This chapter is about using the power of your beliefs, the power of your imagination, and the techniques of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to program yourself for success.
The techniques in this chapter are extremely powerful. Learn and use them.
To understand the mind, we can divide it into two parts: the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. We use the conscious mind when we knowingly think or do something. Some function like the working of our heart is not under conscious control. It is the power of the subconscious mind that makes our heartbeat about 72 times per minute regularly for up to 100 years.
A conscious mind can only be aware of 7+ 2 items at a time. But, the
the subconscious mind can be aware of a very large number of items at a time.
Psychologists have found that we can consciously be aware of only 7+ 2 items at a time. But our subconscious mind can be aware of a large number of items at a time. For example, at any time, the subconscious is aware of many body functions including blood pressure, heartbeats, body temperature, chemical balances, blood flow, taking care of emergencies, etc. The diagram depicts this fact. Each “I” in the diagram represents an item.
The subconscious mind is not under our conscious control. The subconscious mind functions based on information stored in it. This is the basis of mind programming. Mind programming means that if we can put information in a person’s subconscious mind, then we can modify that person’s behavior.
The main difficulty is the conscious mind, which does not let us put information in the subconscious mind. Actually, the conscious mind analyses the information and discards all that it considers false or non-useful. For example, someone who is not confident, says to himself “I am confident”. The conscious mind analyses this sentence and decides that this sentence is false. And it does not put this information into the subconscious mind.
Power of Beliefs
A belief is an idea that we accept to be true. It can be a fact, a guiding principle, an opinion, or faith in someone or something. We can have a faith in our teacher or doctor, in the value of being honest or good, in the value of exercise for good health, in our ability to succeed, or in the value of reading newspapers, magazines, and books.
A belief can be conscious or subconscious. Conscious beliefs mean that we know that we believe something. Subconscious belief means that we do not even know that we believe something.
An example of subconscious belief is that we accept to be true what we see on the videos, what we hear on the radio, and what we read in the newspapers.
Beliefs are powerful. Here are a few examples that illustrate how beliefs affect performance.
Elephant and rope
When an elephant is a small baby elephant, it is tied with a big strong chain. It tries hard to escape from the chain, but it cannot escape. As the elephant grows, the trainers replace the big strong chain with a small rope. Surprisingly, the elephant remains tied to the rope. It probably thinks “There is no point trying … I know … I have tried before and failed … I am tied with the rope … I cannot escape”.
How some new world records were created
In the first half of this century, athletes and trainers believed that the human body could not run a mile in 4 minutes. Then, in May 1954, one runner ran a mile in less than 4 minutes. In June of the same year, another person did it again. Since then, hundreds of people have run a mile in less than 4 minutes. It shows that the belief in impossibility was in the mind only.
In weight-lifting, it was believed that 500 pounds were the limit for the human body. Many could lift 499, but none 500 or more. Then the trainers fooled a Soviet weight lifter Vasily Alexeev: the actual weight was 501.5 pounds but they told it was only 499. Vasily Alexeev lifted the weight. Once the belief was broken, many other weight-lifters were able to lift more than 500 pounds.
The magic of sugar tablets
The magic of sugar tablets (also called the placebo effect) is well known to medical doctors. In some placebo studies, patients were given sugar tablets that contained no medicine. But they were told that they were getting some powerful medicine. Many people got cured by sugar tablets. They got well just by believing that they were getting some real medicine. This example shows how the mind affects your body.
Students get high marks because of teachers’ belief
In one study, educational researchers divided students of equal IQ into two groups. Teachers were told that one group had a high IQ and should get high marks. The other had a low IQ and should get low marks. What do you think was the result? The group which teachers expected to get high marks, really got high marks. The other group got low marks.
How do beliefs work
How does a negative belief work? A negative belief is like an obstacle.
A negative belief is an obstacle.
For example, suppose you are asked to speak to a group of 200 people. If you believe that you are not good at speaking, then you will not be self-confident. As a result, when you stand up and talk, you will lack the power, you will assume that you are not speaking well and you will yourself feel bad. That will have a bad effect on your speech. The result will be that you will not be satisfied with the speech. And this will confirm to yourself that you are not good at speaking in public.
There is a loop. A negative loop. This loop helps maintain the negative belief.
The positive beliefs work in the same way. They make positive loops that maintain the positive beliefs.
Beliefs are in your mind and your body
The human brain has about 15,00,00,00,000 (1500 crore) neurons or brain cells. Each single brain cell makes connections with 5,000 to 10,000 other brain cells. The network of brain cells is so complex that the brain can be imagined to be like a huge telephone network.
