I was recently talking to a very practically minded good friend of mine, who asked me… ‘So Danielle, how does this positive thinking malarkey actually work? In fact does it really work or is it all just baloney??
I took a deep breath before replying, sensing this would go on for a bit..
‘I mean’ she continued, ‘let’s take that.. Law of Attraction stuff. Does simply thinking positive or ‘visualising’ your dream life REALLY get you that?
‘Nope it doesn’t’, I replied. She looked at me surprised.
Allow me explain what I said to her.
You see its not quite as simplistic as its somehow made out to be. In fact I find it a little patronising when it is sometimes referred to as all that ‘positivity stuff’. It’s not anyone’s fault, I know. It has simply got diluted down, generalised and assumptions have been born and have spread like wildfire.
Of course thinking positive thoughts is definitely helpful, I mean obviously if you are sitting around all the time moping, you will feel less motivated. That goes without saying, We are what we feast our mind on – If you focus on the negative you will get more of that and of course vice versa. So focusing on the positive outcome definitely helps.
For example, look around and notice what is red….. Okay, done that? Now, close your eyes and say out loud what is blue. …. Get it? Of course, you noticed more red! Right?! That is because you were focusing on that. So you see, you get more of what you focus on.
But…there is a little more to it. There is a often a BIG missing element.
This one thing will make the difference between wasting your time attempting to ‘imagine’ something and it actually manifesting. This is NOT magic, hocus pocus, wishful thinking or any other whacky phantasy – this is SCIENCE.
Our Minds are made up of our conscious and unconscious mind – our conscious being only approximately 7%. Science has proven that our Unconscious mind (which makes up about 93% of our mind) does not know the difference between what is real or imagined.
Let me give you a couple of examples;
Have you ever awakened from a bad dream feeling really sad? Or from a nice dream feeling elated? Have you ever watched a scary film and felt afraid? Or have you ever thought about a huge hairy spider falling down onto your face and crawling into your mouth? Chances are you got the shivers simply reading this!
So what does this mean for us? Our unconscious mind does not know the difference between what is real or imagined? How is that useful for you to know?
Think about it. If your unconscious cannot tell the difference than how can you use that to your advantage? You can trick it! You just need to put in one thing into the mix.
This thing is….. Emotion.
This is the missing element many people neglect. They go to a coach or a hypnotist expecting a miracle – a magical switch. You also need to do a little work!
They hear the words ‘imagine’, ‘visualise’, etc and they think to them selves half heartedly … ‘Yea, yea okay I am trying’…. and then guess what?? Of course, it doesn’t work!
You have to put emotion with it. Therefore you have to let go. You have to allow your imagination to really wander and allow yourself to explore. After all it is YOUR mind. Why not?? Give yourself space, time and practice. You WILL get better and better at it. Like any muscle it requires practice. Your Imagination muscle will get stronger. Eventually like riding a bike it will become easier and more natural. Eventually you ride that bike happily, confidently and with enthusiasm! With emotion behind it, using all your senses, your unconscious will be fooled, without emotion it will prove fruitless.
To get this emotion you need to visualise the OUTCOME. What I mean is.. If you want to be rich, visualising yourself counting money will never work – you could end up working in a bank 🙂 You need to have a LOT more emotion behind it and that will only happen if… you imagine your real purpose. This will well up those good feelings.
Why do you want to have money? What can this do for you and the people you love? What kind of a life can you give your loved ones? What difference can you make if you had this wealth? When you start imagining the outcome of your dreams this is when your real purpose and emotion starts to kick in.
Okay, so the crunch is this. Once you have done this then what?
Your unconscious mind believes this has happened. So what??
Think about it.
If you had previously learnt how to ride a bike, even if you had not got on one in years, you would believe it would be easy enough to do again, right?
Same principle applies to your unconscious. It believes you have done whatever it was you visualised, therefore it believes it is easier to do it again.
Take an important meeting coming up that you are feeling anxious about.
Sit back, close your eyes and mentally go through the whole process, imagining the outcome that you desire. Go through all the questions that they ask you and listen to yourself responding confidently and clearly. Take note of all your senses. Add in some challenging questions and listen to yourself answering them without missing a beat. Notice your comfortable relaxed posture and focused thoughts. Watch their interested and obviously impressed stares. Feel how good you are feeling in your own body right at this very moment. Notice how excited and happy you feel knowing that you did incredibly well and have got the outcome you wanted.
Now. after this virtual practice, your mind will believe you have done this already, so repeating it again is a piece of cake.
The apt saying goes…’Success is when Preparation meets Opportunity!’
Your ‘Conscious’ mind, the critical, analytical part of your brain is of course saying ‘yea sure, I know I didn’t do it’ but it doesn’t matter, its holds the minority control of your mind, remember only 7% !
One more thing…. we all possess something which is known by the experts as our Cognitive Bias and the Prospect theory. We like to protect and keep what we already have.
This means once we have ‘had’ something, whether it is a lifestyle, a possession, a love, a good outcome, we find it much harder to let that go than if we never had it in the first place. Therefore you will work much harder to get it back, so to speak.
This gives you momentum, motivation and propels you towards that goal ‘again’. You will feel yourself drawn to complete the tasks you visualised (with emotion). You will feel more focused, clear and driven.
This is how all this ‘positivity stuff’ actually works.
To your success,
P.S: The above painting was my 1st after nearly 20 years. It has now gone on to a very deserving home and someone that really needed some positive imagery, but it still holds a very special place in my heart. It is entitled ‘Free wheeling through life’ and expresses the sentiments I felt after discovering NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). I no longer felt anxious or concerned about what others thought. I felt free and enthusiastic about my future. If you also want to find out more about how to overcome self sabotaging limiting beliefs and doubts just send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you x