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Ep. 96 Motivation and the Brain

by Claudine Sweeney
September 29th 2021

When we go after any goal in our life, career or wellness, many times we get tired or fed up when we aren't reaching the results we desire. Why is this? Motivation. Today, we break down for you a k... More

This is episode 96, the motivational triad, you're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life, So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright, This is the Rise up and Shine podcast, Welcome back everybody, we're glad you are here with us here on Rise up and Shine. We talk a lot about goals and the motivations and things to help us rise up and shine. I'm going to share a passage that the apostle paul shared, I don't understand what I do, I don't do what I want to do instead, I do what I don't want to do, anyone else ever feel like this.

Ashleigh doesn't think it's a fun tongue twister. Yes, it was a tongue twister, but today we're going to talk about something called the motivational triad, which a lot of us probably aren't aware of and it's really what's kind of running us from underneath the subconscious and it's great to bring awareness to this just so that we can make changes that we can really understand why we do things that we don't want to do and why we don't do the things we do want to do because that's all of us Well and I know we're all familiar with that iceberg for right, 90% of Us. Yeah, subconscious, right, right. We only are aware of 10%. So this is huge because this helps bring the awareness which we don't have training in that, right? Like our parents, our teachers taught us how to be aware of your thoughts, your feelings and you didn't get that. No, I didn't, I didn't. Now it seems like they're starting to be a little, you know, take it more initiative on that schools, which I love. But yeah, this is such an amazing concept because it helps bring about more awareness.

So that way we can decide, oh wow, like I have a little bit more power over you know how I live my life basically and what I'm thinking or feeling. And so this is this is going to be great. Yes. So when we were first created way back our lives were very different, right? We're leaving, we were living in caves and trying to stay clear of the man eating tigers. There were many obstacles. And so are primitive brains are wired for survival. So in that there are three things that the primitive brain really works at. Its first is seeking pleasure. The second is avoiding pain and the third is conserved energy and of course those things all make sense. I mean food was an abundant, you couldn't just go to the grocery store and get whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. So when they tasted something that was pleasing, the brain was wired to find that because it meant survival, avoid pain being eaten or bitten by a tiger is painful. So the brain is wired to avoid pain.

Of course today that looks very different for us. We're not escaping wild animals roaming in the streets. So um, we don't need that one as much and then conserve energy. Of course we needed to conserve energy to survive because you never knew when you were going to face a man eating tiger or when you're going to find food, you had to exert a lot of energy to go find food which you needed for survival. But this has been really interesting when I learned this and I learned it quite a while ago really helped me understand my brain and how its function and I can tell you, I'm, I'm motivated by all three of those. Like I love to seek pleasure. In fact a lot of my eating a lot of my eating is for pleasure, not hunger. I'm like this is going to be so I'm not even hungry, but I'm like, but it tastes so good and I feel so good, right? And avoid pain. It may be why I avoid the gym even though I know I know the pain will be short lived like my prefrontal cortex is developed enough to understand that working out is good for me, but in the short term I just don't want to feel the pain really, I really don't and conserve energy.

Another big one for me, like I might be really busy tomorrow, so I should probably take it easy today, but my busy days aren't for survival. So really these motivations which were for our early survival, we've all survived, we're in a different time and place and so that awareness just helps us to live differently and make different choices, right? And survival is very different now, right? I mean you think about it, it's exactly what you said, we don't have to really be cautious of wild animals or were starving, I mean at least in this country. Um, but yeah, it's really important to understand that so much of our beliefs about ourselves about how the world works is so tighten with this motivational triad, how we function. And also it's like I said, even the awareness, you know, if we have a lack of awareness, we're just going on default. So many of us do feel like I'm just surviving, I'm trying to survive life and but rather we would want to thrive.

