Studies on the human mind have proven that as a child, your mind is like a sponge. Everything you see, hear, encounter and experience gets absorbed deep in your subconscious mind, and continues to influence you from behind the scenes for much of your life.
This subconscious influence can be either a blessing or a burden, depending on how it drives your thoughts, emotions and beliefs.
The ones that cause unwanted emotions like fear, self-doubt and negativity should be scrubbed from your subconscious mind - and the first step to achieving that is knowing exactly what childhood experiences are adversely affecting you and why.
Here are four of the most common types of childhood experiences you must release to move forward with your life:
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 you're addicted to procrastination, pushing them to the back of your mind becomes second nature.
What makes procrastination even more damaging is that as you get older, the stakes get higher. Your career, finances and health all require your 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 you're faced with a decision that should be yours and yours alone to make.
"What will they think?" and, "Will I let them down?" are common questions you'll ask yourself when you're plagued by the self-doubt of excessive judgment.
To overcome this block, it's crucial that you reinforce the understanding that you are the captain of your own ship, and that nobody but you has the right to be your own harshest critic.
While it is, of course, admirable to make your parents and mentors happy, your own happiness comes before anything else - and those who truly love you must remember this fact.
Now that you're familiar with the 4 most common damaging childhood experiences...
It's crucial to know which one is affecting you most.
The tricky thing is, because these experiences exist in your subconscious mind, it's hard to figure this out by yourself - in fact, the truth may be the complete opposite of what you think.
That's why our friends at Mind Movies have designed a FREE and powerfully accurate 30-second quiz that, through a series of carefully arranged questions, predicts the no. 1 childhood experience that is most damaging to your career, finances and life.
(Or as they call it, your Negative Childhood Imprint.)
Upon taking 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: