My hatred of Authority, Along With My Loathing for the Pretensions, Heartlessness, and Sense of Entitlement of the Rich

by Chris Hedges; from OpEdNews

The following is an excerpt from WAGES OF REBELLION: The Moral Imperative of Revolt. Reprinted with permission from Nation Books 2015.

Wages of Rebellion
(image by Public Affairs /Nation Books)

The public’s inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic corporate elite makes it difficult to organize effective resistance. Compliant politicians, entertainers, and our vapid, corporate-funded popular culture and news media hold up the elites as leaders to emulate. We are repeatedly assured that through diligence and hard work we can join them. We are taught to equate wealth with success. This narrative keeps us from seeing the truth.

“The rich are different from us,” F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have remarked to Ernest Hemingway, to which Hemingway allegedly replied, “Yes, they have more money.”

The exchange, although it never took place, does sum up a wisdom Fitzgerald had that eluded Hemingway. The rich are different. The cocoon of wealth and privilege permits the rich to turn those around them into compliant and expendable workers, hangers-on, servants, and sycophants. Wealth, as Fitzgerald illustrated in his 1925 novel The Great Gatsby– a tome on the depravity of the rich in the giddy world of speculation that would lead to the Depression–as well as his short story “The Rich Boy,” which appeared a year later, breeds a class of people for whom human beings are disposable commodities. Colleagues, business partners, clients, associates, shareholders, investors, employees, kitchen staff, servants, gardeners, tutors, personal trainers, even friends and family, bend to the whims of the wealthy or disappear. Once oligarchs achieve unchecked economic and political power, as they have in the United States, the citizens too become disposable. And that, in the eyes of the elite, is what we are.

“Let me tell you about the very rich,” Fitzgerald writes in “The Rich Boy.” “They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.”

Aristotle, who saw extreme inequality as the fundamental cause of revolution, argues in Politics that the rise of an oligarchic state leads to one of two scenarios. The impoverished underclass can revolt and overthrow the oligarchs to rectify the imbalance of wealth and power, or it can submit to the tyranny of oligarchic rule.

The public face of the oligarchic class is carefully crafted by publicists and a compliant media. It bears little resemblance to the private face. This is hard for those who have not been admitted into the intimate circles of the elite to grasp. I, like Fitzgerald, was thrown into the embrace of the upper crust as a boy. I was sent to an exclusive New England boarding school at the age of ten as a scholarship student. I had classmates whose fathers–fathers they rarely saw otherwise–arrived at the school in their limousines accompanied by personal photographers (and at times their mistresses), so the press could be fed images of rich and famous men playing the role of dutiful dads. I spent time in the mansions of the ultra-rich and powerful, watching my classmates, who were children, callously order around men and women who worked as their chauffeurs, cooks, nannies, and servants. When the sons and daughters of the rich get into serious trouble, there are always lawyers, publicists, and political personages to protect them–George W. Bush’s life is a case study in the insidious affirmative action for the rich. The rich have a disdain for the poor–despite carefully publicized acts of philanthropy–and a haughty dislike of the middle class.

The lower classes are viewed as uncouth parasites, annoyances to be endured, sometimes placated, and always controlled in the quest to amass more power and money. My hatred of authority, along with my loathing for the pretensions, heartlessness, and sense of entitlement of the rich, comes from living among the privileged. It was a deeply unpleasant experience. I returned on summer breaks to the small town in Maine where my grandparents and relatives lived. They had more innate intelligence than most of my prep school classmates. I knew from a young age who my enemies were.

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy,” Fitzgerald writes of the wealthy couple at the center of Gatsby’s life. “They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

“Those who have too much of the goods of fortune, strength, wealth, friends, and the like, are neither willing nor able to submit to authority,” Aristotle writes in Politics. “The evil begins at home; for when they are boys, by reason of the luxury in which they are brought up, they never learn, even at school, the habit of obedience.”

