Creating a Future, Different from your Past

Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

The process of personal change is not easy, especially for adults with habits and practices ingrained over many years.

It can be done, and there are specific strategies that can help shortcut the process.

Napoleon Hill and Autosuggestion

One of the fundamental means of creating change was outlined in Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich. In that case he outlined one principle with the specific intent of acquiring money. It is the third of his thirteen step process to acquire money. He called it “Autosuggestion” or “Self-suggestion”. In a nutshell, it is the practice of speaking to yourself that which you intend to acquire with a great level of detail.

In his example he instructs readers to develop a written statement of their intent including details of the specific amount of money, the specific date of its acquisition and the specific means by which the money will be accumulated. (Reference chapter 4, “Autosuggestion”). He then instructs to go to a place free of distractions every morning and evening, and repeat the statement with eyes closed (hence, you would have to memorize it), and see and feel the results as you repeat it aloud to yourself twice daily. He further instructs to write the statement out on a piece of paper and place it where you will see it morning and evening.

In today’s parlance, this would be referred to as meditation or mindfulness, though there are many forms of meditation.

Why is something like this necessary to bring about change?

The answer lies in the workings of the mind. We operate primarily from our habits which are based on our past experiences. As such, if we want to have a future different from our past, we must plant the seeds of the future in our subconscious mind through such means as outlined by Napoleon Hill above.

Dr. Joe Dispenza, an author and teacher, explains in a youtube video why the above facts require that we train our minds through practices of meditation and visualization in order to create an outcome different from our past.

Bad experiences that we have had bring with them emotions. As we recall the bad experience, the emotions come back to us in real time, even though we aren’t currently going through the experience. The emotion is just as real in the recollection as it was in the actual event.

This very principle can be turned around and utilized to help drive change in a different, positive direction. In essence, we can trick our minds into believing, and thus creating, a future different from our past. The practice of visualizing that which we desire to have or the person we wish to be, coupled with imagining and feeling the emotions associated with that condition become powerful tools to reprogram our subconscious minds to believe that we have achieved that which is our goal.

This is how we create a future different from our past.

There is another great youtube video interview with Tony Robbins in which he describes the process why some people take action while the majority of people don’t. It all starts with belief, to a level of absolute certainty. “The breakthrough comes by conditioning your mind everyday.” “They’ve gotta find the why and they’ve gotta come up with some daily rituals to get them going and just do a step at a time.”

He then goes on to diagram out a cycle based on four squares which he calls “The Holy Grail of Belief”. The boxes include, Potential, Action, Results and Belief. It all starts with belief. When we get our belief to a level of certainty we take full use of our potential, which drives high levels of action, producing significant results, which then reinforces our belief.

If on the other hand, we start with skepticism, fear or doubt, despite having the same amount of potential, we take little action, we get few results, and we reinforce our doubts and fears.

The key then lies in bolstering our beliefs to a level of absolute certainty. This brings us back to conditioning the mind.

A Simple Visualization Exercise

This past week, I taught a workshop in establishing the principles of wealth and success into our lives. Part of that workshop includes a section of mental nutrition, considering what we’re feeding our minds.

During the discussion one of the participants shared how he had gone through an exercise of visualizing himself playing log drums on a beach. As a one-time musician in a band, he had heard someone playing log drums, and decided he wanted to himself. He then began visualizing himself playing the log drums on a beach, complete with feeling the sand between his toes.

At some point after that, he had the opportunity to receive instruction from a log drum player whom he met at a resort. The player was more than happy to show him how to play, but he said, “Not here.” They then left the venue for a short walk outside to the beach. As he shared this experience with the group, he started to get emotional as he recalled how he realized, as he felt the sand between his toes, that this was the very thing he had been envisioning before it actually took place.

So, what can you do to facilitate positive change in your life?

Begin with a visualization exercise. This is the process I have adopted after having gone through various exercises in various environments. I have recorded myself talking through the different aspects of my life that I am creating. This recorded narration becomes a 15–20 minute meditation that I play with earbuds as I sit with my eyes closed and focus my thoughts and feelings on the very things that my recorded voice is describing to me.

This can be a powerful tool in reconditioning or training the mind to act in ways that will bring about the intended future, rather than living primarily from the memories of our past.

Make no mistake. You still have to couple this with consistent action, but your ability to take meaningful action will be multiplied because your belief in the results is jump started by virtue of the visualization exercise you consistently practice.

So if you want to change the direction of your life, and create a more fulfilling future than your past, begin the practice of visualizing that which you intend to accomplish, and who you intend to become to accomplish it. Record yourself describing the outcome, the feelings, the emotions you’re feeling, and then listen to that recording every day as part of a morning or evening routine. For extra credit, do what Napoleon Hill would have you do and listen both morning and evening.

Click here to learn how to get a free downloadable copy of my book, Small Steps, Big Feat.