Every so often, I look around and it hits me, these things we take for granted, cars, roads, buildings, clothing, internet, they were all just an idea someone had at some point. They are a thought that has become solid, an idea so shared that they have become fact, an entrenched part of consciousness that we now take for granted. It strikes me at these moments that on some level, we are simply walking through other peoples dreams. So why in the world would I not believe my own dreams could be similarly true? What is the difference between what I am working toward and the person who plants a garden or grades a road or frankly, what is the difference between building my porch and working on anything else I want to make happen?
Admittedly, I’m a hippie, I’ve spent most of my life working through varying levels of belief around the idea that a person has the ability to manifest their reality and create what they want in their life. I own a copy of The Secret and What the Bleep Do We Know, I grew up in the 90s, filled with nostalgia, hope and cynicism. Saying you can manifest things (like the perfect parking space one of my best friends manages to direct me to every time, from the other side of the state, by consulting with what she calls her “parking fairies”, her powers of parking manifestation are legendary) is a broad simplification and there are a lot of things not taken into account, obviously, but I’m not exploring those things here. What I’m contemplating today is how your mindset and what you put into your brain effects what you are able to make happen in the world. What I am learning over time is the difference is belief.
I believe I can build something, so I do. The steps are clear to me because I’ve learned them. If they aren’t clear, I ask someone who knows how to do it and learn. Any project you tackle is similar. If it’s been done before, surrounding yourself in people who are successful at what you aspire to do will both help you learn the steps to achieve these things and bolster your belief that you can accomplish it.
I am learning a new business, there are steps and ways of doing things, when I first stepped into this business, my belief that I could make a living at it was low. Everyone I knew who was doing it wasn’t super successful and the few who had made it had taken years and years. Then I met our mentor. She had created success on a level I only fantasized about (like one does about the lottery when it gets huge, you know how it is, buy a dollar ticket and contemplate where you’d travel and what you’d do for the people you love). Suddenly, here was someone in front of me who had done the impossible thing who was offering to teach me the steps to get there.
She was the first person to point out to me that what I had, more than anything, was a belief problem. Just like with the lottery, I didn’t really believe that what I was doing would bring me the success I hoped for. That because I didn’t know the steps to do this, looking at success was an impossible dream. But much like the first time I show a friend who’s never used a tool before, how to cut wood and build something, learning the steps takes away the mystery and makes a new reality achievable. So I’m following her lead.
I can only change myself and my reactions. So, if I don’t like a situation I’m in I need to change.
I can only speak for myself here, but my life has had varying levels of success and failure. I realize, looking back that I’m a weird mix of beliefs. I grew up in a situation where all the significant players around me literally shaped their physical worlds. My entire childhood sounds like saws and hammers. My father has spent my entire life reshaping the size and look of our family home. He would prefer to be in the woods so he built hills and a stream and an open air cabin whose windows face photos of the view he wishes he had in our backyard. It’s beautiful. Most people have grass.
When we got underfoot in his shop he would hand us a piece of glass, some masking tape and a pencil and an exacto blade and tell us to work out a drawing on it. When it was complete, he would send us to the yard to sandblast pictures onto the glass with his sandblaster. When we got tired of that we would take wooden dowels and twine and play Swiss Family Robinson, lashing together dowels to build play houses. It meant that building things is just a combination of experimentation and finding someone who knows how to do it already to ask what the steps are. These experiences also shaped my belief that I can do most things if I just try and ask the right questions of the right person. I’m lucky in that way and I know it. This trust in the work of our hands was, unfortunately, coupled with a deep indoctrination of what I refer to as Blue Collar Elitism, you know what I mean, the old, if you haven’t suffered and calloused your hands you probably don’t really deserve any nice things that happen in your life all glued together with a solid helping of guilt. As if you have to pay for everything you have in life with sweat and blood so success without strife is unconsciously suspect. Talk about a recipe for self-sabotage.
So here’s the thing, our unconscious mind basically believes everything we tell it, it doesn’t reason and filter, it takes everything in as complete fact, not noting sarcasm or any other tone. Every word uttered from our mouths is an order, every repeated story is fact, every comment defines reality. Our unconscious mind takes these things and works double time to help reaffirm the reality we tell it about by noticing or ignoring situations and opportunities for change. If we trust our growth, and teach our unconscious that we are open to succeeding, then we will notice the tiny moments and choices that change the path of our life. What we believe is possible becomes true. I’ve spent a lot of money on therapy to learn this and am constantly amazed that it still hasn’t sunk in deep enough, so I have to keep circling back around to it.