We want to drive, we want to rise up and shine and feel are best and be our best and and show up for others at our best, right? And we do have that strong desire. We just don't always know how to get there and this is so huge because it makes us conscious about, wow, this is what I'm doing. Like I know when I went through my big transformation and I learned this, wow, there's so much of my life that I didn't realize I had power over, right? Like I said, it's autopilot, default, it's such a default way of being and just surviving that I can choose differently. Yeah, I can live my life differently if I want, or I could just keep going about the way I'm doing it now, I didn't feel good, right? Both you and I went through anxiety, depression, we've gone through our own counseling or marriage counseling and you know, there were a lot of challenges in life and we just try to survive. But that old way of our conditioning, when you think about it, it's how we've been conditioned, our neural pathways have been formed, it is default, but the beauty is like we said, we have neural plasticity, we can change our brains can change.

That is one of the most amazing gifts I feel God has given us And it was his design, he knew this, he knew life wasn't going to be the same as it is now as it was then and it's not going to be the same 100 years from now, right? So it's really important to think, Gosh, I need to kind of I can create my life the way I want, you know, I can live my best life really here on earth, we can do that, it's powerful and for me too is a christian woman, I mean I read my scriptures on like this is the life I want to live, this is how I want to show up, like you were saying, I was show up as a person that always loves and always forgives and all these things. I remember in the early years when we first started coming around, um we had a huge um push towards evangelism and I remember there was a phase where a group of us, all the groups were going out to door knock and I remember to me, every part of me was resisting that, like I could read it, you know, go make disciples of all nations, but I didn't, like every part of me was like, no, don't do that. Well, now that I know this, I'm like, well of course my brain, my primitive brain wanted to avoid pain.

I don't particularly find it very pleasure fel to go knock on doors of strangers. That is not where I find pleasure, but it could be very painful if there's rejection, right? So I get it now, it was like, it was so confusing to me, why is this so hard for me? Other people, they were great, maybe they can withstand rejection, but for me, rejection is pain. So my primitive brain was like, we're not going to do this because it will create a lot of pain for you and you know, use a lot of energy to because you're walking, but actually then I was in my twenties, so I was fine with that, but there's so many things I want to do, but there is that part of me that wrestles inside and understanding that my brain is probably motivated by these three things is so helpful, like you said to override to create new thoughts, new neural pathways to overcome the more primitive brain mechanisms Well, and I think you and I both have experienced that. Well, this is just the way our life is like that's all there is, you know, and I know we both and speak with many other people who have shared, is this all that there is to life.

And I think about even that scripture, you know, we know John 10 10 and I found this version is the good news translation and I really like how it's worded, it says I have come, jesus, I have come in order that you might have life life in all its fullest. And we think about, gosh, there's gotta be more to life. I think most of us have thought that at one or another and what keeps us from feeling that from living life to its fullest is are these things are these things that are in our unconscious brain that were totally unaware of and so when we find that we have power, so second timothy 17, many of us who are familiar with the bible have heard the scripture over and over for we do not have a spirit of fear but of power, Love and sound mine? And I love that because we do we have the power, right? God has given us power and that we can change certain ways, certain ways of being, certain ways of thinking feeling. And we can intentionally choose tonight.

That's going to better suit us, right? And that's a little bit more relatable to today, citing today. Obviously there is some sort of survival out there, right? I mean, but what happened is that are you know, going back into childhood is our survival quote unquote. Um really carried us into adulthood and now when we look back it could be holding us back, you know, it could be holding us back still from living life to the fullest being who we really want to be. Um and so now it's time well let's let's change something, right? I've grown up, my brain is now fully developed, right? I have that prefrontal cortex um and we can change. Yeah, we can make changes. Yeah. And it's interesting, I mean, for me to have that awareness has helped me show up in a fuller sense of myself and show a better of how I want to be. I remember recently I had a group of women over and every part of me had been a long day and every part of me just wanted to go on the couch and watch tv.

