People talk about second chances in various ways. They say: “if I knew then what I know now.” “If I had an opportunity to do things over.” “Please give me a second chance.” “Can we start over?” The list goes on. Most people actually believe they learn from their mistakes. However, when you look closely, you seehistory repeats itself. Why do most repeat the same pattern? They approach second chances with a first chance mindset.
Two easy examples are the divorce rate and criminal behavior. The divorce rate for first time marriages in the US is almost 50%. For second marriages, the rate is 67% and third is 74%. When it comes to the recidivism rate for criminal offenders, 47% for federal and 77% for state prisoners are arrested again. As you can see, second chances do not always mean you learned from your mistakes. So why do people ask for second chances?
Many people can tell you they learned what “not to do”. Except, they fail to realize that learning what “not to do” does not mean you know “what to do”. The list of things “to not do” can be infinite. You only need one item on the list of things “to do” to make things work. Because the brain can get stuck with repeating patterns, learning from mistakes is not necessarily the best way to learn.
In previous articles and videos, I spoke about neuroplasticity. When you learn something new, your brain looks for common ground. That way the new concept can be understood based on what you already know. You are comfortable when you learn something that is different, yet familiar. Therefore, everything we learn is neatly placed in neuropaths that already contain lots of knowledge and information. The problem is your brain cannot determine if the knowledge you have is true or false. When people believed the earth was the center of the universe, they made all planetary calculations based on that belief. If you believe the world is dangerous, everything you learn will be placed on top of that belief and you will believe you have to constantly protect yourself from danger, even when there is none. That alone will cause you to say and do things that are inappropriate. In many cases, that can cause you to sabotage any situation no matter how many chances you get.
With neuroplasticity, you learn new ideas that most likely have no relationship to what you already know. As a result, you are likely to encounter confusion, frustration and uncertainty. The outcome of that path can literally be a headache. And most will avoid learning something that will give them a headache. They will discard the new and return to old neuropaths that are familiar to them.
Tiger Woods is a great example of a person who learned something new. During his prime, he changed his golf swing several times. He had to retrain his brain and body to think and move differently. In the beginning of the new swing, the performance of his game decreased. When he mastered the new swing, he was back on top.
Most people lack the tolerance Tiger Woods had. The fact society has become a microwave mindset – everyone wants results instantly – is an indication that people quickly return to the mindset that caused failure in the first place. In their mind, this time they will do it a little differently. That amounts to the same thing, but different. Why? Because they are using a mindset that is part of neuropaths that only understand situations based on existing knowledge and experience – the first chance. That is a formula to repeat the past.
To break a pattern of the past, you will need to work through the frustration and uncertainty like Tiger Woods did when he changed his swing. And Tiger did not do it alone. He had a coach to hold him accountable and observe when he returned to an old swing.
If you want to break a pattern, it would be in your best interest to find someone to hold you accountable to a new way of being which will transform the way you think and act. If you are looking for a second wind in your career or business, it could be critical to have someone who provides you with tools to make the transition to the next level as well as provide you with honest feedback. With a new mindset, it’s kind of like you are doing something old for the first time.
What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback. And I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.