Oligarchs, as Aristotle, Machiavelli, Alexis de Tocqueville, Adam Smith, and Karl Marx knew, are schooled in the mechanisms of manipulation–subtle and overt repression and exploitation to protect their wealth and power. Foremost among their mechanisms of control is the control of ideas. Ruling elites ensure that the established intellectual class is subservient to an ideology–in this case, neoliberalism and globalization–that conveniently justifies their greed. “The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships,” Marx wrote, “the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.” [37]

The blanket dissemination of the ideology of neoliberalism through the media and the purging, especially in academia, of critical voices have permitted our oligarchs to orchestrate the industrial world’s largest income inequality gap. Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, in a May 2011 article titled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” in Vanity Fair, warned of the damage caused by the extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of an oligarchic elite. “In our democracy, 1% of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income,” he writes.

In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1% control 40%. . . . [As a result,] the top 1% have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99% live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1% eventually do learn. Too late. [38]

For every $1 that the wealthiest 0.1 percent amassed in 1980, they had an additional $3 in yearly income in 2008, David Cay Johnston explains in his article “9 Things the Rich Don’t Want You to Know About Taxes.”39 In the same period, the bottom 90 percent, Johnston says, added only one cent. Nearly half of the country is now classified as poor or low-income.40 The real value of the minimum wage has fallen by $3.44 since 1968.41

Oligarchs do not believe in self-sacrifice for the common good. They never have. They never will. And now that they have full control of the economy and the legal system, as well as the legislative and executive branches of government, along with our media outlets, they use power as a blunt instrument for personal enrichment and domination.

 

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The 7 Dirty Tricks That Bosses Play (and How to Cope)

By Geoffrey James, MONEYWATCH, CBS News

BLOGGERS NOTE: Bosses who do these deserve a distraction ritual, to the point that kills.

This post is based on an ancient, dog-eared, xeroxed document that I recently discovered in the bottom drawer of the desk of a middle manager who died of a sudden ailment.

That document, which had clearly been passed from hand to hand for decades, contained seven secret ways to get employees to do what they’d rather not do, without the hassle of paying them more.

The document was stamped — in red letters — with the words “DO NOT REPRODUCE” and “FOR MANAGEMENT EYES ONLY.” Even so, I have decided, at vast risk to my career and life, to post its contents for all to see.

Fortunately, the document also contained (in the form of warnings to the boss) advice on how a smart employee can overcome the trick and even play it to advantage. So get ready to have your eyes opened, and learn how to make sure your boss doesn’t play you like a used accordion.

Method #1: The Development Opportunity

  • The Problem: You need an employee to take on an unpleasant assignment that he would normally avoid like the proverbial plague.
  • The Solution: Turn the onerous task into a “development opportunity.” It’s easy! Explain that doing the awful job will increase the employee’s value to the company and enhance long term career prospects. Paint a rosy picture of how impressive the project will look on the employee’s record and resume.
  • Helpful Hint: If you position the donkey-work effectively, the employee may actually feel grateful towards you… an emotion that you can later use to extract further concessions!
  • WARNING: If the employee in question is savvy, he’ll be suspicious the moment use the term “development opportunity.” He’ll ignore your blandishments and look at the intended work with a jaundiced eye and refuse to do it. If you force him, though, get ready for trouble, because he’ll insist that he can only pursue the “development opportunity” at the expense of other projects that are just as (or more) important. If this happens, you’re probably better off letting the employee off the hook and assigning the “opportunity” elsewhere.

Method #2: The Sacrificial Lamb

  • The Problem: You’ve got an important meeting where you want to float a controversial idea, but don’t want to get shot down by your peers or your own management.
  • The Solution: Find an employee who is ambitious but a bit insecure. Ask her to present at the big meeting, positioning it as way for her to “gain some visibility” with upper management. Help her prepare her slides, and neatly insert the controversial proposal so that it looks as if it is her idea. In fact, convince her to “own” the idea. Then, if the excrement hits the fan, the odium gets blown on her, not on you.
  • Helpful Hint: If the lamb gets shot down, act surprised that she presented such nonsense and apologetic for bringing her to the meeting. However, if by chance the proposal gets kudos rather than brickbats, immediately insert yourself into the presentation and make it clear that it was your idea all along.
  • WARNING: A smart employee may accept the invitation, but will refuse to be sacrificed. Instead, she’ll establish that YOU are the source of the controversial proposal and insist that YOU answer any questions about it. What’s worse, your top management will probably “get” what just happened… and consider your employee to be clever and savvy for not letting herself be sacrificed.

