Mind-techniques for motivation and success
By Jimmy Henderson
We all have a subconscious part of our mind which functions as a sort of ‘automatic pilot’ to regulate our bodily functions such as breathing and heartbeat as well as some important mental activities. Throughout our lives we have filled up this subconscious mind with beliefs about ourselves which form unwritten ‘rules’ and govern our thinking and perceptions. The problem is that, if these beliefs are limiting or negative, they can reduce our level of motivation and chances of success.
If we really wish to be self-motivated and achieve success, we have to create the psychological space for this to happen by seeing ourselves as having an almost limitless potential and not allowing ourselves to be governed by these self-imposed limits. Fortunately, research has shown that we can change these negative internal ‘rules’ simply by assimilating powerful new thoughts and ideas about ourselves and the world. And there are a number of subliminal mind-techniques we can use to do this:
Affirmations are positive statements directed at self-empowerment which we repeat to ourselves over and over until they filter through into our subconscious mind where they replace the negative beliefs. For example,
• ‘I release all negative thoughts about myself’
• ‘I am a positive and successful person’
• ‘I will not allow this person, situation or event to hold me back’
• ‘I will not be bothered by the negativity of others’
It often helps to stand in front of a mirror when we do this. Affirmations should be repeated at least three times a day.
An intention is more powerful than an affirmation, but requires a very specific state of mind, being a single and precise thought as to exactly what we expect or require from ourselves. It is like an instruction to our subconscious mind. However, it must be simply-worded and unambiguous. It can be said out aloud, or in our minds, but it is useful to begin by stating these intentions verbally until we become used to the process.
Here are a number of examples:
• ‘I now remove all negative thoughts from my mind’
• ‘I now begin this project with the view of success’
• ‘I now open my mind to only thoughts of success’
The power of an intention is that there is no hesitation or doubt, and this is proven by saying it only once with total confidence and conviction, then releasing it by putting it out of our minds. Once we have set the intention, we need to proceed with our next action with the full belief that what we have said, will actually happen.
Our state of mind is very important for motivation and success, and we can easily change this by using certain mental exercises. Research has shown that the best state for reducing anxiety and reaching a point of focus, clarity and creativity is the Alpha wave state. This is a low frequency brainwave pattern which has been shown to be ideal for relaxation and working with the mind. When practicing this technique, soft, meditative music can also be played to enhance the effect.
A simple method of reaching this state is by means of slow counting and moving our focus away from our surroundings to our breathing.
For example, sit quietly and comfortably, close your eyes and begin to breathe to a count of one to four. Focus on nothing else but the counting (either aloud or in your mind).
Breathe in 1,2,3,4, hold your breath, 1,2,3,4, breathe out 1,2,3,4, hold your breath 1,2,3,4, breathe in 1,2,3,4, and so on.
Carry on with the counting and breathing until your mind is free of all thought, completely quiet and you feel totally relaxed.
Try to meditate in this way for at least twenty seconds a few times each day. This will help to clear your mind of distractions and provide you with a deeper self-awareness and insight which are useful for decision-making and ultimately, success.
Research also shows that our subconscious mind cannot always differentiate between an inner (imagined) experience and an identical real-life situation. An example of this would be the cold sweats, rapid breathing and increased heart-rate we experience during a bad dream.
Second, we all have the power to create a mental picture of any scene or situation within our consciousness. And this has a similar effect on our body and emotional state as what would occur had we experienced this event in real-life. In other words, we can change our negative and limiting internal ‘rules’, as well as de-motivating emotional states, simply by sitting quietly and visualizing ourselves as happy and achieving a goal or a desired outcome in our career.
This sounds a bit like daydreaming, but it is far more focused and powerful, and as I said, can change our subconscious feelings and self-beliefs, making us feel more confident and positive, at least for a while. However, over time these feelings can become embedded in our subconscious and bring about real change. In fact, psychological research has shown that the more positive and confident actions resulting from this exercise can actually become a self-fulfilling prophecy and attract those very situations which we have visualized.
This exercise can also be used in conjunction with a vision-board, in which we paste or stick
cut-out pictures representing our desired successes on a board, and use these pictures as a basis for our visualization.