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By David Crone
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Have you ever wondered why you sometimes make the wrong decisions?
How you can increase your emotional intelligence so you can make the right decisions?
I discovered the shocking truth about how our brains make decisions recently. If you don't know this, you will always be at the mercy of your old, negative mental programming. However, once you practice this truth, you will increase your emotional intelligence every day. You can then declare your independence from destructive habits.
Let me explain how this works from an example with which most of us are familiar.
Imagine that you've been invited to a party. You are at a dessert buffet and now having to choose between the chocolate cake and the fruit salad.
Now, you had decided to eat healthy before going to the party. But with the choices before your eyes, you pick up the cake without even thinking about it.
Or did you really not think about it?
Let's rewind. You need to know what happens in your brain before you take any action.
Whenever you make any decision in the present, your brain always searches your past experience first. Why?
Because God designed our brains to work efficiently. He designed us to learn from our experiences. Otherwise, we'd have to re-learn mundane tasks over and over, like how to brush our teeth every day.
Our brains are like the ultimate learning computer.
So your brain will search your memories first for situations that are similar to the one you are facing now to help you make decisions. Not only that, but your brain will recall all the feelings you had with that previous situation.
Power of Emotions
Emotions move you to action. Remember, e-motion.
This is where emotional intelligence comes in.
Positive feelings attract you, but negative feelings repel you—just like a magnet.
Let's say you made yourself feel deprived and resentful the last time you chose the fruit salad—negative feelings.
Your negative feelings arose from your negative self-talk: "I really want that cake, but I need to get rid of this fat. It's so unfair that I have eat this when everybody else can eat whatever they want."
If your brain believes that the fruit salad is a painful choice and "withdraws" the negative feelings you had with the fruit salad choice previously, then there is no surprise in the action you will take:
Your brain will direct your hands to get the cake because your thoughts created attractive feelings for the cake, but negative feelings for the fruit salad.
Joyce Meyer said it best: "Where the mind goes, the man follows."
Your brain processes all of your memories and past feelings from your experience so fast that you aren't aware of it.
Here is what is really shocking though: Scientists believe that up to 90 percent of what we do is automatic.
In other words, you just repeat the same patterns from the past—like a stuck record! That's why you keep dancing along to that same old sad song.
Now you might think this truth makes you a victim of your past. However, that is far from the truth. God has given us a way to change our tune. You can turn around any lying, negative self-talk and the negative feelings that go along with it. You can create truthful self-talk and better memories that fit the person you want to become. This is why the Bible directs us:
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2).
Conformed or Transformed?
According to this Scripture, we have two choices in how to live:
Be conformed to this world (death).
Be transformed by the renewing of our minds (eternal life in Christ).
Romans not only tells us that it is possible to change, but why we must change as believers in Jesus Christ. If we fail to renew our minds, we will continue to allow the world and our past programming to shape us. We will keep dancing to that destructive tune: "Garbage in; garbage out."
However, through renewing our minds to Gods thoughts and ways daily, we can reprogram our minds to God's way of thinking. We can give ourselves new memories, new positive self-talk from which our brains can draw. We will then be in position to manifest more of God's blessings for us—dancing in praise to Him!
How do you override your brain's past negative programming and increase your emotional intelligence?
The first step is to start paying attention to how you are thinking.
Scriptures directs us to do this daily work: "Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5).
You are always having conversations within yourself. The question is: What are you hearing? What is the rhythm of your thoughts?
Eavesdrop on your self-talk. Does your self-talk agree with what God says? Or are you just mentally rehearsing what someone else said, what the world says, or even your own negative conclusions?
In Luke 8:18, Jesus said: "Take heed therefore how you hear. For whoever has, to him will be given. And whoever has not, from him will be taken even what he thinks he has."
You want everything God has for you.
Remember that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (see Rom. 10:17).
You can increase your emotional intelligence the more your hear—either eternally through the words you speak or those others speak, and internally through your self-talk. Increased emotional intelligence helps you make better decisions. This is the most important work to do every day.
Now before the apostle Paul shows us the way to change in Romans 12:2, he gives us the why to commit to change in Romans 12:1: "I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship."
Because the Lord created our bodies, we want to gift our bodies back to Him (present) and make ourselves available to build up His kingdom. With a sacrifice, you exchange something of lesser value for something of greater value.
Remember how Jesus gave up His body as a sacrifice for us? He loved us so much that went to the cross to save us from our sins. He conquered death and the grave so that we can live a new life in Him.
Don't be deceived; you can't get a new thing by hanging on to the old stuff—and that includes your old thoughts. Start that work of taking your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.
And you will declare your independence from the habits that bind you.