• Ariel Garten


We are amazing, phenomenal beings capable of limitless possibilities.

If I were to guess though, most people reading that sentence are probably thinking “nah, I’m not buying it.” I would actually call that very judgement a self-limiting belief that could be preventing you from becoming and being amazing in the first place!

This nay-saying derives from an inner critic; it’s that voice in our heads we’re all familiar with, that tries to hold back our full potential and trip us up. It’s the voice deep within us that’s hooked on “no!” and catastrophic thinking, despite objective evidence. It’s a voice too that loves to stress us out, drive up our anxiety, and needlessly wreck untold misery.

Eight-five percent of the world is said to suffer from low self-esteem. I have to say, that’s got to be one of the saddest statistics I’ve yet to come across.

As a psychotherapist my task for years has been to help people identify and rethink their crippling insecurities. I’ve worked to help them pin point and catch their inner critics that have been so paralyzing to their taking the risk of new actions and engagements in the world — in work, creativity, and in relationships. When I can help them dispense with their sabateurs they’re often freer to realize their dreams, discover new ones, and manage life’s many challenges in calmer ways. I’ve always felt that if I could make one person happier about who they actually are, and not chained up by self-distorted views — those narrative knots of negativity — then I will have succeeded in mypersonal dream.

My mission then is simple: To help people undo the knots in their head. It’s to help people practice a new way to re-write or re-wire those narratives that, like “fake news” itself, beam into our consciousness 24/7 the words “not good enough”, “I can’t”, “no”, and their ilk, which do nothing but lead us away from realizing that we are, at this moment, whole and complete and capable of anything.

What I know is that you can’t chase self-confidence or will it into being, as researchers have pointed out to us. You just create more pressure on yourself; it just becomes another “thing” to succeed or fail at, and little more than “pull up your boot straps!”. But with the right tools and techniques — like meditation — we can practice and get good at untying knots and rewriting self-debilitating fake narratives that hold us back. In their place, we create a space of calm and peace for self-discovery with new motives. In place of anxiety and fear, so peace shall be!

Trouble was, many of my patients would go home and try meditation, and they’d fall off, and think…”ah, failure, here you are again. I can’t do this; there’s no point in trying”, or “I can’t focus. This is boring. I’m boring, I’m a failure….what’s on TV?” And so the downward spiral went.

So I co-founded a tech company to create Muse: The Brain Sensing headband. Muse is a tool designed to be a meditation buddy — a cool, simple and wearable device that takes the ancient, tried and true singular practice of just sitting with our thoughts for minutes a day, and makes it novel again. Dare I say, even makes it fun! Since its launch in 2014, Muse has now changed the lives of tens of thousands of people the world over by helping them to consistently meditate. “Musers” as we call them, have been able to build a habit that’s helped them discover new truths about their own minds, uncluttered now by catastrophic thoughts, freeing them to get on with building a richer life with a new calm and confidence.