"The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude." -- William James
When I first started getting interested in personal development (over half a decade ago), I quickly found that I had more control over my mind and thoughts than I originally believed.
Before I knew anything, I actually had no idea that our minds could be reprogrammed and modified to better serve our needs.
Instead, I used to just believe: "this is the brain I have, and this is the brain I will always have." It was a passive thing - something I had no control over. It just was.
But the more I learned about personal development, the more I learned our mind is actually very flexible and very capable of changing itself.
In fact, our mind is always changing. Every new experience we have, and every new thing we learn, changes the neural pathways and structures in our brain. Today, scientists call it "neuroplasticity."
The key to personal development is to actively change the structure of our brains by conditioning and reprogramming our mind in new ways. And we can actually achieve this using a variety of different strategies. Here are some things you can start working on right away:
Change your perspective
Try having more solution-oriented thinking instead of problem-oriented thinking. When you think only about the stuff that sucks in your life, it'll often make you feel worse. But when you start feeling capable of finding solutions and overcoming obstacles, you condition your mind to find the answers you need.
Modify your self-talk
We all talk to ourselves inside our heads - that's what thinking is. The problem is some of us talk negatively about ourselves, while others talk positively about themselves. The more you tell yourself something, the more likely you are to believe it and act on that belief. So the more you feed yourself healthy and motivating thoughts, the more those thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes can have a positive effect on your life.
Sometimes the best way to learn something is to step outside of our heads and experience it. You might be used to getting a cheeseburger at every restaurant you go, but until you take a risk and try something new you'll never know what else life might have to offer. Will you fail and make mistakes sometimes? Sure, but it's a part of the growing process.
Use your imagination as practice
Studies show that imagining yourself taking a course of action is a really good way to motivate yourself to take that action in the future. So by practicing visualization techniques on a regular basis we can actually reprogram our thoughts and behaviors. One great example of this is professional athletes mentally rehearsing before a game or match.
Stop victimizing yourself
One of the most common traps our culture teaches us is that we are helpless victims of circumstance. In other words, we have no control over our destiny; instead, reality rears its ugly head and we get whatever we get. As a result, we become programmed to shift blame to external factors and never seek responsibility for our lives.
Click here to find out more about personal development reprogramming.
Steven Handel is a frequent blogger on psychology and personal development who practices what he preaches. Check out more of his articles on personal development.
Photo: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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