Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself Summary
10 min read ⌚
How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One
Tired of being yourself?
What if there was a way to reinvent yourself from scratch?
And what if you already know this way intuitively, and have already mastered it, but in the wrong departments?
Let Dr. Joe Dispenza explain you the rest.
And start Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself today!
Who Should Read “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”? And Why?
Let’s face it: no matter who you are, your life has almost certainly been plagued by bad habits ever since you were a child. And since this is a book about how to break them – then it is undoubtedly a book recommendable to just about anyone.
However, we feel that we need to warn you straight from the start about a couple of things.
First of all, Dispenza’s book references many scientific concepts from different fields, so be prepared to grapple with some light neurobiology and quantum physics if you want to embark on this journey of self-remodeling with Dr. Dispenza.
Even so, Dispenza’s basic premise (the reversal of the thinking/doing relation) is not exactly widely accepted as a scientific fact. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that his methods wouldn’t work; it merely means that they might have been explained away here in a challengeable way.
By the way, if you want a book about habits most scientists approve of, then check out Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit.
About Dr. Joe Dispenza
Dr. Joe Dispenza is a chiropractor, educator, lecturer and New York Times bestselling author. He also holds degrees in biochemistry and neuroscience.
He is the author of several books dealing with health and wellbeing, most of them published by Hay House. In his 2014 book, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter, he explores human’s ability to heal without surgery or drugs but through thought alone.
He builds upon this notion in Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One, Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind and Becoming Supernatural.
Find out more at www.drjoedispenza.com
“Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself PDF Summary”
At one point during their beautiful correspondence, René Descartes writes to Elisabeth, Princess of Bohemia, that thinking people are capable of being unhappy regardless of how happy their circumstances actually are.
In other words, even if everything is going your way, your mind can still bother with things such as why someone else – even someone you don’t really know – is feeling bad at the same moment; and, thus, still cause you genuinely pain and unhappiness.
Even though the above is an undeniable fact – we’re sure you’ve gone through similar feelings at some point in your life – we seem incapable of grasping its real implications.
Namely, if your brain can make you feel unhappy even though you should objectively be happy, why shouldn’t the reverse be true as well?
Or to rephrase that in the form of a question Dr. Joe Dispenza poses: “Can you accept the notion that once you change your internal state, you don’t need the external world to provide you with a reason to feel joy, gratitude, appreciation, or any other elevated emotion?”
If not – stay with us.
We’re about to explain to you why you should.
Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life… Because of Quantum Physics
Yes, that’s the title of a Brian Tracy book.
But it’s also the main idea of Dispenza’s book. And the author digs deep to explain it. So, we guess we have to do the same as well.
Now, we’ve already mentioned quantum physics before, but the only thing we had the time to point out to you back then was how strange and bizarre it is. And we summed up this strangeness in a single sentence: “Believe it or not, quantum particles assume characteristics only when observed!”
Well, this is what attracted Dispenza’s attention the most. And the best way to demonstrate what it could mean in practical terms is by using a thought experiment.
The Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment.
Now, the science behind its weird consequences is unquestionable. And it boils down to this: a quantum system – say, an atom or a photon – can exist in multiple mutually exclusive states at one single moment. This is called quantum superposition, and it’s bizarre to even think about in theory.
And yet – it works in practice as well. That’s why we can have such a thing as a quantum computer, in fact; unlike regular computers which transfer information in terms of bits, quantum computers transfer it in terms of qubits. And unlike bits which can be either in the state of 1 or in the state of 0, qubits can be in a superimposed state, that is, a 10 or 01!
Back to our cat.
If we put it in a box with an object that emits radioactive waves, undoubtedly at some point it would die. However, quantum physics suggest that until we open the box, we must assume that it is both alive and dead.
Because the cat too is built of atoms. And that’s how quantum superposition works!
The Potential You’ll Be That You’ll Never See
Now, that’s a line from an Elliott Smith song.
But it’s also something Dispenza firmly believes in – and wants you to understand it!
If you still have problems understanding the experiment above, allow us to help you a bit: matter may not be as definitive as we thought a century ago. It seems that everything behaves as both a particle and a wave.
It is our scientific observations which allow us to fix things into more permanent forms – i.e., change their state from waves to particles (something called, the wave function collapse). As strange as this sounds, most scientists think this interpretation of quantum mechanics – called the Copenhagen Interpretation – is our best guess at how the universe works.
If you think that’s strange, wait till you hear how SF its consequences sound!
We don’t have time to explain this in detail, but in brief: if something can be in superposition of all its possible states at once and if it is our observation which reduces the superposition to a single state, and, finally, if it is true that information mustn’t be lost, then there is an infinite number of parallel universes (a many-worlds multiverse) across which practically everything has already happened, is happening or will happen!
What does this mean in more practical you-related terms?
Well, that our universe hides the potential of every single reality imaginable. It is through our observations that we reduce this potential to a single reality. And since our observations come from our brains, then basically our unhappiness is the product of our wrong thinking.
Change your thinking, change your life isn’t merely a metaphor.
It’s literally what may be happening every single second.
Live Out Your Desires in the Present
“Whether you think you can,” noted Henry Ford once, “or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
We believe we already made a case why Ford would think that.
Some of the greatest scientists alive believe that it is entirely possible that we are living in a “universal choose-your-own-adventure” narrative!
