legends made in his mind already that he now is passing on to fellow students who are then looking at him in some level of awe and wonder, I will admit freely admit that I did nothing to dispel the myth or the legend. I was not interested in being seen as anything other than this glorious thing, but notice that because the legend was there, I did have some level of trepidation and it did put a little pressure on me to be able to perform well when I was demonstrating things in the class. [05:27.2]

Now this is a fun experience, but I think it's instructive because it doesn't involve hearsay. It involves directly the people that were involved in that experience. Now, maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit and maybe I did take them out faster than I'm considering. And maybe time felt a little bit slower for me than it did for them. And so maybe this, maybe that, and maybe I'm, I was better than I thought it was. But ultimately what we have here is a massive distortion of something that's happened in life that has led to in this case, some excitement, something great, but how often it's led to the opposite for people. We've talked about memory many, many times. And so, let's lead something to something a little bit different right. [06:12.8]

Now, my wife, the other day, she, someone that she grew up with, he was, he was somebody that, as she grew up with him, all of her memories of him, everything that she'd experienced of him was he was a bully. He said, mean things. He had choked her sister or tried to choke her at school once. He had gone to jail for prescription drug stuff, he had been insulting people. He was constantly one-upping other people. And over that, she didn't keep any contact with him. She wasn't really interested in being friends with him. And over the time she saw him on Facebook and whatnot, and recently, and periodically would see things and she saw the same kind of behavior, the same guy on language, the same kind of everything. Had literally zero great memories of any interaction that she'd ever had with him. Now, pause. This is obviously a myopic view of this guy's life, right. She didn't, she didn't live every moment with him. She didn't see all the sides of him when, with all the things. She only saw him at school, which isn't necessarily everybody's best foot or on Facebook, which also isn't necessarily everybody's best foot or at gatherings or other types of things. So it was, she didn't have any good memories, but we can admit that maybe it's a little bit skewed to the negative. [07:18.6]

And yet, then he died recently. And somehow, she got notified and started looking at the obituary was sent around among a group of people she was contacting and talking about. And she started reading what people were telling him about this guy and how he was this amazing, loving, wonderful person who only wanted the good for others and was really considerate and all of these other glowing, glowing remarks. This is a man who, before his death was in jail, like maybe things that happened in jail, that's great, but like, he was still getting arrested and stuff all the way up until his death. It wasn't like, oh, that was in his youth and then it turned around. And she was just absolutely flabbergasted at how the obituary was something so glowingly positive, when every memory she had about the guy would have been a very different obituary. And she was just dumbfounded by it. [08:12.7]

And I sat back, and I thought about that. And I thought about how often we want to cherry pick reality, how often we want to paint over what's really there in order to add meaning to life. My students, they wanted to paint over any facts that were there, in fact, they didn't even want to see the details that would make their teacher look like anything less than a martial arts superstar. Why? Well, of course, then you can claim that you studied with that guy and that he was amazing. And then you had all these experiences, it brings up dinner conversation and all kinds of other stuff. So, you can claim all kinds of things when you see that what's, there is really incredible. Likewise, you can claim all kinds of negative things when you don't want to see that what's, there is really beneficial for you. And so then you can start to vilify this or vilify that when you don't see that, what is really there is just what is there. And let's in the case of this acquaintance of my wife's, those are people that wanted to, to see only the good things. And we actually have touted that as a virtue along the in society, we say like only see the good things, you know, and we want to remember the good things from other people. Why? Well, because nobody wants to remember the bad things. [09:19.0]

And if they did happen, nobody wants to sit there and like agonize over it and claim it as a story. We rehash those. We recount them in many different ways, but ultimately people just want to have a good memory and are willing to ignore what actually happened in order to have a good memory, anytime that they can. But we're also willing to ignore what's actually happened in order to create a bad memory, if that justifies how we feel. And this is what happens to people who are dealing with root issues, with depression, with past trauma, with all kinds of things. They will turn that into a story of being victimized that is massively bigger than what actually happened. What actually happened were just the events. And nobody takes away that nobody wants to be raped or murdered or beaten or abused or vocally insulted or ignored or, or impoverished or extorted or any, or blackmailed or any of those things. Nobody's interested in those things. And we can admit that that's what happened. That those are the things that happened, but that's all that happened. Most people turn what has happened into a legend in their own mind. [10:26.0]

