Alter Your Mindset and Alter Your Future by Reprograming Your Brain
The Brain Resembles a Computer in Some Ways
“Your input determines your outlook. Your outlook determines your output, and your output determines your future”. — Zig Ziglar
Remember the old adage when we were first learning about computers, “garbage in, garbage out”? When we first heard this expression, we immediately knew what it meant. If you put good information into your computer, you will get valuable data back. On the other hand, should you put worthless data in; you will in return get gibberish or in the least, information that is of little practical value.
We have often heard the analogy that the brain is like a computer, which seems to be accurate in many ways. The more valuable information we acquire, the more value we represent to ourselves, to the people that surround us, even to society. But there is also another comparison worthwhile noting and that is the connection between the brain and our actions.
This is in many ways similar to the relationship between the programs and the user interface in your computer. The programs can cause the computer to act in productive ways, as long as they receive proper instruction. In essence, random inputs at best cause random results, while purposeful commands yield valuable outcomes.
The question then becomes, can we obtain excellent results by purposefully and intentionally inserting proper inputs into our mind? Many experts and motivational gurus will tell you, yes, you can. They claim the reason is your brain is flexible, absorbs information, pays attention to commands, and the information in it is ultimately fungible.
Hence, if you take control of what goes in, as Zig Ziglar’s quote above claims, your outlook on life will change in a positive way, which will increase your output, in turn making you more successful.
The Brain Does Not Act on Its Own
The notion that the brain acts on its own, making independent decisions is a misconception. This is the type of hydraulic or mechanical model that philosophers and psychologists of past eras assigned to emotions and attitudes, but that scholars like Robert C. Solomon from the University of Texas at Austin have challenged. Today, experts will tell you that emotions, like beliefs and attitudes can be rationalized, changed and revised.
While we all have physical and cognitive shortcomings, we non-the-less possess the free will necessary to make decisions within our limitations. However, it is up to us to exercise that free will and find ways to take control over our attitudes, habits and the approach to our lives.
Changing Your Mindset by Affirmations
In very basic terms, changing your mindset will motivate you to increase your output and performance. With increasing output and performance come a greater chance of success in that which you wish to accomplish. But where is the user interface in all of this? Where is the keyboard on which we can type the algorithm or code necessary to trigger a disruption in our attitude?
Motivational experts as well as many psychologist claim the secret lies in repetition of key words, phrases or sentences that after a while begin to tunnel their way into your subconscious mind allowing for the encoding process of memories to take place. These memories eventually affect the behavior and actions needed to accomplish desired goals.
Take for instance Dr. Glenn Livingston, author of Never Binge Again. Reprogram Yourself to Think Like a Permanently Thin Person, suggests telling yourself over and over again not to feed the “inner pig in you.” Dr. Livingston quite hilariously devices a myriad of ways to tell yourself that you have an inner pig that should not be fed, but instead rationed, controlled and even sanctioned.
His reasoning is that the grotesque image of a pig inside of you, will help you visualize what you do not want to be, initiating a desire to not “pig-out” or binge.
Self-improvement guru Remez Sasson calls the idea of repeating thoughts, words, phrases or sentences that contain positive messages the power of affirmation. He proposes that the frequent repetition of these “affirmations” during your waking hours will allow them to enter into the subconscious mind affecting behavior, actions, and reactions of the person involved.
As per Sasson, this occurs due to the subconscious mind regarding these words and thoughts as describing real situations, and then endeavoring to align the words and thoughts with reality.
He claims by simply telling yourself over and over that “you are rich”, will spur you to search for opportunities to get rich, consequently taking advantage of those opportunities. Other affirmations he proposes are: “Day by day I am becoming happier and more satisfied.” “A lot of money is flowing now into my life.” “I always stay calm and in control of myself, in every situation and in all circumstances.” He recommends it is important to affirm with attention, strong desire, faith and persistence. But also to affirm often.
Sasson goes beyond the mere repetition of affirmations. He also recommends the usage of creative visualization, or mindful exercises that create a visual mental image of what you want to accomplish. The combination of the two will help the person trying to create these inputs to start to gain emotions associated with the desired image and the affirmations.
Another self-help guru worth knowing about is Napoleon Hill, known for his 1937 book Grow and Think Rich. While in his book he promoted the idea that passionate and intense expectations are the essence of improving one’s life, and not necessarily the more pragmatic approach of repeating or affirming certain key words or sentences in order to reprogram your mind, he did imply obsessing, convincing yourself and actually believing in something will bring about goal attainment.
In his book Hill said: “If you truly desire money so keenly that your desire is an obsession, you will have no difficulty in convincing yourself that you will acquire it. The object is to want money, and to be so determined to have it that you convince yourself that you will have it… You may as well know, right here, that you can never have riches in great quantities unless you work yourself into a white heat of desire for money and actually believe you will possess it.”
He also said: “Your ability to use the principle of autosuggestion will depend, very largely, upon your capacity to concentrate upon a given desire until that desire becomes a burning obsession.”
For those of us that don’t believe that money is necessarily the yardstick we want to use for success, we may want to think in terms of the attainment of knowledge, spirituality, peace of mind, or whatever other loftier goal we might want to attain.
While there are many other motivational experts, Zig Ziglar is one that must be mentioned. Perhaps what sets him apart from a lot of other motivational experts is his approach or view of success that transcended the mere acquisition of wealth.
His many quotes and words of encouragement often dealt with happiness, service to others, love, family values and friendship. Quotes like: “You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life forever”, and “You can own everything in the world, but if you lack contentment, you’ll never be happy”, resonate for a more selfless approach to personal achievements.
Ziglar also advocated for the repetition or affirmation of sentences as a way of changing your life. His approach was that output or performance must be in equal proportion to the increase of a proper mindset. To this end he would have his followers stand in front of a mirror at night before going to bed and in the morning upon waking up, and repeat with enthusiasm, fervor and passion sentences that infused self-confidence, kindness, passion, sense of responsibility, hard work, and industriousness.
This ritual would take place over a period of 30 days, after which additional sentences would be added that emphasized specific qualities to attain, as well as a personal commitment to follow through with what has been repeated.
For years hypnosis has been used as a tool to treat pain, depression, anxiety, smoking cessation, and much more. This has been accomplished through the use of guided relaxation, focused attention, and intense concentration. In the relaxed state of mind that the patient experiences, the therapist is able to implant a suggestion to aid in the altering of behavior. Perhaps, through repetitive affirmations, we can also alter our mindset, our behavior and reach our goals.
While it is hard to prove or disprove the theory that affirmations or repetition of verbal commands change your mindset and eventually improve your quality of life and help with the attainment of goals, it is definitely something to consider should you be in the market for some self-improvement help. The fact is that our brains are capable of amazing feats. By believing change is possible, you are halfway to what you wish in life.