Thursday, 7 February 2019

Mind Conditioning for Success



Happiness and Achievement...Og Mandino style


As a past business teacher and University Business School Manager my head has been buried in business strategy, learning and development texts for over 20 years. One book in particular made a significant impact ‘The greatest salesman in the world’ by Og Mandino. Applying the principles of the 10 scrolls written in this book along with my own Life Goal Setting strategies based on Maslow’s Hierarachy of Needs and focussing ‘on what motivates you’ helped me to meet all of the goals I had set. So I’ve personally found this book beneficial. The  strategies for success and fulfilment documented are highly applicable to everyday life. Particularly if you have found yourself becoming despondent and unclear about your future.  


Have you ever been surprised by the simplicity of some strategies in self-help books. I certainly have, and I’ve  found sometimes the most simple methods are the most affective. Og Mandino’s book ‘The  Greatest secret in the world’ is based on a very simple premise (from his previous book, The Greatest Salesman in the World) that is to ‘change the way you think’, or as he puts it ‘to mind condition yourself’. How is this done? Through repetition. The aim is to reread the same passages (the Ten Scrolls) for 30 days, 3 times a day. Almost like a beefed up version of affirmations but far more detailed. This imprinting seeps into your subconscious. Having done this myself, using this text over 15 years ago I can categorically support the notion of mind conditioning. However it isn’t for the faint hearted, it takes incredible self discipline. 


I’m going back for my second ‘imprint’ because I can feel I’ve lost my way with my focus, confidence and zest for life. Having recommenced this imprinting process  I can already feel myself becoming more self disciplined, focussed and excited about the future.


So what are the underlining principles of these 10 scrolls and how might this book benefit you?


1. I will form good habits and become their slave.

The importance of creating good habits is often overshadowed by our focus on releasing ourselves  from bad habits. In this text the author puts a rather uncommon positive spin on habit forming, he goes on to explain ‘Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure....I will form good habits and become their slave.... As a child I was a slave to my impulses now I am a slave to my habits as are all grown men/women. I have surrendered my free will to the years of accumulated habits and the past days of my life have already marked out a path which threatens to imprison my future.....My actions are ruled by appetite, passion, prejudice, greed,  love, fear, environment,  habits and worst of all these tyrants is habit.  Therefore if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed.  I will form good habits and become their slave. 


Why is it so important to read and reread affirming literature, because it imprints and instills good habit forming behaviour via the encouraging texts and affirmations. This passage from Og Mandino  explains...“As I repeat the words daily they will soon become a part of my active mind, but more important, they will also seep into my other mind, that mysterious source which never sleeps, which creates my dreams, and often makes me act in ways I do not comprehend” In modern terminology what that key sentence means is that you are about to mind-condition yourself. You are about to begin the process of imprinting new relays and transistors onto your subconscious mind... that ‘control box’ which mysteriously directs many of our actions and our ambitions. There's nothing weird about this technique. Many of the nations outstanding examples of success constantly "program" themselves so that they instinctively react to various situations in a manner that will provide them with the greatest possible benefit.


2. I will greet this day with love in my heart.

This can be a tough one. Particularly when you’re require to greet everyone including your ‘enemies’ with love and silently tell them you love them. However what I found is that practising this actually does start to break down bad feelings like bitterness and resentment. In this section Og Mandino suggests, ‘But how will I react to the actions of others? With love. For just as love is my weapon to open the hearts of men, love is my shield to repulse the arrows of hate and the spears of anger.’ 


 Most importantly this principle talks about the importance of self love. ‘I will love myself’ it says ‘ for when I do I will zealously inspect all things which enter my body, my mind, my soul, and my heart. Never will I over indulged the requests of my flesh, rather I will cherish my body with cleanliness and moderation. Never will I allow my mind to be attracted to evil and despair rather I will uplift it with the knowledge and wisdom of the ages. 


