Brain plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity, is a term used by neuroscientists that refers to the brain’s ability to change and grow at any age. This flexibility is critically important during our brain development and in shaping personalities.
Prior to the 1960s, scientists believed that changes in the brain only took place during infancy and childhood. Most believed that the brain’s physical structure was permanent by adulthood. Modern research has concluded that the brain creates new neural pathways and alters existing ones to adapt to new experiences, create new memories, and learn new information, right up until the day we die.
Psychologist William James was the first to suggest (in 1890) that the brain was not as unchanging as formerly believed. In his book The Principles of Psychology, he wrote, “Organic matter, especially nervous tissue, seems endowed with a very extraordinary degree of plasticity.” However, his idea was ignored for decades.
From the 1920s to the 1960s, researchers began to explore the creation of new neural pathways and followed cases where older adults suffering the aftermath of massive strokes were able to “regain functioning, demonstrating that the brain was much more malleable than previously believed.” Modern researchers have confirmed that the brain is able to rewire itself following damage.
Characteristics of Plasticity
There are a few defining characteristics of neuroplasticity:
It varies by age. Though plasticity is present for a lifetime, certain changes are more likely during specific ages.
Plasticity involves multiple neural processes. Plasticity never stops and always involves brain cells besides neurons, like glial and vascular cells.
Plasticity happens for two different reasons.
As a result of learning, experience, and memory formation
As a result of damage to the brain.
The brain never stops changing in response to learning. In cases of damage to the brain, the areas of the brain associated with certain functions may be damaged; but, healthy parts of the brain may take over those functions and the abilities can be restored.
Environment and genetics both have an influence on plasticity. The stimulation and sensory input of the environment will have a direct effect on how the brain grows and changes. Similarly, if you have a genetic predisposition toward learning, you are more likely to take in and retain information and skills more quickly.
There are two types of neuroplasticity:
Functional plasticity: The brain’s ability to move functions from a damaged area of the brain to other undamaged areas.
Structural plasticity: The brain’s ability to actually change its physical structure as a result of learning.
Both types of plasticity can be harnessed to improve our brains.
Ways To Harness Plasticity
With the right circumstances, the power of brain plasticity can help adult minds grow. Although certain brain functions decay with age, people can tap into plasticity and refresh the brain.
Targeted brain plasticity exercises help to keep our brains fit. Even those suffering from brain damage may be able to retrain their brains for better function. The key is identifying what brain functions to target and how to best exercise them.
Researchers suggest that there are various methods of harnessing brain plasticity:
The Society for Neuroscience suggests that fasting increases synaptic plasticity, decreases risk of neurodegenerative diseases, promotes neuron growth and improves cognitive function. When you fast, a metabolic shift reduces the body’s leptin levels. Thus, the brain receives a chemical signal for neurons to produce more energy.
Traveling encourages neurogenesis by exposing your brain to new, fresh, and complex environments. Paul Nussbaum, a neuropsychologist from the University of Pittsburgh explains, “Those new and challenging situations cause the brain to sprout dendrites.” And a week-long tour of another country isn’t necessary to get this benefit; take a weekend road trip to a different city.
Use Mnemonic Devices
Memory training promotes connectivity in your brain’s prefrontal parietal network and can slow memory loss with age. Mnemonic devices combine visualization, imagery, spatial navigation, and rhythm and melody, so they can reach various parts of the brain simultaneously.
Learn an Instrument
Musicians’ brains show sharp connectivity between brain areas.
Neuroscientists explain that the multi-sensory experience of playing a musical instrument allows for the association of motor actions with specific sounds, and memorizing visual patterns leads to new neural networks being formed. As you practice a new instrument, the repetition will allow for neuroplasticity to do its work.
Non-Dominant Hand Exercises
Using your non-dominant hand during routine tasks can help form new neural pathways. Doing this strengthens connectivity between your brain cells. Studies also show that non-dominant hand activities improve emotional health and impulse control. Try switching hands during some simple tasks and give your brain a test.
Studies show increased and ongoing connectivity in the brains of participants after reading a novel. Enhanced brain activity occurred in the brain area that controls physical sensations and movement. Scientists explain that reading a novel can be a physical transportation into the fictional world. Shifting into this mental state is crucial for learning how to have complex social relationships.
Expand your Vocabulary
When you learn new words, the brain’s visual processes, memory processes, and auditory processes activate. The smaller your vocabulary, the more likely you are to have poor cognitive skills.
Studies show that sleep helps with learning retention with the growth of dendritic spines, the tiny protrusions that connect brain cells and facilitates the passage of information across synapses.” Getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night will help the brain retain information.
How Exactly Does Plasticity Improve the Mind?
In his book, Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life, Dr. Michael Merzenich, a leading pioneer in brain plasticity research and co-founder of Posit Science, lists ten core principles necessary for the remodeling of your brain to take place:
Change is mostly limited to situations in which the brain is in the mood for it. If you are engaged, your brain will be too.
Be more motivated and more alert. Those intensely focused on the task and devoted to mastering something will experience greater change.
The strengths of the connections of neurons that are engaged together, moment by moment, are actually what changes.
Learning-motivated changes in connections increase cell-to-cell cooperation.
The brain strengthens its connections between teams of neurons when things occur in the same order over time.
Though the first brain changes are temporary, changes become permanent if your brain judges the experience to be worthy of remembrance.
Brain changes happen through internal mental rehearsal just as a physical rehearsal in the real world helps us learn and execute specific tasks.
Memory is the key to learning. When you learn a new skill, your brain notes the good, the bad, and the ugly. The most recent good try is the one that the brain remembers.
When your brain strengthens a connection in advancing your mastery of a task, it weakens unnecessary connections of neurons that weren’t used.
Brain plasticity can go either way; you can generate negative changes just as easily as positive changes.
We can understand that the brain is designed to be stimulated and challenged, to carefully examine and interpret the environment, and keep track of the details, all of which is necessary for survival.
