“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.” –Bruce Barton
You’re already getting brainwashed.
Whether it’s by your friends or family or the news or Netflix or the music you listen to. They’re all forms of brainwashing.
But here’s the fun part…
You can consciously decide to brainwash yourself.
The thoughts in your mind can be ones you consciously select. Not the thoughts that others have been planted inside your mind by others.
This post will be a primer on how to master your mind.
How To Master Your Mind
Step 1 – Meditation
Meditation is the practice of recognizing your thoughts.
Before you can control your thoughts, you must first recognize what these thoughts are.
You are filled with so many opinions from so many different people. They’re all swirling inside your head.
You need a way to reset.
Meditation allows you to recognize your inner dialogue. You can see how your mind operates.
Personally, when I started meditating, I noticed how quickly my mind jumps from one topic to the next. Perhaps years of using the Internet decreased my attention span. Or maybe my brain naturally moves quickly from one topic to the next.
Whatever the case may be, noticing this change has allowed me to defend against it. We cannot change what we do not know exists.
I’ll never forget…
I was driving one day, stopped at a red light. I was getting anxious, thinking to myself… “Why isn’t this light green?” And then I stopped and laughed. I had recognized this thought. I had recognized how my body was changing its physiology. I quite literally screamed “YES!” – all because I noticed my own thoughts.
In this case, seeing my own thoughts was enough to change it. I was no longer anxious about the situation. I was in a car, on a rock, moving through space. Who cares if I was at a red light?
Meditation helps facilitate this process.
Step 2 – Practice Breathing Techniques
A common thread among high performers is their ability to use the breath to control their minds. Like meditation, breath work helps to declutter your mind. It allows you to focus when there are a million thoughts running through your mind.
Here two different breathing techniques you can use to clear and control your mind:
- Wim Hof Method – Take 30-40 deep breaths consecutively. Then, you hold your breath for as long as you can. You exhale. Then, you breathe in for another 10-15 seconds. Do this for three rounds.
- Box breathing – Inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, rest for four seconds.
These are simple. They don’t take long. And they will make sure you don’t feel fogginess ever again. Your mind will feel different after doing these.
[Related: Take a cold shower. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Turn the water as cold as your handle will allow.]
Step 3 – Give Your Problems To Someone Else
American Buddhist monk Jack Kornfield gives the following advice:
Write down your problems, worries, fears, and anxieties on a piece of paper. Then give it to someone you worship (Jesus Christ, Buddha) or throw it out.
You don’t want to live in this place of negativity. It is letting your lower self win. It is brainwashing yourself – in the wrong way.
Once you give them to someone else, you stop brainwashing yourselves with those worries. Someone else now has them. You don’t need to think about them.
And you can start creating your ideal life…
Step 4 – Utilize A Directive Affirmation Statement (or Mantra)
Kamal Ravikant was in a tough spot.
His company failed, his friend died, and the love of his life broke his heart.
His goal was to remind himself: “I love myself” as many times as possible throughout the day. The results of his experiment were nothing short of miraculous. His life transformed.
Similarly, Olympic gold medalist and mentality coach Lanny Bassham suggests coming up with a Directive Affirmation Statement.
An example of a Directive Affirmation statement (from Lanny’s book, With Winning In Mind):
“I am the best free-throw shooter on my team. I start each game and enjoy the chance to help my team win by making free-throws. I always run a mental program before each shot and reinforce each successful basket by saying “That’s like me!”. Also, I record my performance analysis and read and visualize my Directive Affirmation daily. I’m the best free-throw shooter on my team.”
Write this on index cards and place these around places you normally visit (bathroom, nightstand, work station).
If you think about loving yourself and treating yourself well, you will become that person. If you read your Directive Affirmation statement daily for a month – have it plastered over your bathroom wall – your odds of becoming the person you want to be increased dramatically.
Consistency is everything with these practices.
You will become what you think about.
Don’t believe me?
Try it out for a few weeks and report back.
Step 5 – Track (Especially What You Can Control)
If you want to make a change, you need to track your progress.
You can use a spreadsheet or do it the old fashioned way by handwriting.
You need to make sure every day, you’re taking an accounting of what you did. If you did nothing, don’t be afraid to write it down.
Tracking something makes someone much more likely to complete it (this is why I created Streaks).
Bonus – Limit Inputs
Now you’ve got the playbook to brainwash your mind, you need to avoid certain things.
It’s easy to get distracted in this world – especially on the Internet.
Here are the big three time-wasters:
News, social media, email.
Anything that takes you away from your mission.
Be careful and stay on guard. Everyone is out for your attention.
The news, social media, and responding to emails are other people’s thoughts. They are how other people believe the world should work.
There’s nothing wrong with these sources. Just check them after you’ve done whatever you need to do.
That includes this blog. If you have something more important to do, close the browser.
Where To Go From Here?
The steps are simple, but they’re not easy.
Clear your mind. Utilize the breath. Give your problems to someone else. Create a directive affirmation statement. Track your progress.
If you have the discipline to stick with it, you can accomplish whatever your heart desires.