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So even though you have your goal, you have the foundational supports and standard operating procedures in place, supporting your goal, your environment is practically tailored to the completion of your goal and you have eliminated every distraction possible — you still find that some days you just don’t want to get your work done… is there a solution? Is there a way to further hone your focus and better the experience of the pursuit of your goal?
Maybe — it just depends on how kookey you are willing to be.
- The Subconscious effect
- Final Words
What this article is all about is called autosuggestion. It entails talking to yourself, sometimes in the mirror — so that’s why it’s a little kooky. But, I reckon, that if you are truly committed to your goal — and this method works — that you don’t really care about how kooky it is.
It’s been a little more modernized now by the likes of Tony Robbins and others, but essentially it’s the same thing now as it was then.
So for the rest of this article I will be both breaking down and explaining each component of autosuggestion and making the case for why I do it and why you may be interested in doing it as well.
How to do it?
First, think of your goal. That could be getting rid of a bad habit, it could be a financial goal, a specific goal, a vague goal — doesn’t matter, just something that you want to change in your life.
Next, sculpt a powerful, positive, first person statement or mantra. Such as Emile Coué’s original, “Day by day, in every way, I am getting better and better.” Which is vague but worked in helping to increase positive thinking. Or mine, which is founded in keeping me focused, “I work to help, I work to fulfill my purpose, I work to set an example and if I work, I will change the world. Bring it on.”
I like to add the “bring it on” at the end because that gives me an emotional boost that helps to cement the autosuggestion better in my mind.
Finally, express your autosuggestion in whichever form you decide to but just stick to these three rules:
-Do it daily, consistently and at the same times each day, like a routine.
-Attach a sense of positive emotion to your statement, like excitement, fulfillment, or happiness.
-Focus on nothing but your autosuggestion and on your intended feelings during the process.
The main ways you will generally encounter this are through meditation, visualization or a mirror.
When using meditation, obviously, you will be in a meditative state, sitting or standing, will as little stimuli as possible. This makes it easy to focus on and repeat your statement. Add the emotion to your statement and feel it as you repeat. Take breaks and momentarily change your focus to keep from losing the meaning of your statement. Do this but continue being mindful and focus on your breathing. Then restart and re-immerse yourself into the feeling of your goal.
With visualization you will close your eyes and while repeating your statement you will visualize a related scene in your head. Like if your goal and statement are about being more healthy you might visualize yourself as a fit person — running a race or eating healthily. Keep the scene positive to associate more positive notions with your statement.
Finally with a mirror, you can tape up your statement or mantra initially so that you can still practice autosuggestion without having to memorize anything. But the main purpose of this one is to observe yourself while you do it and make sure that you are maintaining good posture and that you are emotionally involved with your statement. A confident posture is absolutely necessary and movement can help connect your body to the emotion of the idea.
So you spent this whole time telling me how to do it… but I still don’t know why…
Okay, here’s the first reason why:
What is priming?
Priming is preparing — preparing in a mental sense.
If you follow the three rules, mainly the doing it daily in this example, you will be doing it at the same time every day. If you do it in a routine, i.e. at some point in your morning or evening process, then what ever you have slotted for after your autosuggestion, you will automatically be prepared to do.
So to use the health example from above and to make this a little less cognitively difficult, if your autosuggestion is health focused, and every day you go on a jog after you do your autosuggestion, these two will associate, meaning your brain will recognize that one comes after the other. And not only will they mentally associate, but if your autosuggestion is working right and you are getting emotion along with it, you will be motivating yourself as well.
So, to get back to the example, your health focused autosuggestion will prime you by associating to go on a jog and by motivating you by keeping you health focused.
So at the very least if you implement this tactic of autosuggestion, you can count on priming yourself to get into your goal and goal-focused activity
Okay cool, tell me more!
Have you ever decided that you were going to lose weight? Or learn a language? or pick some goal…
And you were good about it the first day, and the next day, and the first week and the next week…
But then all of a sudden you just don’t care anymore.
You decide to quit.
