Our mental narrative in the present is the essential basis of our future possibilities in life.
It’s not that positive thinking is the magic pill, but it’s recognizing that:
1) Our thinking is the foundation of the actions we choose to take and not to take based on what we believe is possible
2) Our thinking acts a filter on reality either revealing or concealing the opportunities constantly flowing through our life.
My experiences with the shamans of South America, the mystics of India, and my continuing meditative practices have shown quite clearly that thought patterns function in a very similar way to our physical muscles. Just as muscle groups used in certain ways consistently over time build strength and memory, the same holds true in our mental structure with our consistent thoughts.
The science of neuroplasticity aligns with this understanding as does research on affirmations from leading institutions.
Affirmations: Dumbbells for the Mind
Affirmations are a powerful tool for training our thought muscles in a particular direction to bring about the results we want. Just as if we’re playing sports we want our body to function with agility and power in a particular direction, so too in life, our mind must be agile, perceptive, and powerful to create what we desire.
So what is an affirmation?
An affirmation is a sentence aimed to affect the conscious and subconscious mind to affect our behavior, thinking patterns, and environment. It’s a mantra, an incantation, a chorus that we repeat to ourselves again and again and again until that thought stream naturally flows in our mind with the unabating energy and momentum of a mighty river.
By making the desire real inside our mindscape, we begin to act and think as if it is already happening, which, in turn, creates the conditions for that desired result to occur.
Tools of Titans: The Social Proof of Affirmations
Before we dive further into the mechanics of affirmations, I’d like to share some social proof to get you motivated. Celebrities and global icons throughout history have touted to benefits of affirmations in their journeys to success. I’ve listed a few examples below:
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve” – Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich based upon the success secrets of Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison among others.
“I believe you can speak things into existence.” – Jay Z
“As far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and then working towards it while letting go of how it comes to pass.” – Jim Carrey
“You are what you think. So just think big, believe big, act big, work big, give big, forgive big, laugh big and love big.” – Andrew Carnegie
“Writing affirmations helps you focus on your goal, moving them from wishful thinking to something in which you are willing to invest yourself…..Perhaps affirmations are a way to manage your own level of commitment. In effect, you are brainwashing yourself, and this might help you get through the tough patches that come with pursuing ambitious goals. When I started Dilbert, I didn’t take a day off for ten years. You only work that hard if you fully expect something good to come from it. I did” – Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert
“I am the greatest.” – Muhammed Ali
“We choose to go to the Moon! We choose to go to the Moon… We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” – President John F Kennedy, 1962
How to Implement Affirmations into Your Life
I’ve found the best way to practice affirmations is to write them at least 10 times before bed and 10 times just after waking up while saying them aloud. This approach is most potent because it incorporates as many of our senses as possible: tactile, visual, and auditory.
It also leverages the use of “dream time” to allow these thoughts to imprint more deeply in the mind and then sets the tone for the new day’s thoughts in the morning. Top performers such as Josh Waitzkin (Chess grandmaster, the subject of the movie “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” world champion martial artist) touts the advantages of focusing the mind before sleep and upon waking up to accelerate learning and transformation.
Affirmations are powerful and effective, but they require consistency. Some days you’ll feel like you’re lying to yourself. That’s ok.
Similarly, you may feel like you’re kidding yourself the first couple of weeks in the gym trying to lose weight or gain muscle. It takes time and an element of faith in the process. You may not see or feel a benefit in the first couple of weeks of working out, but those two weeks set the basis for the transformation that will occur in month two, three, or six. It’s the same with affirmations. Practice consistently until they are a part of your blood. Realistically, this takes at least 6 months of practice.
Examples to Stimulate Your Mind
Below I’ve listed a few generic affirmations to stimulate your mind. A quick google search would reveal 100’s more. The key is to:
1) Get clear about your desire as specifically as possible.
2) Throw emotion behind the affirmations. Always say affirmations in the present tense as if it’s already true.
3) Consistency. Train the muscles.
Success loves me and always seeks me.
My body is infused with health and energy.
Happiness always seeks me.
My business is capitalizing on exponential opportunity
Financial freedom is here and now
My clients appreciate and value my work immensely.