How Taking Charge of Your Mind Can Change Your Life

Anyone can change their mind, most of us do it frequently, but how do you change your mind so that you get what you want?

I think that what really happened to Saint Paul on the road to Damascus was nothing like the story in the Bible.

Personally, I don’t believe in apparitions suddenly showing up in the sky. But I do believe that we can have sudden moments of clarity. In such moments things that had been hidden in the mists in our minds suddenly become obvious to us.

Sometimes these moments of clarity happen as the result of a solution being described in such a way that we suddenly “get it”. Other times we gain clarity as a result of hours, days or even years of cogitation, as happened to the Buddha when, after thirty years of meditating under the Bodhi tree, he suddenly declared himself “enlightened”. And sometimes we just ask ourselves a better question and find the answer we want.

There is only one way to start changing your life

You have to start by focusing your attention on a problem that is making you unhappy.

Let’s say that your job bores you and you find it unfulfilling. What most people do is moan and groan and possibly blame their boss or their employer for their unhappiness. They don’t think about their situation constructively because they worry about what might happen if they were to lose their source of income.

Recognise the scenario?

Too often people allow themselves to remain trapped. Their thoughts just go round and round in circles that sound like: “I hate my job, my boss is an idiot, I’m afraid of leaving because I need the money, and I don’t know what else I could do with my skills and experience”. End result — frustration and stalemate.

But there is another way to think about “stuck” situations

One of the best ways to think about any issue is to ask yourself questions.

The better the question, the better the answer you are likely to find.

What would happen if you were to cast your mind forward to a position that would make you feel happy and give you the feeling that your life is meaningful?

Let’s imagine that your life is wonderful. You have an interesting and stimulating job, you have a position of authority, your colleagues are friendly, knowledgeable and supportive, and you are well paid. At the end of each day, you go home thinking, “That was worthwhile.”

So, what are you doing in that future scenario? Write a description or draw a picture of your future job. Make your picture as large and colourful as you can. Add people who are happy, helpful and supportive. Add sounds of music, jollity and discussion. Add the house or apartment you are living in. Go on and on embellishing your picture until it becomes vibrant and real in your mind.

You may want to add other supportive elements to your picture that clarify how your life is, what you are doing when not working, what you are wearing and how you fit into the world at large.

As this is a very worthwhile exercise you should devote a lot of time to creating your picture of the future you want.

At this stage, you should NOT consider any downsides, like “How am I going to earn a living doing that?” or “What will other people think?” Just focus on making your picture of the way you want your life to be.

The big step forward

To move forward into your new life — to make your picture of your future into your reality you need to backcast.

In other words, you need to stand in the new scenario of your future life and ask, “How did I get here? What did I actually do to move from where I was to where I am now?”

Examine with care each step you took to make your life the way that you now find fulfilling and enjoyable. No, you didn’t suddenly win the lottery. You probably had to learn some new skills and practice those skills. You probably had to form some new alliances. There may have been sacrifices you had to make along the way. You may have had to leave some people behind.

No one said that making your life the way you want it to be would be easy. But the point is that if you make your life the way you want it to be the sacrifices, the risks and the effort will all have been worthwhile.

How to start

I recommend that you start with your self-image.

Seeing yourself as strong-minded, creative, courageous and determined are, to my way of thinking, the essentials for being able to take the necessary actions to propel yourself to where you really want to be.

Please notice that all of this is happening in your mind. Even if you are drawing or painting the future you want you are inventing it in your mind.

It is the determination to be master or mistress of your mind that makes the difference. All achievements great and small start with imagination and mental strength. You have to first become the commander of your mind, then you can make of your life whatever you want.

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