I wanted to conserve energy and seek pleasure. I mean every part of me. I was like why did I plan it for tonight? Why? You know all these things. Although it was a great idea and I really wanted to do it. There was that party that was kicking in but I'm like no, that's just your primitive brain, your higher self, your better self, your loving self chose to invite a group of women over for dinner and it's all going to be okay. And I had to just keep telling myself, but every part of me was like I just want to curl up on the couch and watch tv by myself with my dog. But understanding this just helps me and that's one of the practical XYZ to not judge yourself because in the past I could really go there like what's wrong with me? Why would I even have those thoughts like that's so sinful, that's so wrong. Like I should always be serving and giving. But understanding that it's the primitive part of my brain that's trying to protect me and help me survive. It's like, oh there it is and be comfortable Yeah, there it is kicking it again, it's okay, it's fine.

My higher self wants something better. So one of the things that I really learned about myself and I think many of us do this is well I don't feel like it after my kids all the time. And I realized that that was my way of being motivated to do or not do, it was to not do things conserve energy, conserve energy. It's a tiger might become running, I will have to be able to run. You know, it's even for one of the things was not just, I mean anything like well I don't feel like exercising right now or I don't feel like eating the salad, I really just want to veg out of chips or I don't feel like dealing with my kids right now because they're really grumpy or I don't feel like sitting on the couch with my husband because he's really grumpy. A lot of it is just okay survival, you know, just be just protect yourself and it's no, because what happens is you just get in a rut right, in a right that it's not going to help anything, it doesn't benefit and that's one of the biggest questions to ask.

Does this way of being for me benefit my life, Does it serve me in any way? And it used to write it you sure? But now we've gotten to a place where we feel just kind of unhappy or we just don't feel good or Yeah, I feel stuck, it's important to understand this because we can keep ourselves from experience experiencing some amazing things in life and so especially when you think about avoiding pain. Well that is fear based, right? So we might not want to reach out and make a new friend with this person, right? Maybe we're interested in befriending or trying a new relationship or trying out for a job interviewing for a job or going to the gym, going to the gym for some people skydiving, trying new foods, whatever it may be. It's like we just want to be safe, we want to be comfortable, we want to feel good and it keeps us from a lot of amazing life experiences when you think about it.

Well, it's interesting to me because I think about the scripture that talks about denying yourself and I think for us in this modern world a lot of times when we deny ourselves, that's painful. I think about our food, like you brought up, I mean, it's hard to choose a salad over. I don't know, french fries. I mean honestly our ice cream the other night, I was at a workshop last week and one evening for dinner, one of the women, I admit she and I decided to go have ice cream for dinner. There was this place, it was walking distance and it was all written up and I looked and I go I was thinking the exact same thing. In fact, here's the hours it's open, so and that's what I did and it was fine. It was balanced, but denying ourselves can be painful, right? With money sometimes. You know, you just want to buy something new, but it's not the wisest choice, but if we did not right, I feel like it based off our feelings. We do. Yeah, I do fall into a little bit of trouble.

Yes. Whereas denying self as can be painful and uncomfortable and yet that is where we get the greatest reward. But our primitive brains, like you don't want to do that because we focus on instant gratification we want to do right now this minute, but we don't always think about long term, long term benefit of this. Is there a benefit or like, you know, not exercising or eating ice cream or you know, whatever it is, but we tend to deny ourselves feels like, gosh, that's that's miserable. I don't find myself it's hard at times. I want to be happy. I want to enjoy life. Pleasure seek pleasure. But really that's just instant gratification. I think usually when a lot of us veg out on chips or netflix or ice cream, we feel good momentarily at the same time, we all wake up in the morning, maybe our stomachs all jacked up. We don't feel good or feel ashamed. Like, man, I was really trying to watch my weight or you know, and then you end up feeling worse later than you actually did in the moment.