I have done this so many times. I, both good and bad, right. I have taken things that happened to me and turned them into these massively monolithic stories about how I am. Nothing ever works out for me and life. Isn't fair and life is hard, and I just don't get the good breaks. And I'm never like, I always miss my opportunity. That's a story, that’s the legend. There once was a man who nothing ever worked out for. He lost every opportunity that was there. He was often late for them. Other people got the chances that he didn't look was not on his side. And once upon a time, this man with such a fate entered the city of Galilee, no, like that's not it, but we do this with ourselves all the time. Maybe it's Hollywood, maybe we're used to that exotic narrator voice or something, but we create legends out of everyday events and out of huge events that are not actually true, in an attempt to add meaning to our life, right. [11:30.0]

If you or someone you know is looking to drop the F-bomb of “Freedom” in their life, whether that's from past trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other host of emotional and personal struggles, but they just don't know how or wants some help doing it. Head on over to thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and check out some of the things we've got in store for you or book a call so we can look at your unique situation and get you the help that you're looking for. [11:58.3]

Why do we want to add meaning to our life? There's a question. Why, of all the things that we could add to our life, why add meaning to our life? And I'm sure there's a great number of you that would be like, well, what if life is meaningless then, then what? Like, you have to have a meaning, there has to be a purpose behind things, because if there's no purpose behind lives, if there's no purpose behind what I'm doing well, then my life is meaningless. See, you're also assuming meaninglessness. You don't have to add meaninglessness to life either. Just because something doesn't have an inherent meaning, it doesn't mean it's meaningless. It's just as what it is. A rock doesn't have meaning, but it's not meaningless. It's just a rock. Your nose doesn't have meaning, but it's not meaningless, it's just your nose. What you've done in the past that doesn't have any meaning. It's not meaningless either, it's just what happened. The road construction that you drive through, doesn't have any meaning, it's just road construction. It's also not meaning less. Oh, that's just meaningless, it doesn't mean anything. Well, it doesn't mean nothing, and it doesn't mean something. It doesn't mean any, it doesn't mean at all. It just is. [13:11.4]

And we too often want to add meaning because we think that we need an explanation for life. Now we've talked about this in the episode around asking better questions, but here specifically, I'm talking to you about the stories we create and in order to justify the feelings that we have. We have a feeling in our life and immediately we want to justify it. We don't realize that justifying it is actually creating a new experience. That when we create justifications, what we're doing is swirling around thoughts and the cauldron of our brain so that the witches do that comes out is another experience called meaning. Meaning is just as fleeting experience and experience as love is in the most common conception. As excitement is, as anything else is, meaning comes and goes. It's only there when you think about it, when it's, when you're not thinking about it, it's not there. But too many people want to believe it's there all the time. So, every time they think about it, they think about it like it's heavy and it's there and it's always been there. This is my life's mission. And this is my life goal. Like what does that even mean to have a life mission or a life goal? [14:19.4]

We know what you're up to right now. We don't know where you're going to be in 10 years. Something amazing could happen that totally shifts your life, and you suddenly have a different mission. So, to say that this is your life's mission is, is an interesting thing to say, but it doesn't actually mean much. Other than that, you're creating a story of you doing something for life and then you're experiencing that as if it's a positive thing. And that's okay, but we need to admit it for what it is, because oftentimes if we can't be willing to admit that the positive stories, we're creating are just that positive stories we're creating in order to have an experience, that's harder to admit that the negative stories we're creating are also things that we're making up. [14:56.3]

For instance, there's a guy I'm talking to one of our clients recently, who was dealing with growing up, this feeling like God hated him because nothing was working out in his life. And this feeling of God hates me. He's against me, all this stuff. But then there would be experiences he had where it would be the exact opposite. And he would feel this tremendous overwhelming outpouring of love in his heart and feeling like God loves me, but then it would go back to God hates me. So, he was basically doing that whole, like, you know, he loves me, he knows me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not till I finally asked him, like, which one did you end on? So, with that, we know what's next. Because ultimately all he was doing was cherry picking little bits of information from his life and then using them to make a story out like a bunch of Legos. You were given a bunch of Legos, you picked the red one and the green one and the blue one, and you made something out of it and you left the rest. But that doesn't mean the rest weren't there. It just means that you made something out of them and then, what you made out of them has nothing to do with the nature of the leggings or the nature of the person, building stuff with the Legos in this case. [16:07.4]

