034 Auto-suggestion

“Man is what he believes”
Anton Chekhov

Think about who you want to be, then become, by believing—who you want to be.

Yesterday’s article “033 Subconscious” talked about the subconscious mind being a “memory bank” and the confederate through which we are able to carry out each and every automatic and habitual undertaking in our lives. From brushing our teeth and driving to hitting a tennis ball for a professional tennis player and typing what you wish to write on the computer without looking at the keyboard. They are all behaviors that require little to no thinking and are brought off by the subconscious mind.

Here, I want to talk about how we can harness the power of the subconscious mind to the furthest by using auto-suggestion. Auto-suggestion is the communication of suggestions from your conscious mind to your subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind doesn’t care or know about what is reality or fantasy. It simply accepts what the conscious mind accepts.
So if you (consciously) believe you’re nothing, then your subconscious mind believes that you’re nothing. And consequently, your non-conscious mind and “guide to life” will instruct the conscious mind and body in every way to work to create that outcome of being that “nothing”.

I know for some that may not make any sense and you’ll demand a scientific explanation for why that happens. Well, the scientific basis of auto suggestion hasn’t been explored as much as we would have liked it to be, but there’s still quite a bit of studies and research done on it. Here’s a brief summary of it:
Auto-suggestion can be applied into our lives broadly through two main categories:
Visualization and affirmation.
Summarizing several studies it’s found out that the brain is unable to distinguish between a real-life memory and a visualized or imagined one. So when you imagine or visualize an image, you can experience the feeling of the imagined event with the same emotions and brain chemistry as you would have with something that happened to you in real life. That’s cool!
A study by Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience on self-affirmations found out through MRI scans that self-affirmations activated the parts of the brain associated with self-related processing and reward. Participants who showed greater activity in these parts of the brain exhibited less sedentary behavior after the study than those who didn’t use positive self-affirmations.

But all these changes certainly won’t show up if you don’t believe in them. If you believe in the affirmations that you make up, they’ll work. They won’t though, if you just do it for the sake of it and show no belief toward what you say in your affirmation. At the end of the day, just through common sense, it’s not the person who repeats the affirmation aloud or in his mind the most but the person who believes the most in that affirmation, who wins.

Therefore even though if you go on the internet and search for “affirmations for success”, you’ll find “About 3,02,00,000 results (0.56 seconds)” but listening to them or repeating them will do nothing without belief. Create belief first, with whatever technique you find comfortable. Fancy Post-It notes and journals and listening to affirmations are okay but don’t forget the main point of doing those exercises.

“Your ability to use the principle of autosuggestion will depend, very largely, upon your capacity to concentrate upon a given desire until that desire becomes a burning obsession.” – Napoleon Hill

Footnotes:
– Information from: Sunwarrior: The Science Behind Affirmations; The Power of Autosuggestion
– The scientific study: The Future of Memory: Remembering, Imagining, and the Brain
– Study on affirmations by Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience: Self-Affirmation Activates Brain Systems Associated with Self-Related Processing and Reward and is Reinforced by Future Orientation

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