“Remember that thought is the fire that creates the steam that turns the wheel of fortune, upon which your experiences depend.”
–Haanel, Charles F. – The Master Key System
There’s a thing we all do every day. Some do it better than others, more controlled and directed. Others do it randomly and haphazardly.
This thing is called thinking.
We all think every day; our brain controls all kinds of things without thought while our consciousness is in charge of the actions we take on a daily basis.
I’ve written before about the brain and mind and how it is what makes you who you are. Today, I’m going to talk about how you can use your brain more effectively.
So, what does it mean to “be better” at using your mind? To me, it means you are good at focusing your attention while also having a high level of self-awareness.
The reason self-awareness is an integral part of using your brain effetely is because Self-awareness helps you understand what you are trying to accomplish so you can direct your attention towards it, thus making your conscious thought effective. Without awareness, you aren’t effective because your focus is scattered in too many directions (perhaps why the word “scatterbrained” has a negative connotation).
Study any successful person and you’ll see that they invariably posses the skill of intense focus. This focus allows them to identify the path—and focus on it—that will lead them to where they want to be. Without focus, and the awareness needed to direct that focus, you will accomplish a whole lot of nothing and very little of anything.
An aside: I use the word “successful” often in my writing. Most people read it and think I’m referring to only tangible things, like success and external accomplishment, but that’s not the case. When I refer to “success,” I’m referring to success in all parts of life, from relationships to happiness to external accomplishment and everything in between. Simply apply “success” and “being successful” to whatever the word means to you for your life.
Focus and awareness are a few examples of how being good using your brain is a combination of things, which help to showcase why some people are better in certain areas than others when it comes to matters of the mind.
Think about it: some people have a better awareness–and acceptance–of the things they want and so they go after it with zeal, and some are good at focusing when they are interested but seem to have trouble finding the things they are interested in enough to direct that focus. Then we find those individual that can focus on a thing if they could only figure out what thing they should be focusing on for what they are trying to accomplish (and maybe they don’t know what they are trying to accomplish and so they make their goal money).
Let’s say you have identified which area of the brain you are good at, and which you are not. For you, I would prescribe the same thing that I would to prescribe to the individual that is your opposite; I would prescribe vision.
Vision has the ability to trump everything when it comes to using your mind effectively (granted it’s a clear enough, and strong enough, vision).
Without vision, you don’t know where you are going or how to get there. As Seneca said, “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.”
A strong vision trumps all other qualities of the mind if it is powerful enough because it utilizes the law of attraction. By focusing on a clearly defined vision, your subconscious moves toward that vision on the regular, often without you realizing it.
Your subconscious will move you towards the realization of that vision the more you visualize it. It might even help you overcome the things you aren’t that great at and perhaps bring them up to par.
Another thing about a vision of the future is it brings about a strong motivation in the present. Most people have shitty visions of the future, or worse, their vision doesn’t extend beyond what they are doing this weekend. Compare this shortsightedness to the opposite end of the spectrum; the visionary that is always thinking about the future, always whittling away at the clarity of it, and as a result, is constantly moving toward its manifestation.
If you had to go the distance in anything, which individual would you want in your corner? The short-term thinker or the visionary?
Hardly a choice.
It’s time to start thinking about your future. Most people don’t think about the future because it’s hard. It’s hard to be patient, and to have faith that the future will look like the visions in your mind. In fact, most people can’t fathom the idea of a world changing to meet their desires. They have been conditioned their entire lives to play by the rules, not cause a ruckus, and to rely on the government and corporations to take care of them.
Further, most people can’t think big enough, even if they try really hard. Their mental conditioning is to confined by what it has lived in. Even if they try to think big, outlandish even, a part of them feels like it’s nothing more than a fairy tale, with no real chance of coming to fruition.
The individuals that change the world are the one’s that are not limited by the status quo.
Like I said, visualization is hard. It requires a lot of mental strain as well as the belief that you can build the future you visualize if really set your mind to it. No wonder people are so shortsighted in their visions of the future… it’s easier.
Instead of viewing the future as a mental chore, and as something that will just come when it comes, I implore you to embrace visualization as a fun thing to do. Then, the more you visualize the future, the more you will believe in those visualizations and the more fun it will get, which is, as we have seen, a necessary ingredient for making your visualizations come to life.
A common mistake with visualization is visualizing a future using only the present as a reference point. In this case, one will end up visualizing a future that is just a little bit better than the now. To the true visionary, one who thinks of a world entirely different, this is hard to fathom. Of course, the fact is, this is the reality for most individuals.
The visionary sees a completely different future, both for himself and the world. He does not imagine an upgraded version of the now, he sees (creates) a completely different paradigm in his mind.
So, how do you become a visionary? And is it necessary?
Well, it isn’t necessary, but if it means it pushes you further outside of your reality, than I say it is a worthwhile goal. Shoot for the stars and reach the mind, ya know?
To start thinking more like a visionary, you must first think bigger. Way bigger.
No matter what you want in life right now, start multiplying it. Take your current goals and multiply them by 100 or a 1000. Next, start visualizing what your life, and the world, will look like based on these projections. (Recommend books on thinking bigger: The Elon Musk biography and The Magic of Thinking Big.)
Second, start thinking hard about your visualized future on a daily basis. What does it look like? Where will you live? What will your daily routine look like? What people will you surround yourself with? And on and on.
Creating a truly grand vision is like creating a world inside a video game, where there are no limitations but the ones you make for yourself.
At first, you won’t be a great architect of your future. Your designs will be boring, bland, sloppy and vague. However, with practice, you will iterate and improve. And the more you iterate, the better defined and designed your vision will become.
I know this all sounds a bit esoteric, but most powerful ideas are initially. The key is to get working from whatever baseline you are currently at.
Try this as well…
As a thought experiment, ask yourself two questions:
“If I was living in the Matrix, would I ever know?”
“If I woke up tomorrow and all the math books said that 1+1=3, and if every mathematician and history book you could find said the same thing, would I have to change my beliefs or would I hold true to what I know?”
The point of these questions is to highlight the fact that you only know what you think you know, and that ultimately, you don’t really know anything because how do you know what you know is the truth and not just what you know?
Excuse me for getting all philosophical on you, but I think it’s necessary.
(I highly recommend you think about these questions for a few minutes. You might be surprised what other questions and ideas they raise for you.)
Just so I don’t leave some of you hanging, here’s what I’m suggesting in plain English:
Your vision (and life) are only limited by the limitations you place upon them. Free yourself of your preconceived ideas, notions and current circumstances and get dreaming. Then start moving towards that vision on the daily.