But, people in society tend to remove themselves from details of life. They don’t keep track of things in their heads anymore; they use smartphones with speed dial, address books, and reminder features. They rely on GPS rather than paying attention to street signs and navigation skills.
As we age, we go from the acquisition of abilities to using the abilities acquired earlier in life. We operate on autopilot. The skills and tasks we have mastered are done simply by rote. We are largely disengaged.
Modern culture has reduced stimulation on the functional level, while we engage ourselves at an abstract level of operations. Details no longer matter and our brains are deteriorating as a result. As we continue to disengage from the simple act of memory recall, we are letting our brain plasticity lie dormant.
But, it is more than possible to maintain plasticity as we age. Humans have the ability to learn new things, master new skills or learn new languages, even into old age. This example of neuroplasticity will most likely involve structural and biochemical changes at the level of the synapse.
Adult brains remember new activities through repetition. When an enriched and stimulating environment is offered to a damaged brain, recovery can occur. Not everyone will be able to recover, however. The amount of brain damage and the treatments and rehabilitation will be the key to engaging neuroplasticity.
The brain is an amazing source of skill, memory, and functionality. Its ability to continuously improve functionally and structurally make human beings one of the most sophisticated creatures on the planet.
We all have the power to train, modify, and heal our own brains through hard work, focused effort, and a belief in the power of the mind.
Anna Kucirkova speaks 3 languages has a passion for kids and writing. While she has been to many places in Europe and SE Asia she still wants to explore the rest of the world.
We have all heard, is some form or another, that as a man thinks in his mind, so is he. Gaining a lucid perspicacity of this truth is the beginning of the development of the infinite power necessary to control your destiny and so much more. Not only does your mind influence the internal mechanism of your character, but it directly impacts the external reality of your circumstances. In fact, a person’s circumstance cannot be divorced from the pattern of their thought, because the circumstances are the fruit of their thinking.
You should see your thoughts as seeds that function in the same manner as physical seeds. You can only return and harvest what you have planted. The problem is that most people sow the seed of their thoughts in ignorance of the power these thoughts possess to shape their realities and solidify their destinies.
Even when we consider the idea of a person’s thoughts impacting their life, we fail to fully grasp the magnitude of the force of thought — understanding that it literally transcends the influence of self-being, comprehensively invading the complete circumference of the person’s circumstances and condition in life. In simple, you are where you are as a result of your thought patterns and the habits and actions they inevitably produce. So, you will never be able to change your condition without first changing the way you think.
The power that your mind possesses is infinite in its capacity to completely shift the course of your life. Your predominant thoughts are constantly shaping your current reality through a number of different influential components and mechanisms.
“Your Thoughts are the architects of your destiny.” ~ David O. McKay
Your thoughts are the seeds — the genesis — of your future realities, circumstances and conditions. I often tell my clients, “you don’t get what you want, you get who you are, and you will always be the sum total of your thoughts.” This is an inescapable reality. As James Allen said, “we are the makers of ourselves.”
When you make your thoughts analogous to the act of sowing for the purpose of harvesting, you can see that there first is a blossoming of the seed, which is not the fruit, but a sign of what is to come. When it comes to thought, the actions produced by them can be seen as the blossom, now whether the fruit that will be produced will be suffering or elation will depend directly on what was planted by way of thought. The blossom, or action taken, will be in direct correspondence to your predominant thoughts, and it is those actions that work inexorably through multitudinous processes to form and usher in circumstances that will be indicative of your current condition.
Allow me to elucidate my point. No matter how much a person may say they want different results, if they never change their thinking, subsequently changing their behavior and the manner in which they interpret their circumstances, they will continue to get the same results. You must understand that, contrary to popular belief, your circumstances do not shape your life, they simply reveal your current condition and character.
When you change your thought patterns and see your circumstances for what they really are — a looking glass into the inner recesses of your personal axiology — revealing the foundation of your character and value system from which it operates. When circumstances are unfavorable, it is an opportunity for you to evaluate where you are and to adjust your thinking in areas directly associated with the negative circumstance. This is why people will often find themselves encountering the same negative situation — over and over again. Until you shift your thinking in a specific area, you will continue to produce the results of your current thought patterns. This must be understood as a universal law, because the reality of its force is immutable.
Cause & Effect
As it is in the physical realm of third-dimensional occurrences, the law of cause and effect is an undeviating, unequivocal force that controls reality. For every effect (insert result) there is a corresponding cause. When you want a new effect or result, you must adjust causality. You cannot change the effect without changing the cause. If you want to stop breaking your toe, stop kicking the wall when you get angry.
There is something else that you must understand, and that is that character is not bequeathed through some mystical form of appropriation upon the deserving or undeserving — by chance or by some form of favor. It is earned by the force of consistent thought. Your character is a direct reflection of your thinking. It is when a person is able to effectively form their thoughts with an intelligence of how the world around them works — keeping guard against negative ideations and impure intent — that their thoughts will produce the fruit of elation, success and peaceful conditions.
The Idle Mind
There is an old aphorism that has been often quoted for years; it says, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” This adage points to a poignant truth, which is that an unmanaged thought process does not remain stagnant and unfruitful, but the fruit it produces will not serve its host well at all. Imagine the mind as a garden, which can either be effectively and intelligently cultivated by planting specific seeds that will bear fruit, producing what is needed, or by neglecting the garden and leaving it to its own devices. What you will find is the cultivated garden will produce exactly what is planted and cultivated, without deviation, while the neglected garden will not stay barren, instead bringing forth useless weeds and poisonous plants that will drain the land. The mind is the same way, when unattended, and the proper seeds are not planted with consistency and care, wayward thoughts, influenced by external forces, will become the seeds of promise — seeds that can only produce poor conditions and suffering.
