How To Use Your Mind To Change Your Life
By Chris Savage // Reliable Strategies
Thoughts Are Things
The power of your mind is unfathomable.
Everything you see around you was first a thought.
The buildings you see, the clothing you wear, all forms of technology. They all came from thought energy.
To say 'thoughts become things' doesn’t mean as soon as you have a thought it appears right in front of you.
It means thought energy has the potential to take the form of the thing that is being thought about.
This is no woo-woo magic trick. It’s scientific fact.
Look at anything in the world that has a physical form.
Before it took that form it was a thought in a person’s mind.
What you think, and how you think, affects your life experience and the world you see around you.
Who you are and the direction your life has taken are the results of how you think.
How you respond to the events around you. The decisions you make or don’t make.
The actions you take as a result of those thoughts and decisions.
All combine to become what you call your life.
Most people don't realise the importance of how they think.
Even less make a conscious effort to clean up their thoughts.
In 470 B.C Socrates wrote: “Nothing is right or wrong but thinking makes it so”.
In 624 B.C The Buddha taught: “The mind is everything. What you think you become”.
Circa 36,000 B.C Hermes Trismegistus wrote on The Emerald Tablet: “As above so below, as within, so without”.
Using Your R.A.S
R.A.S stands for Reticular Activating System.
Your R.A.S is a bundle of nerves located at the top of your spine.
It acts as the gatekeeper between your sensory systems and your conscious mind.
That's why you are what you think.
How Does Your R.A.S System Work?
In simple terms, your R.A.S is a filter.
You have billions of bits of information entering your nervous system at any one time.
These vary from the weight of the glass of water in your hand to the blood pumping through your earlobes.
Your R.A.S knows what’s important to you and filters all the information coming through your senses.
It brings into your conscious awareness only what you consider to be important and deletes the rest.
Your habitual thoughts and selected focus tell your R.A.S what stimuli to bring into your awareness.
Watch this video about your R.A.S.
Your Thoughts and Your Words Matter
Language gives expression to thought.
Your thoughts reveal themselves through your language.
As your vocabulary increases, so does your capacity to think.
Likewise, as your thoughts evolve you can better articulate yourself through your language.
What you say about yourself reaffirms your self-identity.
In this sense, you are who you think you are.
The most powerful form of language is your internal self-talk.
Negative and derogatory self-talk can ruin your chances of success and fulfilment.
Positive self-talk can bring out your best self and allow you to enjoy more of life.
How Your Words and Thoughts Work Together
Your self-talk is so ingrained you can hardly even hear it. But you can change it.
All people have negative self-talk at times. It serves a purpose if you know how to use it.
Use negative self-talk as a kick in the butt.
You are what you think you are.
It’s your inner mind telling you that something needs to change.
When you make a statement in the positive e.g “I’m going to be great at this”, your mind starts feeding you similar thoughts.
If your thought and language aren’t aligned your results will be minimal at best.
When your thoughts and language are in line with who you want to be, they form a powerful force within you.
You're then in a position of power and able to take more effective action.
Your Mind-Body Connection
A mind-body connection means your thoughts, feelings and attitude affect your biological functions.
Smiling and laughing releases chemicals in your brain that flood every cell in your body.
These chemicals nourish and revitalise you on a cellular level.
When you're sick and depressed your immune system weakens.
You're more susceptible to sickness and disease.
If you're depressed your normal thought processes become impaired (you can read the Harvard study here).
When you’re overweight and out of shape your mood, thoughts, and feelings suffer.
But when you’re in good shape (say right after a gym workout) you feel invincible.
Motion creates emotion. How you move your body affects your emotional state.
Your emotional state then gives birth to a series of thoughts that vibrate at a similar rate to the state you're in.
Good state = good thoughts.
Poor state = poor thoughts.
Your Thoughts Become Your Habits
Your life is a result of past experience, and your habitual thoughts and actions.
Habits are thoughts and behaviours that have become unconscious due to repetition over time.
Success, achievement and personal success don’t come about by thinking positive for a few days.
