66. Decisions Ahead of Time

Today we are learning the skill of making decisions ahead of time.  Did you know that what ever you believe, your brain will go to work proving true?  It’s the reason when someone gets the same pair of shoes that you just purchased… that you start to see that pair of shoes all over the place.  

Listen in to learn:

  • How we can use our brain’s confirmation bias ahead of time to create the experience that we want
  • Why our brain wants us to be right more than it wants us to feel good
  • How being more aware of your thoughts will help you create MORE of the feelings that you want in any circumstance, even when things don’t go as planned

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0:00 Hey, What is up everyone? It’s Jennie Dildine, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 66 decisions ahead of time. Hey, I’m Jennie, the LDS mission coach. And whether you’re preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose. Again. It’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next. Hey, everybody, and welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for being here today. I just wanted to send a shout out to all of you amazing people who are listening. Because I love that we are getting more and more tools out to missionaries every day, I have someone else that’s emailing me and saying, Hey, can I get these episodes in this podcast to my missionary, and I am sharing all of the podcast on a Google Drive. In fact, one mom was like, hey, my missionary is struggling with this specific thing. Do you have any podcast I can send him and I said, Listen, let’s do better than that. Let’s send him all of the episodes that I’ve ever recorded. And I just love that we are helping our missionaries empower themselves to create the exact life and the exact mission that they want to. Now the awesome benefit of learning some of these tools on the mission is it will help your transition home go more smoothly. So that’s pretty awesome. So if you’ve ever thought to yourself, like I don’t even know what it’s gonna be like when I head home. From the mission, that might be a tough thing, then just start listening to these concepts here. And they will completely transform the way you see yourself, the way you see your life the way you see your mission. And that is some fun stuff. So again, if you want this podcast for yourself on a Google Drive, or if you want it for your missionary on a Google Drive, just go ahead and send me an email. Jennie at Jennie dildine.com. Jenny is spelled with an I II. And people always say how do you say your last name, and it’s still like the pickle and dine like we’re gonna dine in, my husband always likes to dine out. And I’m like, But why it’s so much better to dine in. So that we can watch Netflix at the same time. Anyway, that you now you know a little bit about me. But um, what is going on in your life. We, by the time this podcast comes out, we’ll have been in school for a few weeks, my oldest son will have had his birthday, my youngest daughter is turning 11, she will have turned 11 By the time this podcast comes out. So my kids, they’re all getting big, and doing all of the big kid things, which is super fun. Today, I want to talk to you about decisions ahead of time. And this is a concept that I think you will find super useful. And I’m going to teach you all about here I’m going to give you a couple of stories from my life, about when I use this tool decisions ahead of time. And then hopefully by the end, you’ll be able to see some of the ways that you can apply it to yourself on your mission, or apply it to yourself after your mission. It can be super powerful tool. So let’s start here. What we believe, or what we think about or what we focus on, will always show up in our lives. This is an actual like physiological thing that happens is called confirmation bias. So your brain wants to be right about what it believes to be true. So one of the examples I like to think of or the analogies I like to think of with this is that that lower brain. I like to think of it like the old section of a library

