Table of Contents Hide
- Beliefs – Workable and Unworkable
- You Are the Most Powerful Force in the World
- Affirmations and Visualizations
- How Positive Self-Talk and Positive Imagery Can Work For You
- Affirmation + Imagery + Emotion = Success
- You Get What You Expect
- Forcing Change is Counterproductive
- Identify with the New Image
Learn how to program your mind and you will have the key to your life. Many of the ideas we have about the way life works are erroneous. Most of our beliefs have never been tested in the real world. Yet, we live our whole life based on the premise that what we believe is true.
Over the years, through our perception, we have been gathering information about the way life is. The problem we face is that the information we have been gathering wasn’t always the truth, but our version of the truth.
What we see and hear is always filtered through our belief system. We tell ourselves what we think we are seeing or hearing and this is recorded as our version of reality. Consciously we know the difference between what is happening and what we imagine is
happening, but our subconscious doesn’t distinguish between whether we are imagining something or we are experiencing it.
The point here is that while consciously we know the difference, subconsciously we only believe what the conscious mind accepts as real.
If this is true and we have built our opinions, beliefs, and expectation levels on vividly imagined experiences; it stands to reason we can make changes in our behavior through the same process.
Beliefs – Workable and Unworkable
All the information we have received is stored on a subconscious level. That information becomes our opinion or our belief, which then becomes part of our self-image. It is the truth, as best as we know it at the time and that becomes our current dominant image of reality.
It’s necessary to continually check our beliefs to see if they are workable or unworkable. In other words, are they supporting us in where we want to go? And do they contribute or take away from our happiness and satisfaction?
If they are not workable, we need to reprogram a new set of beliefs that our subconscious can work with.
We need to take the time to do the necessary reprogramming.
We have no choice about whether we are going to be programmed because we are always being programmed.
The choice is this – who is going to do the programming? Are we going to do it, or are we going to let someone else do it for us?
The fact of the matter is, there is no one else in the world that wants for you what you want. It is of the utmost importance that you do not allow others, no matter how well-meaning, to do that programming for you.
You Are the Most Powerful Force in the World
Your subconscious will achieve anything you believe to be true for you. Belief is the cornerstone of all the great achievements since the beginning of time.
We need to remind ourselves that belief is the master and we become the slaves in that the belief dictates the actions we take.
But we can change our beliefs, and the exciting thing about this is that if we change our belief, which is the cause, we also change our experience, which is the effect or result.
We always have a choice about what we want to believe. We are never permanently stuck with old, unworkable beliefs.
It can reasonably be said that belief is the most powerful force in the world. Belief is what allowed Helen Keller to overcome the incredible obstacles of being both blind and deaf.
Belief enabled Einstein to carry on until he discovered the theory of relativity. But belief also allows people to live a life of crime, start wars, or commit suicide. So belief is a force that can help us or destroy us.
What we want to do is to reprogram ourselves and set up an environment in which our beliefs facilitate us in getting what we want. The tools we use to do this are positive self-talk statements and visualizations.
Affirmations and Visualizations
The purpose of positive self-talk is simply to surround ourselves mentally with thoughts that support a specific action or an experience. Often our positive self-talk statements have no relevance to the way things are right now. They are based on the way we want things to be.
Visualization or imagery refers to the ability of the mind to see things in pictures. Essentially, it is a thought that we hold long enough to
get a conscious mental and emotional picture. Visualization is also referred to as “applied imagination.” It is one of the most significant tools we can use for change.
We learned earlier that our thoughts become reality if we believe those thoughts to be true. We think thousands of thoughts every day, but the ones that influence us are the ones that are tied to emotion.
Visualization is the process of taking a thought and keeping it long enough so that our mental picture evokes an emotional response. Keep in mind that thought plus emotion creates conviction, and conviction creates reality.
Affirmations are quality ideas and quality thoughts. The quality of our thoughts reflects the quality of our life. Hence, if we were to raise the quality of our thoughts, we would automatically improve the quality of our life.
