To Change Your Life, Stretch Your Mind

“What we think determines what happens to us, so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds.”
Wayne Dyer

More than anything else, the quality of your life depends on how you use or misuse your mind.

Professional athletes know this. In fact, they’ll tell you that their success or failure is 10% physical and 90% mental.

The same thing goes for people in business. I’ve received hundreds of letters from people who tell me they’ve moved from the bottom to the top in their industry. Their success was partly due to the fact they got their rear in gear, but more importantly, they got their mind working for them instead of against them.

One such letter came this week from Matt Towers. He gave me permission to share his story because it may help many of you out there. And after you read his story, keep on reading … because I’m going to give you a goal-setting process you can use to bring about the change and personal development you want in your life.

In his words, “My name is Matt Towers, and I was fortunate enough to attend your ‘Journey to the Extraordinary’ experience years ago through my employer. Through your teachings, I have been able to gain a new lease on life. I used to dread going to work, was obese at 290 pounds, and struggled to find the motivation to make any changes in my life. I had a negative outlook on my future, struggled with depression, and felt like a failure as a husband and father.”

“Unfortunately, I didn’t put your teachings into practice right away. Then a couple years later, I found your CD on the “10 Sure-Fire Ways to Become a More Positive Person” that you distributed at the ‘Journey.’ I made a commitment to listen to it over and over again in my car, wanting the information to sink into my subconscious, as I had reached a point in my life where I was fed up with feeling lousy all the time. For several weeks, I listened to nothing but that CD in the car, and I started to use the tools that you talked about.”

“A few months after my total immersion into your material, we had an organizational change at work that put me on a new team. In the past, I would have been pessimistic and pouty at the idea of having to start all over again, trying to move up the corporate ladder from the bottom. But my new mind set saw it as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. As it turned out, the leadership on this new team is second to none, and I am thankful for the good fortune I have of getting to work with them every day … which I didn’t know at the time I was re-assigned to them.”

“During all this, my wife signed up for and began attending a nutrition and weight loss course taught by Pete Thomas, the winner of Season 2 of ‘The Biggest Loser.’ She convinced me to sign up for the next session, and I realized that now was the time to take control of my health once and for all.”

“I dug out my materials from your ‘Journey to the Extraordinary’ experience and what you taught us about how to take control of our minds. I knew I had to get my head in the right place before I could make positive strides in my career and my health. After all, you made me realize that I am the one in control of my subconscious mind … even though I’d been living life the other way for years … with my subconscious mind in control of me.”

“I got serious about writing my goals as affirmations, just as you taught us. I created the daily habit of telling myself positive affirmations, and I have been able to completely change my inner dialogue. Now, one year into this change process, I am down to 202 pounds. I got a promotion to a senior position on my team. And starting this month, I will be teaching a new, 9-week course on nutrition and exercise called ‘Fit Families Forever.’ My outlook on life has never been better. I have a sense of purpose, and I can’t wait to help other people make positive changes in their lives.”

“For all of this, I owe you a big ‘Thank You.’ You taught me how to get my head in the right place … which gave me the tools I needed to make huge strides in my career and my health. So again, thank you for sharing your knowledge with me. I am forever in debt to you for giving me the steps to set my goals, achieve my goals, and make positive changes in every part of my life and my work.”

Of course, I’m delighted … as well as humbled … to hear about Matt Towers’ success. And I know you will experience the same kind of amazing success when you use the tools I teach at the “Journey to the Extraordinary” program … the next one being in Denver on June 21-22, 2012.

But let’s take a moment right now to outline the steps Matt took to achieve his goals and create the personal development he wanted.

1. Take an inventory of where you’re at.

Matt took an inventory and didn’t like where he was at. He didn’t like his physical condition, his negative outlook at work, or his relationships at home.

And that’s where all good and meaningful change starts … with a personal inventory … and an awareness that things are not the way you would like them to be.

It’s what Simba needed to do. If you remember the movie, “The Lion King,” the ghost Mufasa says to Simba, “You’ve forgotten who you are. You are so much more than who you have become.”

The same thing could be said about a lot of people. They are so much more than they have become.

To avoid that, I urge you to take an inventory to see where you’re at. Otherwise, you’ll end up like the little boy who fell out of bed. When his Mother ran to his bedroom, she asked, “What happened?” The boy replied, “I guess I stayed too close to where I got in.”

And then…

2. Figure out what you want.

It’s absolutely critical that you figure out your goals or figure out where you’re going. In fact, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.