So, on every given moment, I think I've mentioned this before. There's roughly 4 billion bits of information that seemed to pass through the human nervous system. Of those 4 billion bits, only about 2000 rise to the conscious level. I don't know how they measured this. I don't know exactly what experiment was done in order to arrive at this conclusion. But the consensus was around 2000 bits of information rise to the conscious level and any given moment. And that may be biometric data like temperature controls in the body, whether you're comfortable or not comfortable sensations on the scan, it may be any number of those. Sounds in the air, smells sights, that stuff. Well, 2000 out of 4 billion is one half of 1000000th of 1%. It is a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of all that is there. The question then becomes, how do we know which 2000 bits are going to show up? Well, they've done some research studies on babies and how babies learn language. And it turns out that when a baby is learning language, initially their brain registers all sounds the same way. [17:15.4]

And then when certain sounds become recurring and seem are, and are linked to experiences that have some level of significance for the baby, then those get kind of flagged a little bit higher. And other challenges start to be flagged as background noise and are filtered out. In other words, the things that baby has gone through, the experiences that they've had and the, the assessments they've made of those experiences have trained the mind to consciously pay attention only to a small fraction of what's actually out there and to filter the rest out as if it's not there and to treat it as background noise. So, when the is capable of speaking all languages at first, and then eventually it zeroes down to one. That's not because the baby is no longer hearing the other noises, but only because the baby has opted to filter for only the things that have been useful in its life. This is intelligence. This is efficiency. There's nothing wrong with this but know that the filtration started to happen because of what became useful. [18:12.3]

Well, if in your life, you yourself, learn to filter out and to pay attention to only those episodes that have been negative that have been episodes where things are hard or where nobody listens to you, but where you're stressed out or where you're not lovable. And you've learned to filter out those pieces and like, hold them as sacred in some way as significant, then what happens is your mind starts looking for any evidence that would match that data. Because that's significant to you. You've marked it as something that is real and true and powerful and useful in your life. And why would being not lovable but useful Bob? Well, if you feel like you're not lovable, you will naturally start to take behaviors that avoid situations where that would come to the front. [18:57.0]

You might sleek in the background. You might not try hard on relationships so that you don't get your heartbroken, or you might ditch relationships early so that you're the one doing the heartbreaking and so on and so forth so that you don't have to experience pain. They're just ways to avoid pain, that's all, that's it, that's all that it is. There's nothing more than that. And so, in your attempts to avoid pain and to seek out pleasure, you developed a certain set of preferences based on your life experience. From those preferences came your legends. Those preferences are your legends about life. They are tiny pinpricks of light. Remember one half of 1 million to 1%. That means you're looking through a tiny little telescope at the yard next door and all you can see is the bit of grass through that telescope. And then you just assumed that the house next door is green and that everything in that, in that area is green when you miss the flowers, the garden, you miss the color of the paint, the walls, the turrets, the balcony, the everything, whatever else is there. The Adobe, you miss it all because what you focused on was one tiny bit. [19:59.5]

You guys have heard the story, I'm sure of the elephant and the blind man. The blind men who all grabbed a piece of the elephant and thought the elephant was one thing because all they had to go off of was one tiny, airy. Enhancing perception is the key to getting out of all of the legends in your mind about how distress you are, how much of a victim you are, how much life is difficult and whatnot. The only way to do it really is to see through your myopic nature and my myopic nature to enhance your perception and to widen your view and to see what's really there. Because when you can see what's really there, you won't make the same legend out of it. Does that make sense? So, legends are made pretty quickly. It doesn't take long for you to take one experience and turn it into something very different. That was a literally months and the person who was directly involved in it had a very, very different take on it than I did. And that didn't take very long. And pretty soon that spread to the other students until [inaudible] was coming across like I was some kind of amazing hard-nose martial artist. [21:00.9]

I've never been in a real fight in my life. I have no interest in doing that. I don't know if what I've learned over all these years is going to actually help or not help. It has helped my quality of life, that's what I care about. All the other stuff we'll see. Legends are made quickly. Your assumptions about what life is, what it means and all of that other stuff is just one way that you close off your ability to see what's really there and pass by the joys of life without even knowing what you missed, because you're so busy focusing on the only, the details that support your previously made assumptions and prejudices. You have to go back and anytime that comes up, you have to go and ask yourself what actually happened. What are the actual details of what really happened? Did what I think happened, actually happen? And then pretty soon, instead of becoming a legend in your own mind, you can finally become a real human being and experience life in the way that it's designed for human beings to experience. [21:58.0]

And that's it for todays “Alive and Free Podcast.” If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom bombs landing in your ear buds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcasts from. And, while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus, it's just nice to be nice. [22:16.7]

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