December 13, 2012

Your brain believes your words...

We all remember the very funny Al Franken as Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live gazing into the mirror while trying to convince his inner self that he was special by reciting the words, "You're Good Enough, You're Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like You."  While we all got a kick out of Stuart's daily affirmations, he may not have been far off.

I recently heard an interview with author Forbes Robbins Blair about his book Instant Self-Hypnosis: Hypnotize Yourself As You Read.  The interview was so compelling that I downloaded the book onto my Kindle.  It was a quick read and, actually, made me consider the importance of seeking out my very own inner Stuart by using his methods to get in touch with my subconscious.

I have always been a HUGE visualizer.  I started using visualization techniques in high school while playing on the tennis team.  I was clearly the least athletic on the team so I somehow developed this daily practice of visualizing myself succeeding and, as I have gotten older, realize that I was visualizing before I really knew there was a name for it.  While visualization has always been an active part of my psyche, I have never given much thought to coupling the strategy with words.

According to Forbes Robins Blair our conscious is the part of the brain responsible for sabotaging our success.  We become accustomed to saying things like, "I would love to have my own business, but I probably could never do it.  Or, I should lose 20 pounds but I just don't have the time to exercise."  He claims that if we read aloud the set of passages that apply to the areas we want to improve on in our daily life, we can make radical changes.  Essentially, reading his pre-scripted self hypnosis passages is like having a conversation with your subconscious and the subconscious, in turn, alters the belief system of the conscious self.

Now I know that some of you are thinking, "Nut job!"  And, frankly, you would not be the first.  However, I can't help but think that the rhetoric of positivity is what generates success.  After all, I am reminded of people like Jim Carrey, who would regularly say to himself out loud that he was a great actor and everyone wanted to work with him.  He also has told the story about a post-dated check that he wrote to himself in 1983 for ten million dollars.  On the memo line he put "acting services rendered."  The check was dated Thanksgiving 1995 and he kept it with him in his wallet even when it became tattered.  Ironically, he was offered ten million dollars for Dumb and Dumber just before Thanksgiving 1995.  Coincidence?  You be the judge.  That check was later placed in his father's shirt pocket when he died since it was a dream that they both shared.

It seems to me that we, as a society, continually sabotage our dreams.  Yes, dreams do not always come in the package that we envision.   As an eternally optimistic visualizer, I choose to believe that with hard work, a healthy goal, and positive words like that zany Stuart recited every Saturday in the mirror, we all have what it takes to achieve unlimited possibilities in life.

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