How to Control Your Brain to Get What You Want in Life
Ahhhh, it’s beginning to look a lot like … Hawaii. The morning air is warm and humid, and the only things missing are the ocean, surfers, palm trees, and grass skirts. I’m happy to be in Texas, where life is about as normal as it can be and freedom is a priority. And with weather like this, I don’t need to escape to stay warm. Let’s hope it lasts.
Guns and Horses
I’m not much of a TV guy, but my wife and I started binge-watching Yellowstone, and I think I’ve had this lifetime childhood fantasy about being a cowboy. I love the rough and tough life, wearing a six-shooter on my hip, spending my days on a horse under my big broad cowboy hat. We love the scenes with horses and cattle stampedes.
People think those of us in Texas live that life. Well, some do. We don’t, and though it sounds romantic, I’m guessing my back would be pretty cranky after days on a horse. I used to get sore when riding as a kid.
My Bad Day on a Horse
Years ago someone had the bright idea that my brother and I should take English riding lessons. We went to an indoor arena at the outskirts of our hometown and learned to ride English, which seemed a lot harder than a Western saddle. We would go for lessons weekly, and honestly, I did not like it very much. It all ended one day when my brother and I were in a competition and the horse decided to buck me into the side of a wall. I guess he showed me who was boss. I lived, even got a ribbon, but I allowed that one minor incident to dissuade me from riding anymore. Remembering this makes my cowboy fantasy less attractive.
I was probably about 8 or 9 at the time, and I had not yet figured out the importance of having control of my mind. If I had, perhaps I’d be the boss today instead of the horse and I’d be riding a ranch.
Controlling My Mind
Even though I tend to master what I set out to learn, I still have shortcomings. Just this past week, I decided to take a course on controlling my subconscious mind. It was right up my alley because I talk a lot about manifesting things. But this course made me realize that I was missing some critical elements.
I’ve always been a bit of a self-talk, “power of positive thinking” kind of guy — managing what I say to myself and telling myself who I am and what I want, putting things in the present tense, such as “I am a success” instead of “I’m gonna be a success.” We’re told to see ourselves in that place.
Though this course taught that principle, they took it to a new level I had not previously understood.
What happens when you say to yourself, “I am a success,” but your subconscious mind does not believe it?
Some would say repetition will overcome the problem, but this course said that’s just lying to yourself.
Your Subconscious Is Calling the Shots
It turns out that 80 percent of what you believe takes place in your subconscious mind. No matter how much you tell yourself something consciously, your subconscious is there to protect you and as a result of that, it can sabotage success. I can tell myself I’m thin forever, but if my subconscious mind is saying, “I am fat,” then change is unlikely to occur without some clever manipulation of the subconscious.
When you hear the words “I am,” it’s usually tied to a limiting belief. Our identity is made up of “I am” statements.
For instance, “I am a smoker,” is an identity statement. Yet smoking is not an identity, it’s a behavior. We’ve confused who we are with something we do.
If you change how you talk about your identity statements, you can change the outcome.
Instead of your brain saying, “I am lazy,” you can reframe it as, “Sometimes I do lazy things,” which changes your perspective.
If you stop connecting “I am” statements and swap them for “I have” statements, things begin to change, because “I have” statements are more believable.
Lots of us get hung up on childhood moments of trauma. And we lock these memories in our heads and they become our roadblocks.
But you are NOT a memory. An emotion or memory is something you DO.
Instead of “I am emotional,” change it to, “I have emotions,” or, “I do emotions”
I Feel It in My Bones
When I tell myself something affirmative, if I pay close attention to my body, my body will react to anything my subconscious does not believe. This is where you find the clues about the subconscious roadblocks. Solve the roadblocks and you can do almost anything.
What Is Believable
I tested this as I took the course. I said, “I am successful,” and I immediately noticed an ache in my neck. There is an entire process about how to overcome these clues, which I’ll cover some other time.
Meanwhile, simply by reframing things, we’ll find our subconscious mind does not block us as much. For instance, “I do things that lead to success. I embody actions that make success possible” — this is believable.
Can You FEEL It?
The course said that everything we do as humans is a response to a feeling … a feeling we want more of, or less of. Every feeling has a body location and will speak up when you tell yourself something your subconscious does not believe.
When you reframe, such as my success statement, there must be action tied to it immediately. In this case, what are the things that lead to success, and what actions am I taking?
