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Can You Change Your Behavior, Thoughts, or Beliefs?

Prerna is a thinker, observer, reader & writer. She is always curious to learn. She is a strong believer in human potential.

The human mind is always fascinating to me. It is one of the complex systems in nature. And I always love to learn more about it. Before we move ahead in mental programming let's quickly understand the brain and mind differentiation.

For better understanding let's correlate the brain with computer hardware and your mind which controls your thoughts, actions, and beliefs are like the software of the computer.

So, your mind is the software that controls everything you think and do. That means its programming began since you were born. It includes everything you see, you feel, you hear, you smell, you touch, etc. Your software i.e. your mind has taken and accepted all of these. Hence, the person who you are today is the result of years of programming.


What is mental programming?

Every person carries within him/her patterns of thinking, feeling, and potential actions, which were learned throughout their lifetime, said Geert Hofstede. In short, mental programming aka conditioning is installed by our beliefs, assumptions, and thoughts.

Nobody wants to limit themselves, their thoughts, their options. But still every day we do so unknowingly, unintentionally, and unconsciously. We all have our own mental programming which either can lead to success or failure. Your mental programming can restrict your life unless you don’t know how to control it. But before that let us understand how mental programming is created?

How mental programs are created?

During your lifetime you pick up many good and bad habits. Well, not all conditioning is negative. But we will only talk about them because they need reprogramming.

For example nail-biting, many adults have this habit which was actually built over time and was overlooked. Some have a fear of darkness, stage fear, fear of animals, low self-confidence, etc. These all are the result of the experience you had and now it’s ingrained as the way you live.

Hence, it is important to realize that our human brain works on patterns. The mental program we create as children are especially strong because they get repeatedly strengthened through the years. Therefore, your childhood experiences affect your decisions more than you realized.

For example, as a child, you were told that you are not good at math and later on you also got some questions wrong in the test. Your subconscious mind receives the data and classifies it based on previous experiences. Now, your assumption that you are bad in math becomes your belief with the constant encounters. Thus, the pattern is established and as you grow up it gets reinforced. Even when any experience opposes or contradicts your initial belief, your subconscious mind ignores it at first.

Therefore, it is important to notice if any bad programming is being made which is becoming a hurdle in your growth. Now, you know about some of your bad programmings which need to be changed. But the question is can you change your behavior, thoughts, or beliefs?

Can we change our mental programming or are we stuck?

Dr. Shad Helmstetter, author of 'The Power of Neuroplasticity’ believes that every thought results in rewiring in the brain and that this consequently creates a change in life. He believes that,

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"What we believe determines our attitudes, affects our feelings, directs our behavior, and determines our success or failure."

That means your brain has a remarkable ability to change, to adapt to new connections, and reorganize pathways. This is called brain plasticity or neuroplasticity. Hence, you can change habits, thoughts, and feelings as a result of a change in brain connections.


The following is the pattern of mental programming identified by Helmstetter:

  • Mental programming creates belief.
  • These beliefs then create your attitudes.
  • Your attitudes in turn create feelings.
  • Your feelings determine your actions.
  • Finally, your actions create results.

If you want to make a change in your life then remember the key component in this process is… YOU!

You have to believe in yourself, your ability to make a change. And if you are not committed fully then you are highly unlikely to succeed in this.

"You will become what you think about most; your success or failure in anything, large or small, will depend on your programming - what you accept from others, and what you say when you talk to yourself."

— Shad Helmstetter


The way we experience life it impacts our mental programming. This is maybe good or bad. After all not all conditioning is negative. Some are necessary for survival and functioning in society. But as you begin to unravel the conditioning which is restricting your life, you can change your mental programming to get success or reach your goal.

Remember, no matter when your mental programming was made, no matter at what age it was made. If you really want to become all that you can be then changing those restricting programs or pattern is essential. And the best thing about the human brain is you can reprogram it and make healthy patterns.

Now that you understand what is mental programming, how it is created, and that we can change it. My next article will help you reprogram your mind and how to do that.

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© 2021 Prerna Dhulekar

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