The Three Brains: Mind to Destiny

The Three Brains: Mind to Destiny

Let’s talk about your brain. Your three brains, to be exact. Growing up in your early years of schooling, you have undoubtedly been taught that there is one big eight-pound brain to rule it all. Maybe as you got into an intro to psych class or through an art class, you heard there might be a left side of the brain and a right side. Perhaps in science class in early high school, you heard of something like the Limbic System when discussing smells and memories. What we are going to talk about below are the ‘core’ three brains that make up the major physiological functions of your mind and how they are integrated to interpret experiences and protect you from threats and stressors and generally catalog what experiences are good and bad for your well being and overall survival. 

Much of the information here comes from the books reviewed on this site, especially those within the neuroscience menu. Most of what you’ll read below will be focused on intentionally restructuring your brain to influence your life for the better. 

We suggest going into this article with a question to frame your mindset: How do you maneuver yourself away from being a victim of circumstance and pre-conditioned behavior to a creator of your happiness and success?

The Three Brains

The three brains serve as the core infrastructure for what you think, feel, and believe. Some of the functions within these three brains are under your immediate control, and some occur without you thinking, feeling, or knowing about them.

This is a sequence of your being that has already been at work in your life, perhaps without you being aware of it, and it has been under constant reinforcement with the experiences that have been either placed before you or that you’ve sought out.

Enough context. Here we go. The technical names for each of these brains are:

  • The Neocortex
  • The Limbic or Mammalian Brain
  • The Cerebellum or Reptilian Brain

The Neocortex

This is the latest brain in the evolutionary sequence. The NeoCortex is where your conscious mind resides. These are the open dialogue of our thoughts and what we hear when listening. The Neo Cortex is where we consciously create a plan for who we want to be. In the process of creating your new version of self, this is where the journey begins.

The Limbic Brain

As mentioned, the Limbic Brain is also known as the mammalian brain. The primary function of the Limbic brain is to control the chemical order within our neurological and hormonal systems. The Limbic brain has been dubbed ‘the feeling brain.’  This portion of our brain is an intermediary between our conscious thoughts and perceptions of experiences and what is implanted into our memories and hardwired into our subconscious. The Limbic brain is the epicenter for our emotional judgment, and this is a critical piece of the visualization exercise needed to influence our future selves and lives. 

The Cerebellum

As Dr. Joe Dispenza describes, the reptilian Brain is the “seat of our subconscious mind.”  The programmed conditions and behaviors related to fight or flight are within the cerebellum. Once we have an experience, it is sensed, and after creating an emotional judgment of the experience, we hardwire it into our subconscious self. The continued reinforcement will create a more profound impression, or should there be a new experience and resulting emotion, we conversely soften the appearance. The cerebellum is the final stop in our journey to developing a new self. The journey is continuous as we create different experiences all the time, but the behaviors we now have within our bodies and minds are seated within this portion of our brains. 

(To learn more about the subconscious mind, check out these TED Talks on the subconscious mind!).

How We Become Hardwired

There is a sequence of how we experience life in concert with our brain that is important to understand as the premise for our ability to change our lives. Here is the sequence:  When you experience something, during and after the experience, you produce thoughts about what is being experienced. These thoughts produce emotions as you judge whether or not the experience is positive or negative and whether there is a high or low degree of amplitude associated with the benefit or loss. The resulting emotions then lead to a patterning of how you feel about the experience, leading to behaviors that reinforce that feeling. 

When situations arise within your life that resemble previous similar experiences, your conditioned behaviors will lead you to react to the problem in a manner that corresponds to an already preconceived belief of the outcome. You may have heard the saying, “his mind was already made up.”  This is precisely what has occurred. As human beings, our minds are designed to draw from previous experiences subconsciously with a limited amount of incoming information to make quick but estimated decisions about an experience. The mechanism for connecting what is being sensed immediately within an experience and what has been ‘learned’ and planted subconsciously is known as the Reticular Activating System (RAS). What you expect to occur, what has been emotionally programmed and reinforced through knowledge and emotion, is what I believe to be true. 

