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Can we really train our brains?
Our brains have an incredible power that we are just beginning to understand, research has shown that the patterns that determine our tendencies to fail or succeed can be transformed by actively training our brains, and being aware of our thoughts.
John Assaraf has built five multi-million dollar companies, he is The Times bestselling author of ‘The answer’ and ‘Having it all’ and he has been widely considered one of the leading behavioral and mindset experts in the world.
From problematic teen to successful entrepreneur, John discovered the way to transform his brain to achieve the biggest goals.
Ever since he learned the path to success he’s been researching and finding new ways to help people train themselves to achieve anything they want in life, at first he did it in his companies and then translated those teachings to books and programs.
Here are the keys to start training your brain for success implemented by him and proven to work:
1. Have a clear vision
2. Make a commitment
4. Change your beliefs
Have a clear vision
In order to achieve the lifestyle you want, you need to have a clear vision of what that is. And daydreaming about the life of rich and famous just doesn’t make the cut; you have to be really specific about what you want.
Here’s how he was taught to actually craft his vision and life goals:
“He said fill out these pieces of paper and on the piece of paper it said like what age do you want to retire by, I was 19 this was May of 1980, I wasn’t even started yet I said but I want to retire by the time at 45 with three million dollars, I want to have a Mercedes, I want to have a house, I want to travel the world, I want to have a great lifestyle.”
Write down how you want your future to be in every aspect: health, finances, spirituality, love, family, career, business, fun, experiences, every detail.
The reason why your vision has to be so detailed and personal for you is because that is the only way you’ll be able to commit to work day in and day out towards achieving every step of the ladder.
You have to find inspiration in your vision, you have to feel moved, excited, energized when you read aloud what your life will be like if you keep working small steps at a time to get there. The more you read those words the more they will be engraved in your brain, the clearer it will be when you try and visualize them.
Make a commitment
I didn’t really pay attention to the difference between interest and commitment until I read ‘The 12 Week Year’. There’s a huge difference that we sometimes don’t perceive when we set goals, we might think that we are committed to reach them, but most of the time we are just interested. Can you tell the difference?
Here’s what Alan Brown, John’s mentor told him when he asked the difference between interest and commitment:
“If you’re interested you’ll do what’s convenient, you’ll come up with stories and excuses and reasons why you can’t and you’ll use your education as an excuse, you’ll use your story as an excuse, you’ll use the fact your dad is a cabdriver and was a gambler and never had any money, you’ll use all of that as your reasons why you can’t. But if you’re committed you will do whatever it takes, you’ll let go of your stories, you’ll let go of your excuses, you’ll let go of all the reasons you currently have that are formulating your identity of yourself; and you’ll learn how to let that go and become who you are destined to become. “
Is not about how bad you want it, is about how much work you are willing to put into it. To make a commitment you need to be aware of the things you’ll have to sacrifice to keep that commitment. Whether that is time, comfort, money, socializing, be clear about it and decide if your vision has greater weight than the sacrifices you’ll have to make.
I talk a little bit more about Interest vs Commitment in my book review of ‘The 12 Weeks Year’ you can read it here.
There is power in repetition, in looking at stuff, in touching, in feeling, hearing, and memorizing.
“Read your goals, every one of them every morning, run your fingers across them as you’re reading them and then when you’re finished one paragraph close your eyes and feel what would it be like if that was true. So you got me to see it, to touch it, to close my eyes and visualize it and to feel it.”
This is how you create new neural patterns in your brain.
John had to do that every single day for a year to re-wire his brain into a goal-achiever, it only took ten or fifteen minutes a day to read, visualize and feel the success that was awaiting him.
Why does emotionalizing work?
When we visualize something and feel what it would be like if that were true there are circuits in our brain that release neurochemicals. If the emotion is positive we release dopamine and serotonin they activate the reward system in our brains, the activation of the reward system makes us feel motivated to move towards the source of that emotion.
If the emotion is negative and you keep visualizing failure, loss, all these things that could go wrong that fear activates the stress circuits on the brain, then epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol are released, these neurochemicals are what keep holding us back from reaching our potential, the fear of loss failure and inadequacy.
The bright side of this is that we can learn to control it, we can create the habit of consciously have positive self-talk, of stop our train of thoughts when they are leading to an unpleasant vision of failure, and it’s a daily practice that can be implemented easily in any place.
Change your beliefs
Write down what would you have to believe about yourself in order to achieve those goals?
So I’d have to believe I’m smart enough, I’m deserving enough, I’d have to believe I’m worthy enough, I’d have to believe I’m capable of doing this.
Then make a whole list of beliefs for each of your goals record those things and on your way to work / school you listen to those over and over and over and over and over again until you can recite every single one of them.
There is power in repetition, in looking at stuff, in touching, in feeling, hearing and memorizing.
It takes repetition, emotion and consistency initially it will be hard and you have to use conscious effort to create the new beliefs. But over 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 180 days that new pattern that you’re focusing on and paying attention to will be accepted by your brain.
Your brain will fight back, it will try to preserve your old beliefs, that’s the only thing it knows even though some of your current beliefs are toxic and keeping you from reaching your potential. Your brain doesn’t make a difference if you have a false belief of not being good enough, it is just what it has been taught.
“My brain was screaming that’s bullshit, that’s not true you’re not successful, you’re not earning that amount of money, you’re not smart, you’re not this. But I was also taught at the same time that when that happens first and foremost that’s normal is the old self and the old patterns trying to fight for their life”
Take action, keep moving
It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop.
“I learned the value of progress versus perfection none of my mentors ever had me focus on perfection let me focus on progress to just keep getting better little incremental gains every day, every week, every month, every quarter. Even when you move backward a couple of steps the progress that you made is what you learned.”
Failure is an opportunity to learn, you need to disassociate being a failure from failing.
It doesn’t matter what your story says about you, or what you think your story is, your background, your education, you can always change your story, steer the wheels and do it now. Once you are on the right path that will lead you to the life you deserve to live don’t stop.
There are many more valuable lessons to learn from this man, I’ve been listening to this interview over and over again for days, to make his teachings stick to my head because they are pure gold. I hope you find it useful and implement it in your life.
I’m a medical student and mom of twins, I love to write and I’m sharing my journey in achieving my degree while raising happy kids.