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Is it possible to condition yourself for success? How can you make yourself act in ways that are conducive to achieving your goals?
People don’t choose to act and think in ways that sabotage their own success. They’ve simply picked up and internalized mental programs that make them behave in ways that go against their best interests. The good news is that you can learn how to reprogram your mind to think in a more goal-oriented way.
With this in mind, here’s how to reprogram your mind for success.
Reprogramming Your Mind
Your mind works similar to a computer where the brain is the hardware and the mind is the software installed on it. Throughout your life, you’ve picked up various mental programs through your upbringing, culture, and life experiences. These programs are a collection of beliefs, ideas, habits, and associations that you’ve internalized subconsciously, yet they exert a powerful influence on your conscious decisions and actions. Some of these programs may work to your advantage, while others may be sabotaging your ability to achieve your full potential.
According to Maxwell Maltz, the author of Psycho-Cybernetics, our brains’ programming is often at odds with our goals: You may decide to achieve a goal, but deep down, your brain may not be programmed to achieve that goal. For example, your conscious goal may be to make friends (results in success), but your internal programming might lead you to push people away (results in failure). This conflict between your conscious goal and your internal programming leads you to unhappiness and a feeling of failure because you can’t move past your internal programming.
Maltz argues that this incongruence is down to your self-image. Your self-image is a reflection of how you’ve identified with and felt about these experiences. For example, consider an experience such as falling over. You could either say to yourself, “I fell over” (a fact that won’t impact your self-image), or you could say to yourself, “I’m a klutz!” (the way you identified with the experience, which will impact your self-image, and the way that you express yourself—for example, you may act overly cautious as a result of this identification).
In the book, Maltz explains how to reprogram your mind for success using psycho-cybernetic principles:
Method 1: Prove That Change Is Possible
Maltz suggests that you choose a habit that you perform daily—one that’s not tied to your self-image, such as brushing your teeth or putting your shoes on—and commit to doing it differently over the course of the 21 days. Every time you make the effort to change this particular habit, affirm to yourself that if you can break this habit, you can also break any self-sabotaging thought patterns by replacing them with successful thought patterns.
For example, if you normally put your right shoe on first, start making the conscious effort to put your left shoe on first. Use the act of putting your shoes on differently to remind yourself that you can choose to think differently.
Method 2: Relax Your Way to Success
Maltz argues that practicing physical relaxation will enable you to consciously control your imagination and, subsequently, your self-image. When your mind is relaxed, it’s more receptive to positive suggestions. This is because negative thoughts create tension in the body—this tension makes it difficult for your subconscious to accept new ideas or possibilities. On the other hand, when you’re in a state of relaxation, negative thoughts tend to disappear.
Maltz suggests that you set aside 15-30 minutes a day to imagine yourself as relaxed and calm as possible. The more you practice relaxation, the more accustomed your mind and body will become to feeling this way. Practicing relaxation every day will help you to be more aware of your thoughts, think more rationally, and allow your subconscious mind to solve problems for you.
Method 3: Imagine Your Successful Personality
Maltz suggests that you use your imagination to think about the person you want to be and to recall your successful memories. Each time you create or recall successful feelings, your subconscious will record them and imprint them into your self-image. These successful feelings will accumulate in your self-image and will lead to new, automatic responses to your experiences—in other words, you’ll gradually find yourself naturally feeling and acting more successfully.
In addition to your relaxation time, set aside 15-30 minutes a day to visualize and think about what sort of person you would be if you freed yourself from everything that is holding you back—such as your negative self-image, the expectations of others, or specific fears. Come up with different situations and imagine how your “positive and successful self” would react. Make your images as vivid and as detailed as possible.
Method 4: Focus on a Goal
Maltz argues that you should know what results you hope to achieve with an improved self-image. Without a clear reason, you’re unlikely to find the motivation you need to make the required changes.
So, if you want to change your self-image so that you can feel more inner peace, think about why you want this—what you’ll get, or what improvements you hope to see in your life once you make this change. For example, will you get along better with your family, or feel more productive at work?
Method 5: Choose Happiness Now
People tend to delay their happiness—they wait until they’ve achieved or acquired something until they let themselves feel happy. However, Maltz argues that you shouldn’t wait to achieve your goals to feel happy—you should choose to see the best in every experience and decide to feel happy now.
