Personal transformation is all about “crossing the river of change” as Joe Dispenza points out in his book You Are The Placebo.

I was reflecting on change while reading a little neurobiology, which is certain to be a regular activity in the coming years of my life. Being on a search to find scientific knowledge and confirm my “truth” of how energy affects our core (authentic self) so that we can reach and stay as long as possible in the “Thrive Zone”, I found myself captured by the thought of why change from the inside-out is the only way to create a sustainable life of joy and happiness. 

Dear reader of my thoughts, perhaps you have heard already that you need to change your thoughts in order to change your reality. In what way do we mean that? We mean that our unconscious thinking patterns, which we have “learned” over the years through personal experience, shape the emotions we experience when going through life, and affect our actions. And it is all repeating again and again.

How easy is to change your “thought patterns”? It is not easy at all. I have observed with myself and my clients that effective inner transformation takes at least six months to a year. Why is that? We have well-trodden neural pathways which we have been strengthening over the years by thinking the same thoughts again and again, which creates the same reality. And this process has its biological manifestation. 

From a scientific perspective, a well-trodden neural pathway means that “the connections between neurones become more glued together, additional circuits are formed and the branches actually expand and become physically thicker.” (Joe Dispenza, You Are The Placebo)

Our experiences shape our biology. “We create the same brain activity, which activates the same brain circuit and reproduces the same brain chemistry, which affects your body chemistry in the same way. And that same chemistry signals the same genes in the same ways. And that same gene expression creates the same proteins, the building blocks of cells, which keep the body the same. And since the expression of proteins is the expression of life or health, your life and your health stay the same.” (Joe Dispenza, You Are The Placebo)

What should we make of this? It is very complex and yet it is a simple scientifically proven truth. But so what?

As a thrive coach, who observes and facilitates personal transformation on a daily basis, I can say two things:

1)  Change (personal transformation) requires strong motivation, engagement and effort (measured in terms of persistent action)

2)  Change equals practice and facilitated support in a safe and confidential environment

I keep on asking myself:

1)  Why is thinking new thoughts the key to change (personal transformation)?

2)  What comes first – thought or emotion?

Being a researcher embarking on a quest which has only just started, I search endlessly for answers. And it is a fascinating journey. What I feel like sharing with you is a big question my clients and others I talk to ask me repeatedly.

“How can I make the transformation?” There isn’t a simple answer to this question as I believe that each one of us is a small, unique universe. And we are always curious about the process (which is very normal). We want to act now, ideally based on a prescription, which is proven to work well, and see the results as soon as possible. No wonder why. We live in a fast-paced, “stressful” environment and we need quick solutions that deliver immediate results that can be measured materially.

My clients’ biggest challenge is to slow their lives down so that they can look within and start getting in touch with their true selves.

How realistic is to have the “transformational formula” right now?

I usually challenge the amazing people I work with with two empowering questions:

1)  Why do you want to change? (what was the trigger for your desire to make a personal transformation)

2)  What do you really want to change? (the clarity of the goal – the state of being you want to reach in time)

Going back to the question of “Why is thinking new thoughts the key to personal transformation?” I am sharing the scientific perspective. “Research shows that as we use our brains, the growth and change happens thanks to neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to adapt and change when we learn new information.” (Joe Dispenza, You Are The Placebo)

We have all heard the expression “think outside the box”. The box of course is imaginary and represents our habitual thinking patterns, hence the usual way we experience “reality.” I would say that experience is essential for shaping the brain, because it serves to create the whole palette of emotions we feel. This has its biological imprint through the effect of neurotransmitters. We all know how negative emotions drain our bodies and we feel it physically. We also know how positive emotions make us feel free and light. There is this sense of expansion and a limitless ability to create.

“Whenever you make your brain work differently, you are literally changing your mind.”

The cost of personal transformation is feeling discomfort. I would say that feeling discomfort is a beautiful experience, as paradoxical as it may sound. While only mothers can resonate with this example, I would compare it to the experience of discomfort while giving birth to a child. It is a new life, a new opportunity to feel happy and fulfilled. And once we have decided to make a change and we go through the discomfort, we know we have stepped into the river of change. This is a step into a void of the unknown. “The gap between the old self and the new self is the biological death of your old personality.”

“The unknown is the only place where you can create – you cannot create anything new from the known.”

I ask you: how willing are you to cross your own river of change?

— Originally published on May 17, 2018 on Thrive Global (