A big part of this is mindset. We all have our share of our lifetime of limiting beliefs that echo in the back of our minds all the time, thoughts about what we deserve and who we should be. So I’ve been actively studying people who have the success I want. What do they do that I don’t? Why do they believe it when I haven’t? How can I change my beliefs? Here’s what I’m learning:
- If we want a positive outcome we have to reprogram our unconscious mind to look for a positive possibility. This means paying attention to our self-talk and finding ways to change it. Here are some suggestions:
- Daily meditation – I recently learned Transcendental Meditation and while it takes more time to achieve results I recommend it.
- Instead of skimming facebook or watching tv before bed, taking time to read through your goals and affirmations before sleep will help our brains absorb them while we dream.
- Starting our day by reviewing those goals and aspirations rather than picking up the phone to skim the internet sets the tone for the day and tells our unconscious minds that this is our world and what is truth in it.
- Waiting to check email and internet until after our main tasks have been completed. There are no real emergencies waiting in our in-boxes, everything can wait an hour or so. This makes you shockingly productive.
- Getting up earlier and starting the day with several glasses of water and movement (aka exercise of some kind). I’m a devoted coffee drinker so while I’m game to do this first There Will Be Coffee.
- Listening to an audiobook or podcast while you exercise in the morning. The most successful people in the world read constantly. Learning keeps your mind sharp and primes it for thinking in new ways. This way you take care of your body first and allow your mind to integrate new lessons and share with you what it came up with during the night.
- If you don’t have the skills yet, it’s time to learn them. Anything you want to do can be broken down into achievable steps. I have the whole “how do you eat an elephant” idiom in my head.
- Attending trainings for your team (ie team calls, team meetings, etc)
- This means listening to podcasts from people who are where you want to be, the bonus here is it’s free education
- It means reading books – the common suggestion is at least 2 a month, ideally 2 a week, audiobooks help with this. If you feel like you missed something vital you can get the hard copy and review. Don’t forget the library! It’s an old school solution to finding new resources.
- No one can do this for you, they can just share what they know. I’m learning that the most successful people don’t wait for someone to show them how they pursue the answers they need actively and aggressively. They don’t blame others for their lack of success.
- Success loves structure. The more I read, the more I understand that consistency is key. Frankly, I’m a little like a crazed squirrel some days and the idea of developing a structured morning routine makes me itch, but I’m working on reprogramming that part of myself because I can see how this contributes to my struggle to move forward. You won’t be successful by just doing things when you feel like it. And even though my whiny side wants to yell “but are you SURE?!” I’m working on this. Everyone has bad days and everyone makes mistakes, that’s a huge part of cultivating skill. We have to keep at it and be consistent. Do The Things, even on the shitty days. This is why waiting to check our phone until we’ve reviewed our affirmations, done our exercises, had breakfast and completed our basic To Do list is important. It is ridiculously easy to let the internet and news tank your mood and day. It happens to me ALL the time. This, in particular, is where I’m focusing right now.
- It means finding a mentor to help show you the path to get where you want to go. There’s nothing like having someone who’s done what you want to do already to cheer you on and call you on your shit.
- Repeatedly I hear that you are the sum total of the 5 people you spend the most time with. It’s annoying to realize my Mother may have been right about something. Actively seek out people who are who you want to be and where you want to go, ask their advice and cultivate friendships with them. This isn’t about leaving people behind, or being disingenuous, it’s about enriching the whole team. If you want a new perspective, you need to seek it out and often that only comes from moving outside our comfort zones to learn new things. Basically, Date Up.
I think the take away here, for me anyway, is we can do anything we believe we can do. Cultivating belief takes effort but it’s worth it because it will help you get to where you want to go. I’m working on integrating these things, with varying degrees of success so far into my daily life. Keep an eye here for updates, more info and thoughts on it all. If you’d like to get my newsletter, add your email address to the link below and I’ll add you to the list.
Post in the comments the things you’re doing to work toward achieving your dreams. What tips and tricks are you learning to change your mindset and make things happen?