Step Two: Using The Awesome Power Of Your Mind
David Lawrence Preston is a hypnotherapist and personal development trainer who has frequently appeared on radio and television. Over the last 20 years he has developed the Dynamic Living Programme, which draws on practical psychological techniques and the sum of all his considerable experience with clients. He is also the author of 365 Steps to Self-confidence.
The vast majority of people are born, grow up, struggle, and go though life in misery and failure, not realising that it would be just as easy to switch over and get exactly what they want out of life, not recognising that the mind attracts the thing it dwells upon.
Your mind is your greatest asset. There is a magnetic force generated within you which draws you to whatever your mind centres upon. As your mindpower develops, so does this magnetic force, attracting conditions and people that promote success.
One of the main causes of failure is not cultivating the power of the mind, but this won’t be a problem for you if you apply the powerful techniques on the next few pages.
The Law of Attraction
The ITIA formula
- What do you want out of life?
- What kind of person would you like to be?
- What changes would you like to make?
- What are your goals?
- Are you prepared to commit yourself?
The clearer your goals and the stronger your intentions, the more likely they are to be realised.
2 Change your way of thinking
Step back and observe your self-talk (your thoughts).
- Are they generally positive or negative?
- What questions do you ask yourself?
- Examine your attitudes and beliefs. Where have they brought you so far?
- What are you trying to achieve by thinking that way?
The more positive your thinking, the happier you are and the more likely to succeed.
- Learn to use your creative imagination and respect your intuition.
- Imagine achieving your goals. What will they look like when brought to fruition? Sound like? Feel like?
- Do this often, especially when you are physically and mentally relaxed.
- Imprint your desires – and the belief that they will come true – on your subconscious mind.
4 Act ‘as if’
- Take small steps.
- Ignore your discomfort – feel the fear and do it anyway.
- Monitor your progress and make adjustments if necessary.
- Keep going until it becomes a habit.
- And don’t be put off by others.
Change never feels right, but when you act ‘as if’, eventually the uncomfortable feelings fade away.
The ITIA formula takes into account everything known about the mind, how it processes information and brings about change. But you must do all four; otherwise the changes won’t be permanent.
The power of thought
They can because they think they can.
The Principle of Cause and Effect states that every action is a cause and every cause produces an effect. But what governs your actions? The answer is – your thoughts.
Every action begins with a thought. Constructive thoughts lead to constructive actions, foolish thoughts to foolish actions, destructive thoughts to destructive actions. Most human beings are severely limited by their thinking.
When you become aware of the effect your thoughts have on your life, you become very conscious of what you’re thinking. You start to take control of your thoughts. Sometimes even small changes make a huge difference – for example, the difference between ‘I can’ and ‘I can’t’ can be massive. Failure always starts with the thought, ‘I can’t’. The antidote for this paralysing ‘can’t’ consciousness is the affirmation, ‘I can’. Affirm it as often as you can.
How you manage your thoughts is under your control. Therefore, by choosing to think positively you can choose positive goals, positive words, positive actions and hence create positive conditions in your life.
Turning your thinking around
Fortunately, human beings are not like robots. We can decide what to do with our thoughts, but like any new skill, it takes practice. Once mastered, you’ll find that the technique that follows becomes habitual. Within a few weeks, you’ll just do it naturally.
The starting point is to accept that you are responsible for your thoughts and the words and actions that result. Then apply the following four steps.
Step one: be mindful
Step two: release disempowenng thoughts
Step three: turn your attention to some positive thoughts
Step four: keep at it!
Watch your language
Life coaches listen very carefully to the language you use – it gives all sorts of clues to your motivation, your attitudes and beliefs, self-image and relationship with others. A life coach would be quick to point out disempowering words and phrases, and encourage you to reflect upon and modify them.
The language you use when you talk to yourself is all-important, and there’s much you can do to empower yourself through more uplifting self-talk.
Ask the right questions
Was Socrates the first life coach? The Socratic method, which is still universally used as a teaching technique, consists of asking sequences of questions which challenge learners and make them think more deeply. This is how Socrates challenged the young men of Athens to reflect on the issues of the day. It brought about such profound changes in their attitudes and behaviour that he was adjudged by the authorities to be a threat to society and forced to drink hemlock, a deadly poison.
Hopefully no life coach would ever suffer the same fate for turning their clients’ thinking around, for skilled, effective questioning is a potent tool in the hands of a good coach. In the same way, the quality of the questions you ask yourself and the way you ask them is key to your success as a self-coach.
Questions focus your attention. Great questions:
- Shift your attention to a more positive, practical, upbeat perspective.
- Presuppose a solution where none was previously apparent.
- Open doors to new imaginative, creative and intuitive resources within your own mind.
- Create clarity.
- Are simple to answer.
- Explore different perspectives and generate options.
- Create forward movement, out of the problem state and into action.
- Help you feel more in control and constructive about a situation.
- Can make a problem feel more like a challenge or an opportunity.
- Dig below the surface, and therefore invite a more encompassing solution.
- Avoid unhelpful judgements.
- Give direction to your self-talk and actions.
Poor questions confuse, lead you up blind alleys, narrow options, demotivate you, and lower your energy, confidence and self-esteem.
The subconscious mind
The mind has two levels, conscious and subconscious. The conscious mind is the thinking mind that reasons, debates and analyses.
The subconscious is the memory store for all the information received from the conscious mind. It has no intelligence. It does not have the ability to reason or analyse. It simply receives information from the conscious mind. A specific thought repeatedly presented to the subconscious influences the brain and muscular mechanisms of the body. Record-like grooves are formed in the subconscious, and the record is played over and over again as the thought becomes a habit.
When it receives information from the conscious, the subconscious accepts it as the whole and entire truth. It doesn’t matter if the information is positive or negative, or even if it is true – it accepts the information as fact. Usually, nothing is received by the subconscious that has not been processed by the conscious for a length of time.
Receiving any suggestions as true, the subconscious at once proceeds to act on them. What the subconscious believes controls our behaviour and heavily influences what materialises in our lives. For example, continual thoughts of anger, bitterness, resentment, jealousy and so on are eventually absorbed by the subconscious. The effects are more often than not totally destructive.
The subconscious finds it very hard to accept new ideas, but when the censorious conscious mind is off guard, or when calm judgement is suspended (for instance, during wild excitement or panic), then the subconscious is left unguarded and open to suggestion from all sources.
Alternatively, as we shall see, the subconscious can be swayed by thoughts, feelings and images deliberately fed in when one is in a deeply relaxed state. (More of this from page 101.)