So, what does it take to break the cycle of our current thoughts and habits and make room for growth and understanding? What if what we believe is false or prohibits us from expanding and becoming someone new, achieving greater things, and living more fulfilling lives? 

The answer is simply new thoughts, emotions, and experiences. These, in turn, will create new behaviors, further reinforcing new experiences and creating a new self.

Becoming a Creator

“95% of who you are by the time you are 35 years old is a set of memorized behaviors and emotional reactions that create an identity subconsciously. ” – Dr. Joe Dispenza. You have become an automatic machine that operates independently of the conscious self. Let’s borrow an analogy from Eckhart Tolle, who had borrowed it from a Zen master. The automated machine behind most of our thoughts is similar to a man riding a horse with a seemingly essential and intentional purpose. As the rider, he only has so much control over the reins, but the horse is wild and doesn’t obey them. The more wild and untrained the horse, should you wish to know where the man is headed on his journey, you would be better to Ask The Horse and forego talking to the man himself.

So, how do we become someone new and create a better life for ourselves? A saying in neuroscience and psychology states, ‘Neurons that fire together wire together.’  Every time we learn something new, a synaptic connection occurs in the brain. To change the way we think, we must, therefore, create new experiences so we can learn something new, and also, by doing this, we inherently unlearn what we don’t want anymore. 

What has happened is that previous experiences have created chemicals that were released within the Limbic Brain. These chemicals, or emotions, are why we’ve created memories for emotional events. The brain also takes a kind of ‘snapshot,’ which is why the memories are so vivid. Examples of things like this are maybe a first kiss, graduation from high school, or a surfing trip off the coast of Hawaii. The brain physically changes with these experiences. 

What is especially important to understand is that the opposite of this is also true. Experiences that are routine and, therefore, do not produce a chemical or emotional reaction are not remembered. This is why remembering something as simple as what you had for dinner the night before is tricky. What can be especially difficult for some people is the addiction that can come with the chemicals that are produced. Whether these are good emotions or destructive emotions, we can become addicted to the chemical itself. Therefore, in the case of harmful emotion addictions, a person can get caught in a cycle of exhibiting the same behaviors over and over, which leads to the same experiences over and over without even the person recognizing the cause of the cycle. This person has now become a victim of circumstance and conditioned behavior. The way to break the path begins with a desire to produce different outcomes and make a conscious decision to create a new vision and path forward: to become a creator.

Thinking - Feeling - Doing

If you’ve made it this far into the article, you now understand we are hardwired through past experiences, seemingly subject to our subconscious, but can create new minds and, therefore, new lives for ourselves. Here is where we simplify what looks like and outline the steps into those three phases mentioned earlier: Thinking – Feeling – Doing


Within our brains are neurons that are highly dopamine-sensitive. Most of these are located in a physical section of the brain known as the frontal lobe. With these dopamine-sensitive neurons in place, our minds are chemically wired to provide us with a risk vs. reward mechanism that provides judgment (good or bad) and reinforces our experiences. This is also precisely the system we will leverage to change our minds. As Neuroscientist Richard Restak describes the frontal lobe, “This is where we integrate personality with emotion and transform thought into action.” 

The Neo-Cortex, specifically, is where our conscious thoughts reside. We can create conscious thoughts within our minds and transform those thoughts into action. And, our bodies don’t know the difference between occurring experiences or experiences produced by thought alone. This is where we can begin the transformation process, starting with just thinking. 

The mechanism for putting this process into motion is called visualization. This isn’t just your run-of-the-mill visualization exercise where you envision what something might look like. This exercise of focused thought is embedded with emotion that completely ‘fools’ the brain into believing the visualization is an experience. As you may have guessed, here is where your mind is the master. You, meaning your conscious thoughts, the part of you that has decided who you will be, become the captain of your mind, body, and destiny. 