5:02 And I actually really love old buildings and my husband, er, and I are getting ready to go on a trip to Europe here quickly for our 25th anniversary. So that’ll be super awesome. But I’m gonna see tons of old buildings there. But do you remember old school like some of you listening to this won’t even know what I’m talking about. But old school libraries, they used to have card catalogs. And I remember, as a kid, like sitting in the library, and there used to be like a card catalog, they had these very small drawers where all of the cards were kept. And you could go and you could figure out where a book was in the library based on one of those cards. Raise your hand, if you know what I’m talking about. Does everyone know what I’m talking about? Some of you will, some of you won’t. But basically, picture there’s like this cabinet. And it has a whole bunch of drawers in it. And rows and rows of drawers. And then sometimes in a library, if it was a big enough library, it would have like card catalogs next to card catalog next to card catalog. So basically picture like a tall dresser with small drawers in it. So what tends to happen with that lower brain is we start to have a card catalog, where we start to collect cards to go in the catalog that have to do with our belief. So let’s say that we have a belief, that’s one card catalog, that belief might be I am not going to be successful post mission. Okay. So what will happen is when we have that belief, our brain will want to prove that true. And so it will start to gather evidence to prove it true. So maybe you have someone that like, says no, when you ask them out on a date, and then our brains will be like see, we aren’t going to be successful after our mission, the little card is created and put in that card catalog. Or maybe we do poorly on a test. And our brains like see, we’re not going to be successful after our mission puts in another card. But as we have these experiences in our lives, new cards, or new examples to prove the thought are added. And sometimes that drawer gets so full, that another row is added and another drawer is added and tell the brain our brain has so much evidence that it just believes that thought to be true. Like I won’t be successful after my mission. It actually sort of like if you go clear back to the beginning, where I talk about the difference between facts and thoughts, what happens is our brain will start to think that thoughts so often it will become a fact to us. So when it comes to our primitive brain that saying like you find what you look for, or what you focus on grows, is completely spot on. Even this is what’s crazy you guys is even if it’s a hurtful belief, like I’m not going to be successful after my mission, even if it’s a hurtful belief, your brain will want to keep thinking it, it will keep focusing on ways to prove that thought true. So think about it like this for your brain so much easier to just add another card to the card catalog than just changing out the whole card catalog dresser situation altogether. That’s much more work to think something different. Our brains actually you guys want to be right, more than they want us to feel good. So it’ll just keep believing that thought and thinking it’s true and finding more evidence to prove it true. So this is kind of that phenomenon that happens in our lives when we maybe get a new set of shoes. Like maybe we’ve got some new Nikes which is what my kids are all about right now. My daughter’s maybe we’ve got some new Nikes some new Blazers or something like that. And all of a sudden, everywhere we look someone has the same blazers. Now was were the Blazers there the whole time. Probably.

9:50 They were probably all over the school but once we decided that Blazers were cool that we liked lasers, our brain is going to go to work finding evidence to prove it true. Same concept applies when we get a new car. So that car is maybe we get a new, I don’t know, tell you, right, or maybe we get a new Subaru. That’s what my college kids drive. And all of a sudden, everywhere around campus or on your mission, or wherever you are, you’re like, oh my gosh, there’s another Subaru. The Subarus were probably there the whole time. But this confirmation bias comes into play, and proves the thought true. And the thought was sort of like this is a good car, right, or I like these shoes. So the other way that we can sort of think about this is like a lens, I used to do photography, actually, I had a little photography business for a minute. And you can put different like filters over the lens. And sometimes these thoughts when our brain is trying to find evidence to prove them true, and then all of a sudden, they become a fact to us, we start to see our whole lives, through that lens through that color. And it’s just good to know that our brain will always default to that lens or to that color. Because it’s just easier than trying to switch out to a different lens. I was working with a client who sort of had this belief that other people were sort of acting ridiculous that they weren’t, like showing up in a useful way that they were being kind of silly that they were focusing on the wrong things. And so what started to happen is her brain when we got on that session, had so much evidence for it had so had created such a big card catalog. But what we found as we kind of looked into it a little bit deeper, is that it became very clear that that belief that kind of people might be ridiculous or weren’t doing it right or had the wrong intention wasn’t only something that she believed about other people. But it was also a way that she was viewing herself. So the same lens that she was viewing other people through was the same lens that she was viewing herself. What we started to see is that she actually believed that she was a little ridiculous to that. It wasn’t just the other people, but she saw herself that way. And so she was seeing the people around her and herself with the same lens, her brain was filling up that card catalog with tons of evidence. So all of this is just like a natural physiological thing that happens in our mind. So confirmation bias. So what I want to talk about today, this idea of decisions ahead of time, is that we can actually use this way that our brain works to our advantage. So what this is, is we could decide we could choose a thought on purpose, what we’re going to think and feel before the thing even happens. Because here’s the beauty of that is when we decide to think something on purpose. And intentionally that is the result we’re going to create. It’s going to show up in our lives in lots of different ways. And our brains will go to work filling a card catalog with an intentional thought. Like, we could even choose a thought that sounds like of course, I’m going to figure out what to do after my mission. Of course, I’m gonna live my best life after my mission. Let me give you a couple examples. So I, um, a couple years ago, my husband wanted to go on a trip, just a quick weekend trip to San Francisco. And I think this is the trip where we saw Hamilton, which I’m a big fan of so that was super fun. It was the first time I saw it. So how we use decisions ahead of time is we just choose intentionally, what we’re going to think and feel before we even go on that trip. I was sort of having some negative thoughts about like, it’s gonna be too cold and it’s San Francisco, and it might be rainy. It’ll be fun to get chowder, but I don’t know if it’s gonna be fun to get chowder in the pouring rain kind of thoughts along those lines.