Well that's why we need to talk about the subconscious motivation versus the conscious because consciously we know the good we ought to do right, We know what we want to do. Like paul said, I know what I want to do, but I don't do it, I keep doing what I don't want to do, right? That's the subconscious because a conscious can plan, the prefrontal cortex can make decisions and has judgment like this is better and all of that. But the subconscious is more primitive, It's more primeval. No, we're just gonna do this right now because it's for the best for you, but it's not. And so that's the hard part. Yeah, that's self denial. That delayed gratification. None of it is easy. But if we really want to have a full life who really want to show up as our best selves, that's where the work is, It takes intention, it takes intention and it takes time and it's really an awareness again of what do you want your life look like? Who do you want to be right? How do you want to feel? And that's more long term thinking, that's the overall picture, right? That's a bigger picture. We all try to focus on the big picture, right?

Well, it's easier said than done, but it's possible and it takes being intentional, you know, being intentional in your choices and what you think even a lot of your beliefs well in so many of us as christian women, we really want to live out the scriptures, but like you said easier said than done, right? It's really easy to read it, but when you look at love one another. I mean, that's actually really hard to do it, it can have pain. It doesn't conserve energy. It might not be pleasurable in beginning to love one another to really love people in a way different than the world shows us. I think for me personally the christian life is a challenge because it's so against the grain of what the world teaches us. And again we have that that subconscious fight with you know, don't don't go after paying, conserve energy, seek pleasure. It makes it difficult to really live it out, but we've made a decision, you know, I made it 30 plus years ago jesus lord and this is the way I'm going to live my life and having this understanding gives me this awareness like okay, it's not I have a bad heart, I'm not selfish, there's nothing wrong with me as a christian, I'm not doing this wrong, I'm not broken.

I'm not all the things we want to label ourselves. It's like no this is my just primitive. But yeah, yeah, this is just me. It's your primitive brain and you can override it. God has given you a really smart higher self brain use that and as much as it feels like truth, it's not it's right from God. We read earlier. God wants us to live life to its fullest right. He wants us to be our best here and that was one of his great gifts. You know what, jesus coming. That's why I came. So we can have peace and freedom, not shame and guilt and just unhappiness. Be miserable your whole life. But we can we label ourselves, we let ourselves label ourselves based off of those beliefs that we found for our survival. And it's important to recognize that because he realized, okay, it's not serving me anymore. Maybe stuck, It helps me for so long right now. It's just keeping me stuck. Now let's try something new. Let's try something different. Right? And how many of us want to avoid challenges When we say, oh my gosh, life is so hard right now.

There's so many tough things legitimately are right now. There's a lot of stuff going on in the world. You know the vaccine politics, the racial politics fires, fires, oh my gosh, hail and brimstone feels like but we don't want to go through hard times. We try at all costs to avoid any kind, right, avoiding pain. We try to avoid. But think of that scripture and James, right? James one to consider it pure joy Brothers and sisters. When you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance and let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. It is not saying let perseverance finish its work so you could be comfortable, it's safe, right? Not having an abundance of energy. Yeah, abundance of energy. But it's really for the big picture, right?

You will be so much happier about yourself and feel so much more confident and you know, when we get when we really understand this idea, um, I also wanted to say to, so going through each one choose to accept the pain as well as the good, right? The hard times that come, except it acceptance is huge because there is so much so and that goes in any area of life, right? We try to avoid it, but make an intentional choice to embrace the pain and let it teach you, right? Let it let it teach you something. What can I learn from this hard thing that I'm going through. So true. And then the next one embrace discomfort. That is a hard one. I know, especially as being a co dependent, right? And when anybody else has a negative mood or is grumpy or just seems irritable, it's really triggering for me and I feel a lot of anxiety and even when my kids are Getting into arguments or fighting me, I mean, how dare they not obey me?

100% of the time I really get triggered and it's hard for me. It was always so hard for me to be around someone if they're not in a good mood and pain. Pain point, I had to realize that's not realistic and I know may I have had many conversations with friends with clients that it is uncomfortable to be around other people, I think that's a pretty human nature, right? We would be, it's very natural and normal, but to allow it, allow get comfortable in the discomfort, be comfortable there, it's okay, it's important. Um and also what happens is we will keep ourselves back from new challenges, new goals, right? We have a hard time challenging ourselves because it's hard, it's uncomfortable, you're going to do it and then the last one is choose a new way of thinking, right? Great new thoughts create your new neural pathways that goes into renewing your mind that be transformed by the renewing of your mind because really it's going to benefit you, it's going to benefit you and everybody that comes around you.

