The Iceberg Effect

It's common knowledge that only 1/10 of an iceberg is above the surface.  

The question remains how big is the 9/10's and what are its characteristics and how does this portion contribute to or create what lies above the surface. I want to use this analogy when we consider our life with all of its complexity including; attitudes, beliefs, behavior, decisions and mindsets. As we discuss these in more detail keep the iceberg picture in your mind.

If we have 90% of our life beneath the surface of our body (brain) i.e. thoughts, memories, motives, urges etc. that take place within the over one hundred billion brain cells and over three trillion chemical reactions every second that take place there – we must consider how these impact our exterior life the 10% on the surface (that we demonstrate and exhibit to the world).

For the sake of illustration I have broken the iceberg into three sections rather than two for this discussion. The top 10%, the middle 30% and the bottom 60%. (Yes these numbers are arbitrary) keep in mind that only the top 10% is visible to others and how you live your life.

Let's consider what's in the 10% that we show the world;

Personality, decisions, attention, behavior, actions, emotional expression communication patterns and choices.

The middle 30%;

Just beneath the surface are desires, awareness, thoughts and feelings.

Now the bottom 60%;

Motives, urges, memories, experience, attitudes, mindsets, prejudices, beliefs, fears, dreams, self-esteem, self-love and all of your conditioning influences since you were born.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way let's take a broader look at these three areas and how they contribute to the quality of our life, career, relationships and our future.

The top 10%.

The top 10% reacts. It is a slave to what lies beneath. Think about it – if an iceberg wants to move – what's in control – the top 10% or the bottom 90%? The top 10% does what it's told whether personality, behavior, actions or decisions. This portion of your life – what the world sees when it observes you – is nothing more than a response device. You might think that you have total control of choices, actions, feelings or behavior but this isn't the case. You do what you are told to do or are inclined to do based on the information stored in your 90%. This 90% is in total control of all aspects of your life.

The middle 30% section.

What occupies the lower section – the 60% is filtered by your 30% (middle section) prior to reaching the top. In other words just because you have experiences, goals, motives or urges etc. in your 60% because of the contents of your 30% section these can be altered, reduced, amplified or adjusted according to this mid-section.

For example – let's say you have a belief system in the bottom 60% that says you are a procrastinator and you are given a task by a boss that needs to be completed ASAP. Your tendency would be to put it off – that's who you are. However, let's also say that this task must be completed on time or you will lose your job. The desire in your 30% doesn't want to lose the job so you act immediately overriding your bottom 60% tendency or self-belief system. The outcome is – you act now. The opposite can also happen. You are given a task by a friend and there is no negative direct impact on your life by not procrastinating so you let the bottom 60% drive your behavior and your middle 30% doesn't stop this or get in the way – it lets you procrastinate.

Let's look at this in another way.

Let's say someone does something that disappoints you. Your mind takes this information in and it sends it to your bottom 60% for a reaction. This person has also disappointed you in the past (a memory) but you don't like conflict (top 10%) so your bottom 60% sends a message to the surface to not get upset by their action.  

However as this information (your response) is passed up through the 30% (keep in mind that all of the information in the 60% must pass through the mid 30% (up or down) before it gets to the surface or reaches the bottom 60%) your thoughts tell you that what they did is wrong so this will filter the 60% message and you may demonstrate anger, disappointment or frustration.

I'm sure that this concept may have you a bit confused but think about it – all of your actions, decisions, choices, behavior etc. are controlled by your bottom 90%. So if you want to improve any aspect of your life you have to work on all of the areas in the bottom 90% that impact what you want to change.

Finally, be aware that every thought, emotion, experience, feeling you have ever had are permanently stored in your bottom 60% – and you can't erase anything. All you can do is train your mind to learn to look elsewhere in the billions of brain cells for different answers or information. And, the only way you can do this is to keep adding better or new information to your brain. In other words if you are a pessimistic person you will continue to be pessimistic if you don't continue to give your mind new positive information.

How do you do this – read more, keep learning, and keep challenging your beliefs or mindsets that don't serve you well in your life. Surround yourself with the right people.

"Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds."
T. Roosevelt

In His Service, Tim

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