Certainly reading this section 3 times a day for a month is going to reset you brain to take time to care for your mind, body and soul and the melt resentment or grudges you may or may not even be aware you hold towards those that have wronged you. 


3. I will persist until I succeed.

These days it’s too easy to just give up, and try something else, we have a wealth of opportunity and options. however persistence is one of the great character traits that often are attributed to our greatest heroes, imagine if they gave up and simply took the easy path...the path of least resistance. 

 ‘ I will persist until I succeed. I was not delivered on to this world in defeat nor does failure course in my veins. I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my Shepherd. I am a lion and I refuse to talk, to walk,  to sleep with the sheep. I will hear not those who weep and complain for their disease is contagious’. 


This is certainly a reminder to surround yourself with inspiring positive and innovative people rather than small minded or the ignorant or worse still the unmotivated and ‘ambitionless’ sheep.


‘I will ignore the obstacles at my feet and keep mine eyes on the goal above my head for I know where dry desert ends green grass grows’. A reminder that to surrender your life goals and ambition is to give up when the going gets tough when in fact that hard learning curve is often the catalyst for the success to come. Obstacles are often lessons and until we have learnt them we will not reach the other side.


4. I am natures greatest miracle.

‘I am a unique creature. Vain attempts to imitate others no longer will I make instead will I place my uniqueness on display.... I will begin now to accent my differences and hide my similarities.’ This principle is a rather poignant reminder to embrace your individualism. In the days before social media, young people particularly were not bombarded with such absurd standards of perfection and worse still conformity to normalised and accepted beauty, lifestyle and fashion standards. Acceptance  of the innate beauty you possess and the miracle of your simple existence is a great first step to casting off the pressures to conform to fashion, style, body image, gender stereotypes. 


Instead identify you unique characteristics and focus on celebrating and enhancing them just as we encourage children to do, we need to persist with this attitude right through our adolescence and adulthood. Societal pressures to conform should be cast aside and honouring individuals incomparable innate beauty needs to be our goal. 


5. I will live this day as if it were my last.

‘I will avoid the killers of time’... I think we all know we need to confront this demon. We each have our own time killers, be they social media, tv, eating, games, internet, crafting, gardening, partying.  The key is to allow yourself down time, but ensure it does not encroach on what should be productive time. 


‘This day is all I have and these hours are now my eternity.......Each hour of this day will I cherish as it can never return......Procrastination I will destroy with action; doubt I will bury in faith; fear I will diminish with confidence.’


As a parent I’ve become not only more aware of being mindful of my son’s procrastination and distraction with games, tv etc. but I’ve also become more aware of my own procrastination temptations. Mine are more likely to be pottering in the garden or making things, however either way I’m aware of when I’m using them as a tool to avoid what must be done. I’ve even started reviewing myself, “How was my last hour... was it a well used hour.” Each hour of the day has new significance when you start to evaluate it as potentially being your last. 


6. Today I will be master of my emotions. 

More than ever, these days we are aware of the impact of mood, emotion and mental health contributing to anxiety and depression. It is comforting and confronting to read in the following passages that this is often a natural and very common occurrence for people. There is a beautiful acceptance of this cycle in these words and a rather refreshing re-evaluation of the never ending roller coaster of life and emotion. 


‘It is one of natures tricks that each day I awaken with moods that have changed from yesterday. Yesterday’s joy will become today’s sadness; yet today’s sadness will grow into tomorrow’s joy. Inside me is a wheel constantly turning from sadness to joy, from exultation to depression, from happiness to melancholy. Like the flowers todays’s full bloom of joy will fade and wither into despondency, yet I will remember that as today’s dead flower carries the seed of tomorrow’s bloom so, too, does today’s sadness carry the seed of tomorrow’s joy.


This principle continues with the affirmation ‘I will master my emotions so that every day is a happy day, and a productive one. I will learn this secret of the ages: Weak is he who permits his thoughts to control his actions; strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts. Each day when I awake, I will follow this plan of battle before I am captured by the forces of sadness, self-pity and failure. 