They form over time from your habitual thoughts and actions.
Socrates said 2,500 years ago “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”.
You can change your self-defeating habits by changing your thoughts, actions, and self-identity.
When you start to change your thoughts and act like who you want to be, your life starts to change.
Whatever goals you have for yourself, you need the right habits to support you in getting it.
Once your habits are automated they become a subconscious process.
You'll do the thing without thinking about doing the thing.
The new behaviour becomes automatic and as effortless and brushing your teeth.
Mindset: Growth vs Fixed
People are complexed.
They're unique in so many ways but they also have many similarities.
You can divide mindsets into two primary categories; Fixed mindset and growth mindset.
A fixed mindset believes their abilities, intelligence, and personality traits are set.
They think “That’s who I am, I can’t change so why try?”.
A fixed mindset resembles underachievement and a lack of personal growth.
The growth mindset believes that with effort they can improve in any area.
They know through persistence and focus they can become a better version of themselves.
Living with a growth mindset leads to accomplishment, long term success, and mastery in your chosen field.
1. How to Go From a Fixed to a Growth Mindset
Changing your mindset from fixed to growth is, in theory, a simple process.
A variety of systems exist to make the change, but they all follow a similar process;
2. Recognise When You’re Thinking is “Fixed”
Listen to your inner voice. Is it putting you down or pulling you up?.
Everyone has an inner critic, a voice inside that says you’re not good enough and that things won’t work out for you.
Learn to recognise when your inner critic has centre stage and is trying to run the show.
The first step of any form of change is awareness of the problem.
3. Choose How to Respond to Your Inner Critic
You decide how you respond to your inner critic.
The person with a fixed mindset takes the words of the inner critic as gospel.
They go along with it “well yeah ok, I guess I am a loser”.
You can override your inner critic by choosing a different response.
Instead of accepting the inner critics words as fact, use it as a sign you need to improve.
"I'll raise my personal standards. I'll learn a new skill, set some new goals and take some action that I haven’t been taking”.
Use your inner critic as a signal that you need to make a plan and go and do something productive.
4. Adopt a Growth Mindset
In this stage of the process, you’re counteracting your negative self talk.
Inner critic: “What if it doesn’t work out?”
Growth mindset: “What if it does work out better than I ever expected?”
Inner critic: “Don’t try that you might fail/get rejected/get humiliated”
Growth mindset: “I can live with failure and rejection but I can’t live with regret. If I don’t try I’ll never know”.
Inner critic: “You won’t be able to do it. That’s not who you are”
Growth mindset: “Maybe to begin with, but I’ll keep learning and taking action until I become great at it”.
5. Act Like a Person With a Growth Mindset
Action is always the answer.
Thinking with the growth mindset is important.
But acting like a growth-minded person and living that out in the world is your aim.
Enrol in that course, make the phone call, book the trip, apply for that new job.
Take growth-minded action. Calibrate your results and be willing to reiterate when you need to.
Never lose sight of your end goal and never stop moving forward until you reach where you want to be.
Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life
Changing your life starts with changing your thoughts.
Your thoughts determine your actions and behaviours.
Compounded over time, those same thoughts and behaviours make your life what it is.
Sometimes you only need to change a few thoughts to make dramatic changes in your life.
Imperceptible at first, those new thoughts start to compound to take your life in a new direction.
Every day you can choose to;
- Utilise your R.A.S to focus your mind on your goals, and the life you want to have
- Use your language and your thoughts together to reaffirm your new identity
- Adjust your physiology to affect your state of mind and in turn your thoughts and behaviours
- Implement new, more empowering habits into your daily routines that move in a direction YOU want to go
- Choose a growth mindset and enjoy the benefits that follow
The choice is yours.
Go for it!
Quotes About How You Are What You Think
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” - Willie Nelson
“Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.” - Buddha
“You only have control over three things in your life, the thoughts you think, the images you visualise, and the actions you take.” - Jack Canfield
“You are not a helpless victim of your own thoughts, but rather a master of your mind.” - Louise Hay
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” Marcus Aurelius