A man does not come to the alms-house of the jail by the tyranny of fate or circumstance, but by the pathway or grovelling thoughts and base desires. Nor does a pure-minded man fall suddenly into crime by stress of any mere external force; the criminal thought had long been secretly fostered in the heart, and the hour of opportunity revealed its gathered power.-James Allen -As A Man Thinketh
We are birthed into this life with nothing, into the arms of a predetermined guardian, and into a life that was tailored to us prior to us even taking our first breath. And yet, we still struggle.
We kick and fight our way through childhood and adolescence, hoping and wishing for the days when we will be grown-up and don’t have to live under the guise of our parents and teachers. Surely we will be living much better then, we say to ourselves. Years later we find ourselves making our way through adulthood still very unsure of ourselves, living in constant comparison to those “successful people” whose lives we constantly reach for. “My life is going to be so much better when I’m finally a doctor, lawyer or business mogul”. Just think how much happier you would be if you start hitting the weights and created a chiseled body just like the guy you grew up with who is always gathering all kinds of attention on Facebook when he posts a picture with his shirt off. “If only I had her hair, that car, a flat stomach, his eyes, that chest”, we label ourselves as less than due to the shape of our bodies, varied hair texture, facial expression, body language, or even pitch our voice caries. The voices in our heads tell us “well, I look different, dress different, act different and live in a different city than _____, so there is no way I will ever have the chance to live a life like”. Suffering from the confides our of own mind, our dull futures that we ourselves have shaped are destined to come to fruition at this point. “I never wanted to live a mundane life, but I guess it’s not that bad is it?” we tell ourselves.
The computer that is our mind holds no bias to the life we desire to live. It executes the data in which we feed it. For instance, today you might have been challenged with a tough task and for one of the 3000 different reasons you might have fallen short and began to tell yourself “I’m failure, I’m no good”, and the computer of your mind says “OK, computing data I’m a failure” and off the races it goes, your limiting beliefs set in motion a chemical reaction in your brain which corrects your body posture to align with the new date change, which then results in a facial expression change, which then impacts how you connect with people throughout the day, which in-turn results in how you experience life. A complete domino effect took place that was initiated with a lie you chose to believe. Now maybe for the first couple of days of marinating in this new belief you might not experience too much negative feedback because there are only so many interactions that can take place within a week. But think about the compounding effect that these beliefs can have own your life if you multiply it by months or even years for many of us.
This gross reality is something that I only stumbled across at the ripe old age of thirty and have decided to place my very own mind’s eye to work in favor of such cumulating power. Week after week for twenty years I sabotaged my growth by wholeheartedly believing that I was less than in far too many areas of life. This type of honesty isn’t easy to talk about, especially as a male who has always presented himself to the world with a small degree of stoicism, but it has to be done. But really, what other choice did I have? I could create an outward image of strength through a monstrous ego, or mope around through life in despair. This internal tug of war would go on for years before I started to crumble; the seeds of inadequacy that I planted so many years ago began to burst through the soil, resulting in raw panic. This mental dis-ease that would linger with me for years, and lead me on an aggressive path to conquer this angst for years to come.
Oh how easy it is to put on a pair of high fashion denim, accented accordingly with an expensive label that truly screams “worthiness” to the world. Society has created this critical vibration the masses all tune into where the name brand of our jeans is used as form of bespoke communication that greets the random eyes that cross our paths throughout the day. A stranger passes you by on the street corner and grabs your attention with their provocative shoes. “Oh, that person is wearing Gucci shoes, they must be rich, and definitely has more disposable income than I do,” you say to yourself. Before any words have been exchanged, we etch out one person’s value in higher regard than our own. This unconscious assessment is of course frowned upon, but even the most peaceful individuals practicing non-judgment in all of their affairs will be unduly influenced by this unconscious compass from time to time.
If you think you are more at peace with the world than the next guy/girl, operating day in and day out with a mind and heart of non-judgment, let’s review a simple example of how this subtle foe works in our lives. Imagine if you would for a second that there were two brand new watches laying on a table in front of you. One classic Timex digital watch, something you have wanted for years due to its nostalgic properties(valued at $95), and the other watch is a Rolex Submariner watch with a factory price tag of $8500 if purchased from a dealer. You are then told that it is your lucky day and you get to have either one of them. The only stipulation is that you can’t sell the watch and cash in on a once in a lifetime offer, keeping it indefinitely. Oh ya, and I also forgot to mention one small detail that you wouldn’t be privy to at the time of selection. The simple fact is that although the Rolex looks and feels like the real thing, it is actually a fake and is really only worth $50, but you don’t know that and will presume its authenticity.
