Future Pacing and Anchoring: Manifest Success

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Way of the Wolf" by Jordan Belfort. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is future pacing? What does it mean to “find your anchor”? And how can mastering these techniques help you manifest success?

The concept of future pacing is imagining yourself having achieved an outcome you want. Setting an anchor is when you take a mental state and link it to a word, mantra, sound, or feeling that lets you get back there.

Read on to learn how you can manifest success by using future pacing and setting an anchor.

How to Use Future Pacing to Manifest Success

None of us can be “on” all the time. But to be a successful salesperson, you have to be able to turn on your most charming self. There are specific strategies that can help with this. 

The concept of future pacing is imagining yourself having achieved an outcome you want. It allows you to get the feeling of achievement without having actually done it yet. 

According to the practice of future pacing, when attempting to portray strength, you should carry yourself like you are rich, even if you aren’t rich yet. The term for this kind of manifestation that comes from future pacing is state management. You’re managing your state of mind, blocking out negative thoughts in favor of the assuredness that you’re putting out into the world. When you feel empowered, you’re much more likely to be able to achieve success because you have more internal resources at your disposal. 

There’s a difference between future pacing and running around all the time puffing out your chest and acting better than you are—then you’re just a jerk. But if you need to portray confidence in a sales setting (or any other setting), future pacing and state management are very useful and will manifest success. 

Find Your Anchor

The most successful people are able to trigger state management. We can be proactive in managing our mental state, rather than just letting it wash over us, through two key elements:

  • What you decide to focus your conscious mind on: If you focus on everything great in your life for a few minutes, you’ll quickly feel more empowered than when you focus on all of your problems. 
  • How your body is currently functioning on a physiological level: think about your breathing and your muscle movements. Outwardly convey what a happy person would: Relax your breathing, smile, move confidently. It’s impossible to do this all the time, but possible at key moments. 

Find a physical anchor that can trigger these two states in yourself. To set this anchor, you need to be at the top of the two elements just discussed. When you feel the certainty in yourself completely and totally then set the anchor. The anchor needs to be an extreme and unusual action. There are five steps to find your anchor:

Step 1: Choose the state you want. For a sales purpose, this is usually a state of total certainty.

Step 2: Choose the focus you want. Go back to a moment in your mind when you felt completely certain and create a vivid internal picture of it. 

Step 3: Choose the physiology you want. Match this exactly to the physiology of the state you want to anchor. Make sure your head is cocked in a certain way and that you’re standing in a certain way. Do this for every aspect of your body to recreate this state of total certainty. 

Step 4: Make your state more intense. Take the picture that you’ve created in steps two and three and use your five sensory modalities to enhance it: 

  • Visual: What you see externally and internally
  • Auditory: What you hear externally and internally
  • Kinesthetic: What you feel externally and internally
  • Gustatory: What you taste externally and internally
  • Olfactory: What you smell externally and internally

Usually we’re relying on the first three to take us through our day, with visual being the most important. 

If you’re taking the picture you’ve already created, enhance it by adding colors or sounds or anything else that’s going to add to your concept of absolute certainty. The movie industry is a good example of this—it evolved to get bigger and brighter and more intense. 

In a similar way to in the movies, now take the picture you’ve created and add dialogue and motion and sound to it. Notice how as you make “edits” to your internal movie, your feelings associated with it intensify. Get to the point where you’re at as intense a state as possible.

Step 5: Set the anchor. Take this state and link it to a word, mantra, sound, or feeling that lets you get back there.

Unique Anchors

In Way of the Wolf, Jordan Belfort had trouble with this because he couldn’t think of a good anchor that would get him to the place he wanted. He finally found that it was smell that helped him the most. There are two requirements to creating a smell that can get you to the anchor state:

  • It needs to be intense, unusual, and powerful enough that it meets the rest of the criteria for sending you back to an intense emotional state, but still pleasant.
  • It has to have a delivery system that’s not just found in nature and that’s personal. It also has to be easy to transport. Belfort used a product called BoomBoom that’s about the size of a chapstick tube.

The issue with all of this is it’s really difficult to manufacture a state where you’re totally certain without being self-delusional. 

The best way to set an anchor is to actually be in a state of total certainty. This was why the smell worked so well—wait until you actually feel totally certain about something and then use the smell anchor to lock your mindset in right there. This way, you’ve essentially eliminated steps two through four. 

Future Pacing and Anchoring: Manifest Success

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  • How to sell like Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street
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Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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