When we learn something, new connections are created in the brain. Repetition strengthens these new connections. A different experience can modify the network. It means that you are changing continuously, though you do not know about it.
The mind and the body are connected. It has been recently found that the connection or interrelation is much stronger than what the doctors believed in the past. In the last ten years, it has been discovered that there are about 50 to 60 chemicals taking messages from the brain to the body. The most well-known of these are called endorphins. In the past, it was believed that endorphins were present only in the brain. But now they have been found in the body, carrying messages to practically every cell in the body.
These chemicals carry messages in the body about everything including thoughts, happiness, feelings, beliefs, etc.
Let us see an example. A person is walking in the park. He sees something like a snake and thinks in his mind “It is a snake.” That message of fear goes to other parts of the brain, then to the spinal cord, and then to the rest of the body. In a very short period, the whole body knows about the danger and prepares itself to face the danger. The heart rate increases, blood pressure increases, and breathing become faster. Blood is diverted from the brain to the muscles, the hands, and the feet. As a result, the person is ready to “fight” or “to run away”. This well-known phenomenon is called the “fight-or-flight” response. Just the thought “snake” creates this response.
In the same way, there is a biological basis for every thought. Your body knows what your mind thinks. And it acts accordingly. It means that a belief is not just an idea, it is in your body and your mind.
Dr. Deepak Chopra is a famous doctor in the USA who is invited all around the world for talks. According to him “To think is to practice brain chemistry.”
When you are happy or you believe in achieving success in whatever you are doing, that thought is conveyed to your whole body. Your body is more energetic and less tired. When someone is unhappy, his body is slow, dull, and tired.
In summary, your brain conveys your thoughts and beliefs to your body. If you think “I will succeed”, your brain tells your body to get ready and expect success. If you think “I will fail”, the brain tells the body “Do not even try, there is no chance of success.”
Power of Imagination
Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.
– Albert Einstein
An imagined experience and a real experience have almost the same effect on your mind. Let us see some examples to understand and experience the power of imagination.
Basketball training and imagination
In a 30-day research experiment, students were divided into three groups. One group did not practice the game of Basketball, the second group practiced on the playground and the third group practiced only in their mind for one hour daily. The results: the group that did not practice did not improve. The group that practiced improved 24% and the group that practiced only in mind improved 23%. This experiment showed that practicing in your mind alone improves sports performance almost as much as doing real practice. You will learn to apply these same techniques later in this chapter.
Lemon and imagination
Imagine you are returning from the market to your house. You can see the house. You enter it. Now go to the kitchen. Go and take a lemon from the usual place. Feel the lemon in your hand. It is big, yellow, and juicy. It has a good lemon smell. Now get a knife. Hold the lemon in one hand and cut it with the knife. As you cut the lemon, a fine spray comes to your face. Feel it. Now you have two halves of the lemon. Lift your hand and put half of the lemon into your mouth. And squeeze it. Feel the lemon taste.
Can you feel the saliva in your mouth? This shows the power of imagination. Your mind and your body do not know the difference between you really eating a lemon or just imagining it. The body response (as a result of the mind response) is the same in both cases. Your mind/brain remembers this imagined experience as the real experience.
Imagine yourself achieving success
Suppose you gave a program on TV and you were the star of the program. Suppose that your performance was very good. Everybody gave good comments. Next time when you give another TV program, will you feel self-confident? Yes. You will feel confident because you have already done it once.
Now, imagination techniques give you the power to experience success before really achieving it. So with the new experience, when you go for an exam, interview, or a TV program, you will feel self-confident.
To make imagination more powerful and more effective, enter into a relaxed or meditative state and then imagine achieving success. For details on how to relax or how to do meditation, see Chapter 5.
How to Enter the Learning State so You Remember More and Learn Faster in a Relaxed Way
Remember a time in your life when you were very confident. A time when you were sure of success. It could be a game, small competition, discussion with friends, or anything else that you liked.
Now, remember a time in your life when you were not at all confident. A time when you were afraid of failing and you did not succeed.
These two situations represent different moods, confidence, happiness, or other emotions. This is a state of mind or in short, we can call it a “state”.
What was the difference between the two states? Can you change your state at will? The answer is “Yes. You can.” I am going to tell you how.
When someone is happy or sad, it shows on the face. It shows in the posture or the way the person stands or sits. It shows in the tone of the voice or the way he speaks. People have always known that if you change emotions, your facial expression and your physiology will change.
New research has shown that the opposite is also true. That is if you change your facial expressions or if you change your physiology, then your emotions change.
In fact, changing your physiology is the easiest and most powerful method of changing your emotions.
