A long time ago, I started visualizing goals. Not just the finish line, but each step of the way. Top athletes do this all the time—visualizing each stride, stroke, leap on their way to competition.
And what we know now through neurolinguistic studies, is that this programming actually works. Because the subconscious mind (which governs the vast majority of us and truly is in control) can’t tell the difference in actual reality, and what you feed it as truth.
In other words, what you believe to be true, is true. At least for you. So if you tell yourself you’re brilliant, the fastest, wealthy, whatever, your subconscious mind acts on that. And it directs you in ways 180-degree different from if you fed it the opposite.
Isn’t it just wonderful when science proves spiritual tenants? Always tweaks me 🙂
So often folks tell me, “Thinking positive doesn’t work.” Or, “That’s just a trick to make yourself feel better.”
If you believe that, then it is true. But since we know how the subconscious works (scientifically), why not choose the thought that will at least head you toward your goal?
Affirmations, then, work either way. Our brains produce as many as 50,000 thoughts per day (National Science Foundation). Ninety-five percent of these thoughts are repeated daily and reflect the mindset or beliefs we hold that lead to those 50,000 thoughts.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of those are the same ones, and often negative thoughts prevail. So, unbeknownst to you, often you’re basically meditating on the negative throughout your day. Over and over and over again.
A positive affirmation may then have a wee bit of trouble taking hold, as your conscious mind at this point is going, “No way! That doesn’t work! This is a trick!” –just as people say every day.
So, it takes a bit of mental work to focus on the positive. Okay, so maybe more than a bit! Decades of stinkin’ thinkin’ can sure produce a log-jam between you and your goals. But as with anything, if you commit to the goal, you keep your eye there even when you stumble.
Or, as one of my favorite characters in literature said, “Your car goes where your eyes go.” –Enzo, The Art of Racing in the Rain.\
Leave it to the dog to catch the Zen!
Some people are just born optimistic. You know them, don’tcha? I do. I, myself, was not! It’s been a learned trait. But what we know is that it can be learned, and folks who focus on the positive are more successful than those who don’t (back to the athletes!).
World renowned positive psychologist Martin Seligman says, “Habits of thinking need not be forever. One of the most significant findings in psychology in the last twenty years is that individuals can choose the way they think.” (Check out his book, Learned Optimism, for more amazingness on this topic.)
As this became more and more apparent to me, I had to decide whether I wanted to succeed or fail. Isn’t that the crux of it? If I know, based on science (and I’m pretty much a skeptic—I want the proof before I dive headlong into something) that a principle works—either way—then it’s up to me to choose.
I’m so not perfect. I do descend into the negative, especially in the face of perceived failure, especially when it seemed out of my hands. But what I now know for true is that whether to stay there or focus back on my goal is my choice. And that at the end of the day, I have to answer to me.
So, for today, my car is going where my eyes go.
What have you experienced with affirmations?