Method #3: The Rock Fetch

  • The Problem: Your employee is pressuring you to make a decision that you don’t want to make. For example, an employee has a pet project which, if approved, might raise his visibility to the point where it threatens your own. But if you don’t approve it, the employee may get pissed off and try to leave his job.
  • The Solution: Explain that you definitely plan on making a decision shortly, but before you do, you need some “additional information”, preferably something that will take a long time to gather. When the employee finally brings the requested data, ask for more informaiton, or for buy-in from somebody off-site, or for a detailed analysis, or whatever…
  • Helpful Hint: Pour on the praise every time something is correctly fetched. Think of the employee as a being like a dog who runs off and fetches things and then returns, panting, for a nice pat on the head.
  • WARNING: An employee who’s wise to this ploy will be aware, from the start, that a decision isn’t going to be made, no matter how many rocks he fetches. He’ll try to bring matters to a head by insisting that he needs a decision now, and that, if a decision can’t be made right now, he’ll assume it’s “no.” Then you’re stuck, because he’s forcing the decision that you’d rather not make.

Method #4: Promising the Moon

  • The Problem: You’ve got a valuable employee that you’re afraid of losing, but can’t pay what she’s worth. What’s worse, she knows she’s a valuable employee (uh oh!) and is beginning to see the disparity between the value she provides and the reward she gets.
  • The Solution: Management is all about having a vision, right? So you need to create a vision in that employee’s mind of a future where she’ll get all the wonderful things she deserves.
  • Helpful Hint: Your vision must be free of actual commitments, details, and timelines, but short of that, feel free to make whatever vague, wonderful-sounding promises you think will keep her happily working away for the peanuts you’re paying her.
  • WARNING: A perceptive employee will try to pin you down on details. When you make vague promises of a bigger salary, for example, she’ll want to know exactly how much and when her salary will change. If you say that you can’t make specific commitments, she’ll realize that unless you’re willing to talk specifics, nothing is going to change. In that case, she’ll probably start making future career plans based on the (entirely true) assumption that you were just making it all up anyway. Which you were, of course.

Method #5: The Boogie Man

  • The Problem: You understandably want your employees to work longer hours for less pay. However, you’re afraid they might leave for another job if you ask them to do so.
  • The Solution: Keep them in a state of constant fear. Distribute any and all articles you can find about high unemployment and the bad economy. At every employee meeting hint at the possibility of a layoff… by denying that a layoff is imminent! (It works!) Purchase a copy of “The Black Book of Outsourcing” and leave it on your desk where your employees will notice it.
  • Helpful Hint: Long term, be sure to support political candidates that are against universal healthcare, because God knows the last thing you want is for your employees to have health insurance if they dare to leave your company.
  • WARNING: Intelligent employees will figure out right away that you’re simply trying to amp up the level of unreasoning fear. Worst case, they may start to wonder why you’re attempting to manipulate them in this way. After all, why else would you bother, if things were really as bad as all that? Chances are they’ll start networking to find a new job. Of course, the rest of the dunderheads will remain quaking in their office chairs.