14:48 But instead, what I decided is I decided I was going to test out this concept of decisions ahead of time, and I started telling my brain And before I even left on the trip, this thought, this is going to be the best trip, my husband and I have ever taken together. No, my husband and I, we’ve been on some pretty awesome trips. And we’re gonna go on another one here in a few weeks to Europe, but I just started working on that belief. Before I even packed my suitcase, before I even got on the plane. I’m like, This is gonna be the most awesome trip. And I’m gonna feel amazing on this trip. Well, I remember the moment very distinctly, I’m standing in front of like a cathedral in San Francisco, it’s pouring down rain, my husband and I are huddled under an umbrella. And I’m thinking to myself, Oh, my goodness, this is amazing. This is the best trip that I’ve ever been on with my husband and my brain started filling that card catalog. So then everything that happened on that trip was evidence towards a thought that I chosen before we even left. And I can easily say that it was one of the best trips that I’ve ever had. Now, a lot of you might be thinking, Well, I just don’t know, I don’t know if I want to talk myself into or be delusional in some way about reality. Okay, and that’s not what I’m suggesting. I’m not suggesting that we talk ourselves into something that might actually not be true. But what I am suggesting is, when it comes to our experiences, our brain will prove whatever we’re thinking, whatever we’re focused on, it will prove that true. So the other example that I have is a couple Christmases ago, it was probably actually the same year as my trip with my husband, to San Francisco. And I was like, Oh my gosh, that worked. So well. I’m going to try that again. And so as it got closer to Christmas, and we’ve had this tradition, my kids and I going and my husband going to my parents house every other year for Christmas, since they were little Santa shows up there every other year, things are a little different. Now that my kids are married, we’ve kind of gotten off my cycle with my family. And now we have kind of our own cycle with our kids, on Christmases and off Christmases. But back then we went there to visit my parents every single time all every other time, I should say, all of the cousins got matching pajamas. And it was a lot of work. And a lot of you are probably thinking I’m crazy. But that’s what we decided. And that’s what we did. So, this particular Christmas, after my trip to San Francisco, I had thought, Gosh, that works so well. I’m gonna just start thinking thoughts ahead of time, making a decision right now about how I want to think and feel about Christmas, about that trip being at my parents and with all the cousins and with the aunts and uncles and all of the things. And I started believing this is gonna be the best Christmas ever. I started believing that and practicing that thought. And every time my brain would be like, I don’t know, it’s gonna be kind of crowded. And when people are grumpy, and it’s a lot of work. I was just like, No, listen, brain best Christmas ever can’t wait. It’s gonna be awesome.

