Studies on the human mind have proven that as a child, our minds are like sponges. Everything we see, hear, encounter and experience gets absorbed deep in our subconscious minds, and continues to influence us from behind the scenes for much of our lives.
This subconscious influence can be either a blessing or a burden, depending on how it drives our thoughts, emotions and beliefs.
The ones that cause unwanted emotions like fear, self-doubt and negativity should be scrubbed from our subconscious minds – and the first step to achieving that is knowing exactly what childhood experiences are adversely affecting us and why.
Here are four of the most common types of childhood experiences we must release to move forward with our lives:
- Moments of uncontrollable, paralyzing fear
- Situations where procrastination paid off (in the short term)
- Inability to find a pursuit, skill or purpose that made your heart sing
- Moments of self-doubt caused by judgmental parents and role models
The above kinds of experiences create subconscious triggers that become implanted in our minds. These unfortunately work in the background like computer viruses, so we don't even know they're there or how they're holding us back.
They cause us to say things we don't mean, give in to bad habits, and make poor choices – that leave us frustrated and wondering "why?"
We'll go into more details on all four of those childhood experiences. Before we do, it would be really helpful to identify exactly which one is most likely negatively affecting you.
To help you do that, my friend Natalie Ledwell (see pic below) has created a quick eye-opening quiz that will bring you face-to-face with the BIGGEST Negative Childhood Imprint holding back your career and finances:
Discover Your #1 Negative Childhood Imprint
Empowered with that information, let's look at the four most common types of experiences that create Negative Childhood Imprints. And even though the quiz helped you identify the biggest one, if you're like me then you'll recognize yourself in ALL of these situations.
(unfortunately, but hey… we're all human and as they say "shit happens")
1. Moments of uncontrollable, paralyzing fear
Fear is a natural part of growing up. As children, we fear speaking on stage. We fear failing school exams. We fear asking out a potential prom date. We fear standing up to the school bully.
For most of us, that fear was validated when we failed at certain tasks or challenges – and the consequences left us embarrassed, unworthy and doubtful of our own abilities.
For some of us, that fear has solidified into a suit of armor we've carried into adulthood; an excuse to avoid taking risks or explore beyond our comfort zones.
Be mindful that our purpose in life is to grow; and fear is a necessary ingredient towards that growth. Even award-winning performers like Adele still get fearfully nervous on stage, but that doesn't stop them from stepping up time and time again.
And as George R.R. Martin says, "The only time a person can be truly brave is by first facing a fearful situation – and tackling it head-on anyway."
2. Situations where procrastination paid off (in the short term)
Our brains are hardwired to shield us from harm – which is good when you're stepping aside to avoid a falling tree; but not so good when your brain convinces you to stay put, sit still, and not do today what you can do tomorrow.
As children, we quickly begin to encounter situations where procrastination pumps us up with a (short-term) high.
Skipping homework to play video games is fun. Staying up a few extra hours past bedtime is nice. And mowing the lawn tomorrow so you can go play basketball today, sounds like a great idea.
Sure, just like smoking and eating unhealthy food, there are consequences to your temporary high – but once we become addicted to procrastination, pushing them to the back of your mind becomes second nature.
What makes procrastination even more damaging is that as we get older, the stakes get higher.
Our careers, finances and health all require our immediate attention.
…and sometimes holding off on an important task for even just a few days is enough for everything to come crashing down.
So don't procrastinate on shaking off your procrastination habit: respect yourself, your time and your life by treating it with the urgency it deserves.
3. Inability to find a pursuit, skill or purpose that made your heart sing
You probably remember at least a few people from your childhood who pursued a hobby or skill, like dancing, playing a musical instrument or a sport, and went on to turn that pursuit into a successful lifelong career.
Most of us, however, tend to drift away from the paths we explored as children, if we had the opportunity to explore any in the first place.
Instead, we follow what's available and convenient, sacrificing the discovery or pursuit of what truly fulfills us on a deeper level.
Then, as the bills, responsibilities and deadlines of adulthood stack up, we completely sideline any notion of honoring our passions; instead, we settle for admiring other people's passion-driven achievements.
But, as the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said, "Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion."
On your deathbed, a passionless life will be one of your biggest regrets. So remember that honoring yours is equally as, or even more important than, wealth and professional stability.
4. Moments of self-doubt caused by judgmental parents and role models
From our grades to our fashion sense, it's normal for our parents, mentors, teachers and role models to act judgmentally towards us as we're growing up.
This behavior often boils down to a well-meaning protective streak that manifests as excessive scrutiny on our actions, decisions and academic performance.
Unfortunately, being constantly put under a microscope can manifest a sense of unease and nervousness each time we're faced with a decision that should be ours and ours alone to make.
"What will they think?" and, "Will I let them down?" are common questions we ask yourself when we're plagued by the self-doubt of excessive judgment.
To overcome this block, it's crucial that we reinforce the understanding that we are the captain of our own ships, and that nobody has the right to judge us.
While it is, of course, admirable to make our parents and mentors happy, our own happiness comes before anything else – and those who truly love us must remember this fact.
Knowing the 4 most common damaging childhood experiences isn't enough though.
It's crucial to know which one is affecting you most. The tricky thing is, because these experiences exist in yur subconscious minds, it's hard to figure this out by ourselves – in fact, the truth may be the complete opposite of what we think.
That's why my friend Natalie created her free 30-second quiz that, through a series of carefully arranged questions, helps you identify the primary childhood experience that is likely to be the most damaging to your career, finances and life.
(Or as she calls it, your Negative Childhood Imprint.)
After the quiz, you'll receive a personalized video report detailing your results, plus detailed action steps for erasing this Negative Childhood Imprint from your mind:
Click here to take the 30-second quiz and discover your most damaging Negative Childhood Imprint.
I especially love the timing with the fireworks in the background! 🙂
Of the four types of Negative Childhood Imprints, which one is affecting you the most?