Have you ever felt like “something is wrong”?
If you answer yes it’s because you have a human brain.
We all have this going on in our brains in the background to some extent. It stems from having a “survival brain” that had to be on the lookout for danger all the time in order to quite literally survive.
While this was super useful to get us to modern times, now it’s getting in the way of our happiness, our goals, and quite honestly, our day to day life.
In this episode, I show you what to do when your brain defaults to “something is wrong” so you can use it to your advantage and stop letting it get in the way of you living your best life.
Here are the best resources for this episode:
- When Your Brain Tells You Something Is Wrong (blog post)
- When It’s Hard And Problems Are Forever (podcast)
- It’s Supposed To Be Hard (blog post)
- Dream Year: How To Accomplish Your #1 Goal This Year And Feel Good Doing It (book + workbook)
- Personal Development Free Course (free training)
- Personal Development For Her (course)
Full Episode Transcript
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hello, my beautiful, wonderful friend. I am so excited to be talking with you today for so many reasons, but I really just feel like this time together, every week is like our check in time aware. We are just one-on-one hanging out. So know that I love you and I’m thinking about you and I hope you’re having an amazingly beautiful, wonderful week and if you’re not, it’s totally fine. It will get better. It always does.
I got this email recently from someone and by the way, you guys send me the nicest emails like my readers and listeners like I don’t know, but you guys are the best. You send me all these emails. I’m so appreciative of them and the reviews on iTunes. Again, I’m so grateful for them and you guys are sharing the podcast and I just, I’m so, so, so thankful for having started this podcast and for all your reviews and emails.
So if you haven’t left a review yet, I would appreciate it if you did. It means so much to me and I just want to let you know that I read all of them and I read your emails and I got this email from this woman who literally said the nicest things ever and just about how much I had changed her life and all this work. And it really, really was a moment for me that I was just so appreciative of because of course she’s the one who has changed her own life.
But as my, you know, career evolves and my business grows. I’m so thankful that I’m doing what I’m doing as the aid and as the coach and as the teacher to bring about that transformation. It is such an honor and such a privilege and I feel so grateful that I’ve made the hard decisions of quitting the jobs and you know, paying off the debt and doing all the hard things like it’s totally been worth it for me.
I feel really, really fortunate and blessed and all of the things. And that’s the perfect transition into me having a human brain just like you that defaults to thinking something is wrong. Have you ever noticed that your brain is constantly like scanning for something that is wrong? And I know this about you because you are a human and I’ve been studying the humans a lot lately and it’s been so fun.
I find that the more understanding I have about the human brain, first of all, just the more amazed I am at even being alive. But second of all, the more I enjoy my experience here and part of this is something that I want to teach you and it’s called something is wrong and it’s your brain thinking that something is wrong and it thinks this all the time.
So I like to use the analogy, I’ve talked about this before of your brain being like a computer, right? And it’s like has this programming and it is going to function on default unless you do something about it. And that default is everything from your childhood to what happened yesterday. To all of your experiences and what people have told you and whatever has happened in your past because your brain is forming these neuropathways and it’s making connections.
And from all of those things, your brain is functioning in a certain way, looking for evidence of what it already believes to be true, right? So if you want to have your brain have a different program running in it, you need to learn about what the computer that is your brain and reprogram it. And that’s like all the fun work that I love doing. And I hope that I bring it to you in a really, really simple way because I think that the simpler it is, the more useful it is and the more easily you can apply it to your life.
So I like to think about having a computer without Microsoft Word. Now I’m a Mac user because I like things simple and I’m not that techie and it’s really pretty and it doesn’t come with Microsoft Word of course. So I have to go and buy Microsoft Word and then when I have Microsoft Word, I also get all of these other programs. I get Excel and I get PowerPoint and I get to do all of these really cool things.
Specifically with PowerPoint, you get to do all of these cool things that you can’t do with the default program keynote that comes with Macs and the reason that this is important is because if I just tried to do everything I wanted to do with the default programming on my Mac and I didn’t invest in that Microsoft Office program, I wouldn’t be able to do the cool things that Microsoft PowerPoint can do.