AUTHOR: Maxwell Maltz
In Unlimited Power, Tony Robbins argues that reprogramming your mind is a matter of figuring out and “installing” the right mental programs. This theory is known as NLP (neuro-linguistic programming).
Robbins believes that NLP provides a method to accomplish anything you can imagine. Furthermore, because people’s minds all work with the same programming, you can figure out which programs to run by observing and imitating people who have already done what you’re trying to do. For example, someone who wants to become a better martial artist might study Bruce Lee: how he moves, how and when he strikes, and even how he breathes during a fight. Robbins calls this process modeling.
However, there’s more to NLP than just copying the person’s physical actions. Robbins says you have to copy that person’s mental state, intentions, beliefs, and values. If you want to achieve what someone else has achieved, then you must—at least for a short while—think and act exactly like that person.
|From Neuro-Linguistic Programming to Neuro-Associative Conditioning|
Unlimited Power was published in 1986. Since then, numerous studies on NLP have failed to produce consistent results, and it’s now considered to be pseudoscience by the scientific community.
Even Robbins himself has moved away from using the term neuro-linguistic programming—in his 1991 book Awaken the Giant Within, Robbins still argues that you can change your habitual thought patterns, but he refines the concept and begins calling it neuro-associative conditioning (NAC) instead. NAC recognizes that people’s habits and thought patterns physically change their brains, making them work differently.
Therefore, NAC is less about finding the right “programs” to run, and more about deliberately rewiring your brain. You can do this by disrupting harmful thought patterns and replacing them with constructive ones.
Realign Your Thoughts
Joseph Murphy, the author of the self-improvement classic The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, believes that reprogramming your mind is a matter of imprinting positive thoughts into your subconscious using repetition. The more often you think certain thoughts, the heavier the impression you leave on your subconscious mind. In the book, Murphy explains how to reprogram your mind to create positive experiences in your life:
Method 1: Choose Thoughts That Make You Feel Happy
Murphy believes that you need to focus on thinking only positive thoughts if you want your subconscious mind to create positive experiences. But how can you know whether your habitual conscious thoughts are positive or not? According to Murphy, you just need to judge how you feel. If you feel happy and you have positive expectations about your life, you’re thinking positive thoughts. On the other hand, if you don’t feel good about your life experiences, you’re thinking negative thoughts.
Method 2: Focus on the End Results
To develop positive expectations, Murphy suggests that you think only about what you want to experience. Instead of worrying about how you’ll achieve something, focus on the end results and imagine the gratitude you’ll feel once you have it. This process will set a clear direction for your subconscious mind to move towards.
Method 3: Create Automatic Behavior Using Conscious Repetition
According to Murphy, when you first try to reprogram your habitual conscious thoughts, you’ll need to apply conscious effort in order to think positively. But, with repetition, your positive thoughts will eventually imprint upon your subconscious mind to form positive beliefs, and outweigh any negative and outdated beliefs. As a result, your subconscious mind will influence you to think and behave in positive ways without conscious effort.
Method 4: Visualize What You Want
According to Murphy, when you visualize an image, you add weight to the impression your conscious thoughts form in your subconscious mind. This is because your subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between imagination and reality—it only knows that you’re thinking about something often enough to create a detailed picture in your mind. The more you dwell on this image, the more likely your subconscious is to accept this image as an instruction about what it should create.
Method 5: Relax Your Mind to Reduce Interference From Your Conscious Mind
When you’re awake and alert, you can’t help but think about and judge everything around you. According to Murphy, this is what your conscious mind is designed to do. Unfortunately, this creates problems for you when you’re trying to reprogram your subconscious mind. This is because you can’t just change your habitual conscious thoughts and beliefs instantaneously—your mind needs time to get used to your new way of thinking.
TITLE: The Power of Your Subconscious Mind
AUTHOR: Joseph Murphy
Many people live as victims of their own minds, consumed with negative thoughts that seem to control them. But if you know how to reprogram your mind, you can break out of self-sabotaging mental programs you’ve been running and replace them with programs that are conducive to your success.
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In Get Out of Your Head, Jennie Allen, founder of the influential IF:Gathering discipleship conference for Christian women, presents a comprehensive strategy for winning the war for your mind. First, she uncovers Satan’s master plan for trapping you in a life of defeat by poisoning your mind with toxic thoughts. She then draws on the Bible, personal examples, and the findings of modern brain science to teach you how to reprogram your mind and get on the path to victorious life that fulfills God’s plan for you.
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