How Positive Self-Talk and Positive Imagery Can Work For You
Positive Self-Talk statements are induced auto-suggestions. At the turn of the century, Emile Coue used autosuggestion very successfully at his clinic in France. He taught his patients to repeat this statement; “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” And it worked because of the constant repetition.
Positive self-talk works on the theory of displacement. If you have a glass of dirty water and you put it under the faucet and start running clean water into the glass, eventually the dirty water will be displaced by the clean water.
The same phenomenon occurs when you replace unworkable thoughts with positive, workable ones. It is not necessary to get rid of the limiting beliefs we hold in our subconscious.
What is more important is to ensure that the dominant thoughts we hold in our minds support us in getting what we want instead of what we don’t want.
In computer language, there is a term called GIGO. That’s pronounced “get-go”. It stands for “garbage in – garbage out.” What it means is that if you feed a computer all the wrong data and then ask it a question, you can expect to receive the wrong answer. Now, what is the weakest link in any computer? The computer programmer is the weakest link, of course.
If the programmer’s perception of reality is incorrect, then their input will be incorrect. This means that the data fed into the computer will be incorrect and then the feedback from the computer, when called upon to solve a problem, will be incorrect.
Likewise, if your programmer, which is your conscious mind, incorrectly feeds the wrong data, which is illogical or erroneous, then the translation of that data will be incorrect.
Opposing thoughts are mutually exclusive. This means you cannot hold two opposing thoughts at the same time. You cannot think “I can” and “I can’t” at the same time about the same thing.
So it is important to look at and program your dominant thoughts. Emerson said, “We become what we think about all day long,” and that’s very true. You and I are walking, talking evidence of our beliefs.
As we’ve discussed, positive self-talk is one of the most effective tools in programming your subconscious for success. Positive self-talk is also known as an affirmation. Affirmation means to validate or confirm.
So when we think a thought over and over again, we are validating or confirming it as the truth. What we are doing is firming up our belief by making a recording in the neuron structure of our brain,
which is processed through our subconscious mind. Once our subconscious mind has accepted a belief, it is an idea whose time has come.
Using affirmations daily is one of the easiest things we can do to change our lives. Most people do not know how to use affirmations properly. You will learn an easy method to imprint your affirmations in Chapter 7, but all you need to know right now is that it is easy to do.
To achieve the best possible results, it is necessary to combine our self-talk and affirmations with imagery.
It can be said that every thought we think is a picture within the mind. If I mention a dog, you see a dog in your mind’s eye. If I mention an abstract word such as courage, you must mull it around in your mind until you can reduce the abstraction to a mental picture of what courage means to you.
You’ve probably made the statement “I’m unable to get the picture” when communicating with someone. If you are confused and don’t understand what someone is trying to tell you, you are unable to get the picture. Imagery or visualization is a process of holding a thought in your mind until it creates a mental picture or image.
The mental picture or image allows you to be there, to experience it in your mind. This is known as applied imagination.
The difference between affirmation and imagery is that affirmations are conscious thoughts you choose to think about. Imagery goes a step further. It takes those thoughts and dwells upon them until they generate emotion and belief.
Imagery or visualization is not daydreaming. Imagery is a conscious process that has predetermined attitudes and beliefs that are used to support achieving a certain result or goal. The purpose of visualization is to build the necessary confidence to take action.
Daydreams are generally a diversion from reality and are not predetermined conscious thoughts that support attitudes or beliefs. The reason imagery works is that the human brain and nervous system, working in tandem, form a stimulus-response mechanism, which reacts automatically to problems and challenges.
Visualization records memory and develops beliefs and attitudes without the actual event even taking place. It allows us to record in our subconscious mind the data we wish to have as our version of reality.
Remember, what we believe to be true is true for us. This is possible because our subconscious mind cannot distinguish the difference between an experience and one that is vividly imagined.