Method #6: The Professionalism Ploy

  • The Problem: You need employees to work 50 or 60 hours a week but you only want to pay them for 40 hours a week.
  • The Solution: Convince your employees that they’re “professionals” and therefore are expected to put in long hours. Even if they’re doing rote office work, or your customers are paying by the hour for their services, make certain that employees think that they’re like lawyers or doctors, rather than workers who’d probably be much better off if they formed a labor union and demanded paid overtime. Think of it this way: getting your employees to work an extra 20 hours a week is like increasing your staff by 50%… without costing you a thin dime!
  • Helpful Hint: Always position the demands for unpaid overtime in the context of a “competitive threat”. Makes sure they know that the extra hours are “standard practice” in your industry, as if that somehow makes it OK to steal time from people’s lives and turn it into profit margin.
  • WARNING: Some employees know enough about the world to realize that, unless you’re a doctor or a lawyer who owns his own practice, you ARE NOT A PROFESSIONAL. They realize that they’re being paid to do a job, and that their actual salary is the money they make, divided by the hours they spend to make it. They will feel that, since you are insisting on unpaid overtime, they have the right to reclaim some portion of their personal lives. They’ll make personal calls at work; take long lunches, etc., because, frankly, they feel you owe it to them. Which, of course, you do.

Method #7: The Tied Hands

  • The Problem: You have to power to give your employee something that she wants, but would prefer not to give it to her. Example: he wants and deserves a big raise, but you’d rather keep the bulk of the yearly salary increase for yourself, or for somebody you like better that the employee in question.
  • The Solution: Pretend that your hands are tied. Cite vague, unknown forces (e.g. “our salary guidelines for this year”) that prevent you from doing what you’d “really love to do if you could.” If that doesn’t work, cite your own boss as the “bad cop” who won’t play along. (e.g. “Bill says we have to tighten our belts this year and I can’t possibly confront him without possibly using my job.”)
  • Helpful Hint: Be as vague as possible, because (after all), it’s hard to pin jello to the wall.
  • WARNING: Even if you’re vague, your employee, if he’s smart, will demand the truth, in the guise of wanting to understand the situation more clearly. He’ll ask to see the salary guidelines in writing, for instance. Or he’ll ask exactly what the big boss said to you. Or he’ll demand to speak to the HR group. Or whatever. If that happens, you may end up truly helpless… when it comes to stopping him from getting his way.

Reprogramming the Subconscious Mind

If you want to be successful when it comes to creating change in your life, then it’s important to get your subconscious mind on board to help out. Simply put, our subconscious mind is behind most of our creations in life: our relationships, our belief systems, our attitudes, our habits, our successes, and our failures–pretty much everything. That’s why if we want to make changes in our life, we have to convince our subconscious mind that a change is needed. How do we do that?
We need to utilize effective techniques to reprogram our subconscious mind in order to effectively create the change we want to make.

In order for change to be effective, it must occur at both the conscious and subconscious levels of mind. While it’s easy to make a decision to change our mind at the conscious level, changing our mind at the subconscious level is more challenging. Change at the subconscious level requires commitment, a strong desire, and an understanding of how the creative process works at the subconscious level.

The first step almost always requires getting the focused attention of our subconscious mind (usually, by quieting the mind), then we must convince our subconscious mind that a change is in order. I’ll talk about that process in a few minutes.

If someone wants to make changes in their life, it’s a good idea to have a clear understanding of how the subconscious mind can be influenced and how it operates. We’ll begin by looking at the various ways in which it can be influenced. Then we’ll look at a few methods, including self-hypnosis, of creating change at the subconscious level.

Influences on Our Subconscious Mind

Parental and Group Influence–When we identify strongly with our parents’ belief systems, they can have a powerful effect on our subconscious mind. Most of us mimic the same belief systems as our parents and follow in their footsteps. But some of us reject our parents’ beliefs and identify with beliefs that are the polar opposite of theirs. Either way, there’s no disputing the powerful influence our parents have on our future belief systems. This can be attributed to the fact that our subconscious mind is more easily influenced when we’re young.

Another powerful influence on our subconscious mind can come from ethnic or cultural groups as well as religious organizations. When we identify and accept the belief systems of groups we associate with, we often make those beliefs our own.

