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The Battle In Your Mind

When you set out to achieve a goal ( health, relationship, spiritual, financial, or career ) you really are looking at one thing ultimately: RESULTS, right?

You are looking at an exact outcome in a defined time. You are focusing on a 20kg weight drop in 3 months, a six-pack by December, a wedding date by next year, a closer walk with God, or $ 1,000 in your bank account within 4 months so that you can settle overdue bills. Maybe to be a better husband, daughter, workmate, or member of society. Whatever it is, you are looking at some outcome.

Results. Results. Results. That is what it is about to a lot of people, despite all that we say about appreciating the journey and the process.

But how do we get the results we need, all the time? Why do we keep falling short so frequently in our pursuit of success? Mastin Kipp in his awe-inspiring book, Claim your Power talks about

Intense Emotion + Beliefs + Action = Results

And the kicker here is this:

1. you can have the right set of beliefs from daily affirmations, hanging around the right network, and reading the right books on a consistent basis AND

2. take deliberate, daily action towards achieving your goals bit by bit

...but STILL FAIL at getting the results you want because you lacked the intense emotion required to carry those beliefs and actions effectively, thus compromising on the quality of your output.

Crazy isn't it? That you can put in so much effort with the right intention but as long as these are not coming from a point of intense authenticity and desire, you will not succeed in your intended quest or you will succeed to a degree, but not fully.

So what is this intense emotion and where can it be found? How can it be harnessed and how do we use it to ensure we get the results we want each time we set out to achieve a certain goal?

The answer my friends lies in the part of the mind referred to as the UNCONSCIOUS.

Imagine your mind as a ship navigating the uncertain, exciting waters of existence, of life.

At the helm of this boat is a captain, he is controlling the ship, guiding it through the waters and navigating it in a way to avoid dangerous obstacles whilst steering it towards destinations that have been pre-set in the ship's coordinates.

On deck are the passengers of the boat, both crew and occupants along for the ride.

Now, WHO in your view has more control or power to steer the ship? Captain or crew?

By sheer numbers, the crew has the greater power and say-so even though they may not have the know-how of navigating a ship. The only way the captain can manage the ship is if the crew are orderly, restrained, and disciplined enough to let him do his job. But imagine a crew of drunkards or recent prison convicts? How successful would the captain be in getting the ship to the next destination in the midst of a company of such a rowdy crew? A mutiny would definitely be on the cards and the eventual outcome could very well be a shipwreck!

The crew is the unconscious part of your mind. The captain represents the conscious part of your mind.

Intense emotion? That part we were talking about earlier? That is found in the unconscious mind.

Now, stay with me a bit longer on this. Don't let me lose you.

The unconscious mind is the domain of ALL emotion and the storage house of ALL your memories. So everything that ever happened to you is recorded in the unconscious. You only recall (in the conscious) what we must or need to, and conveniently 'forget' the rest.

The unconscious is also where a lot of the primary commands for functions of the body lie. So for instance, if I tell you to smile this instant or close your do it unconsciously, without a second thought as to the numerous commands happening within your brain to make that possible. Breathing, walking, talking, driving.... these are functions controlled by the captain, the conscious part of the brain.

The conscious is the logical part of the brain and is always probing, asking, and seeking for meaning and understanding. The conscious asks why but the unconscious knows why.

When we experience emotions this is the unconscious' way of trying to tell us something.

Now, looking at Kipp's equation: Intense Emotion + Beliefs + Action = Results, you CANNOT consciously change behavior constantly or expect new habits that stick, unless you first make changes in your unconscious. This is why :

any meaningful and lasting change happens first in the unconscious

This principle is adopted by sports coaches all the time. If you want a point guard to improve on his shot, a runner improve on his times, a wrestler on his take down or a boxer on his reflexes, then your coaching routine must FIRST incorporate a mental rehearsal of the desired new behaviours (this targets the unconscious) and then follow that up with physical rehearsals of the same ( for conditioning of the conscious). This is why meditation and visualisation are so important for successful, lasting behavioural change and breaking off of bad habits.

So how exactly do we begin intentionally focusing on the cues from the unconscious mind and pandering less to the instinctual tendencies of the conscious mind?

How do we manage the crew of the ship FIRST before we attempt to give the captain control of our ship ?

How do we start getting the much needed results from our daily actions?

There are at least 20 key functions of the unconscious from a neural perspective but I will focus on 2 crucial ones that affect our thought process:

1. The primary function of the Unconscious which is preservation; is to keep you alive and whole.

This is the home of your comfort zone. This is the reason why you will plan, analyse and always say stuff but never manage to do anything as envisioned. This is why you will always have all the reasons, valid or not (they fundamentally become excuses) - as to why you cannot follow through on your dreams.

Solution? Rehearse in your mind who you want to be and what you want to have every time before you actually step out and ACT on doing it in the real World. Let your crew be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Speak to the crew first, before you speak to the captain.

2. In terms of maturity, the Unconscious reasons much like a 4/5/6-year-old and as such assumes as correct, the moral code you were taught as a child and follows it implicitly.

This is why we have to be very careful with what we tell ourselves, with our internal dialogue.

The conscious will pick up on what we say audibly and what we hear in turn.

The unconscious, on the other hand, listens intently to what we 'speak', stores it silently, and BELIEVES it as the ultimate truth. Even when we talk negatively about others, the unconscious does not have an understanding of THEM and honestly believes what you think of THEM is what exactly you must be as well. That is why they say if you speak something long enough, it comes to pass in your own life.

Solution? Stop having negative self-talk in your head about yourself or others, and replace that instead with daily positive affirmations where you tell yourself good things about yourself. This is an amazing wellspring of self-esteem and a strong way of calming the crew on the ship.

If you follow the 2 steps alone, you will be well on your way to developing a healthy relationship with the crew in the ship of your mind and will see a dramatic improvement in the quality of results you get when you set out to achieve your goals. You will have done your captain a big favour and made his or her job that much easier!

The author, Jan Okonji is an entrepreneur, speaker, coach, and Founder of the Pan-African accelerator BGS – Business Growth Solutions.

Jan is passionate about helping employees transition safely into entrepreneurship whilst turning their great ideas into profitable businesses and has helped entrepreneurs collectively grow their revenue to over $ 10 Million in the course of running BGS.

Get in touch with him and book a personal session HERE


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