Have you ever wondered why you love junk food more than vegetables? Do you ever wonder why it’s so much easier to binge watch TV than it is to read a book? The answer may shock you, but here it is: you’ve been brainwashed. Somewhere along the way, you learned to find greater pleasure in self-sabotaging behavior than in success. In order to be all that you can, you need to brainwash yourself for success rather than self-destruction.
You may think it’s a pipe dream, but it’s not. There are people out there who enjoy disciplines and healthy behaviors as much as you enjoy unhealthy ones. They live and think completely differently. You can too.
How We Get Brainwashed
We start to be programmed to think a certain way from the time we’re in the womb. Your genetics are obviously important, but they aren’t the only factor at this stage. Believe it or not, your mother’s stress, attitudes, and behaviors not only affected your physical health, but it’s likely that it affected your temperament as well.
Then there’s your early childhood. Your experiences from the ages of 0-7 years old were extremely powerful. In fact, one study suggests that the bulk of your personality was mostly set by the time you entered 1st grade. I know from personal experience how overwhelming your early development can be. My birth parents abandoned me, and I had to work really hard to make sure that trauma didn’t haunt me for the rest of my life.
In addition to all that, there’s your own choices. When you choose a bad habit, you reinforce the powerful pathways that already exist in your brain that make you attracted to that bad habit in the first place. In other words, every time you take a certain action, you make yourself more likely to do the same thing in the future.
Finally, there’s the world around you, which is bombarding you with messages and stimuli. It’s estimated that the average American sees 5,000 ads per day. Yes, five thousand. I didn’t add a zero. In other words, you are constantly up against the influence of thousands of agendas, trying to hook you into making a choice that may not be good for you.
With all this in mind, it’s no wonder that so many of us end up stuck in bad habits, wishing our instincts were different.
Brainwash Yourself to be Successful
Here’s the good news. Your brain is more flexible than you might think. It can be rewired in adulthood with wild results. No matter what your genetics, experiences, or personal choices may add up to, you can train your brain to work with you instead of against you. You just have to brainwash yourself for success.
How do you do this? By hacking your brain. Here I’ll share some “hacks” I recommend for anyone wanting to rewire their brain. These are disciplines that can help you form new associations and habitual thought patterns.
Before I get into that though, I want you to keep a few things in mind.
First, this will take commitment. Your brain can be rewired, but it will put up a fight. You have to be resolved to push through the discomfort and the inner voice that tells you to compromise, to take a day off, etc. Don’t. Push through. Change will come if you don’t give up.
Second, remember to be patient with yourself and not try to brainwash yourself for success in more than one or two areas at a time. Remember, even small incremental changes can change an entire trajectory. Don’t underestimate the momentum that can take place in your life with the smallest change.
5 Hacks to Brainwash Yourself for Success
I recommend making each of these things hacks a habit. Start with one and add a new practice to your daily routine after 21 days or so of starting the previous one. You can go in the order I’ve listed, or you can go in your own sequence.
Hack #1 – Gratitude Journaling
I recommend taking the time to write down 5-10 things you’re grateful for every day. This simple act can do wonders for your state of mind, especially if you write down a few sentences about why you’re grateful for each thing.
Hack #2 – Savoring
Anytime you have a positive experience, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and savor the emotion you feel. Replay the victory in your mind. Linger there for as long as you can keep your focus. Doing this will help you expand the pleasure centers of your brain, which will increase your positivity. When you’re more positive, you are less likely to resort to self-destructive tendencies.
Hack #3 – Deep Breathing
When you’re stressed, you’re way more likely to run towards addictions and bad habits. One way to combat stress is deep breathing. Here’s how it works. Anytime you find yourself stressed, stop what you’re doing and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and then exhale for six seconds. When you breathe in, make sure to breathe into your gut so that your belly expands, rather than into your chest. Repeat this process up to 10 minutes or until you feel calm. This will take practice, but it can have amazing results on your ability to catch your thoughts and self-soothe.
Hack #4 – Visualization
Your brain is actually not that good at determining fantasy from reality. The good news is that you can make this work in your favor. By visualizing a happy scenario with as much detail as you can, your brain will actually believe it’s happening. You can therefore train your brain to be happier, more positive, and more energetic by taking 10-15 minutes a day and remembering a positive experience or imagining an outcome that you want.
Hack # 5 – Positive Declarations
I truly believe that if you can focus on what you say to yourself, you can overcome the lies you believe that are holding you back. The simplest way that I know of to think better thoughts is to say good thoughts out loud to yourself.
For example, you can make positive “I am” statements to boost your self-esteem (“I am courageous”, “I am attractive”, “I am energetic”, etc.). You can also make statements about your circumstances (“I am wealthy”, “I am seen”, etc.). Don’t worry if these statements seem to contradict your reality. That’s actually all the more reason to say them! You will trick your brain into believing that the outcome you want has already been achieved. This will actually make you far more likely to achieve that outcome and act in beneficial ways.
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