A few weeks later you remember why you wanted the goal you chose, you are reminded of the purpose. Losing weight would make me feel better and is worth doing. Learning a language is great for my brain and learning new concepts about culture and communication. And you wonder how you could ever just quit the pursuit of your goal…
Well this happens to everybody. In Stephen Pressfield’s book, The War of Art, he defines this as resistance. This is your body’s natural sense for equilibrium and balance. If you try to change, your physiology will try to change it back.
Daily autosuggestion reminds you, both mentally and physically, the reasons why you are striving towards a goal.
With autosuggestion on your side, in order to quit, you have to come up with a reason to quit that is better than your reason to finish. And that takes a real effort — an effort that you will be too busy spending on the realization of your goal.
I talk to myself in the mirror.
My intent for my life is much clearer.
But time does apply,
and as it goes by,
my goals far away come much nearer.
Autosuggestions, a Limerick by Doug
End of Intermission.
Back to it.
The Subconscious Effect
This is the combination of the priming and the reminding after autosuggesting for a while.
What your conscious mind brings up, your subconscious mind will delve into and think about, because it sees it as important.
Assuming a few things here:
-You have an limited unconscious available bandwidth
-Your unconscious is a complex of internal processes and systems that compare and recognize patterns of varying complication
-Your unconscious can’t come up with things to think about that are outside of your experience.
From an evolutionary standpoint, and really from an obvious standpoint, if your environment consisted of keeping the tribe fed, watching out for predators, and staying sheltered using whatever nature was around you, then that would be what your unconscious would think about.
It wouldn’t think about math, or literature or quantum mechanics.
Now-a-days, that’s what the typical subconscious of the college student is thinking about because of how often those topics are being brought to their conscious experience throughout the course of a day.
So, following that logic, autosuggestion is a way to allocate some of that unconscious bandwidth to the pursuit of a goal, by constantly having it be a part of your experience, both emotionally and mentally.
Then, naturally, your unconscious will help to delve into ideas related to your goal and will bring new ideas to light for you during your “shower thoughts.” Thus bringing you closer to your goal’s fruition.
Now the funky stuff related to autosuggestion.
If you break down the word you get “auto” and “suggestion.” “Auto” means self, like autobiography, and “suggestion” is obviously just suggestion. So it’s about suggesting something to yourself.
Some would even propose that this is a form of hypnosis — a self-hypnosis.
The founder of autosuggestion, Emile Coué, actually came up with autosuggestion after discovering the placebo effect. He noticed that if people thought they were doing better, they would do better.
He used this understanding of the power of imagination in the formulation of autosuggestion.
There may be a placebo effect to autosuggestion, and that’s not a bad thing, but there are still the principles discussed above which have their own independent effects. Don’t turn the other cheek to autosuggestion because you pooh pooh hypnosis or the placebo effect, because these aren’t the reasons that autosuggestion is so helpful.
Say, you want to make one million dollars.
You start by defining your goal, do you want to grow wealth in the stock market? In real estate? or by building a business? Then you sculpt it into a powerful, positive and first person statement: “I choose to be financially cognizant, savvy and conscientious and grow my finances in educated investments at least until I have amassed $1M.”
Then make sure that you put a practice of researching the markets for 30 minutes or something like that, after your autosuggestion, to get the priming effect.
Because your goal is a challenging goal, it warrants motivation and commitment, both of which autosuggestion helps to provide.
The autosuggestion keeps you on track and though some days it’s harder than others to stay focused, your autosuggestion helps to maintain a baseline of interest in your goal. And, over the course of time, you finally accomplish what many want to accomplish, but few do — you become a millionaire.
Some claim autosuggestion works because of the placebo effect, some say it works because, absurdly, it let’s the universe know what to send your way, like the law of attraction, and some, who haven’t done it, say that it doesn’t work at all.
Well I hope that I have made the case convincingly enough to get you to try it out. That autosuggestion isn’t about anything but priming, motivating, reminding and facilitating thoughts toward a goal.
Like I said in the beginning of this post, sometimes reaching a goal takes more than just a external system of supports and procedures — and autosuggestion is one of those things that can work along-side your standard operating procedures that can give you an added emotional boost and can keep you motivated and on track.
I hope this comes in handy for you!
Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
Self Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion, by Emile Coué
Thank you for reading this! Share this if you think your friends would benefit from autosuggestion!