We can add real value to our daily lives by turning ‘value’ into a mnemonic for how to re-pattern, re-programme our mind. The New Testament holds out the hope of dramatic transformation, a personal metamorphosis, through the ‘renewing of your mind’ – through changing your patterns of thinking.
So how do we provoke these personal paradigm shifts? Let’s make V.A.L.U.E. stand for the elements of the process: V = Visualisation; A = Affirmation; L = Language; U = Underline; E = Entrain. You will all have your own associations for the meanings of each of these words – so, to move forward, let’s agree on a common understanding.
Visualisation. I was shocked to find out that, regardless of any sensory learning preference, all sensory inputs (save for scent) go through the junction box of the visual areas of the cortex. This means that visualisation has primacy over all our other sensory processing – except for scent. What you see can condition how you hear something! What you see can easily change how you taste something… and what you physically feel. Taking control of what we internally visualise becomes an important key to success. How do you see yourself? How do you see the World around you? Is it a friendly Universe? Or is it a difficult World in which to live? The ways we ‘see’ internally are what we call beliefs – and according to your faith, your beliefs, it will be ‘done unto you’.
For all of us then, it is time to change some of the movies we are watching if we wish to add value to our lives. See yourself as you would wish to be. Visualise your relationships as you would prefer them to play out. Visualise yourself earning the income you would want. Visualise yourself at your target weight, and wearing the kind of clothes you would wish to. Capture your own imagination with a compelling vision of all you would prefer in life.
Affirmation. As a ‘Mentor’, the major phrases I listen out for are people’s “I am…” statements. Our “I am…” statements reveal our beliefs. Rather wonderfully, we can change our beliefs by re-patterning our “I am…” statements! As with visualisation, what “I am…” statements would you prefer to hear coming out of your mouth or flowing through your thoughts? How many of us poison our minds with destructive and limiting beliefs such as, “I am unattractive,” or “I am stupid,” or “I am useless at…”? Your mental awareness is a faithful servant – and whatever statements you articulate (inwardly or outwardly), your mental awareness will gather evidence to support. So, if you see yourself as unattractive and affirm this, your faithful servant will pay exquisite attention to every put-down you hear about your appearance – and will notice every time you look in the mirror and catch yourself looking less than glamorous.
It’s time to free the new you! It’s time to upgrade your “I am…” statements! Try these on for size, “I am attractive!” “I am a quick learner!” “I am a non-smoker!” “I am earning (insert your chosen income) per year!” Crazy though this sounds, it works… eventually. You’ve undergone a long period of programming to get you to where you are today. The evidence won’t change overnight, but you can begin the transformation in an instant. Affirmations need to be positive, personal, and present tense (as opposed to future tense). Your mind, your faithful servant, will then find ways to make your circumstances match your affirmations.
Develop affirmations for your personality (eg. “I am kind”); your finances; your looks; your health; your weight; your relationships; your state-of-mind; even your possessions.
Language. You can multiply the effectiveness of your inner visualisations and affirmations by externalising and articulating them out loud. The New Testament states, “faith comes by hearing…” This makes the mirror one of your best friends. I find it impossible to stand in front of the mirror, affirming out loud that, “I like myself!” or “I love myself!”, without rapidly shifting my mindset into the positive… in fact, I usually soon begin smiling or laughing. You aren’t going to love others effectively until you learn to love yourself. The Apostle James had many unpleasant things to say about the power of the tongue as a force for harm. He asserted that we needed to get control of our tongues. My belief is that if we can control our thoughts and our words, we will master self-control and change our destiny.
One of the secrets is to be gentle with yourself. When you catch yourself articulating a negative message – gently interrupt yourself! There is no value in beating yourself up about it. Just use an interrupt pattern and restate yourself. I might choose the humorous interrupt of saying out loud, “Whoops!” and then following that with the statement, “Let me rephrase myself…” or “Let me start again…” Let the way of peace be your pilot – asking yourself, “Does this bring me peace?” If not, change what you’re saying until inner peace floods your consciousness.
Underline. “Underline” is a wonderful word, as is “underscore” or the old-fashioned “undergird”. They are supportive, reinforcing words. They draw attention to the words they underline! Nothing draws attention to your words more than your actions. Underline your visualisations, your affirmations, your language – with your actions. Act as if what you are articulating is already true. Our beliefs affect our behaviours – but the opposite is true too. You can transform your beliefs in yourself by behaving differently. Act as if you were already as confident as you would choose to be. Act as if you are calm in that important meeting or interview. Underline your the words of your life script with corresponding action.
Entrain. “Entrain” is a technical word that has transformed my life. It describes the phenomenon of getting in to sync with another stimulus or signal. Eg, tapping your foot to the beat of a catchy tune – means you have entrained to the beat. When we find ourselves making similar gestures to others, talking at a similar speed or volume, using their tone or even their choice of words – we have been entrained by them. You too can become an Entrainer – the leader. By teaching other people about the transformational techniques you are learning, you can strengthen the power of these techniques in your own life.
Expression deepens impression. This is why complaining out loud about some supposed annoyance is not necessarily helpful or cathartic. More often you will find yourself become angrier as you ‘rehearse’ the imagined offence or irritation. Far more powerful is the phenomenon of rehearsing excellence by sharing positive ideas and strategies with others. The more you rehearse and review, the more ‘real’ they feel.
The other way to entrain is to become entrained yourself by people who are already exhibiting the kinds of excellence you desire and aspire to. You are what you associate – or whom you associate with. The old proverb suggests that, “Bad company corrupts good character.” I agree. The opposite is also true – associate with enough positive and ‘successful’ people and it will rub off on you. As a result of understanding this, some of us will have to change our circle of friends. Change your circle of friends and you will transform your circle of influence.
[This blog entry is also available as a downloadable podcast: V.A.L.U.E.]