What is holding you back (b) – the unwritten script in your head

by yiye

Photo from IsaacZhe on FlickerYou might remember a few weeks ago, I posted an article called you don’t need to retire to do what you want http://yourlifeexpression.com/you-dont-need-to-retire-to-do-what-you-want-what-is-holding-people-back-though/. I felt a bit guilty after that, because I mocked my friend and anyone behaving like that, however I didn’t really come up with any suggested actions. This directed me to do some extensive research on behaviour change.

If you don’t want to learn in a rocking-your-world-up-side-down way, you must look at your upbringing and the unwritten script in your mind – your subconscious mind.

Truth is: no matter how much consciously we think we are in control, we are not!

Just because we don’t see air, doesn’t mean we don’t breathe it every second. Similarly, just because you can’t identify or rationalise your subconscious mind easily, it doesn’t mean it won’t dictate you on a daily basis.

You will say, of course I want good life, I want to find my passions but why it hasn’t worked for me? Well on the surface you want to follow your dream so badly, but let’s look at what subconscious mind says.

My friend from the previous article was from an Asian family. If you are from an Asian family, you too were probably told studying is the most important thing in the world. You must finish your homework before you can play. Later on in adulthood, you might find although having no exams is great, you are likely to feel something is missing. Workaholic is a similar behaviour to someone who studies so hard to prove their worth. You know it’s not a “cool” thing to do, but somehow you find comfort in it. Leisure and playing are only secondary, after you finish all your duties. Competition and living in struggle is your default mode. You constantly feel like that you need to prove yourself by winning a game, being ranked as number one in something or possessing a flash car.

There are studies and research which prove that relaxation and play is the way to improve your productivity and creativity at work. You might think you believe it, but your subconscious mind will make you sit in front of your computer for 20 hours a day. Many people operate like this. Also just like many people know that taking lunch break helps your wellbeing but they are reluctant to do so due to office atmosphere pressuring them.

I know someone else who constantly tells people that she wants to put her health first. However working for a highly demanding boss makes it too tough. She has to be on call in and out of office hours. As a result, she is always ill, which just adds more pressure to her both physically and mentally. She keeps saying that she needs a better job, however when you ask her if she has started looking, the answer is always “I will wait till next month”. We all know that the “next month” will probably never come. Given she was brought up in an attitude that changing jobs is shameful, I am not too surprised.

There are so many common misconceptions, however they were imposed onto us so stubbornly and subtly that they impact us all the time yet we don’t recognise the existence. That’s why when we try to make an improvement in life, we often find ourselves paralysed.

Some typical unwritten scripts are:

–         You will never be able to get paid for what you love doing

–         Pure artists are irresponsible, they sleep around and will starve; those who sell their arts aren’t real enough to be called artists

–         If one day you become successful your friends will all leave you

–         Girls aren’t supposed to be ___; guys aren’t supposed to be ___ fill in the blank

–         Successful career means you must have big corporation names on your CV; you must submit CV to 100 sites in order to get an interview;

–         Marriage is the end of romance; relationship and commitment means drama

–         Plain, hard, non-stop work is the only way to achieve wealth; output is strictly determined by input, the busier you are, the more productive you will be

–         I am never good enough to __ fill in the blank

–         Starting a company/business means you will have to invest hundreds of thousands on start up, marketing etc.

None of the above is strictly true

Subconscious mind has other names such as top dog, censor or inner critic.  Although they might be your hidden obstacles, don’t be scared of them. Their intention is actually protecting you, from being laughed at by parents, spouse, colleagues, friends and strangers. It aims to get you to maintain the status quo. It is simply programmed by your upbringing and social influence.  However, the good news is that if you want to pre-program it, it can be done! Just like re-writing the programming code on a computer.

In order to move forward, you must get your subconscious mind to support your passions and dreams.

Why must we get our subconscious mind on board to support our dreams, instead of the other way around? Your dreams are originated by your heart, your true essence, which is too precious to be written off, and even if you attempt, they are not re-programmable neither. You might suppress your dreams for various reasons but they will never go away. Your dreams are the ones make your heart sings, it doesn’t really matter where you are, at which point of life, whom you are with, what jobs you hold, they always make you feel more alive. It doesn’t really matter how much you ignore your dreams, or pretend they are not there, they will always come back to nudge you.

They make you unique and through them you become more and more powerful. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about the status/position you occupy that makes you proud and arrogant, but the inner force you possess so that no one else in the world can dictate who you are. As Tony Robbins says: “Nothing is more powerful than the force of personal identity—when a person’s soul transcends the limits of the moment to embrace all that they are capable of becoming” 

Here are some tasks for you:

Name the things, events, thoughts that make you feel alive.

To me this is martial arts, dancing, East Ancient Philosophy, healing techniques, Peru, sacred mountains and rivers, dogs, spirituality, writing, helping people, reading stories on deep connections. It has always been this case and has never changed. It doesn’t really matter if I am in China or the UK, in school or uni, employed or self-employed. The only difference is whether I hide them or not.

Write down your beliefs, no thinking time allowed, write down them long hand:

I believe money means

Success means:

Creativity means:

Relationship/family means:


If you are doing a project at the moment, it will be even better to make the list as specific and relevant as possible.

The rule is no hesitation is allowed. If you had to think and write, then you need to go back and do it again. Sorry, that’s why it is called the subconscious mind.

What you note down without thinking will give you a sense of what hides deeply in your head.

Next week, I will talk about:

–         indicators when your heart and mind are in conflicts

–         how to re-code your subconscious mind to support your dreams

Find this post useful?

Come over & learn how to remove your self-doubt and fulfil your potential.

yiye zhang, how to remove your self-doubt

Related posts:

What’s holding you back (part a): http://yourlifeexpression.com/you-dont-need-to-retire-to-do-what-you-want-what-is-holding-people-back-though/

Vision versus Reality: http://yourlifeexpression.com/vision-versus-reality-and-how-to-get-around-the-hopeless-gap-between-them/ 


Sophie B

I’m reading this with a big smile on my face =) Objective awareness of the subconscious rambling is taking away it’s power.


😀 yeah lets treat our subconsious self like the stunt double


it is a wonderful article, i like it, thank you very much!

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