To begin the whole sequence with thinking, you must make the time to set up your visualization session. If writing down your goals or what a new experience looks like helps set a vision for them, then write them down. It’s also recommended that you establish a setting similar to mediation with few distractions and similar posture and breathing. This assists for many reasons, such as shifting your brain waves back down from beta, but that’s another topic. Remember, this is where you decide what you want and who you want to be. Begin with these steps:

  • Begin with a snapshot of who you currently are, and then imagine yourself as having achieved your goal.
  • Be specific about what it is you’re intent on achieving. The intention is everything
  • Think of the feelings you’re going to have at goal achievement and along the way in your journey towards achievement.
  • Make a mental note that this moment of achievement is meant for that moment, but others are still to come, although no energy needs to be directed to them yet.

Once you have set your mind in place with the intention for the goal and a clear vision for what you will look and feel like and what the environment will feel like, you can move into the feeling phase.


Remember the sequence of being we discussed earlier? Experiences produce thoughts, which in turn elicit emotions that lead to behaviors. These behaviors become reinforced within us as we replay emotional events and have similar experiences, which our behaviors will lead us to do. This is how you program the subconscious mind.

To complete the visualization exercise, we will attach the emotions we envisioned earlier to the experiences. Whereas before, you thought or imagined what they would look like, here is where you imagine what they feel like.

  • Within your vision of the goal or experience, in combination with the image of what the result looks like, imagine what they will feel like.
  • Let the feeling begin within your mind and flow through your envisioned future self.
  • Imagine the feeling throughout your body and allow your future thinking to recognize the feeling, creating an awareness of the future mind and body.
  • Take note of the smells, sounds, and environment when you are at your moment of success. Let all of these things, your envisioned mind, body, and atmosphere take form and exist.
  • Finally, allow yourself a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the journey and the new experience or achievement that has come to be.

With the vision of your future self solidified and the feelings associated with who you already are in place, you can return your energy and focus to the present. The power to create change only ever resides in the present. You’ve hacked into a future ‘present’ version of yourself. You have set in motion changes of what you are already becoming because you’ve already experienced it. Those experiences have created thoughts about your emotions. Those emotions will be manifesting in the present to reinforce the being you already are. 


Your complete being today combines your past experiences, future projections, and, ultimately, your beliefs about yourself. This isn’t to be confused with your spiritual, true inner self. Still, instead, it is the personality and resulting lifestyle derived from conditioned behaviors and a belief of who we are, our ego, and our past fears and successes. What you are affecting with visualization is who you end up ‘Being’ in the sense of form. You, with your mind as the captain of the ship of your life and self, have the power to transform who you are into anyone you can imagine. Actions only reside in the present.

What is left after visualization? Doing. It would be best if you put your envisioned future self into action. As mentioned above, there is no power in the future, and the same is true for the past. The only power to create will always be the present!

What you have done is set a condition to influence your behaviors. Through visualization and reinforcement of this vision through repeated exercises, you will continue reinforcing the experiences, thoughts, and emotions associated with what you’ve envisioned. With those new behaviors already forming and taking place, you can put into action a plan to achieve your future self. 

Uncomfortable At First

Throughout your day, you will be constantly reminded of the true purpose of your energies. Your body and past conditioning will defend itself and fight off the new version of you! You will be uncomfortable for perhaps weeks on end until the creation of a new routine and belief about yourself is sitting within your subconscious mind.  

Your past vision for yourself, your old ego, and the patterns of behaviors that have constantly been in place to reinforce your old being will resist the new version of self. Eventually, as Dr. Joe Dispenza describes it, “The act of rehearsing and mentally closing your eyes… the brain doesn’t know what is real or not, and you are installing the neurological hardware, and that hardware [eventually] becomes a software program. We start living our future vision.” But this new practice will allow you to expand your mind’s horizons and be open to new and excellent opportunities. 

Your choices will begin to reflect your future vision. Your experiences and behaviors reinforce who you’ve already programmed yourself to be. By understanding the three brains, you can become a new you!