Now I’m telling you this because it’s kind of like how your brain works. If you try to do the really cool things you see someone else do from your basic programming, you will struggle because you have not trained your mind to think differently. You have not put in a new software program into your brain, so whatever it is that you’re trying to do isn’t really going to work. You’re going to be met with resistance and it’s not going to be working the way that you want. So through this rewiring of your brain, you will be able to create the right program for the results that you want and the results that you want can be anything. Of course. So the default program that your brain is running is something is wrong. Okay, you may know this or you may now be thinking about it and think, Oh yeah, you’re right.
It really is like that. Why is this the case? Because it is wired for survival. So a lot of the books I’ve been reading lately have been talking about how your brain is wired for survival and this makes sense if you think about it, right? Your brain had to survive to get here, right? It’s so amazing that you’re even here, and I love this because it just makes me so much more appreciative of my life, but also it’s really interesting when you start to understand it, right? It’s like this was really, really great that your brain focused on surviving so that you could be here. And it’s really great for me to know that too. And for all of us, like we all come from brains that have survived. Part of that survival is the motivational triad. Your brain’s always looking for pleasure. It’s always trying to be efficient and it is always avoiding pain, right?
It’s always scanning for danger. It wants to avoid harm. Basically your brain just doesn’t want you to die, right? It’s gonna keep doing what it’s always done because it thinks that you will survive that way. And this actually makes a lot of sense. So I love it.
But when you think about modern society and you think about applying this kind of default programming to the way that we live now in air conditioning, and if you’re listening to this podcast, you probably have a decent life, right? Your brain scanning for what is wrong and trying to avoid anything that might cause emotional pain is not useful. That is a survival mechanism. You are not fighting off like the tigers and the bears. You are trying to figure out whether to quit your job and you are not going to die as a result of quitting your job or as a result of staying in your job.
Now the point here is that your brain is always going to be looking for what’s dangerous and it wants to avoid danger. Your brain is always scanning for what is wrong always and it’s just really, really good to know this and this is the opposite of happiness and abundance and love and satisfaction.
And I think knowing this is really important because we beat ourselves up. I want you to know that just satisfaction and happiness, if you haven’t programmed your mind to think that way, it’s not the default. Your brain’s natural state is going to scan for danger and to see if anything is wrong just because it wants to keep you alive. And it’s kind of interesting when you notice this and you learn all this, you can separate yourself from your brain and become the watcher as I call it. And it’s really useful because you can see that you are not your brain and then you can kind of like either tease your brain or have compassion for your brain or whatever the case may be.
You don’t have to make it mean so much and then when you can kind of rewire it and start to look for reasons to be happy and find contentment, you’re doing that from a place of creation and you’re going to have to be intentional about it because your survival brain is not doing that.
I talked about the four neurochemicals in the episode, Increasing Your happiness With Brain Chemicals and those were dopamine, serotonin, endorphin, and oxytocin. When you do something that promotes your survival, your brain gives you a hit of one of those four chemicals and it wants you to seek more of that. That’s the seeking pleasure part of the motivational triad and it’s very different in the world that we live in today because we are not eating blueberries. We’re eating blueberry pie, right? Everything is like condensed and it’s very, very different. So by understanding this, you can see that not eating the blueberry pie and feeling that discomfort is actually, you know, not that something has gone wrong, but you are living with a survival brain in modern society.
So if you notice this about yourself, congratulations, it means you have a human brain. And this is why we are always so negative or at least some of us, maybe more so than others. We are programmed to be that way. And that was super useful because you wouldn’t die if you were always looking for what is wrong.
Now, it’s useful today because we obviously want to be aware of real dangers and harm. You know, you want to be safe, you don’t want to go jump off a building or drink and drive or whatever the case may be. Avoid dark alleys like it is still useful. But what I hear from my students and what I coach people on is not those real physical dangers. It’s scanning for what is wrong in your day to day modern life inside your beautiful home. Okay? So what I see is that we’ve taken it way too far and from this place of awareness we can catch ourselves and decide what to do about it.