If I feel depressed I will sing.

If I feel sad I will laugh.

If I feel ill I will double my labor.

If I feel fear I will plunge ahead.

If I feel inferior I will wear new garments.

If I feel uncertain I will raise my voice.

If I feel poverty I will think of wealth to come.

If I feel incompetent I will remember past success.

If I feel insignificant I will remember my goals.

Today I will be master of my emotions.

Henceforth I will recognise and identify the mystery of the moods in all mankind, and in me. From this moment I am prepared to control whatever personality awakes in me each day. I will master my moods I will control my destiny.’


7. I will laugh at the world.

The healing benefits of laughter were not lost on Og Mandino. In this principle he encourages you to see the lighter side of life, laugh at yourself, and most of all to live by the mantra ‘This too shall pass’ when tough times hit. See the humour in the absurdity of drama and life’s upsets and remember these words when you are under fire by those with ill intentions.

‘I will smile and my digestion will improve; I will chuckle and my burdens will be lightened; I will laugh and my life will be lengthened for this is the secret of long life and now it is mine.’  

‘I will paint this day with laughter; I will frame this night in song. Never will I labor to be happy; rather will I remain too busy to be sad.’


8. Today I will multiply my value a hundredfold.

‘Like the wheat grain which will sprout and bloom only if it is nurtured with rain and sun and warm winds, I too must nurture my body and mind to fulfil my dreams. But to grow to full stature the wheat must wait on the whims of nature. I need not wait for I have the power to choose my own destiny.’ 


This principle is a reminder to constantly ensure your efforts are focussed and will be utilised for maximum benefit. ‘I will raise my goals as soon as they are achieved’. My takeaway from this principle is to ensure my efforts are strategic and will contribute to growth in some aspect of my life. Think of it as a return on investment. Where are your efforts and focus going to provide you the greatest return, then make those activities your focus. 


9. I will act now!

As they say ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’... it’s a motto I find constantly repeating in my mind. Putting things in action means having a plan of attack. So bear this in mind when reading the following suggestions:

‘My dreams are worthless, my plans are dust my goals are impossible. All are of no value unless they are followed by actions... I know that to conquer fear I must always act without hesitation...  I will not avoid the tasks of today and charge them to tomorrow, for I know tomorrow never comes.’


We’ve all heard of the sayings like ‘bite the bullet’, ‘Just do it’, ‘All talk and no action’, why? Because sadly this is a very common phenomenon. However it doesn’t have to be. The beauty of mind conditioning is that you can reset your brain to be addicted to the euphoria of ‘Getting this done!’ Ticking off your To Do List has an immeasurable impact on your subconscious sense of self satisfaction. I challenge you to try it, Just take a look at the current trend of Marie Kondo Tidying Up devotees. Getting stuff done, especially stuff you’ve been avoiding or procrastinating about done (like Tidying Up) has a deep impact on your subconscious mind. A sense of achievement in removing activities (or objects) that are burdening you can reduce stress and anxiety so the benefits of this principle to your life goals and your health are clear.


Scroll 10. 

This scroll reminds us to focus on seeking guidance. No matter your religion or beliefs. ‘Never will I pray for material things of this world’. ‘I ask not for gold or garments or even opportunities equal to my ability; instead, guide me so that I may acquire abilities equal to my opportunities....help me to remain humble through obstacles and failures; yet hide not from mine eyes the prize that will come with victory.....Guide me in my words that they may bear fruit; yet silence me from gossip that none be maligned..... Discipline me in the habit of trying and trying again.... Bathe me in good habits that the bad ones may drown’. 


In all ‘The Greatest Secret in the World’ provides you with 45 weeks of daily focus on self love, care for you body, focussing on creating good habits, discarding bad habits, controlling and recognising your emotions, displaying compassion and love for all those around you, even those that may have treated you poorly, treating your body as the miracle of nature that it is and feeding your mind with kind and motivating words that will galvanise and stimulate you into action and help you achieve your dreams.