The Inextricable Bond between Thought and Character
Rarely is a person’s character directly affiliated with their thinking, but that does not change the fact that their character is actually a direct result of their thinking. In fact, it is impossible for character to manifest itself, at a point of discovery, outside of the environment of circumstance, which should be understood as the outward conditions of a person’s inner state. Therefore, when a person’s character is examined, it will always be discovered to be harmonious with their inner state of being — their thoughts.
When working with my clients, one of the greatest challenges I face is convincing them that their negative circumstances are not actually a part of an external force moving against them, but the fruit of their thoughts coming back to challenge them to elevate their thinking. Life is not happening to you, it’s responding to you.
Your thoughts are literally a creative force of infinite power through you which you have the capacity to form the ideas (seeds) that will be cultivated and nourished, until they create the condition that is reflective of their origin. Positive circumstances can be birthed from negative thoughts and negative circumstances can never rise from the purity of good thoughts. The thoughts you entertain most will have the greatest impact on your external reality.
It is true that you are the master of your fate, because you are the guarder of your thought. Unfortunately, very few people guard their thoughts with any form of diligence and concern for the influences that move against it. Many people have certain feelings toward specific situations without the slightest idea of why. They have completely missed the fact that those intellectual stimuli and image impressions that they consistently expose their subconscious to have influenced their thinking, subsequently influencing the totality of their existence.
Your thoughts are an inner reflection of your character — the values that drive your desires — and only desires that are in direct harmony with your inner character can survive the entire process of manifestation. So, your circumstances are simply the means through which the human soul receives its innermost yearnings. Our thoughts move beyond the reach of our superficial outward expressions that supposedly identify what we want out of life — delving beyond the depths of the human psyche to pierce the spirit — the place of true passion and yearnings. We can proclaim the desire to be honest, upright, successful and more, but our circumstances and consistent realities will quickly reveal the inner-workings of our heart — our thought patterns.
As I stated earlier, circumstance is simply the Revealer of character that shows up as an instructor to fuel both, change and growth. Circumstances can produce both, suffering and elation, with one positively reinforcing a current thought pattern, and the other using discomfort to prompt change in an existing mindset.
Not until you accept the fact that the force that shapes your life is within, will you experience the desired changes that you are looking for.
From both, academic study and experiential observation, I have learned that it is a person’s mind that will either liberate them or create boundaries that imprison them. This is where many religious people fail miserably, based on the fact that they believe their artificially manufactured faith, accompanied by prayer, will produce the desires of their hearts. But, a person does not get what they want out of life, they invariably get who they are. You cannot get what you are not. In order to elevate what you are getting, you must first elevate your thinking. Ironically, this is why the Bible places such great emphasis on thinking (guard your hearts and minds, bringing every thought into captivity, etc.).
While many people will revolt against the reality of their current negative circumstances, they will produce no efficacious results. Remember the law of cause and effect is in play here, and your circumstances are simply the effect or result of something else — your thoughts. In order to change the effect, you must be willing to change the cause. It is the cause that constantly interferes with and retards efforts focused on change. Another way to view this is through the concept of putting the horse before the carriage. While having a desire to change unfavorable circumstances is a natural reaction to the discomfort it creates, it cannot be the first step in the grand order of change. No matter how hard you strive to improve your negative circumstances, your efforts will consistently be thwarted until you become equally committed to improving yourself as well, for it is the self (by way of thought) that produces the circumstances.
I have people come to me who are immensely frustrated. They have set these remarkable goals to do something extraordinary and exceptional, by all standards, but their efforts and progress are being frustrated perpetually. The reason is that their goals, and the behavior associated with them, are not in harmony with their character (value system).
Let me give you a real life example. I had a client come to me for one-on-one marriage counseling. He swore that he wanted to save his marriage, which was floundering and sinking fast. After spending some time with him, I identified the behavior behind the troubled marriage. He was a sole provider for his family, and he had a value system that rewarded him for his hard work by justifying his hanging out with his male buddies up to three times a week after work, and on weekends. Well, obviously, this put a strain on his marriage, because his buddies are taking priority of his wife and family — which is not a very good look for any marriage.
So, I told him that he was going to have to cut his interactions with his “boys” down to once per month. He said that he would do it. Six months later, he comes back to me, and he is fuming. He says, “I did exactly what you told me, and it has actually gotten worse.” So, if he did what I told him, why weren’t things any better? His actions were not in alignment with his belief system and personal values. He still believed that the fact that he was the sole provider meant he should be able to hang out with his buddies whenever he wanted, so he did what I asked him to do, but he did it begrudgingly. His wife was able to sense his resentment and animosity, and so she responded with resentment of her own. I worked with him for weeks to change is views, and when he changed his views, spending time with his wife was no longer viewed as a sacrifice, but an honor and a pleasure. His marriage recovered, and they are doing better than ever.
It is not simply the effort and actions that matter, but the alignment of those efforts with who you really are. You will have to change you before you can change your negative situation. In fact, that is the primary purpose of a negative situation — to give you a look inside at your character and to demand that you change it.
It is not until a person ceases from their campaign to blame others for their condition that they begin the process of seizing greatness. It is when you recognize that there is a regulatory force at work in your life that is more powerful than any other — your thoughts. Whining and complaining can produce no true results associated with positive change, but the adjustment of wayward thinking will produce consistent progress.
Order Over Chaos
It is immensely important to understand that the universe is one of order, not chaos. The order of the universe is governed by a set of mutable and immutable laws that produce uniform results. When a person begins to alter how they view themselves, others and life in general, they will begin to see positive changes in their outward condition. If you are looking for an accelerated transformation in your life, then you must be committed to a radical shift in your thinking. There is no other way.
So, you can see that the common misconception that one can hide their thoughts from plain view is blown away when the power of the mind is placed underneath the microscope. Thoughts are not simply invisible ideas, but rather the seedlings of materialized habits that produce corresponding circumstances and realities.