The difference between our lives and choose-your-own-adventure books, however, is that in the latter case, you can always go back to the branching page and choose once again to experience the other adventure.
However, life doesn’t work that way: every choice you make leads to an irreversible outcome which leads to another decision, and so on and so forth.
There are no undos in life.
However, as many books have taught you by now, there are dreams and fantasies and creative visualizations.
Well, Dispenza has a message for them all:
The quantum field responds not to what we want; it responds to who we are being.
In other words, thinking isn’t enough. (If it was, Rachel Hollis would have probably married Matt Damon.)
Thinking is merely the starting point of the process of reducing all of your possible realities to the one you want to live in. However, if you want to make your desired reality real, well, do precisely that. Namely start acting as if you are already living inside your visualizations.
But that’s something biology and neuroscience can probably explain much better.
Your Three Brains
Thinking happens in the first of your three brains: the Neocortex. The Limbic brain is the second one – that one’s responsible for your emotions. Finally, the third one is the cerebellum, responsible for your habits and your behaviors.
These three brains are interrelated, so you can’t change anything if you use only one of them. You need to force them to communicate so you can translate your thoughts into genuine emotions and actions and your actions into your character.
Here’s how it works in practice!
Say you want to become a more courageous person.
The first step is to activate your neocortex. Meaning: you need to find yourself a model – or, even better, models – and study their actions. You want to be a Maya Angelou or a Winston Churchill? Read about them and teach your neocortex what they did to become who they are.
Then, it’s time to put your Limbic brain into action. When a situation arises which demands bravery, willingly force your body to act the way you tried teaching yourself is the best one.
Now that your body has acquired an understanding of bravery, it will be easy to repeat the action you’ve already done once in the next similar circumstance. After all, they don’t say for nothing that the first time is the toughest.
Do a thing two or three times, and you can be sure that your cerebellum has registered it as a part of your character.
Meaning: you’ve successfully gone through the process of becoming who you want to be!
Key Lessons from “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”
1. Become Who You Want to Be – From Brain Cell to Gene
2. Don’t Play Out Your Past Memories – Live Through Your Future Fantasies Instead
3. Learn How to Bridge the Identity Gap and Be Happy
Become Who You Want to Be – From Brain Cell to Gene
“The latest research,” writes Dr. John Dispenza, “supports the notion that we have a natural ability to change the brain and body by thought alone so that it looks biologically like some future event has already happened. Because you can make thought more real than anything else, you can change who you are from brain cell to gene, given the right understanding.”
In other words, science has all but proven the truth of an old adage: “Watch your thoughts, they become words, watch your words, they become actions, watch your actions, they become habits, watch your habits, they become character, watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
You can find that quote in numerous different versions, but the link is always the same: it starts with thoughts; it ends with character and destiny!
Don’t Play Out Your Past Memories – Live Through Your Future Fantasies Instead
The reason why you are more than your genes is your brain; and, unsurprisingly, your brain can affect your genes.
In fact, it does precisely that even as you’re reading this article. However, the problem is that you are not exactly using its full potential, basically limiting yourself to being what your past has nonchalantly taught you without your intervention.
Think about it this way: you won’t change if you are living out your memories. Because that’s exactly who you are in the first place.
But you can change if you are living out your fantasies. Because that’s who you want to become in the future.
Or, in the words of Dispenza:
When you think from your past memories, you can only create past experiences. As all of the ‘knowns’ in your life cause your brain to think and feel in familiar ways, thus creating knowable outcomes, you continually reaffirm your life as you know it. And since your brain is equal to your environment, then each morning, your senses plug you into the same reality and initiate the same stream of consciousness… If you want a new outcome, you will have to break the habit of being yourself, and reinvent a new self.
Learn How to Bridge the Identity Gap and Be Happy
Now, be aware that becoming who you want to be doesn’t mean that you’ll end up being happy. There are people who have perfect lives and, yet, they struggle. According to Dispenza, the reason for this is because they are not exactly themselves.
Because who you are is at least two people to start with; how you see yourself and how others see you. This is the identity gap everyone has to deal with on a daily basis.
You can only be happy if you bridge the gap; that is, if others start seeing you the way you see yourself.
You can do that using some of the methods above.
Dispenza also offers a shortcut: meditation.
Because meditating, as he explains, is “a means for you to move beyond your analytical mind so that you can access your subconscious mind. That’s crucial, since the subconscious is where all your bad habits and behaviors that you want to change reside.”
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“Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself Quotes”A memory without the emotional charge is called wisdom. Click To Tweet We should never wait for science to give us permission to do the uncommon; if we do, then we are turning science into another religion. Click To Tweet Warning: when feelings become the means of thinking, or if we cannot think greater than how we feel, we can never change. To change is to think greater than how we feel. To change is to act greater than the familiar feelings of the… Click To Tweet Think of it this way: the input remains the same, so the output has to remain the same. How, then, can you ever create anything new? Click To Tweet The point is, true happiness has nothing to do with pleasure, because the reliance on feeling good from such intensely stimulating things only moves us further from real joy. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself is a unique way of linking your habits and your happiness with neuroscience and quantum physics. We are not experts enough to know how much of it actually holds water.
But we do know people who are happy with the results of putting in practice some of its advices. So, if you are like us: ignore the science; but try the exercises.
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Emir is the Head of International and SEO at 12Min. In his spare time, he loves to meditate and play soccer.