What do we mean by physiology? It means your facial expressions, how you sit or stand, how you talk, how your body shows your state of mind, how you react or respond to someone, etc. Physiology means anything related to your body.
Now think of a time in your life you felt self-confident. A time when you were sure that whatever you were doing was correct. It could be a sport, a competition, an exam, or a discussion. Re-experience that event as if it were happening just now. Now notice your physiology. This is your physiology for confidence. So whenever you want to be confident, change your physiology to this one.
Ask the right questions
Your brain is more powerful and more amazing than the most powerful computer on the earth.
Your brain is so tremendously powerful that it finds answers to any questions that you ask. If you ask, “Why do I not succeed? Why can I not remember? Why is my memory bad? Or why do people make fun of me? Why do others not like me? Why do I not have any friends?” Your brain will give answers that will justify or give reasons for why you are what you are.
On the other hand, if you ask questions like “Why am I so lucky? Why does my family like me? Or, what can I do to achieve success this time? What can I do to achieve big success and make big money?” Again your mind will give you answers. These answers are far superior and more useful than the previous answers to negative questions.
Here are some sample questions to ask in the morning before you get out of bed. Write down additional questions for yourself. Experience the answers to these questions totally in your mind and in your body.
- What am I most happy about in my life now?
- What am I most proud about in my life now?
- What am I determined to do in my life now?
- What is my greatest achievement so far?
- Here are some questions to ask before you fall asleep at night:
- What have I learned today?
- How has today added to my life?
- Any of the morning questions.
Focus on success
What you focus on also affects your state. If you think about success and how you will celebrate it and how happy you will be, this focus on success will put you in a state that will help you achieve success.
But if you think that you may fail and that will be a waste of all the money you have spent on tuition and what people will say and you plan about what to do after this failure, this focus on failure will put you in a state that will make it difficult to succeed.
So, focus on the results you want.
Medical research has found that stress creates many chemicals in your body such as adrenaline and cortisol. These chemicals generate the “fight-or-flight” response. The body takes blood away from the brain and to the muscles. Therefore, the brain gets less oxygen and it works at a lower level of intelligence.
Sleep and rest
Regular sleep is extremely important. During sleep, chemicals in the brain used up during the day are re-supplied. If we do not get enough sleep, the repair and re-supply process slows down and it results in stress. Use relaxation techniques because they undo the effects of stress.
For details on relaxation and meditation, see Chapter 5.
Use Mind Machines
You can use our Super IQ 7.0 Mind Machine for Learning, which has special programs to help you enter the learning state. You can find more information at www.MindMachineLab.com.
Anchor Yourself for Success: A Powerful Technique from Neuro-Linguistic Programming
First, let us understand what is an anchor.
What happens when you see the Indian flag? Most Indians feel a sense of pride and patriotism. They feel some “good feelings”. The flag is an anchor that is associated with states of feeling pride and patriotism.
Every experience includes many parts: what you see, what you feel, what you hear, what you smell, and what you taste. Anchoring refers to the tendency for any one element of an experience to bring back the total experience. An anchor can be an object, a word or phrase, or a touch. It can be something we can see, hear, feel, smell or taste.
Anchors are powerful because they can instantly put you in powerful states. We can change our physiology or change our internal thoughts and create a new state, but this process requires conscious thoughts. On the other hand, anchors make an experience permanent. With anchoring, we can create a consistent way of putting ourselves in a powerful state whenever we want, without consciously thinking about it.
Throughout history, politicians have made use of cultural anchors. For example, Rajiv Gandhi’s photo is superimposed on the Mera Bharat Mahan symbol (which means my India is great). This symbol was created by Rajiv Gandhi’s government. In the 1991 elections, photographs of other leaders did not make use of that powerful symbol. Rajiv Gandhi’s advisors knew and used the power of the symbol.
Similarly, politicians pose themselves for photographs with religious leaders. Again the politicians, in people’s minds, are connecting themselves with the great respect people have for religions. Because of this association, unknowingly people develop respect for those politicians.
It is for the same reason that politicians keep photographs of Gandhi Ji in their offices. The photographs of politicians also have Gandhi Ji’s photo in the background. Gandhi Ji’s photograph serves as an anchor for respect, honesty, simplicity, etc.
See the photographs of politicians in newspapers and magazines carefully and you will begin to notice these secret elements that you probably never noticed before.
In addition to politicians, top athletes, top business executives, and top business owners, top entertainers also use anchors for their success.
Now you can learn these same powerful techniques to program yourself for success. With anchoring, you can access the best of your internal resources for studying, taking exams, interviews, and for any other occasion.