Psychosomatics: The Effect of Thoughts on Your Health
For years, scientists have understood and studied the impact of thoughts on physical health. The body is, in essence, a tool of the mind, and it is bound by the idea and concepts conceived within the mind. One of the most powerful representations of this truth is the famous four-minute mile. Before 1954, is was believed that no one would ever break the four-minute mark in the mile. The belief was that it was simply humanly impossible, and it was that belief that corralled thousands of those who ran the mile. But, in 1954, things changed. What changed exactly? Roger Banister came along and he made up in his mind that he was going to run the mile in under four minutes. The first place that he began to move against this barrier was in his mind. He had to mentally convince himself that he could do it.
Once he was mentally convinced, he was able to change his workouts to accommodate a faster pace per quarter mile. You see, because people did not believe it was possible they did not even train for the possibility. Roger Banister trained with a purpose of breaking the barrier, and he did just that. While that was considered miraculous in and of itself, what was even more miraculous is that in the next three years, more than 1,000 people would run the mile in under four minutes, and since then, more than 20,000 have done it — with some being high school athletes. You see, the mind is far more powerful than the body. The body always follows the cues given by the mind. The problem for most people is that they send the body poor cues.
When there is the presence of worry, anxiety or stress, the body will release the hormone cortisol, which is actually designed to help the body manage temporary stressful situations. Cortisol is what triggers the flight or fight response, which also includes the hormone adrenaline. The problem is that when the mind constantly entertains thoughts that produce stress, you begin to suffer what is known as chronic stress, which can result in cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, organ damage, chemical imbalances and much more. This chronic condition is a slow killer, slow but sure.
Psychosomatics is how you explain, one spouse dying within hours or mere days after the other. The mind controls the will to live. During the Korean war, it is reported that once prisoners of war gave up hope of being rescued, they would simply go lay on a cot, tell everyone to leave them alone, and within a day or so, they would be dead.
When you expose your mind to negative thoughts, the repercussions of those thoughts will permeate throughout every orifice of your existence, including your physical existence. When the mind entertains degradation, the body begins the process of degradation. In the same manner, when the mind entertains positive and uplifting thoughts, the body can experience healing. When functioning optimally, we are completely self-contained and self-sustained. The mind remains the most effective physician in history, but we must simply relearn how to use it.
When a person consistently entertains negative thoughts, such as envy, suspicion, cynicism, hatred and fear, they confine themselves to a self-imposed prison, from which only they can free themselves.
How Your Thoughts Impact Your Achievement
Every achievement in life, and every failure, are a direct result of your thoughts. Your entire reality exists as the direct fruit of your thinking. So, if you want to improve your capacity to achieve in life, you must develop a limpid anagnorisis that the capacity of achievement cannot transcend the condition of the mind and its predominant thought processes. When you understand that you get what you are, then you understand that you must change who you are to get more. This demand for a metamorphosis can only be met through the process of radical thought transformation. One must raise their standards, which includes a lowering of their tolerance for things associated with failure, such as excuses, blaming, playing the victim, etc. Additionally, they must also raise their expectations for themselves. The universe will only meet you at the level of your expectations — no higher.
The place you must start in developing the mental capacity for optimal achievement is in the acceptance that your reality is all your own. Individual responsibility is an absolute reality that cannot be circumvented in the quest for greatness. What this means is that your weaknesses and strengths, imperfections and nobleness, purities and impurities belong to you and no one else. Understanding this is the beginning of growth and personal achievement.
There is only one way that a person can lift themselves from the current situation to new heights — by raising the level of their thinking. In the same sense, the only way that they can remain in the same low state is by refusing to elevate their thinking. Often, people who refuse to elevate their thinking will tend to respond to negative circumstances through emotional compulsion, rather than critical thought. They also lack the wherewithal to formulate methodical planning and strategic order — rendering them ineffective in their quest for achievement.
When it comes to achievement, you are only limited by the thoughts you choose to entertain.
Why We Need Visions and Dreams
One thing that I have learned is that the physical world (third-dimension) is supported by a more vast and powerful invisible world (fourth & fifth-dimensions). Reality is first manifested in the invisible realm through thoughts infused with faith. Long before we see the reality of great accomplishment and the bearing out of visions and dreams, they existed — first in the mind, and then in the spiritual realm — where they gained momentum, definition and clarity. What this means is that it is the dreamers of this world that sustain its order, its life and its force. Without the dreamer, the very breath of humanity would be zapped away in an instance. It is the dream that feeds the hope of the masses, and provides the idea of possibility. Dreams took men to flight, streamlined communication mechanisms and made the world just a little bit smaller.
Earlier, I mentioned that this universe is one of order, and in this order there is one truth that has been upheld since the beginning of time. The person who harbors a vision, refuses to relinquish it, cherishes and nurtures it as a grand ideal will one day realize it in all its splendid glory. If fact, if you dare to dream the loftiest of dreams, you will find that your dreams are shaping your reality. Your dream will become a prophecy of sorts, revealing what you will one day become. ~ Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D.
Reprogramming Your Subconscious Mind for Success ~ Mind Power Series (Second Installment)
When it comes to my personal development courses and direct one-on-one counseling, I have people approach me needing help to achieve all types of goals, including losing weight and getting fit, improving their confidence, wealth building, stop smoking, overcoming fears and more. The truth is that there are multitudinous ways that people define and interpret success in their lives, but there is only one true way of achieving it.
Renown motivational speaker and personal development expert, Earl Nightingale, defined success as follows:
“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
I define success as the fulfillment of a predetermined goal that has worth and value beyond the scope of personal interest. Basically, if you have a passion to do something that can benefit yourself and others, and are moving along the process of accomplishing it, then you are successful. Notice, neither definition of success stipulated that a person has to earn a particular dollar amount to be considered successful. This does not mean that financial wealth should not be a high-priority goal; it simply means that success is not defined by wealth alone, but by living a specific purpose at maximum performance.
