Have you ever considered how Superman feels when he is Clark Kent? If he were to forget that he was Superman and take office criticisms seriously, how would he react? Would he cringe in the boss’s office, change his posture, and whip himself with negative self-talk?
Think back to a time when you received criticism from someone in power. Did you internalize the criticism and allow it to shape your self-image and behavior?
Now, imagine Clark remembering that he is Superman while being reprimanded by Perry. As Clark Kent, he might feel ashamed, but as Clark Kent-Superman, he would realize his true nature and play his part with amusement. He remains the same person, but his self-image has changed, giving him the confidence to face challenges.
Self-talk is a powerful tool that can shape our self-image and behavior. Negative self-talk can make us feel like slaves to our own thoughts, while positive self-talk can set us free. The mnemonic is a way to counteract negative self-talk and create a positive self-image. By repeating affirmations like “I am the man in the arena, the martial artist,” we can change the way we think about ourselves and elevate our performance.
To actualize the third position, we need to become autonomous. An autonomous person is capable of conforming to the behavioral norms of society but is free to choose whether to conform or not. They can reflect on and understand cultural norms but can also overrule or join in with them as they see fit. Becoming autonomous means transcending our culture and becoming free to choose our own path.
We can use mirror neurons to help us change our neural pathways and become autonomous. Mirror neurons are brain cells that fire both when we perform an action and when we observe someone else perform that action. By watching our avatar, we activate our mirror neurons, which in turn helps us learn and mimic their behavior. This creates new neural pathways in our brains, allowing us to change our behavior and thinking patterns.
Creating a new self-image takes time and effort. It starts with small improvements and consistent practice. If we don’t change our self-image, we won’t change ourselves. Clark Kent had to change his self-image to Clark Kent-Superman to become autonomous, and we have to do the same to become Ronin. We must be willing to transcend our culture and be free to choose when and if to conform or not. By becoming autonomous, we can use mirror neurons to grow new pathways in our brains and be free to choose our own path, living life on our own terms.
We have a micro-exercise for this, and I think you will like it.