To create an anchor, there are two basic steps: First, put yourself or the person you are anchoring, into the specific state you wish to anchor. Second, consistently apply a specific, unique anchor as the person experiences the peak of that state. These two steps are explained below in detail.
For example, to create a confidence anchor for someone, ask him to remember a specific time in his life when he felt confident. Then ask him to close his eyes and re-experience that again as if it was happening now. You will notice changes in his facial expressions, breathing, and posture. You may notice when he is reaching the peak of the experience. Ask the person to open his eyes, move, and walk so that he gets out of that state. Then ask the person to re-experience the confidence state once again. When you notice the experience reaching a peak, apply pressure on some specific place on his shoulder. Repeat this process a few times. Now, test if the anchor works. The test is easy. Ask the person to get out of that state by walking, shaking, etc. Then apply the same anchor (pressure on that specific point on the shoulder). Do you see the person get into a state of confidence? If you do not, it means that you missed some step in this experiment, so repeat the experiment.
You can create different anchors for different desired states: confidence, humor, happiness, success, learning, etc.
Here are four keys for creating anchors:
The anchor should be unique. For example, handshaking will not be a good anchor.
The experience should be intense and powerful so that the person’s whole body should take part in this experience.
Provide the anchor (touch on the shoulder, etc.) when the person is at the peak of the desired experience.
The anchor should be such that you can repeat it exactly. For example, if you touch or press your shoulder at slightly different places or apply a different amount of pressure, the anchor will not work
How to choose an anchor
To make an anchor fully effective you can choose the anchor in three different parts:
- feeling (touch, pressure),
- seeing a picture (of confidence, success, etc.),
- saying something in mind (“I will succeed”, “I am confident”, “success”, “confidence”, etc.)
To provide the anchor, all three parts of the anchor can be applied simultaneously. For example, in creating a confidence anchor for yourself, you can make a fist (like a boxer or in some other way), say (“I’m confident”), and see the picture in your mind (a time when you were confident or a time you want to use the anchor such as an interview).
Anchor Yourself for Success While Watching Videos or Films
Let us see how you can even use the time you watch videos or films to help you towards your goal of achieving success.
It does not mean that you stop studying and just watch videos and films. What it means is that when you do watch videos or films, entertain yourself, feel good, enjoy, feel positive and anchor those good feelings. Anchoring is a technique from NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). It lets you record good feelings so that you can reproduce them when you sit down to study when you get ready to write exams, etc.
Watch only the films you like. Please don’t misunderstand me: I am not asking you to watch more films than you normally do or to watch films in place of studying. All I am saying is when you happen to watch a film, use the opportunity for your benefit rather than just for entertainment. Watch the films of heroes/actors (heroes) that you like.
When we watch a film hero, we associate ourselves with that hero. Usually, in the films, the hero rises from being poor to becoming very rich and very powerful. This gives us good feelings and new hope. In some sense we feel, if he can do it, then I can do it, too.
While watching a film at a point when you intensely associate with your favorite film star, create an anchor or make an already existing anchor stronger.
Choose an anchor with three parts: (1) making a fist (like a boxer) with some specific movement, like upward motion (2) saying to yourself in your mind (3) seeing a picture in your mind. For details on how to create an anchor and how to make it stronger, see the previous section.
When you sit down to study or take an exam or write a test or go into an interview room, use this anchor to get you into a powerful state for success.
Another exercise for watching videos or films
When you watch videos or films, use even that time to practice your memory and observation. From every scene, try to remember as much as you possibly can: names of people, colors of their clothes, things in rooms, the color of things in the room, etc.
Learn Bapna’s 3 Minute Refreshing Technique
The 3 Minute Refreshing Technique is a simple but powerful technique for relaxation during brief rest periods.
I developed it after much experimentation, and trial and error.
Once you learn this technique, I am confident that you will use it for the rest of your life. This technique helps you excel in competitions and get admissions or jobs. And you will continue to use it even after you get a job.
Let us learn this tremendously powerful and easy technique.
In just 3 minutes, you feel relaxed and in a state in which you feel good, happy, successful, and confident. You may do this technique in just 3 minutes or you may choose to take more or less than 3 minutes.
Here are the three steps for you:
Step 1. Gently stretch. Stand up. Do these physical movements slowly. Bend forward and take your hands towards the floor. Then slowly stand up. With your hands stretched upwards, slowly bend backward. Do this stretching exercise 3 times. The secret here is not to stretch so much that it aches. Do what is comfortable for you.