If we imagine something with vivid intensity through the direction of imagery, our subconscious accepts it as though it was happening. Once our subconscious accepts what we are imagining, everything we experience after that will relate to the newly formed belief or image.
Affirmation + Imagery + Emotion = Success
The key to successful imagery is to put as much emotion into the picture as possible. Arouse a deep inner desire, be enthusiastic and keep running the picture over and over again. Your present beliefs were formed by thought plus feeling. So, if you put enough emotion into your new thoughts, they will automatically cancel out the old thoughts through dominance.
New thoughts programmed with repetition and imagery become dominant thoughts. Dominant thoughts and beliefs control our behavior. Each one of us has proven that this works.
When you worry about something, you picture the negative future outcome vividly in your imagination. You play it over and over
again. You are not using any effort or willpower; you just keep talking about and picturing the result. Whatever you are picturing has not happened yet, but you keep forming the picture and the imagery of it happening.
The fact that you have accepted that the negative outcome is possible and have constantly been replaying the picture and thinking of it as an already fact makes the image appear more and more real.
After some time, you automatically generate the emotions that conform to the image; you begin to experience fear, anxiety, discouragement, tension, and depression. All of this turmoil was created out of an imagined experience!
It is worth repeating that worry provides no known benefit and cannot change what will happen tomorrow – but it can weaken your faith, cripple your actions, destroy your inner peace of mind and make you feel powerless.
You Get What You Expect
Whatever you expect to happen is determined by the thoughts you dwell upon plus the intensity of the emotions behind those thoughts. It is worth repeating that our subconscious does not question the validity of the data we present to it. It merely processes it and attracts to us what we believe to be true.
If we are using imagery to change habit patterns, we must see ourselves acting and reacting the way we want to be in the future. It doesn’t matter how we acted today or yesterday.
Once our subconscious gets hold of our new thought, our brain-mind functioning together through our central nervous system will take over and we will automatically assume the new behavior patterns. The key is to be able to picture or imagine the result so vividly that it appears real.
We have learned that our subconscious mind functions in terms of goals or results. Once the subconscious has accepted an idea, you can depend upon it to take you to that goal. If we will supply the result, our subconscious will supply the “how to.” It will show us how to reach that result.
Think of the result in terms of present possibilities. It must be seen so clearly that it seems real to your brain and nervous system. The ultimate aim of affirmation and visualization is to evoke the feeling that the goal has already been achieved.
Feel as though it has already been achieved and your imagery will pull you toward the result that you desire. Imagine it in as much detail as possible. Keep using the imaging process over and over again for the same goal.
In the beginning, don’t worry about whether you are putting in enough detail. Every time you visualize you will automatically incorporate more and more detail.
Always put yourself in the picture. See yourself involved in the activities of your goal. If you do not put yourself in the picture, you may not be in the result. For example, suppose you want a new car – let’s say it’s a new BMW.
You visualize the car and faithfully infuse your imagery with emotion, detail and repetition. And then, suddenly, a new BMW comes into your life. You look out the window of your house and your neighbor is driving a new BMW! You now have a new BMW in your life, but you are not in it! So, make sure you identify yourself with your goal!
All successful individuals have started with a picture held in their minds. They visualized and affirmed what they wanted to be, do and have. And then they instructed their subconscious with clarity and repetition.
Forcing Change is Counterproductive
Once we change the picture, it becomes the job of the creative subconscious to get the picture to match our reality. The job of the subconscious, to preserve sanity, is to make me act like the person I see myself to be. I cannot consistently act otherwise. The challenge is to change the way I see myself to be.
Our past mistake was in trying hard to be different from our picture. It is that very trying that will cause us anxiety and to avoid change. Our self-image controls our performance and we automatically and effortlessly act the way we see ourselves to be.
If we try to force ourselves not to smoke, to lose weight, or to make any change in our lives, without first changing the picture, we have to push ourselves to make the change.