In this “Mind Power” series it is my goal to explore the power of the human mind to produce the most exceptional and phenomenal things imaginable. In the first installment, The Mind Unleashed, we examined the possibilities associated with releasing the mind from predetermined limitations based on past experiences and the opinion of others. I introduced you to the fact that the only true limitations that you have in your life are those you have accepted with your own mind.
As we move through the examination of the power of the mind, the recurring theme will become increasingly evident — the power of the human is infinite in its ability to reproduce what it can conceive through imagination, Promethean thought and creativity. What must also be understood amidst entertainment and mensuration of this idea, is when there is an existence in one extreme, there is always an equal and opposite reality. With the mind being so powerful, if it were to become inundated with negativity and doubt, it could literally lock an individual out of experiencing anything of noteworthy value in life. A negative mind, on any level, is diametrically opposed to the attitude associated with success.
The challenge here is that negativity can take root in the human mind in multitudinous ways. It can happen during the developmental years — impacting self-concept (self-image), self-esteem and self-confidence. When this happens the child will grow up bypassing opportunities that are before them, believing that they are incapable of achieving the desired result.
Another way that negativity can enter the mind is through being surrounded by negative people at any stage of life. The negative ideas, talk and energy that is emitted by people who have negative mindsets can infiltrate the subconscious mind and program it to expect nothing but failure. The consistent intake of negative information through media channels is one of the most common ways that people feed their existing negative mentality. Once a person becomes negative, they will actually become attracted to all things negative. In fact, they will attract negativity.
In this particular installment, I wish to examine the ability to reprogram the subconscious to create paradigm shifts that have the capacity to completely change how a person views and interprets events in life. As pointed out in the previous installment on mind power, the subconscious mind is immensely powerful, and it is designed to capture and process data at exceptionally high rates. Unlike the conscious mind, the subconscious mind is not as easily guarded against ambient intrusion. Any ambient data within a person’s capacity to hear will be logged by the subconscious — even when the person is unaware of it. This type of openness is why people are incessantly being warned to guard their gates (senses, especially the eyes and ears).
Negative beliefs will have a significant impact on a person’s behavior, those things they do habitually. Keep in mind, at the very essence of life, you are what you do habitually, so this is a cyclopean concept that must be understood for all who desire to develop or reprogram their mind for optimal success (Kotsos, 2016).
The subconscious mind is responsible for executing the incredibly powerful mental programs that govern almost every aspect of your life. What is more impressive is the fact that all of these programs and actions are carried out through a completely automated process. When the subconscious is not inhibited by limitations planted by negative beliefs, it has the capacity to produce every conceivable desire a person can have.
In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill constantly reveled at the capacity of the subconscious mind to convert desire and emotion into reality.
“There is nothing capricious in nature or the universe; therefore, the implanting of a desire indicates that its gratification is in the constitution of the creature who feels it (Hill, 1938).”
The constant theme surrounding the law of attraction and mind management is simply that what you think about the most is what you will produce. This is a law, meaning that there is no way around it.
Wallace D. Wattles, the author of The Science of Getting Rich, recorded it this way: “The Creative Power within us makes us into the image of that to which we give our attention (Wattles, 1910).”
Now, the wonderful news about the subconscious mind is that it can be reprogrammed. It has been nearly 60 years since Dr. Maxwell Malz developed the concept of psycho-cybernetics — a methodology used to help people harness and master the power of the subconscious mind. This concept was developed by Dr. Malz, who was a plastic surgeon, for the purpose of helping people overcome negative self-images — since then people have used this powerful tool to accomplish everything from losing weight, breaking free from smoking and even controlling pain.
To give you an idea of how successful this particular psycho-corrective process has been, since 1960, Psycho-Cybernetics has sold more than 35 million copies, meaning that you will probably find a copy of the book in your public library.
It is not necessary to be overly technical in the explanation of this method and how it works, so I will keep it simple. Cybernetics is the science of self-regulating systems. Norbert Weiner, a professor of mathematics at MIT was the first to refer to the self-regulating systems as cybernetics
The thermostat on your refrigerator and central climate control unit in your home are cybernetic systems. The system automatically makes the necessary adjustments to keep the temperature at the desired selection by constantly monitoring and detecting the slightest deviation. The auto-pilot system on jetliners are also cybernetic.
Oddly enough, the oldest form of cybernetics is the organic process that takes place in the subconscious mind.
What we now understand about the subconscious mind is that it has a goal-seeking mechanism. Malz discovered this with his plastic surgery patients. What he discovered was that corrective surgery did not always deal with the self-image issues that his patients had. In other words, making external changes without dealing with the self-image itself, rarely produced the desired result.
What Dr. Malz discovered is that the subconscious mind functioned like a cybernetic mechanism depending on a specific goal. When a “success goal” is given to the subconscious mind, it will function like a success mechanism, consistently self-correcting thoughts and behavior to align with the set goal. However, if the subconscious was given a “failure goal,” then the subconscious would become a failure mechanism, self-correcting all behavior that is diametric to the set goal of failure. For instance, if you were to give your subconscious mind the negative goal of dieting, you will fail, whereas if you give it a positive goal of body shaping, you will succeed.
Another interesting discovery by Dr. Malz was that the use of will power was absolutely worthless in the process of developing new habits. Actually, willpower is the negative method for breaking some bad habit. If you are not careful, will power will actually have the reverse effect of reinforcing the bad habit that you are attempting to break.
What Dr. Malz discovered was that the human imagination was the key to rebuilding a flawed self-image. The imagination allows for the exchanging of poor habits for more profitable ones. Imagination allows a person to implant a new self-image in the subconscious mind. Why is this important. It is important because the self-image is a person’s truth as it pertain to them. A person’s self-image will dictate their behavior, because a person’s behavior must align with their image of themselves in order to maintain sanity. Therefore, if you can change the image, you will inherently change the behavior. The moment a person begins to see themselves differently, they will change their behavior to align with that new image — and this will be done almost effortlessly.