Those are some great points. I love that it's like weaving in the negative with the positive, giving the flip side of it. And we've kind of woven are practical as in so I'll just recap them. I mean, those were great. I love those just having that mindset of the opposite, you know, build up the opposite of what the primitive brains trying to do, but the primitive brain is trying to do, but we talked about awareness, just being aware like it's not about you, it could be just your primitive brain, your subconscious that is, you know, making you do these things you don't want to do or not doing the things you want to do. So I have an awareness and then be curious about it not judgmental. Like I look at myself and when I'm starting to do something I don't want to do or you know, not do what I do what I do. I'm like, oh, that's interesting. Why am I thinking that? Where am I what's going on? And I get curious about myself. I've learned so much about myself doing this and not judgmental. I used to be so judgmental myself. I mean we've done a lot of podcasts on the mean girl and the negative voice and the, you know, changing our mindsets, but I'd be so judgmental of myself like, oh, you're not a very good christian, oh yourself to show your this.

And then instead now it's like, that's interesting. I wonder why I did do that. Like, you know, I, I have done a lot of this thinking about why did I start this closet project when? What? Like what was going on? Yeah, everybody, everybody is wondering that and I'm like by myself while my husband's out of town physical labor, I am not avoiding pain. I think I will have some pleasure when this is done and I'm definitely not conserving energy. But anyway and be curious, not judgmental and lastly like you said, use your pre final cortex make new thoughts, you know, and again the scriptures help you and I to choose the thoughts we want to choose and then really train develop new neural pathways that are in line with that. Exactly, and it is a training just, it's practice, it's training its intention and it takes time, it's not going to be easy, I'm going to break that to you listeners out there, it seems like, wow, that's such a great idea, that's amazing, you might feel that spark inside right now, but the motivation as you are trying this new venture, as you know, I'm going to be more adamant in doing this and being aware and making different choices consciously, there will be more resistance that comes because you do have to retrain your brain, you know, I mean I tell the kids, your training your brain right, how to train your brain and it will, but its so rewarding when you start feeling, you know, when you're feeling more of what you intellectually, you know, that's letting your heart catch up with your, with your mind, you're rising up and shining Exactly and wow, it really builds your confidence.

I remember when I went through this and I just gosh, I can intentionally choose something that's going to benefit me and serve me that you know, is better in the long run and I just feel better, this is the life, I remember pointing out one time when I was at my worst before my transformation, I like to call it um I felt like it really is this all, there is, this is this is not how I want to be, living my life, I just do not feel good and I had the quote unquote dream life, but when I decide, wow, I can actually intentionally, I have power to you know, really create a life that I want and we'll enjoy Okay sign me up, but it is like going the gym, you know, you can't just go one time, pump some weights and go where are my mussels? It takes time, but it will still creep in that old way of thinking will creep in. But you know, that's why you have to keep going back and and then you add weights, you add resistance and then you get stronger and stronger, right?

All right, everybody, Well, thank you so much for tuning in again and we hope this really helps you and again when you are going through this Discovery period and becoming aware, be very kind to yourself, be curious, you know, it's like a time where you're learning yourself. You know, if you've dated and you get to know the person that you're courting and and that's a fun time and so think of it like that because it is you're discovering more about yourself and learning more about that about yourself. But let that be a positive thing for you and kind of a fun time for you as well. So we thank you again for tuning in everybody and we hope you have a great week. All right, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the Rise up and Shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button, so you never miss an episode. And while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch clotting over at Clotting Sweeney dot com and Ashley at mind over chaos dot com.

Are links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember, ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life. Mm Yeah, Yeah. Mhm.

Ep. 96 Motivation and the Brain
Ep. 96 Motivation and the Brain
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