Fooling Your Mind to Get What You Want
If you’ve spent any time reading, listening to, or viewing personal improvement materials, you have likely learned about the power of the mind. One of the early classics, Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking,” focused on positive thoughts to help create the life readers wanted. He wrote the book back in 1952. A more modern take, “The Secret,” was written in 2006 by Rhonda Byrne. Her efforts explored visualizing what you want and having your desires manifested in the real world.
There are those who dismiss the power of the mind in accomplishing goals. I happen to think there is value in fooling the mind to get what you want. Let me give you a couple of examples.
The Basketball Players
Let’s take two equally skilled basketball players. Both are wearing headphones and standing at a foul line. Each will shoot 100 free throws. Everything is equal except what is being piped through their headphones.
The first is hearing messages such as, “Up and in,” “Nothing but net,” “You’re the best basketball player ever,” and “You are feeling good and looking good.” The second player is hearing messages such as, “Your arms are heavy,” “You are tired,” “The basketball weighs a ton,” and “You have no skills.”
All things being equal, you have to imagine that the first player would hit a higher percentage of his shots.
The Placebo Effect
My other example would be from the world of science — medicine, to be exact. In controlled studies, some patients are given actual medicine while others are given sugar pills, or placebos. In many cases, patients who are given these placebos show improvement. The medical community calls this the “placebo effect,” and it is an accepted phenomenon. The patients are fooled into thinking they are taking actual medicine and believe it is helping them. They experience results that are seemingly illogical.
Fooling Your Mind
Whether you call it visualization, positive thinking, encouragement or fooling the mind, it amounts to mentally preparing for success. The more you do it, the more valuable it becomes. It can be so powerful, you may have to be careful about the things for which you hope.
It is why clear-cut, specific goals are so important. Stating, “I don’t want to have to work after I’m 50,” can be accomplished in ways that are undesirable, such as through an illness or an accident. You will be better served by being more specific. “I want to be financially and physically healthy enough at 50 years old to do what I want when I want to do it” may be a better goal to ultimately get you the results you want.
You probably already use techniques to fool the mind. You may tell your kids, “Don’t worry; everything will be all right,” even if you are not quite sure. You may have told them, “You can do it,” to get them in the proper mental state. You may have received similar encouragement from a friend or family member.
It is not always easy to be positive or to visualize success in failure. Fooling the mind, at times, can be challenging. It is, however, a terrific way to help you get what you want.