Emotionally Impactful Events–Emotionally charged events can have a powerful influence on our subconscious beliefs. Some children who are physically, mentally, or sexually abused growing up may develop beliefs that abusive behavior toward children are normal. And it’s not unusual that when these same children grow up, they may end up abusing their own children or the children of others.

Emotionally charged events can have positive effects too. If a child wins an art contest and receives lots of positive comments from parents or teachers, the child is likely to develop a powerful belief in his/her artistic abilities.

Authority Figures–Authority figures (doctors, parents, politicians, athletes, professors, etc.) are people to whom we give the power to influence us, and in some cases we give them the power of unquestioned authority. It’s not unusual for many of us to give doctors that kind of power over us. We respect their expertise and accept their diagnosis and prognosis without question. If a doctor tells us we have a terminal illness, we often accept what we are told and eventually die from the diagnosed condition. But there’s also been many documented cases of people refusing to accept a doctor’s terminal prognosis and they end up surviving and living a long, healthy life.

Many young people emulate athletes or actors or popular singers. They act like them, dress like them, and imitate their behavior. Others of us accept as unquestioned gospel what politicians or professors or religious leaders tell us. We do this because we respect them as authority figures and believe that what they tell us is true. Authority figures influence all of us in one way or another at the subconscious level.

How We Can Reprogram Our Subconscious Mind

Repetitions and Affirmations–Repetitive thoughts can be quite powerful. When we hear the same thoughts over and over again as we grow up, those thoughts can become the basis for the belief systems we develop and carry with us into our adult lives. The repeated experiences we have throughout our childhood also helps form the foundation for the patterns of behavior we exhibit as adults.

One way to create change is through affirmations. Affirmations can help change old belief systems that no longer serve our best interests. Affirmations require a high level of commitment to stick with the new thoughts and take a great deal of time to take effect. Affirmations are usually repeated in the awake, beta state of mind. They can also be repeated at night before you go to sleep and in the morning when you wake up. They are most effective when they are repeated in a relaxed, alpha state accompanied by confident energy and aided by a relevant visualization that mimics your success in creating change. Of course, when you do that, you’ve moved from simply repeating affirmations into self-hypnosis. Self-suggestions are essentially the same thing as affirmations.

Repeating affirmations, whether you’re in an awake or a relaxed state of being, isn’t as effective a technique as some others. While repeating affirmations can help to convince the subconscious mind to make a change, it is a tedious and time consuming method. Truth is, affirmations simply don’t cover all the bases when it comes to creating change. Affirmations and/or self-suggestions are simply a piece of the puzzle, but they require more pieces to be a truly effective catalyst for change.

Self Hypnosis–The easiest and most effective way to change beliefs held in the subconscious mind is through self-hypnosis. Self-Hypnosis is specifically designed to reprogram the subconscious mind. How does it accomplish this? First, the subconscious mind must be brought to the forefront of the mind while the conscious mind takes a back seat. This is accomplished through deep relaxation and a focusing of the mind. Self-Hypnosis then uses techniques to communicate directly with the subconscious mind in a language the subconscious mind understands (direct suggestions, metaphors, visualizations, and feelings/emotions). If you want to change your programmed behavior, then self-hypnosis is the most effective technique available to create that change. Let’s look at an example.

Let’s look at someone wanting to stop smoking. Let’s say this person has been a smoker for over twenty years. They realize that if they continue to smoke, their health is at risk. So they make a decision to quit. A conscious, rational decision. Should be simple, right? But while they’ve made a conscious decision to quit, they just can’t seem to stop. So what’s the problem?

The problem is, they’ve yet to convince their subconscious mind that they really want to quit. Remember, the subconscious is that part of the mind that carries out habituated behavior, like smoking. Simply telling themselves one day that they’re going to quit smoking isn’t going to get the job done. For twenty plus years they’ve been lighting up cigarettes and telling themselves (and their subconscious mind) just how much they love having a smoke. They even have those “special times” for lighting up, like after a meal, or with a drink, or after lovemaking. They’ve done a terrific job of convincing their subconscious mind that they absolutely love smoking cigarettes. And now they’ve suddenly changed their mind? With a deeply ingrained habit like smoking, it’s just not going to be that simple.