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.” ~ Anatole France
Dreaming is the preferred language of the subconscious mind. In fact, it has been proven that the most direct and efficacious modality for accessing and engaging the subconscious mind is through the use of sounds and images, which is the language of dreams — completely bypassing the “will” altogether.
Why does knowledge, in and of itself, fail to provide individuals with all that is necessary to exact change? Knowledge alone activates the conscious mind, which does not have the capacity to override an entire lifetime of conscious desires and habits that serve to create the current lifestyle that is counterproductive in reaching a particular goal. Whatever the goal, if the self-image has not adopted the identity associated with the task, the subconscious will sabotage every effort to achieve the goal.
It is necessary that the subconscious adopt the new image and accepts the new goal as being a part of its new self-image. At the point when the subconscious accepts the new goal as being associated with its new self-image, it will auto-correct behavior to ensure that the goal is reached. To lose weight successfully and keep it off, it will be necessary to develop and identity of a person who is passionate about fitness and highly concerned about their health. Once you educate yourself on the safest and most efficacious methods for losing weight, the subconscious will do the rest.
Basically speaking, a person must undergo a paradigmatic shift that literally changes how they view life from a particular perspective surrounding a specific desired goal. To begin the process of developing long-term generational wealth, the person must change how they view money, as well as change how they see themselves concerning money. In other words, they will need to see themselves as being wealthy before the physical wealth-building process begins.
Once a person begins to see themselves as being wealthy, they will undergo an immensely powerful metamorphosis that will change the vernacular, their spending habits, the manner in which they view entrepreneurship and more. They will stop asking for opportunities, and they will start creating them on their own accord.
Keep in mind that the subconscious mind is a cybernetic mechanism that will auto-correct behavior based on its own self-image. A person struggling with their self-image will never experience any consistent success in areas which they don’t identify with the idea and behavior behind success in that particular sphere of life. In my Visionetics Self-concept Development Program, I help people rewrite the construct of their self-image to fit the goals that they have set for their lives, or what they aspire to become.
The subconscious mind is so powerful that this approach works on absolutely everything — no exceptions. So, are you finally ready to change your life for the better? ~ Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D.
Hill, N. (1938). Think and Grow Rich. Meriden, CT: The Ralston Society.
Kotsos, T. (2016). Negative Beliefs, the Law of Attraction & the Law of Polarity. Mind Your Reality.
Malz, M. (2015). The New Psycho-Cybernetics (Updated and Edited). New York, NY: Pedigree Publishing (An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC).
Wattles, W. D. (1910). The Science of Getting Rich. New York: Elizabeth Towne Publishing.
The Mind Unleashed ~ When studying the great philosophers that have existed throughout history, as well as some of the most successful men throughout the annals of time, I notice something unique. While there were many differences in philosophical opinion, one thing remained consistent across the board with each and every one of them — they all believed that your mind creates your reality. It did not matter what religious affiliation they claimed. Their background and race had no bearing on this philosophical idea. Could this be a simple coincidence, or have these exceptional minds nailed down the key to success, wealth and overall fulfilling life?
What once appeared to be a gelastic premise, during my youth, has developed into one of the most well-founded truths in the universe. While the actual function itself, is highly complex, at its most simple form, a person’s life is what their minds make of it. You are what you think.
The human mind is one of the greatest marvels known to man. The truth is that even the most erudite scientists and historians only have a limited perspicacity of the massive potential and range of the human mind; however, what we do know — with remarkable certainty — is that he who is able to master his mind, will master the challenges of life.
The human mind should be viewed as being analogous to fertile soil. Soil that is fertile is primed to return to the planter whatever is planted. It is important to understand the principle of planting because this principle applies equally to the human mind. Soil is a neutral element, meaning that it does not care what is planted in it. Whatever is planted will be returned multiplied. Whether the planter plants nutritional vegetables and fruits or seeds of poisonous fruit, the soil will return only what is planted. The human mind is the same way. It has no preference as to what is planted in it, but whatever is planted will be returned in like form.
What follows is my attempt to provide a succinct but lucid explanation of the power of the human mind. In studying the principles of the successful and wealthy, the one common denominator has repetitively been recognized as the human mind. Three of the most influential books that address success through the universal law of attraction are ‘The Science of Getting Rich’ by Wallace D. Wattles, ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill and ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho (Coelho, 1992 (translated and published); Hill, 1938; Wattles, 1910). Each of these books points out, with exceptional distinction that when the mind can grasp any concept that travels through it as being real and possible, it initiates a universal process in which the universe conspires to bring to that person that which their mind has conceived and their heart desires. Of course, it calls for the person to put in their share of the work, but authentic faith and belief in anything demands action — so this is not a problem.
When I am working with my clients through my “Visionetics” courses, I place great emphasis on the power of the mind and its neutrality. When engaging the power of your mind to produce the desired reality, it is important to remember the analogy of the soil. The mind does not care what you plant, it will take it, cultivate it, multiply it and return it to you in like form. This is why it is of Brobdingnagian importance to guard your mind against entertaining negative thoughts. You are what you think. Said another way, you become what you think consistently.
Your subconscious is the most remarkable computer the world will ever see, processing millions of bits of data per second, while simultaneously processing between 40,000 and 50,000 thoughts per day. Even information and ideas that may slip past your consciousness will be captured by the subconscious and stored for processing.
When the subconscious encounters anyone thought, or any specific type of thinking at a substantial level, it applies to it a certain priority of reason. Additionally, any thoughts that the conscious mind considers to be of value will also be given a high priority. Thoughts and ideas that are given a high priority by the conscious and subconscious mind will activate what is known as the reticular activating system.
The brain is quite spectacular in all of the functions that it carries out over the course of a day. In fact, each and every function that humans perform in a state of consciousness is facilitated by some part of the brain — even some subconscious actions as well. While the brain itself is not the totality of the mind, it is the physical structure through many mental tasks are carried out. The Reticular Activating System is one of the most important parts of the brain — having an exceptional influence over cognitive function. There are multitudinous studies on the mammalian brain that have revealed the RAS as a great deal to do with cognitive functions associated with awareness.
