The human mind is one of the most powerful things that you will ever encounter. Quite literally it has the power to decide whether you live or die as well everything that happens to you throughout the course of your lifetime. Without a mind your body is just a lifeless shell; you are your mind and your thoughts and perceptions form a description of who you are and how you behave. Earl Nightingale said it best, “We become what we think about most of the time, and that’s the strangest secret.”
The average person has about 600,000 thoughts per day. These are conscious thoughts and include both positive and negative ones ranging from what to wear or eat today to choosing how to respond to all of the situations that you find yourself in. It’s well known that positive thoughts breed positive outcomes whereas negative thoughts seem to increase the negativity around you. One of the coolest things about realizing that you are what you think about is that you actually have complete control over your thoughts. Controlling your thoughts can have a profound effect on your life and the lives of those around you.
Importance of Self-Image
Every individual on this planet has developed a personal description of themselves in their mind called their self-image. A person’s self-image is a complete portrayal of one’s self that includes their appearance, personality, abilities, faults and perspectives. Your self-image is formed throughout your life and is based upon a combination of opinions that you and others believe as well what you believe about yourself.
Self-image mostly has to do with your perception and fortunately your perceptions can change if it is so desired. How you see yourself is a vital fact of life because it will affect your behavior as well as your thinking and how you relate to others. In fact, your conception of self-image is directly related to your self esteem.
When you start to think differently about yourself then you will start doing things differently. One of the secrets to having confidence (especially in new or uncomfortable situations) is to fake it. Faking confidence changes your mental self-image to include this trait which results in an outward manifestation of confidence. Changing your self-image is as easy as developing a will to think positively while also developing a strong sense of value and worth in the world. Helping and serving others or changing the circumstances in your life is another way to invoke a positive change in your self-image.
People who fill their mind with positive thoughts tend to live more satisfied lives regardless of the circumstances that exist around them. They also exhibit several desirable traits that can attract more positivity into their world. Having a positive attitude will always go a long way to having success in all aspects of your life.
A good example of the power of positive thinking that comes to mind is the story of the famous success guru and speaker, Zig Ziglar. Zig was born in Mississippi during the great depression and yet he was able to grow up to experience unprecedented success in all parts of his life. In his autobiography Zig proclaims that the key to him defying the odds was simply that he learned to develop a positive mental attitude.
If an attitude adjustment can lead a poor man born in one of the worse economic times in a America to world-class success, imagine what it could do for you and I. Joel Osteen said, “It’s easy to get negative because you get beat down. You go through a few disappointments and it’s easy to stay in that negative frame of mind. Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is a whole cliche, but your attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.”
Flooding your mind with positivity can be challenging, especially given the “negative focused” world that we live in. While you struggle to maintain a positive attitude many of those around you will breed negativity, sometimes in an effort to bring you down with them. Rather than being an advocate for your success, there are plenty of people who would love to see you fail. Therefore, you must condition your mind to be impermeable to negativity and negative criticisms. You must also develop the understanding that you cannot control the thoughts of others but instead must control how to react to them. Furthermore, you must develop a strong self-image that is not dependant on what others around you think, say, and believe about you.
The Power of Visualization
Have you ever experienced a dream that was so vivid that you swore it was the real deal? The mind is very powerful that it can mimic the bodies’ senses making anything seem as real as the real thing itself. The mind is so powerful in fact that you can actually “practice” anything mentally before you do it for real by using the technique of visualization. By visualizing your success at something, your brain trains itself to achieve more and more. Within your mind you can control the situation (and outcome) allowing you to overcome any obstacle standing in the way of your success.
During the Vietnam War Major James Nesmeth was captured and became a prisoner of war. During his seven year imprisonment Nesmeth visualized himself playing golf back in the United States. This daily day dream helped him to endure the unimaginable hardships of being a prisoner. Once he was freed and returned home his golf skills had notably improved. This is of course despite the fact that he hadn’t actually touched a golf club for years.
In order to achieve success with this technique you must be willing to rehearse or play a situation in your head repeatedly many times. The more detailed and realistic your visualization is the more helpful it will become in your life. The technique of visualization can often have benefits mimicking that of actually physically practicing whatever it is that you are thinking about.
By using your mind to think about successful outcomes often and in detail you will be able to become better at anything and everything. Achieving success and greatness is within everyone’s reach as you really do become what you think about most often.