Making a decision to quit at the conscious level isn’t enough. Because now there’s a conflict between the conscious mind (I’m going to quit smoking) and the subconscious mind (We love smoking and have loved it for over twenty years). And when there’s a conflict between the conscious and subconscious minds, the subconscious mind almost always wins out. The emotional part of them–at the subconscious level–knows how much they love having a cigarette and is going to override the rational, conscious part of them that wants to quit. In order to successfully quit smoking, they have to get their subconscious mind on board. They have to convince their subconscious mind that they really do want to quit. And here’s how they can go about it.

They’ll use self-hypnosis to help them change their mind at the subconscious level. First, they’ll start by quieting their mind in order to communicate effectively with their subconscious. As they follow suggestions to relax and quiet their mind, their mind becomes more highly focused. At this point, their subconscious mind comes to the forefront. And now they’re in the perfect state of mind to give suggestions to their subconscious.

They will now go about the task of convincing their subconscious mind that quitting smoking is what they truly desire to do. They must convince their subconscious mind that their “present” desire to quit smoking is more important than their historical love of smoking. They may base their current desire to quit smoking on a powerful desire to live a long, healthy life. This is an emotional appeal to their subconscious. Remember, the subconscious is the emotional part of the mind. With effective communication, this powerful desire to live a long, healthy life can overcome the “historical desire” to smoke. The key is getting the message across effectively to the subconscious mind.

Since we learn in three primary ways—seeing, hearing, and by feeling—it makes perfect sense to use these methods to help convince the subconscious mind of our desire to quit smoking. Visualization is important because the subconscious responds best to imagery and symbols. So a visualization in which the person sees themselves jogging and breathing easily along a beautiful country road can work as an effective message to their subconscious mind. They also might repeat self-suggestions such as, “I am… a non-smoker”–which can be very effective when repeated with a powerful feeling of self-confidence as though they have already quit. Invoking feelings of success in their visualizations and suggestions is also an extremely effective technique. The key to success in quitting begins with understanding their motivations for wanting to quit and then communicating those motivating desires to their subconscious mind. And the more this person practices self-hypnosis, the more these thoughts and ideas of quitting smoking becomes entrenched in their subconscious. And every time they choose not to have a cigarette, it solidifies the new pattern of behavior of being a non-smoker. After a week or so without a cigarette, the new pattern of behavior is more powerful. And after a few months, the behavioral pattern of not smoking becomes deeply ingrained.

In essence, this is how the process of reprogramming your subconscious mind works.

from Self-Hypnosis Made EZ

Affirmations – What They Are And
 How To Use Them To Create A Better Life

By Prasanna Vishwasrao

What are affirmations

They are simply any positive or negative statements that we make, as we go through life. They can be natural, automatic statements or statements made on purpose.

Does this include all words and statements that we make during our lifetime? Yes and No.

Statements related to some aspect of the past, present or future are indeed so considered. The other utterances, which we shall call as ‘miscellaneous statements’, need not be so considered.

For example. ‘Let’s go for a walk’, ‘How are you?’, ‘I may be late ‪for dinner tonight‬’ are ‘miscellaneous statements’. Examples of affirmations are given below.

Consider the following statements:

  • Oh, what a beautiful morning!
  • What a gorgeous car!
  • All new movies are boring.
  • There is always a traffic jam in the morning.

These are natural statements that bring out our true feelings as we go through life. These are affirmations.

Now consider the following statements:

  • Every Day in Every Way I am getting Better and Better.
  • I am losing weight every day without effort till I reach my ideal weight of 60 kilos.
  • I am a money magnet and money flows into my life effortlessly.
  • I am healthy and strong. I live life to the fullest.

These are statements of intent. Through these statements we express our desire of how we want our life to be. These are also affirmations.

We are going to concentrate on the second type, that is the statements that spell out our desired future – statements that can change our life for the better.