18:54 Well, wouldn’t you know that my whole family got the stomach flu. This is pre COVID All of us got super sick. And every day we would wake up a new person was throwing up and all kinds of other stuff like basically couldn’t leave the bathroom. And my daughter was sick on Christmas Eve, I was sick on Christmas Day. And it was the kind where you literally were wasted, either lying on the bathroom floor or in bed, and then you’d be quickly back to the bathroom. totally miserable. Totally, like, not the most ideal Christmas, but I had decided that it was gonna be the best Christmas ever. And so my brain went to work proving that true so even even if we can look at it a little bit comically, like I remember like puking over the toilet and being like, best Christmas ever. How we can look back at that and laugh because my Brain went to work proving what I had decided ahead of time. True. And you guys should try this too. So just know whatever you’re thinking, whatever you focus on will grow, it will also come true in your life. So here’s some things we might want to be careful about thinking. Because when we think this is the wrong area, like I’m in the wrong area, right now, I liked my old area better on the mission. Guess what we’re gonna, our brains going to create a card catalog for that, and start finding evidence to prove that true. Be careful about thinking my companion is not kind. If we think that long enough, our brain will just think it’s true. And then what probably happens is, so all we can see is how not kind they are. And what probably happens is we start being a little bit not kind to them, even if it’s just in our mind. Try not to think there’s something wrong with me. Because when we believe that when we think that our brain will find a card catalog, and start placing cards with that thought, and your brain will be like, Oh, see that thing? Something’s wrong with me. Oh, see that thing? Something’s wrong with me. And we’ll prove it true. Here’s another one to be kind of careful of, I’ll never pass this class. I just why would anyone think that? When we know what we know about our brains, it’s maybe not a useful way to think about it. Because our brain will make that true in our lives, we probably won’t pass a class that we don’t even believe is possible in the first place. This one too, I’ll never find the right guy to marry. What do you think happens in your life, when you fill a card catalog full of evidence that you’re never going to find the right guy to marry, you probably don’t find the right guy to marry, your brain will go to work proving the thought true every time. Now, I want to throw in a little caveat here, don’t take this to mean that we are never going to think thoughts and create feelings that don’t feel good. Like this is not just some like, we always got to think happy. Happiness, happiness, happiness. It’s not just switching out happy thoughts. It’s actually choosing intentionally what we want to feel and think. Because listen, your brain is always going to come along for the ride, wherever you are, in your area with your companion. In your class in your dating, your brain is always going to come along. So we can just drop the judgment and for the way our brain works on default, we can just instead be like, Okay, I see what my brain is doing here. Now, what do I want to choose? instead? Which card catalog? Do I want to create? Which lens do I want to see my life through? You guys, this is one of my favorite things is this is President Nelson’s quote that’s so popular right now. He says the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstance of our lives, and everything to do with the focus of our lives. So what you focus on your thought creates your feeling of joy. the thing itself doesn’t

23:41 like your roommate, your companion, your class, the guy you’re dating, they don’t create your feeling you do because what you focus on gross. He says the joy we feel has little to do with the thing itself with the circumstance in our lives, and everything to do with the focus of your lives. So choose intentionally, before something happens, what you want to focus on. Where do you want to focus? Decide what you want to think and what you want to feel. Before you even get to the mission field. Decide what you want to think and what you want to feel on that date. Did you know it’s possible that you could just decide this is going to be the best date I’ve ever been on? And your brain will prove that truth doesn’t mean you have to end up with that person. But we get to create our experience by what we choose to focus on. All right, you guys. I hope you have the most amazing week everyone take care. See you next time. Serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can present a unique set of challenges and many of those challenges you might not even see coming. So, you’re gonna want a unique set of solutions. It’s easier than you think to overcome worry and anxiety serve the successful mission you’ve always dreamed of, and navigate your post mission experience with confidence. And that is why I created some amazing free goodies that I’m sharing in my show notes. Maybe you want to grab the free training for preparing missionaries for my video course for RMS or maybe you and I should have on a free strategy call. If you’re ready to take your preparedness to serve or your preparedness to come home to the next level. Then go grab one of those freebies. And in the meantime, no matter which part of the mission experience you were involved in, just know that Jennie, the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.

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Hey! I'm Jennie - The LDS Mission Coach.

Preparing for, serving and coming home from an LDS Mission can present countless changes and transitions. I’ve seen these changes put missionaries at the mercy of their emotions and questioning their abilities. With the tools I teach, young adults empower themselves to navigate every moment of the mission experience with epic, unwavering confidence.

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