If you really want to have an interesting Christmas break, sit down quietly and start thinking about the stories you tell yourself. What are your “I am” statements? What is your self-talk? When you think of doing something amazing, what is your mind telling you about it? Once you do that, start asking yourself, “Where do I feel it?” If you feel it, that means your subconscious is holding you back in that area.
Now reframe everything from “I am” to actions. It instantly makes you feel better and makes things feel more possible.
I don’t pretend to understand even a fraction of the science behind this, and I’ve signed up for a longer course so I can improve myself. I don’t ever want to stop improving, and I’m curious how far I can go, what I can accomplish.
The reason I did this course is that I realized there are several big dreams that are not happening, and realized that I’m telling myself things. For instance, I tell myself, “I am not good at raising money. I am not good at asking others for money,” and that has roadblocked me on a project. Unless I can reprogram my beliefs, that project will go unfinished. What about you?What are the big dreams never accomplished?
What are the “I am” stories you’re hearing yourself say?
We can overcome them, but first we have to overcome the roadblocks in our subconscious mind.
PS: Next time we talk, it will be after Christmas. I want to thank you for being here to read my thoughts each Sunday, and thank you for sharing them and helping this letter spread worldwide. As I examine myself, you get to come along for the ride, and maybe pick up an idea or two for yourself.
King Soloman was the richest and wisest man in the world. As I read about him, the one thing he did better than anyone on earth at the time was that he was in a constant state of self-improvement till the day he died. He changed the world. He accomplished amazing things. And it was all tied to being curious, seeking growth.
Whether you’re young or old, it’s never too early or too late. There are no limits to what you can still do. (Listen to what your brain just told you when I said that. Chances are it said, “Yeah, there are. I’m too old, or have physical ailments, or I’m not experienced enough,” etc.) Listen for your “I am” statements.
Have a wonderful Christmas. Absorb it.
Here’s what’s going on this week…
- It makes me feel awesome every time a top artist signs with our company to produce their videos. We have most of the top artists in the world with us. It feels great that they notice the difference in our productions and presentations. I’m honored to announce that we just officially launched the new Kevin Macpherson Magic Grid Landscapes video, which is beyond amazing. And you can watch today if you order the digital version. The same is true for our recent Camille Przewodek video on color. She is an amazing colorist, and her teaching is legendary. It will teach you to see color differently. I drove an hour to her class every Monday for two years. She is life-changing. I love all of our artists and want to wish them a Merry Christmas.
- Still need a gift in time for Christmas? Give a digital art instruction video — you can do it last-minute and not have to wait for shipping. We have hundreds of them. Check out our digital video library at PaintTube.TV and gift an artist today!
- When I was a kid my grandmother bought me a subscription to Boys’ Life. Every time it came, I thought of my grandmother. For the art lovers in your life, PleinAir Magazine and Fine Art Connoisseur are each about $40 a year. It’s a gift that reminds people of you every time it arrives. You can order the subscription now and give a card that it’s on the way to them.
- Our online conference Watercolor Live is on fire. I’m blown away by the huge number of people already signed up. It’s a great way to learn watercolor from the top people in the world (and we have a Beginner’s Day). It’s going to make a great Christmas gift for the budding artist in your life. And you can buy it up to the last minute.
- One of the reasons my company launched virtual online conferences is because we were not able to hold our in-person events like the Plein Air Convention. We’ve been in survival mode ever since. Well, hopefully that will change. The Plein Air Convention is planned for May, is already 50% sold out, and after the first notice about it went out, we sold a lot more seats than we anticipated. People are ready for the plein air family to gather again, and lots more people are joining the family and want to go. My guess is that it will be a giant sellout fast. (Being in Santa Fe does not hurt.) And keep in mind, we were almost sold out each of the two times we had to cancel. We talked to the hotel this week and they said we may have to social-distance, which might mean we have to limit the number who can come. If we have to take 200-400 fewer people, you’ll want to register now to make sure you’re able to go. And, to make you more secure, there is a 100% refund in the event we have to cancel or you don’t feel safe. Also, we have a pre-convention workshop with Kevin Macpherson that will sell out even faster.
- I’m taking a Christmas break from my daily Art School Live show this week, but replays will occur.
- My Russia painting and museum trip will happen next September. We just changed the dates slightly; the new dates are now posted on the website. We were sold out and will be again. Another great gift.