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In simple, the RAS is considered to be the brain’s attention center, in other words, when the subconscious and the conscious mind determine that a particular thing is of interest, the RAS amplifies awareness of that thing. Have you ever been in a situation in which you see a new model vehicle that really catches your attention, and you decide that you are seriously considering buying one — then all of a sudden, every time you look up you see that car. The truth is that the car didn’t suddenly start appearing more; it has always been there. You RAS simply amplified awareness of it.
The RAS will do this with any idea or concept. This is why it is so important to monitor what you allow into the gates of your conscious and subconscious mind. If you focus on the negative, the RAS will amplify the negative, which will create a cyclical effect that will culminate in achieving a progressively negative outlook on life. The same is true of the reverse. When you fill your mind with positive thoughts, the anticipation of great things and high expectations, your RAS will identify and highlight the positive as well as those opportunities related to that which you desire to achieve (Unknown, 2016).
The mind also plays an immense role in the law of attraction. In fact, your reality is the result of your thoughts. If you are a person who harbors negative beliefs, it is those beliefs that are attracting the negative circumstances you continue to encounter. Remember, your mind will produce spiritual energy based on what it entertains most. So, even if you are thinking about what you don’t want within the context of constantly thinking and saying you don’t want it, you are still giving it mental attention, and it is registering through neural processes of the brain, and it is emitting negative energy into the universe, and that energy is like a seed planted in fertile soil, it is absolutely going to return to you what you have planted in it.
You must train yourself to entertain positive thoughts that are directly associated with those things that you do want. In my opinion, one of the greatest deficits of mankind is that we don’t value our minds. You see, familiarity and infrangible access breed contempt. We don’t have to fight for our minds. We are not required to earn our minds. We are born with our minds, and for that reason, we take them for granted.
There is a standard belief among many of life’s most successful people that we only use 10 percent of our brain capacity. While there are many who attempt to invalidate this theory, there is much left unanswered in their efforts. While there is some confusion as to where the idea of 90 percent unused capacity originated, it is likely the essay by William James in 1906, which was later published in 1910 entitled “The Moral Equivalent of War (James, 1910). While James did not say that humans only use 10 percent of their brain, he did say, “we are only making use of a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.”
Here is what we do know. There is an entire population of people who consistently defy logic and reason as it stands in today’s world. By all definitions, the feats that they are accomplishing are impossible. So, what sets these people apart from the rest. It is their background? Absolutely not. These people come from highly diverse backgrounds where there is no common denominator to mention. Could it be that they grew up with a silver spoon in their mouths, and had a financial head start on others? No. The fact is that the majority of these people come from meager beginnings. So, what is the difference? The one common denominator among every last one is that they believed that they could, and they had a mindset that supported the type of behavior and habits that ensured that they would get whatever they set their minds to have.
So, is this mental capacity exclusive to only those who are currently successful? No, it is not. Every person on this planet has the capacity to develop a mindset that expects to do the exceptional, the extraordinary and the phenomenal. Unfortunately, the vast majority are either unaware or choose not to. Despite the fact that our minds are capable of extraordinary feats, the vast majority of humans assign menial tasks to it — never challenging it to perform at its capacity.
Far too many people reside in the limitations and boundaries of a box that they have been placed in by the limiting beliefs of others that have been passed on to them. The truth is that the only limits that are actually real in your life are the ones that you accept as being real in your mind. When you uncap the potential of your mind — when the mind becomes completely unleashed — there is absolutely nothing that can be conceived that cannot be ultimately achieved. The person who possesses the mind unleashed is absolutely unstoppable.
It is unfortunate that so many people allow the opinions of others to become their reality. They are being squeezed into these small areas and simply asked to exist. To them, it is too much to ask their mind to dream. Their imagination has become emaciated because it is inactive. It is a situation in which an organic process has been replaced by the systematic procedure — producing an assembly line of marginal performers in an infinite world of possibilities.
When I take on a client, I immediately introduce them to the Warrior’s Creed, which is designed to challenge people to demand more of themselves, to expect more out of life and to accept no excuses — from themselves and others.
The good news is that no matter where you are right now, you can change your life, starting today. It will not be an overnight process, but you will be able to track your progress. You must begin by exchanging your negative beliefs with positive ones that support your desires and aspirations. This will initially take a great deal of conscious effort because you will be literally shifting paradigms — the lens through which you view life.
The best way to change your belief system and your thought processes is by exposing the subconscious mind to information that supports the new belief system that you wish to develop. The things that enter your gates (eyes and ears) most frequently and consistently will impact your belief system, and once this information, and the ideas associated with it, become a part of your belief system, your subconscious will take over from there. The subconscious is remarkable, having the capacity to execute the incredibly powerful mental programs that are responsible for facilitating every aspect of your everyday life.
It is my goal in this series to unveil, in digestible portions, the entire idea of the power of the mind, the 7 universal laws, and the unlimited potential associated with mastering it all. So, what is it that I am attempting to convey in all this? Well, that is simple. You are what you think. ~ Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D.
Coelho, P. (1992 (translated and published)). The Alchemist . Unknown: Alan R. Clarke.
Hill, N. (1938). Think and Grow Rich. Meriden, CT: The Ralston Society.
James, W. (1910). The Moral Equivalent of War. London, England: Read Books.
Unknown. (2016). What is the Function of the Reticular Activating System? Innovate Us.
Wallace, R. (2012). The Warrior’s Creed. Houston, TX: Odyssey Media Group Publishing House.
Wattles, W. D. (1910). The Science of Getting Rich. New York: Elizabeth Towne Publishing.
By Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Pys.D. | Courtesy of Visionetics 2020 | Dec. 26, 2016
While many people will use the phrase, “you are what you think,” very few actually take the time to truly consider the impact of the their thoughts on a daily basis. Scientists suggest that the average human being processes between 40,000 and 50,000 thoughts per day. What this means is that even when we are not aware of it, our subconscious is at work processing what is known as cognitions — subconscious or unconscious thoughts. It is important to understand that while we may not be aware — at least on a conscious level — of all the thoughts that are being processed by our subconscious, we have the capacity to control the type of thoughts and how they are interpreted.
Actually, there is an epochal amount of truth embedded in the statement “you are what you think,” your thoughts are the seeds of ultimate manifestation. In other words, your thoughts are the staging ground and the catalyst for what you will ultimately become. Whenever clients contact me to be a part of my Visionetics 2020 program, I immediately emphasize the fact that the reason they are where they currently are is because of who they are. You don’t get what you want or wish for out of life; you get what you are. If you don’t have the things that you want out of life, it is because you have not become the person who is capable of obtaining them.
When you determine that it is time for a change in your life, you must begin with changing how you think. Why is changing your thought processes so important? Your thought processes govern your belief system, and your belief system is the conduit through which paradigms are created, and finally, paradigms are the lenses through which we interpret life. So, our thoughts will determine if we view life from the position of a victim or a victor. It will determine whether we see life as happening to us or responding to us.
Changing your thoughts will help develop and change who you are in multitudinous ways. There are two distinctive ways that this happens. Let’s take a quick look at both.
Feeding & Nurturing the Subconscious
The reason that my Elevation and Empowerment course has proven to be so successful is because it uses, as one of its primary components, cognitive enhancement techniques. The cognitive enhancement process takes into consideration that cognitive biases and cognitive distortions can directly impact the social mobility and mental health of an individual. This is one of my areas of expertise. My research and dissertation for my doctorate in psychology was conducted in this area. In fact, my research produced several theories — two of which being Cognitive Bias Syndrome and Collective Dominative Cognitive Bias Syndrome — explaining how both, individuals and groups can develop negative social paradigms that lead to poor decision making and erroneous behavior.
When I encounter a client who is in need of behavioral adjustments, unlike many of my colleagues, I do not start with habitual adjustments — changing behavioral habits at the superficial level. When habitual behavior is addressed at an adumbrated level, the changes are harder to take hold, and the person will usually revert back to the original habits under pressure. Instead, I work on using the conscious mind to influence the subconscious mind, which will subsequently and inherently influence the spirit of the person. Ignoring the spiritual element of our holistic existence is another way that many of my colleagues fall short. We are holistic in our existence — consisting of a body, mind, soul and spirit. What I have discovered is that whatever the subconscious is fed consistently, will, in turn, be fed to the spirit. This particular interaction between the subconscious and the spirit are prodigious.
As the spirit develops in a positive way, as it is being fed positive thoughts and beliefs about the person through the subconscious, it develops the capacity to provide a new and more powerful type of vision. I call this type of vision, spiritual vision. Spiritual vision has the capacity to see beyond what physical vision can see. While a person’s physical sight can only see the facts associated with any particular circumstance or situation, spiritual sight has the capacity to see those things that have not yet manifested themselves within the physical realm, but are just as real as the facts being presented by the current situation. In other words, while losing your job and being behind in mortgage payments and car note payments presents a gloomy outlook, a spirit that has been conditioned to believe that your destiny of greatness, prosperity and success has been set and guaranteed, will interpret the reality of the circumstance as a temporal challenge in which you have the capacity to overcome. In essence, the spirit will disagree with or override the circumstance. This is the power of properly training the subconscious by guarding what it is being fed consistently.
The Reticular Activating System
The truth is that you are creating your future constantly and consistently — each and every day. Your thoughts are literally writing the narrative of your future life. According to Ernest Holmes, “life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” Your thoughts are the staging ground and catalyst for the perpetuation of actions, beliefs, feelings, values, goals and dreams. It is important to understand that this is happening regardless of the level of consciousness and awareness you have of the fact that it is taking place.
Basically, the combination of your present moment awareness, conjoined with the future that is created through your thoughts is actually the totality of the aggregate sum of your subconscious programming. This is why it is so important to guard your gates — those openings to your soul — the eyes and ears. What you allow to infiltrate your subconscious on a frequent basis will create an involuntary response in which beliefs will be developed to align with the information received by the subconscious. Finally, in order to maintain sanity, you will naturally perpetuate behavior that is in alignment with the reality created by your subconscious.
To further assist in this adaptation, the human brain is equipped with a mechanism known as the reticular activating system. The reticular activating system can be viewed as a mediator of your future goals and dreams. The RAS functions as a filter between the subconscious and the conscious mind. When your conscious mind perceives an idea or belief, it is passed to the subconscious through the RAS.
Allow me to elucidate what I am attempting to convey here. The RAS is a biological function that takes whatever the conscious is focusing upon or thinking about and transmits it to the subconscious mind where the thought or focus will reproduce itself through physical manifestation at a future date and time. Have you ever had a situation in which you noticed something for the first time — a new car, watch, shirt, etc. — and you decided that you wanted one? Then, all of a sudden, every time you look up you see it. It is not that it started to appear more, it has always been there. The difference is that your thoughts and focus has indicated that you are interested in it, and so the RAS and your subconscious will work to identify it every time it or an opportunity to have it presents itself.
Understanding how the RAS works illuminates the importance of managing your thoughts, ideas and belief systems, because it will reproduce and illuminate what you give gravity to. If you place an emphasis on financial literacy and building wealth, it will continuously identify opportunities for you to do so.
There is so much more to the idea of thought management, but the two concepts presented here will give you, at least, a limited perspicacity of the power of your thoughts to shape your future. You cannot have the things you desire until you become the person who has the capacity to achieve and obtain them. You cannot become that person until you master your thoughts to align with the values, behaviors and habits of the successful person who is capable of having all that you desire. At the end of the day, you are writing the narrative of your life with every thought you process. ~ Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D.