And the two main stories that I hear the most and that I think we all do is in thinking that there is something wrong with you and that there is something wrong with the world when you’re talking about, you know, whether there’s something wrong with you, you might think that you don’t look right or that you’re not smart enough or that you should be married or that you should have a better marriage or that you should have kids by now or that you know you should have a more fulfilling career or that you know you should be in a different job or you should have a more successful business. Whatever the case may be, your brain is like something is wrong with me. That’s like the one thought pattern. And then the other thought pattern is that something is wrong with everything outside of me.
And I just called that the world, something is wrong with the world. You know, I should have been invited, I should have had a different childhood. This shouldn’t be happening. He shouldn’t be the president. My husband shouldn’t yell, my kids should obey me, you know, there shouldn’t be this drama, they shouldn’t be sick. This, you know, shouldn’t have happened.
Whatever the case may be. It’s like your brain is scanning constantly for what is wrong with you and what is wrong with the world. And this is the like primitive some books call it like the mammal part of your brain. It’s that survival brain. And if you’re a student of mine or even on this podcast, I’ve talked a little bit about your most human part of your brain, which is your prefrontal cortex. And it’s the largest of all the animals. And it’s amazing because you can use it and think differently.
And it’s great news sort of. I say sort of because it’s like you can’t get rid of your primitive mammal brain and you really don’t want to, you do want to survive, but you don’t want it to work against you. So it’s like you want to talk to yourself and rewire your brain to optimize your life and your experience of your life from your prefrontal cortex while understanding and having compassion for the most human part of your brain.
I was coaching one of my clients not that long ago, and she was saying how she first sure just felt like everything was wrong. She should have been further along in her business and she for sure thinks that the life coaches have some different sort of brain where they’re not experiencing the same type of discomfort and fears that she was experiencing. And I coached her on this and brought attention to the fact that even the life coaches, the most successful and experienced of them have a human brain.
And remembering this is so helpful because it shows you that there is no place over there, there’s no person better than you, and there is no way for you to kind of escape this part of your brain. And that’s totally okay. I don’t think that that is the point. I think it’s okay that we’ll always be a little bit unsatisfied, right? Because there’s no point where we achieve it all. We don’t reach our potential. It’s always in the future, and I think when you just have this awareness that there is always more left and there’s always this part of you that’s unsatisfied and that searching for what has gone wrong, you can have compassion for yourself and you can understand that it is just your human brain and that doesn’t mean anything about your worthiness. I think some people, and I see some people do this where they think because they’re scanning for what’s wrong and that they notice that something’s wrong with them or they they think they’re noticing it, that makes them less worthy in some way, and you are 100% worthy.
You cannot do anything to be more or less worthy, right? You may have a low opinion of yourself, which is your confidence, but that doesn’t matter, right? You’re not damaged regardless of if you think you are or not, you are 100% whole as a human being. Everyone is. So there’s not a person who is better than you. And it also though means that while you’re 100% worthy, you’re imperfect, right? And we all are. So you’re as whole and as worthy as Oprah and as a baby and just like Oprah and just like that baby, you’re also human and you’re imperfect and you have a brain that is constantly scanning for what is wrong because it’s a survival brain. And that is okay when you sort of let go of trying to control everything outside of you and make it perfect and stop trying to control you, know yourself and think that you are going to be perfect.
You can enjoy your experience so much more. And that’s the whole point of doing this work and rewiring your brain and getting the right program in there. It’s so that you can bring consciousness and awareness to what’s going on and so that you can improve your experience while you’re alive. And when you live from these elevated emotions from love and from your prefrontal cortex, everything is just better. And it doesn’t mean that you don’t have the contrast in life, the problems, the negative emotions, but it means that you don’t them steal your joy and that something is better over there. I see that a lot. Uh, one of my clients for sure thinks that her business should be something it’s not. And it’s funny because when I started working with her, she barely had a business at all.
And it’s so interesting because she has made more progress in the last six months than I can even tell you, it is amazing to see this woman work. And I, uh, it takes a lot for me to say that. And it’s so fascinating though, and I’m not surprised by this, right, that she is looking for what is wrong.