So, which one do you choose? Do go with the Timex and all its childhood nostalgia, or do you go with the timeless Swiss Made Rolex?
You chose the Rolex didn’t you? Not to worry though, 10 out of 10 people will go with the Rolex, regardless of their knowledge of the brand’s heritage or pricing. When you hear the word Rolex whether you are in Delhi, Vancouver, London or São Paulo your brain instantly associates the word with big money. Now, keep in mind that both of these watches will serve you with the same basic function of telling time, but one holds much more weight when it comes to your perceived value of things. You might even think that the design of a Submariner Rolex is disgusting, but you will still talk yourself into choosing because the Rolex will draw more of an impression from your friends, and unfortunately somewhere deep inside you it will charge you with a tiny bit more self-worth when you’re wearing it.
In the hands of a watch expert the Timex holds more financial value because the Rolex is a replica, but it doesn’t matter because you were making a decision based on perceived value. At the time of selection you were given a few minutes to analyze, process and react and nostalgia didn’t end up winning in the end, now did it? We apply this same rational to the cars people drive, the clothes we wear, and the way down to the food we eat. We are programmed to instantly process our environment this way due to years and years of in your face conditioning via the marketing machine that is multinational branding. These powerhouse companies need to grow their bottom line year after year to better stockholder value, and they are willing to try any and every attempt under the sun there is to create brand recognition and a sale. They are no dummies when it comes to human psychology and impulse control and use it against the masses to grab their attention, and more importantly their money.
Imagine if we could market to ourselves with that same type of strategy, whether it’s deserved or not, and leverage it to create real life rewards?……. Well the reality is, we can, and many people do. Do you think it’s just bad luck that you are sitting at your desk at your 9-5 job making $40,000 a year, instead of living a life of abundance? The principles of thought that were put into practice for the guy who just landed in his private jet and you in who landed your unrewarding desk job, are one and the same. The end results both bloomed from thought seeds planted years before that you both nurtured and watered, and both bore fruit. One was rooted in unwavering belief that goals would be accomplished, and the other was rooted in self-doubt.
Still in disbelief about the power of perception in your life?
Let’s review for instance the huge discrepancy between wine prices. One bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon bottled at a winery in southern California may cost you around $5 and another bottle harvested at a winery(under the identical conditions, same soil, same nutrients, harvest time and manufacturing process) just down the street might sell for $300. Now what is going on there? If all variables remain the same, except for maybe a beautiful label design and a slight difference in hue of the bottles they use, what causes the huge difference in price? People may claim that their more expensive wines offer a far superior bouquet to the palate, but when placed side by side in a blind sampling competition wine experts have chosen the likes of Two Buck Chuck as the prized champion. Yes my friends, just as the name implies, the Charles Shaw wine will run you around $2 a bottle. It wasn’t superior quality that your posh friends Peter and Suzanne were selling you on last night as they chimed at the waiter to bring out the most expensive bottle of wine they carried, it was perceived value.
Now relate this same cosmic notion back to our own internal business systems, which is our mindset and self-talk, how might one now orchestrate a new strategy for their very own company “You Inc.”? You business majors out there know all too well the importance your companies taking regular inventory, because any company that doesn’t take regular stock is bound for bust. So why wouldn’t the this same foundational technique in business be applicable to how we run our own lives? If you read the biography of any successful business mogul you will uncover a common thread, and that is a painstaking thirst for personal discovery and growth. You might now be asking yourself, “does that mean I should follow in their footsteps and approach life just as they did, maybe even faking it till I make it?”And the quick and dirty answer to that question is yes and no! The old adage of “fake it till you make it” has always missed the mark. See, when you change your self-talk and belief systems for “You Inc.”, you won’t be faking anything at all. You will be earnestly affirming to yourself day in and day out a new set of principles and beliefs that will serve as a guide that is guaranteed to produce a bountiful harvest, and not just financially. You see, we are all self-made, but it’s usually only the successful people who like to acknowledge it.
Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own…… bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance.-James Allen -As A Man Thinketh