Unfortunately, too many people never give “goal setting” a real chance because they don’t know how important it is, or they can’t figure out why it should work.

Well, don’t dismiss this step as a bunch of baloney. Alfred Adler, one of the greatest psychiatrists of the 20th century, wrote extensively about the “teleological” power of goals. He argued that goals somehow helped create the very conditions that are needed for their fulfillment.

Put another way, once you have clear, specific goals, the future starts to pull you in that direction. Author and journalist Arthur Koesteler said, “The pull of the future is as real as the pressure of the past.”

So figure out what you want. Set some goals. Set some big goals. And don’t worry about HOW you’re going to reach them. In fact, as author Bob Proctor points out, “If you know WHAT to do to reach your goal, it’s not a big enough goal.”

Just follow Matthew Leake’s advice. As one of my “Tuesday Tip” subscribers from the Edward Jones company, he tells people to “Fantasize” or get “A Dream of Fantastic Size.” He writes, “Dream BIG! And chase it like your life depends on it!”

The future will help you … IF you figure out what you want. It’s exactly what Matt Towers did and one of the reasons he was so successful.

With that step in good shape, you must …

3. Visualize your goals.

It’s very important … because all goals are mind accomplished before they’re actually accomplished. In other words, if you can see them, chances are … you can get them. But if you can’t see your goals in your mind, if you can’t visualize your goals, chances are … you’ll never achieve them.

So take time to visit your goals in your imagination. Great athletes do. Indeed, Olympic gold medalist Mary Lou Retton, for example, attributed much of her success to this technique.

Retton says, “Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It’s our goal in life to find it and to keep it lit.” And the way to keep it lit is to fire up your imagination by visualizing your goals.

When you do, your imagination gives you the motivation and direction you need. As Anonymous wrote:

“The Seed to Success is in Your Imagination”
Visualize all the things that you want in life.
Then make your mental blue print, and begin to build.
Your imagination can show you how to turn your possibilities into reality.
You must make every thought, every fact,
that comes into your mind pay you a profit.
Make those mental images work and produce for you.
Think of things not as they are but as you want them to be.
Don’t just dream, be creative.
The will to succeed springs from the knowledge that you can succeed.

About 10% of your power lies in your conscious mind … about 90% in your subconscious mind. So get your subconscious mind to work for you instead of against you by visualizing the goals you want to achieve or the changes you want to make.

Along with your mental pictures, you also need to …

4. Talk to yourself.

This was one of Matt Towers’ success secrets. He learned at my “Journey to the Extraordinary” program the exact process for writing and using positive affirmations so he could get the personal development he wanted. He learned how to talk to himself, and the results were stunning.

After all, as Sonia Choquette says, “Behind every word flows energy.” The more you talk to yourself … in the right kind of way … the more energy you will have to change your life or change your work.

Again, great athletes know this. Four-time Olympian Ruben Gonzalez kept telling himself, “No matter how bad it is, no matter how bad it gets, I’m still going to make it.” It’s a great affirmation anyone can use.

And Apolo Ono, another Olympian, created an affirmation poem that he would tell himself over and over again. He would say,

It’s time.
Heart of a lion.
I will give my ALL.
Heart, mind and spirit
This is what it’s all about.
All the way to the end.
Today I will stand tall.
No regrets.”

That’s very powerful stuff. A few minutes of positive affirmations … like that … each day … will dramatically improve your life and career. I know. Affirmations healed a crippling illness I once had. Hundreds of letters from clients tell me how they overcame great obstacles, got better jobs, and transformed their relationships when nothing else worked — all through affirmations.


5. Apply diligent effort.

It would be nice to simply think positive thoughts to get everything you want in terms of change, goal achievement, or personal development. It takes a bit more than that. It takes some effort.

The good news is, “There are two things over which you have complete domination, authority, and control — your mind and your mouth.” says educator Molefi Asante. Matt Towers certainly learned how to do that by listening to my audio CD on “10 Sure-Fire Ways To Become A More Positive Person.” He learned how to control his mind and mouth, and now he looks better, feels better, is doing better.

The other good news is … when you use the techniques listed above … when you apply the very powerful strategies taught at my “Journey to the Extraordinary” program, in addition to being successful in your change efforts and personal development goals, you also gain a tremendous amount of self-esteem. As Abraham J. Heschel puts it, “Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.”

Action:  To start the transformation process in your mind and in your life, think about and talk about what you want for the next 24 hours. Refuse to think, talk or dwell on things you don’t want.