Have you ever wondered why you’re not achieving what you may have sought out to achieve? You had a thought and it sounded really good and maybe you did what you had to do for the first few days, but then you went back to your old ways. Why is that?
Has it dawned on you that maybe, just maybe, you haven’t been willing to reprogram the data that exists in your mind currently?
We have a system in our brains called the Reticular Activating System, or RAS. This is a system of nerves lying deep within your brain stem that actually control how you feel. What you do in your life is 95% dependent on your subconscious mind. We do things because it makes us “feel” a certain way. This is how habits are formed and why addictions become so fierce they take control of us over time. We are uncomfortable when we have to do something that we may not be used to. While we say we want to change, we don’t truly want to…so we make some progress, but then we go right back to where we were before. So how do we reprogram our mind? Focus and discipline. What we focus on is what we achieve. We have to discipline ourselves in such a way that it becomes part of our RAS and part of our lives. It becomes normal.
Back in May 1957, Scientific American published an article describing the discovery of the "reticular formation" at the base of the brain ... this is basically the gateway to your conscious awareness. In other words: it acts as a "switch" of sorts, to turn on your perceptions of ideas and data, the things that keeps you asleep even when music is playing but wakes you up if a special little baby cries in another room” (Dean Bokhari, The Laws of Human Nature, 2019).
As David Allen notes in his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (2015):
"Just like a computer, your brain has a search function--but it's even more phenomenal than a computer's. It seems to be programmed by what we focus on and, more primarily, what we identify with. It's the seat of what many people have referred to as the paradigms we maintain. We notice only what matches our internal belief systems and identified contexts. If you're an optometrist, for example, you'll tend to notice people wearing eyeglasses across a crowded room; if you're building contractor, you may notice the room's physical details…”
"If you focus on the color red right now and then just glance around your environment, if there is any red at all, you'll see even the tiniest bits of it." Try it! It’s so true! You notice what you focus on.
For instance, a few months back, I was only focused on what I wasn’t able to provide. I was barely able to pay my rent. I wasn’t coming into contact with people who would be beneficial for me to work with. The more I focused on that, the more it became my truth. I had to reprogram my mind so that I would focus on more positive things. In doing that, more positive things started happening to me. I came in contact with people who wanted to lift me up, rather than bring me down. I began learning about more positive things that changed the course of my day. To this day, I still wake up and immediately focus on what I do have and what I am grateful for, rather than what I don’t have yet. I say “yet” because I will have what I want through the mission that I am on to help others. The more I give, the more I will get…because that is what happens to those who give more than they want to receive. Have you ever noticed this concept?
So how do you retrain your mind? I was 40 years old. All my thoughts were programmed. My shame, my fear, my doubt…it was all there through all these years. But did they serve me? No. I had to come to that conclusion on my own.
When I work with someone, we work on reprogramming their mind first. This is not something I can do for them. Only they can control what they focus on and work on creating new habits that will eventually become routine. That is not something I can do for them. I can give them all the tools in the world, but they have to be willing to take action.
Les Brown said in one of his motivational speeches, “In order to do something you’ve never done, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.” If we continue to be in our own self pity and allow our negative thoughts to control us, how will we ever amount to anything we are destined to be? How can we expect to change if we don’t do what it takes to change? If we need to focus more on self-love, but we don’t love ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to love us or expect to grow as a person? We won’t. We will self-sabotage and stay where we are, because that is what is comfortable for us.
Self-care is the biggest problem for most humans. We don’t realize that taking care of ourselves is crucial. This involves personal development. It has been said that what we listen to or read in the first 20 minutes after we wake up penetrates our brains so deeply that it resonates with us throughout the entire day - even without us knowing.
Think about how you wake up. I used to wake up and the first thing I did was check my phone - Facebook messages, emails, messages on our training app, etc. That was the first thing I did. No wonder my days weren’t productive and I ended up reacting to things more. I was setting myself up for failure! I was putting myself in a reactive state while my subconscious was forming for the day. In the first 20 minutes, your subconscious is on. Whatever you put there is going to be there and you won’t be able to control it. Your subconscious controls your thoughts. You can tell yourself something, but if you don’t say it over and over and truly allow your subconscious to believe it, it will just be words. Change will not be made this way. You won’t reach your goals because saying it isn’t the commitment. Doing it over and over until it becomes part of your subconscious is how you reach goals. You have to do the work. You have to put in the effort.
According to doctors, our subconscious minds are formed by the age of 7. Think about what happened to you up to that point in your life. Were the people around you positive or negative? Did you have a loving family who spent time together or a family you hardly saw and constantly had to seek approval from?
This is deep because we normally don’t think about just how much this can affect us later on in life. We just go about our lives and we never think about what we do or say to the extent of why we are doing or saying those things.
So how do we reprogram the computer system that is always running in the background of our brains? Subconsciously. In the last 20 minutes before you go to bed and the first 20 minutes you wake up in the mornings, you have to make an effort to say something to yourself or listen to something that will dramatically effect your thought process. This is what I had to start doing.
At night, I read before bed. In the morning, the first thing I do is think about what I have and what I am thankful for. If you believe in a higher power, like I do, maybe you say a prayer and be thankful for what you have. Meditate. Take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to just be. This is why I also tell everyone to wake up earlier. Waking up late puts you in a reactive state, which will stay with you for the rest of the day. Believe me. I know! I used to hit the snooze all the time! Until I realized the more I hit that snooze, the more my day would be impacted. You don’t have to wake up super early. Give yourself that 20 minutes in the morning. Listen to a motivational podcast or read something positive. Think about what you have instead of what you don’t have. Have visions, but remember that everything takes time and nothing good happens overnight. Go over what you have to do that day the night before. Build a schedule, so you already know what you have to do. This allows you to be more able to adapt when “life happens.” We all know that life WILL happen. You can only control you. You can’t control anything or anyone else. So stop putting all your efforts into trying. Work on YOU.
If something is important to you, FOCUS on that! Don’t let anything out of your control take you from the focus. Remember that what you focus on is what you will see. If you focus on where you are not, you will only see what you’re not getting out of life. You will never enjoy what you have and the amazing things that are around you.
These concepts are some of the ideas I wish I’d known my whole life. It took me 40 years to figure this stuff out. However, I can’t turn back time. I am grateful that I have this information and am using what I’ve learned to better myself now. Some people never do this. They never reach their full potential. Are you going to be the person who never reaches full potential, or the person who takes a little extra effort to believe and love yourself enough to make the necessary changes you need to make in order to reach your goals and work on becoming a better version of yourself? The choice is yours, just like it was mine. We are no different. You have more potential than you may give yourself credit for. The only difference is that I took initiative to work on me from the inside out. If you only try to work on the outside, you’ll never reach your true potential in life. Don’t limit yourself. Love yourself enough to make you the priority. Today is your day. No one can take your potential away from you except you…NO ONE!