Some people argue that you shape your own reality, that your mind determines what you get in life. Evidence for this proposition has been put forth by various writers approaching the question from differing perspectives.
Pam Grout writes experiments that let you prove the point. If she’s right, you have only to decide to make good things happen.
I’ve included one of Pam’s experiments below. The other suggestions may seem less weird to you and the results more expectable. You can apply all of these rules of thumb, then celebrate yourself.
1. Pam Grout’s “The Dude Abides” principle. To perform this experiment, you must set aside your doubts and skepticism for forty-eight hours and expect something amazing to happen. You are asking the divine force in the universe to manifest itself. To start, write down the date and time. Then ask for a blessing—some clear sign—to be delivered within two days. Now, while you wait, anticipate wonderful results with every ounce of your being. Want more experiments? See E-Squared (New York: Hay House, 2013).
2. Goal magic. Get yourself a small notebook. Every day, or more than once a day if you choose, write down your ten top goals. When you make the list, write each one as if you had already reached it. Then supply a target date. For example, “I lost twenty pounds. September 2015.” Use a separate piece of paper each time, and don’t check back to see what you wrote last. At first your priorities will shift somewhat, but after a few days they will settle down to the same ten things. In a few weeks or months you will be able to cross off some items as achieved.
3. Covey’s matrix. Stephen Covey divides productive activities into four types, which he depicts as a two-by-two quadrant (see figure). He argues that quadrant 2 is essential for effective management. While these activities are not urgent, they are deeply important, because if you did them on a regular basis, they would make a tremendous positive difference in your life. So do a few of them every day!
4. Celebration jar. Many of the things we drive ourselves to accomplish each day are intangible and leave no physical footprint. Being out of sight, they are, once completed, quickly out of mind. As a result it’s easy to overlook them and forget to give yourself credit for them as work done. To eliminate this problem, find a nice jar or vase (I use a large snifter meant for flowers or pretty stones). Get yourself a small notepad (mine is a square block with sheets of different colors). Each time you knock off a persnickety little task, write it down on a sheet of paper, fold it, and put it in the jar. Admire the jar as the papers start to fill it up. A coach I know does a celebratory dance each time she adds a slip to the jar: “I did it! I did it!” Her little dog enjoys the commotion. You can empty the jar and tally your feats at strategic intervals.
5. Gratitude in advance. Before an important event or occasion when you must exert yourself, take a few minutes to contemplate the mental image of you accomplishing the task with great energy and flair. Thank the universe for giving you the opportunity to shine, and voice gratitude for your spectacular soon-to-be performance.
6. Think positive. When you doubt yourself or hedge your bets by imagining failure, you guard against getting your hopes up. Instead, envision success. Get out of bed with the idea that this will be a great day. Cultivate the habit of thought switching. If your mind drifts to what went wrong yesterday or last week, or to painful exchanges with friends or family, switch your attention to something nicer. This trick works best if you have identified one or more positive things in advance. It gets easier with practice and produces particularly spectacular results at 3:00 am, when your situation tends to look bleakest. Alternatively, when you feel anxious or sad, put the distressing thoughts back on your mental conveyor belt and select something different from the array that drifts past your mind’s eye. Pick and choose until you have an idea that lets you feel good.
7. Reframe anxiety as excitement. Anxiety and excitement are really the same feeling in the body. You are keyed up, tense, alert to what is coming. Anxiety, however, is negative, backward looking, and fear based. Excitement, in contrast, is positive, forward looking, and imbued with the sense that something good is coming down the pike. See how often you can reframe a sense of dis-ease or worry as excitement about a coming opportunity.
8. Expect a miracle. It is often said that what we see is what we get. If you enlarge your field of vision, you will notice more. If you make room for the amazing, it will appear before you. How much you observe is a function of how much you are open to seeing. Prepare yourself to be dazzled, then watch what happens. You may find that you routinely look for disappointment and that the habit is harder to shed than you would have thought.
9. Open yourself to the possibility of synergy. Synergy happens when the whole greatly exceeds the sum of the parts. Each time you communicate, giving fully of your authentic, genuine self, you invite others to do likewise. The spirit generated during the ensuing encounter will produce new learning, new insight, vast excitement, and a shared sense of adventure. Look for opportunities to make this happen.
10. Be passionate, confident, enthusiastic, comfortable, authentic, and captivating. Our bodies have their own language to express power and joy. Think of a runner crossing the finish line, or Superman gazing down on mere mortals. Stand and open your arms upward. Stand with legs apart and your hands on your hips. Alternate between the two stances. Spend five minutes or so doing this exercise before taking on a challenge. When your body occupies more space, you feel more powerful; when you crouch or hunker down, less so. These are messages we send not just to observers but also to ourselves. Watch social psychologist Amy Cuddy talking about body language. Our bodies change our minds. Our minds change our behavior. Our behaviors change our outcomes. Draw on the strength of your body.