And I have to constantly remind her to direct her brain to what is right and to notice all of that progress. She is still the same person with the same brain. So what was wrong six months ago was that she didn’t really have a business. She wasn’t making any money. Her husband wasn’t supporting her, you know all the things that were wrong. And now six months later she’s making money. Her husband’s supporting her. She’s got tons of clients, right? But guess what? Her brain is still the same brain and it’s still scanning for all the things that are wrong, right?
And it doesn’t mean that you don’t grow but and want to set goals, but it means that you do it from a place of having fun and just to do it not because you think that over there your brain is going to stop being the same brain scanning for what is wrong. I promise you it is always going to do that.
You cannot escape yourself or your survival brain. So I want to give you two steps to use daily and kind of work with yourself and your brain so that you can do this work a little bit deeper from what I’m teaching you today, which is the rewiring of the something is wrong software program in your brain.
And the first step is to notice whenever your brain thinks something is wrong, it’s going to either think something is wrong with me or something is wrong with the world. So step one is just to notice. So let’s say you’re not invited somewhere and you immediately think something is wrong. I want you to notice this and separate yourself from your thought. Something is wrong. I should have been invited, right? That’s the first step. And just pay attention to how often you’re doing this. You might do this with things you see on the news. You might do this at work, you might do this with your family, and then you’re probably going to do it with yourself. And notice how much you do that with yourself.
Notice if you are constantly looking for what is wrong with you and just start to pay attention to it. And then from there you can decide what to do if anything. So step one is to notice whenever your brain thinks something is wrong.
And step two is to ask yourself some questions. First, ask yourself, is something actually wrong? Then I want you to ask yourself, can you be absolutely sure that something is wrong? It’s so funny because a lot of times when you answer the question is something actually wrong, you will answer yes, and then when you ask the question, can you be absolutely sure something is wrong? You’ll answer no. And that’s so funny to me how our brain does this. We’re like, yes, something’s for sure wrong. And then when we dig a little deeper, we’re like, Whoa, maybe something’s actually not wrong, so is something actually wrong? And then how can we be so sure?
The third question is now what? Okay, or so what and what this does for you in this third question, it’s really open ended on purpose. It’s telling you and inviting you to decide what you want to do. How do you want to solve this problem?
Do you want to think differently? Why is it a problem? Something is wrong and that’s okay, right? Or nothing is wrong and I want to think differently or this is actually a problem I can solve and now I’m going to solve it. What I notice though is that we are on default thinking that something is wrong because that’s our programming and we are not doing anything about it. So like I said with my client, she has progressed so much in her business, but she has the same brain that is doing the exact same thing it did six months ago and she’s not noticing that her brain is constantly scanning for what is wrong with her and what is wrong with her business and her life. And it’s causing a little bit of unnecessary suffering because while she’s not going to get rid of that completely, she can for sure do it a little bit less.
She can for sure notice that, wait, actually nothing is wrong. This is the journey. Everything is happening exactly how it’s supposed to happen. And I want to be this amazing supportive wife and business owner through this time where I grow my business from the beginning and I’m failing and it’s fun and it’s hard and that’s okay. Right? So she can decide what to think.
And that’s for her to decide, not for me to decide for her, but there’s so much more empowerment and there’s so much more awareness from the place of noticing that that’s the default of your brain and that it’s not actually that something is wrong or that you know you’re wrong or the world is wrong. So I want you to use these two steps in your daily practice. Notice whenever your brain thinks something is wrong and then ask those questions, is it actually wrong?
Can you be absolutely sure it’s wrong? And then now what are, so what. The point of this work is so that you can experience life from abundance in a better way. And I want that for you and I know that it’s possible. So if you are just getting started with me, head on over to NatalieBacon.com/apply and you can apply to Grow You, which is the coaching program that is out now and we are taking this work so much deeper. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to see you in there. Have an amazing week.
Thank you for listening to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. Subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episodes sent directly to you. To learn more about designing your dream life visit NatalieBacon.com.