As long as we consciously focus on the change we desire, we will make progress. But the moment we forget to exert conscious effort, we will go back to our old habits – because we are always going to act like the person we see ourselves to be.
When we force ourselves to change, we place tremendous stress and tension on our nervous system because we are forcing ourselves to be different than our subconscious picture.
The moment we let go we return to our dominant picture or controlling mechanism. Using affirmations and visualizations reprograms our picture. If we do this, we no longer need to force change.
It is also important that while you are visualizing yourself like the new person, you just go on behaving like you always behave. Don’t force yourself to be like the new person. Don’t try hard to be like what you are affirming or picturing. Just relax and be yourself. Remember, we are altering the subconscious automatic guidance system. We are not
concerned about our current behavior or performance. If we change the picture, the change in our behavior and performance follows automatically. Just go on acting daily like your old self. If you are using affirmations and imagery, the new you is changing little by little.
Pretty soon you will automatically be like the person you wish to be. It is worth mentioning again: Do not try to change your performance or behavior. Change the picture first. The biggest mistake that most people make is that they try to outrun their picture.
Some people have difficulty getting a clear picture in their minds. Some people hear more or feel more than they visualize so they don’t get a good clear picture. These people are “non-visionaries.” If you are a non-visionary, you will probably have a heightened subjective sense of feeling. If this is true for you, just concentrate on the feeling instead of the picture.
Sometimes we don’t get a good clear picture because we are not relaxed enough. In the section titled, “Relax”, I will give you a relaxation technique that will help you to relax your mind and body so that your subconscious is more receptive to your affirmations and imagery.
It helps to take a look at the areas of your life that you are avoiding or having difficulty with. Then visualize yourself in the situation you are avoiding or having difficulty with, acting in a way that would be more appropriate for you to be. Visualize the skill level, the characteristics, and the qualities you want to express. Soon you will act and behave like your picture.
Once it takes hold in your subconscious, you don’t need to affirm it or visualize it anymore. Just go out and be you. What you have done is to control and consciously decide what the new “you” would be like.
For example, if you choose to be a non-smoker, picture yourself in a situation where you would normally have a cigarette. See yourself with nothing in your hand. If your image is clear enough, it will be as though you didn’t have a cigarette that one time.
Record it subconsciously and feel the satisfaction of the accomplishment. This will make an impression upon your subconscious mind. As far as your subconscious is concerned, for that one time, you were a non-smoker.
You did not smoke. Once you’ve repeated this image over and over you will make a change from a smoker to a non-smoker easily and without effort. In the meantime, if you want to have a cigarette, go ahead and have one. If you don’t, throw the cigarette away. Once the picture changes, you will give it up without stress or effort.
If you feel you are shy, picture yourself with your best friends. Now project yourself into a new, unfamiliar situation, perhaps in a crowded room or at a party. See yourself just as confident and relaxed as you are with your friends. Feel the sense of accomplishment.
Repeat that kind of scene over and over again and your subconscious will think you have done it like that many times. When you get in that situation, you will act like yourself. What is yourself? The way you have been picturing yourself to be.
Identify with the New Image
Not just any kind of imagery changes the subconscious image of reality. If that were so, all you would have to do is watch TV and your subconscious picture would change. The only kind of imagery that will alter the subconscious image of reality is experiential imagery. We must identify with the imagery.
If I observe somebody else do something, I say to myself. “That’s the way they do it. I’m not doing it, they are doing it.” I must personally experience it in my mind. I must see myself, not someone else, accomplishing the result. If you can’t see yourself being, doing, or having it, you won’t get there.
All permanent and lasting change comes from the inside out. Any other change is temporary. You have been using affirmations and imagery all of your life. What you want to do from now on is to learn how to control them so they will work for you instead of against you.
The actual process of applying affirmations and imagery is called imprinting. You now have a sufficient overview concerning affirmations and imagery to learn the techniques of imprinting.