Step 2. Relax. Sit down. Do not lie in bed because there is a danger of falling asleep. Close your eyes. To breathe deeply, breathe in a way that your stomach moves outward as you breathe in and moves inwards as you breathe out. Breathe regularly and smoothly. Each breath takes about equal time. Do this deep regular breathing for about 6 breaths (could be more or less than 6).
Step 3. Get into a positive, successful, learning state. To achieve this do the four things mentioned above (1) adjust your physiology (2) ask the right questions (3) focus on the results you want (4) use anchors.
These steps will put you in a successful state.
Now stop reading this page and do the three steps. Experience the benefits. Do not skip it.
When you study, take a rest for 5 minutes after 30 minutes or so. Use the 3 Minute Refreshing Technique during this rest. It will do wonders for your learning ability.
Though it is not practical to do step 1 of the 3 Minute Refreshing Technique in the exam room, you can use steps 2 and 3. These two steps will help you relax and do well in exams.
Using Music and Relaxation to Change Your Beliefs and Habits
We have already learned in this chapter that the subconscious mind is not under our conscious control. The subconscious mind functions based on information stored in it. This is the basis of mind programming.
Mind programming means that if we can put information in a person’s subconscious mind, then we can alter that person’s behavior. The main difficulty is the conscious mind, which does not let us put information in the subconscious mind.
To understand the power of mind programming, let us see one example from the history of my city Udaipur. You may also know a similar example from your part of India. When enemies attacked and killed the king, his son was saved by a servant named Panna Dhay. Finally, the boy grew up and became the king. Why do you think he could do it? Was it in the blood (genetics) of the boy? No. He did it because the servant and everybody else told the boy “You are a prince. You must become the king. The enemy has taken over your kingdom. And when you grow up, you must take revenge and defeat the enemy”. Constantly hearing these messages, the child’s mind was programmed. As a result, the child did not want to become an officer or an executive but he wanted to become the king. And he was willing to die to achieve his goal.
This historical story shows that people or society can program your mind. Unlike the prince, most of us become programmed by wrong messages such as “Don’t do that … don’t take risks … don’t be stupid … you are stupid … you are not so good as so-and-so.” You can imagine the bad effect such messages can have on any person.
To understand mind programming, let us consider how the conscious mind and the subconscious mind work. The conscious mind is like a watchman and the subconscious mind is like a storeroom. The watchman has no intelligence on his own. He behaves on the information in the store.
The conscious mind is like a watchman and the subconscious mind is like a
store-room. Mind programming means putting information into the store
without the knowledge of the watchman.
Mind programming involves putting information in the store without the knowledge of the watchman.
Suppose you tell yourself that “you are good at studies”. And the store has stored other people’s comments such as “you are stupid, you cannot succeed”. The watchman sees your sentences and compares them with the knowledge in its store and says “this information is wrong”. The watchman throws this new information away. He does not put the new positive information in the store. This is the fundamental difficulty in changing the behavior of a person.
For the first time in the history of humanity, there are now easily available powerful techniques that allow you to program your mind. All these techniques reach the subconscious mind and put information into it without the knowledge of the conscious mind.
Belief Change with relaxation
You can relax using any relaxation technique you like. Some relaxation techniques are given in Chapter 5.
In a relaxed state, you can tell yourself positive messages such as “I am good at studies”. Use imagination to see yourself achieving success.
How music can change your beliefs and habits
How to find out if some music is good? It is simple. The body and mind are very intelligent. This intelligence cannot be measured by IQ tests because IQ tests measure only knowledge processing, for example, multiplying two numbers. If the music is good, you will feel good and you will like the music.
So, listen to any music that makes you feel good. Here is an important observation: as you learn to become more relaxed, your choice of music will change.
Because music can change the brain waves and relax you, we can combine music with voice or songs for mind programming.
Consider what happens when you listen to a film song or any other popular song. The music and the soothing voice of the singer put you into a relaxed state. There is an increase in alpha brain waves. In the state of relaxation, the conscious mind becomes less critical of the incoming information. So the incoming information (words of the song) reaches your subconscious mind and is stored there. Now, this new information also contributes to determining the subconscious mind’s behavior.
As a result, the words of music get embedded into your subconscious easily. If those words are encouraging, motivating, positive, and good then that music will make you feel good. If those words are negative, sad, and discouraging, then you begin to feel that way.
Some researchers found that happiness varies greatly for people of different countries. The happiness varies across the boundaries. It does not vary so much for the people within a country and it does not matter whether the people are rich or poor, powerful or powerless. I believe that the songs and music contribute to this.
Even the music that your neighbors play affects you. Particularly, film songs or other popular songs.