How You Train Your Brain to Get What You Really Want

By Author Benjamin P. Hardy

In April of 2015, I got serious about my goal to become a professional writer. I had written an e-book, Slipstream Time Hacking, and was anxious to know how to traditionally publish it. At that time, I had just barely put up my own website and had a subscriber base of zero.

I decided literary agents would be my best source of advice. After all, they know the publishing industry back-and-forth — or so I thought. After talking to five or 10 different agents about their coaching programs, it became apparent my questions would need to be answered elsewhere.

One particular conversation sticks out.

In order to even be considered by agents and publishers, writers need to already have a substantial readership (i.e., a platform). I told one of the agents my goal was to have 5,000 blog subscribers by the end of 2015. She responded, “That would not be possible from where you currently are. These things take time. You will not be able to get a publisher for three to five years. That’s just the reality.”

“Reality to who?” I thought as I hung up the phone.

Never Ask Advice From…

In his book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy says, “Never ask advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.”

Who you follow determines where you get in life. If your leader isn’t moving forward, you’re not moving forward, because your results are a reflection of your leader’s results.

As I pondered Hardy’s words, I realized I was asking the wrong types of people for advice. I needed to turn to people who had actually walked where I wanted to walk. Anyone can provide a nebulous theory. We spend our entire public education learning theory from people who have rarely “walked the walk.” As George Bernard Shaw said in Maxims for Revolutionists, “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.” Similarly, there is an endless supply of content being published every day by people who rarely practice the virtues they preach.

Contrary to theory, which cannot get you very far, in the end, people who have actually “been there” provide practical steps on what you need to do (e.g., here are the five things you should focus on and forget everything else).

Why You Need to Know What You Want

“This is a fundamental irony of most people’s lives. They don’t quite know what they want to do with their lives. Yet they are very active.” — Ryan Holiday

Most kids go to college without a clue why they are there. They are floating along waiting to be told what to do next. They haven’t seen or thought enough to know what their ideal life would look like. So how could they possibly know how to distinguish good advice from bad?

Conversely, people who know what they want in life see the world differently. All people selectively attend to things that interest or excite them. For example, when you buy a new car, you start to notice the same car everywhere. How does this happen? You didn’t seem to notice that everyone drove Malibus before.

Our brains are constantly filtering an unfathomable amount of sensory inputs: sounds, smells, visuals, and more. Most of this information goes consciously unrecognized. Our focused attention is on what we care about. Thus, some people only notice the bad while others see the good in everything. Some notice people wearing band shirts, while others notice anything fitness related.

So, when you decide what you want, it’s like buying a new car. You start seeing it everywhere — especially your newsfeeds!

What are you seeing everywhere? This is perhaps the clearest reflection of your conscious identity.

The Magical Things That Happen When You Begin Paying Attention

“How can you achieve your 10-year plan in the next six months?” — Peter Thiel

Wherever it is you want to go, there is a long and conventional path, and there are shorter, less conventional approaches. The conventional path is the outcome of not paying attention. It’s what happens when you let other people dictate your direction and speed in life.

However, once you know what you want–and it intensely arouses your attention — you will notice simpler and easier solutions to your questions. What might have taken 10 years in a traditional manner takes only a few months with the right information and relationship?

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” — Anonymous

When I decided I was serious about becoming a writer, the advice from the literary agents couldn’t work for me. I was ready for the wisdom of people who were where I wanted to be. My vision was bigger than the advice I was getting.

In May of 2015, I came across an online course about guest blogging. It must have popped in my newsfeeds because of my previous searching. I paid the $197, went through the course, and within two weeks was getting articles featured on multiple self-help blogs.

Around this same time, I listened to a podcast on which Tim Ferriss said, “One blog post can change the entire trajectory of your career.” Such was the case for him. An article he wrote generated wild traffic, which spilled over into book sales for his at-the-time recent book, The 4-Hour Workweek. This wave of traffic led to the book’s success, and the rest, as they say, is history.

When your mind takes hold of an idea, you do everything in your power to manifest it. The idea, “One blog post can change your career,” was always in the back of my mind. Subconsciously, it forced itself into my conscious reality. Around this time, I wrote an article that literally did change my career. To quote William James, the father of American psychology, “What is impressed in the subconscious is expressed.”

Thus, two months after being told it would take three to five years to gather a substantial following, I was there. Personally, I don’t fully credit myself for this fact. In an age of skepticism and doubt, a child-like faith can take you a long way. Before each article, I wrote (and continue to write), I pray that the work I produce will be beyond my own capability; and I visualize my work reaching the people who need it.

To quote Napoleon Hill, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Just because other people have limiting beliefs does not mean you need to. Again, the advice you take and the people you emulate matters. You are being influenced, especially subconsciously, by the influences you take to heart. There are people out there operating at brilliantly high levels. If you’re serious about getting results, find those people and begin thinking like them. You’ll be stunned how fast your life can change.

Literally, you can create something that changes the entire trajectory of your career. Take Zdravko Cvijetic–he recently wrote an article that took him from 900 to 103,000 email subscribers in less than one month.

How many people would have told him that was impossible?

Absurd.

Your mindset and desires determine how big you’re willing to play. To quote Peter Diamandis, founder of XPRIZE and author of Abundance and Bold, “The challenge is that the day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea. And crazy ideas are very risky to attempt.”

Conclusion

When you know what you want, you notice opportunities most people aren’t aware of. You also have the rare courage to seize those opportunities without procrastination. What you focus on expands.

Courage doesn’t just involve saying “Yes” — it also involves saying “No.” But how could you possibly say “No” to certain opportunities if you don’t know what you want? You can’t. Like most people, you’ll be seduced by the best thing that comes around.