The wonderful thing about these affirmations is that the more we use them, the more our life starts resembling them.

The principal behind the working of these affirmations  is similar to that of drops of water falling on a rock.

A few drops will not make any difference to the rock but if the drops fall continuously, then, over a period of time, the rock will be worn out.

“We cannot solve a problem with the same mentality that created it.” -Albert Einstein

This quote succinctly explains the working of affirmations. If we want to change our life for the better, we have to hold different thoughts in our mind, different than the ones that normally occupy our mind.

Every person has a set of different thoughts that occupies his mind on a regular basis.

Our thoughts are determined by our social milieu, our family upbringing, our education, our experiences in life and a variety of other factors.

A person leading an average life will have a different set of thoughts than a person successful in some field.
If the average person wants to be successful, he has to think like the successful person.

If a poor person wants to be rich and prosperous, he has to think like a rich and prosperous person.

“The soft drops of rain pierce the hard marble; many strokes overthrow the tallest oaks. – John Lyly

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

How does one change one’s life by changing one’s thoughts?
There are many answers to this question.

When we are in a certain situation, we think in a certain way. As a result, certain neural pathways are formed in the brain.

Later, when we find ourselves in a similar situation, because of the already formed neural pathways, we think similar thoughts and that results in the same old actions. Hence, nothing new comes out of the situation.

When we deliberately change our thoughts over a period of time, new neural pathways are formed to correspond to these new thoughts.

Thus, when a particular situation arises, the brain does not automatically think the old thoughts.

Rather, a new thought is produced in response to the same old situation. New actions are now explored. A new and different outcome is now a distinct possibility.

Another way of looking at it is this way.

The subconscious mind cannot differentiate between real and imaginary situations.

If we feed the subconscious mind with imaginary situations depicting our desired reality, then after some time the subconscious mind starts believing it.

When the belief becomes strong enough, it tries to match the new inner scenario with the outer reality of life.

As these two are different, and as it cannot change the new inner scenario because we are strengthening it daily by affirmations or visualization or in some other way, it now tries to change the outer reality to match the inner one.

We thus start having new experiences, meeting new people, spotting new opportunities which we earlier used to miss and so on. Slowly, life starts changing for the better.

Whatever be the explanation, it is a fact that a change in thinking changes life. And a change in thinking can be easily brought about by using affirmations.

Thus, if we make positive statements and repeat them over and over, they are going to affect our life positively. Similarly, negative statements will affect our life negatively.

How Affirmations Work

We go through our life according to our beliefs. For example, we know it and hence it is our belief that if we touch anything hot, it will cause burns. Hence we don’t touch hot things with our bare hands.

However, the belief system of small children is not yet formed.

Hence, they do not know the difference between hot and cold and are likely to touch hot things with their bare hands. (hence we have to take greater care of small children than grown up children).

If they get their hand burned, or alternatively if they are told repeatedly that touching hot things is bad, then their belief system forms and they will avoid touching hot things.

This is an example of affirmations at work.

All our beliefs are stored in the subconscious mind.

So, if you find that you are unable to make lots of money, or, you make money but are unable to hold on to it, it may be due to such beliefs held in the subconscious mind as “I do not deserve to be prosperous” or “Money is bad”, etc.

In order to change our beliefs, we have to operate at the level of the subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind is like your computer. It takes an input, processes it and gives an output. It does not think by itself. It does not distinguish between good and bad.

If we put garbage in a computer we get garbage as output. (Hence the phrase GIGO which means Garbage In, Garbage Out). That is why your mother told you to keep good company and avoid bad company.

In good company you hear good and positive thoughts, see good actions being performed, good deeds being done.

By constantly being in good company these good things get impressed on your subconscious mind and, in turn, your thoughts and actions also turn out to be good.

That is why Napoleon Hill says, “If you want to be rich, be in the company of rich men”.

Also, it is a known fact that your income tends to be the average of the incomes of the ten people with whom you associate yourself the most.