But if you know what you want, you’ll be willing to pass up even brilliant opportunities because, ultimately, they are distractions from your vision. As Jim Collins said in Good to Great, “A ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ is irrelevant if it is the wrong opportunity.”

“Once-in-a-lifetime” opportunities (i.e., distractions) pop up everyday. But the right opportunities will only start popping up when you decide what you want and thus start selectively attending to them. Before you know it, you’ll be surrounded by a network you love and by mentors showing you the fastest path.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

This quote is completely true. Once you know what you want, you can stop taking advice from just anyone. You can filter out the endless noise and hone in on your truth.

Eventually, you can train your conscious mind to only focus on what you really want in life. Everything else gets outsourced and forgotten by your subconscious.

Decide what you want, or someone else will.

You are the designer of your destiny. What will it be?

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Story Source benjaminhardy.com written by Benjamin Hardy, who was the #1 Writer on Medium.com in 2016 and contributor to Inc.com. His website is benjaminhardy.com. Image Credit Forbes. 

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How to Know If You or Someone You Know Is a Narcissist

According to a Clinical Psychologist, if you think you’re more important than everyone else or lack empathy, you may be showing signs of narcissism.

  • Narcissists share certain key behaviors.
  • One of the most common traits associated with narcissists is a lack of empathy, as well as an inability to relate to the emotions of others.
  • While narcissists may appear to have an inflated sense of self-importance, this often stems from low self-esteem and insecurity.

Sometimes it seems like we live in a world plagued by people with an inflated sense of self-importance — like that one Facebook friend who brags about every minute of her life, or the coworker who drones on and on about how wonderful he is.

But it can be hard to decipher whether these people simply lack self-awareness or if they suffer from a deeper problem, like narcissism.

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Dr. Ramani Durvasula

Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles and a licensed clinical psychologist, shares some of the qualities that might make you, or someone you know, a narcissist.

You blame others for your problems

Durvasula says one common quality of narcissists is never taking ownership when they make mistakes. They will blame anyone they can instead of admitting their wrongdoing.

You’ve been told you lack empathy

This is often recognized as the hallmark quality of narcissists. People with narcissistic personality disorder are often incapable of relating to the feelings of others.

If you do something kind for someone, you expect endless thanks

When narcissists buy someone a gift, they expect an inappropriate amount of gratitude. This quality applies in the workplace, too. “Let’s say they help you, mentor you or advance you,” Durvasula says. “They will expect you to thank them and be grateful for that for the rest of your life.”

You’ve been told you’re charming or charismatic

Narcissists tend to have highly superficial personality traits, Durvasula says, including charm and charisma. “But what you’ll often see is that charm and charisma end up being used as a rationale,” she says. Even if a narcissist treats someone badly, the person will often rationalize the narcissist’s behavior and think they couldn’t possibly have done something so bad because they’re so charming.

You’ve been told by former significant others that you came on really strong at first

Durvasula says one sign you might be dating a narcissist is if everything seems too incredible at first. You might feel like you’re part of a sweep-you-off-your-feet, cinematic romance. “I always tell people: Pay attention when there’s too much on the front end,” says Durvasula, who wrote, “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist.” “I know it seems fun and romantic, but it’s probably a train wreck waiting to happen.”

You’ve cheated on your significant other in the past

Durvasula says narcissists often lack boundaries, which leads them to engage in inappropriate workplace affairs or cheat on their significant other.

You lack self-confidence

At their core, narcissists lack self-esteem and have a pathological need to be admired. “They’re very ambitious and competitive, and a lot of people make the mistake of thinking they’re confident,” Durvasula says. “They’re actually not confident.”

You think you’re more important than everyone else

Grandiosity is a hallmark feature of narcissism, as it allows many narcissists to hide their lack of confidence. “In our culture, we associate grandiosity with confidence,” Durvasula says. “If you walk around saying you’re great, people will actually think you’re great.”

You think the world doesn’t see how truly amazing you are

Not all narcissists are grandiose. In fact, Durvasula says some are vulnerable and are driven by shame and others’ perception of them. They might even come across as depressed. “They often think that the world passed them by, or that they’ve been forgotten or something like that,” Durvasula says.

You think you’re above it all

A common feature of narcissists is the mindset that they’re so important, they shouldn’t have to deal with certain everyday things like waiting in line at the grocery store.

You like to give advice, even when it’s unsolicited

According to Durvasula, narcissists tend to deliver advice even when it’s unwanted. “They’ll often deliver it in a way that feels criticizing, demeaning and invalidating,” she says.

You have a perfectly curated appearance

“[Narcissists] often look great, they’re in the best suits, the best outfits — they’re beautifully put together,” Durvasula says. This perfect appearance plays to their inherent need for validation. And we buy into it. “Our assumption is that somebody who looks that good’s got to be doing something right.”

When you accomplish something, you crave validation from others — especially on social media

Narcissists love to tell the world how amazing their life is. Durvasula says this applies to social media, too. They’ll post about their amazing trip to Hawaii, their big house, or their expensive car. “They like anything that makes them look good,” she says.

You often have fits of anger

Durvasula says narcissists have a tendency to explode into rage, especially when they don’t get their way. They’re typically very angry, deeply sensitive people and this anger often emerge when they don’t receive the special treatment they think they deserve. “They can be very caustic and really angry, and it always seems to be bubbling under the surface,” she says.

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The above article is based on materials published on thriveglobal.com and publicly available at the time it appears in this blog. Images and video credits are specified whenever known and possible, the source of them is the web.
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