“Affirmations are statements going beyond the reality of the present into the creation if the future through the words you use in the now.” -Louise L. Hay

How to Prepare & Use Your Own Affirmations

So, in order to change your beliefs and create a new reality, you have to bombard your subconscious mind with thoughts of your desire.

However, these thoughts have to be worded carefully, otherwise the results may not be as expected.

Hence, there are certain dos and don’ts to be followed for optimum use of affirmations. These are listed below :

Use the present tense. Do not use the future tense. If you say, “I will be rich”, your being rich will forever be in the future!

 The subconscious mind tries to literally bring about what it is asked to do. Hence say “I am rich” or “I choose to be rich” or “I am ready to be prosperous”.

 According to some psychologists, the term “choose” is better as then, being rich becomes your choice. And anyway, isn’t it true that your present life is the result of the choices you have made in the past?

Be POSITIVE. Only positive statements work.

It seems the subconscious mind is incapable of dealing in negatives. So, if you say “I am not fat”, then when the statement reaches the subconscious mind, the term “not” is ignored and it becomes “I am fat”!

Actually, what happens is that the law of ‘focus and growth’ applies. As per this law,whatever we focus on, grows.

Hence, when we say ‘I am not fat’, the focus is on ‘fat’. So the subconscious mind will concentrate on making you or on keeping you fat. It is better to say “I am fit and slim’ or ‘I weigh ____ pounds/kgs’.

Affirmations can either be spoken or be written down.

 When speaking, repeat them emphatically, preferably throughout the day. The least you can do is repeat them at least twenty times in the morning just when you get up and twenty times in the evening just before you go to sleep.

Better is to repeat them at least a hundred times daily. The more the better.

Another great way is to write them down at least fifteen times daily.

 Writing is a faster way of impressing your subconscious mind. The importance of written affirmations is amply demonstrated by the world famous ‘Dilbert’ cartoonist Scott Adams. Then there is also the famous “mirror technique” given below.

Repetition. In order to bring about significant changes in your life, affirmations have to be done several times a day till such time that they become a reality.

If you do them for a few days only, the expected results may not come about. Be bull doggish about them, i.e. continue doing them till your goals are accomplished.

There is a story of two neighboring villages A and B which always faced water shortage. Village A then learnt of a rain dance which they performed and duly received rains. Seeing this, village B also performed the rain dance but did not get any rains. They did this several times but still no rains. Ultimately, the chief of village B approached the chief of village A and asked for help. The chief of village A replied, “We do the rain dance till we get the rains.”

Ditto for affirmations. Do them till you get your desired results.

Mirror Technique

I first learned about the mirror technique in the self help classic The Magic Of Believing by Claude Bristol. It has been referred to by other great authors too, one of my favorites being Louise L. Hay in her best selling book “You Can Heal Your Life”. The technique is as follows:
Stand in front of a mirror, look into your eyes and repeat the affirmations with gusto. Put energy into them. Looking into your own eyes deeply helps connect with your subconscious mind.

However, you have to do this on a very regular basis. In fact, Louise L. Hay says in her above mentioned book that when you are in your house and whenever you pass in front of your mirror, stop and repeat the statements a few times. This is a very powerful technique. I can personally vouch for the efficacy of this technique.

Card Technique

This is a fairly well known technique. Take a 3” x 5” card that can snugly fit into your shirt pocket or wallet. Write your affirmation in bold letters. View your affirmation as frequently as possible.

Wherever you are, you can quickly take out your card, read it and keep it back. But show it to no one. Declaring your intentions to the world seems to dissipate the energy that you put behind it.

Try to view the card at least 10-12 times a day, the more the better. The frequent bombardment of the subconscious mind with your affirmation will bring about the desired results.

Also remember that you are trying to reprogram a lifetime of thinking habits. This takes time.
If you are repeating the statements about a hundred times a day in front of a mirror, allow a period of at least six months to elapse before expecting results.

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” -Claude M. Bristol

from Self Help and Self Development