СодержаниеAffirmations → Часть 1

“I’ve heard of something called affirmations, ” I said, taking the opportunity to spelunk another tunnel in the old man’s brain. “You write down your goals fifteen times a day and then somehow they come true as if by magic. I know people who swear by it. Does that really work? ”

“The answer is complicated. ”

“I have time, ” I said.

“People who use affirmations know what they want and are willing to work for it; otherwise they would not have the enthusiasm to write down their goals fifteen times every day. It should be no surprise that they have more success than the average person. ”

“Because they work harder? ”

“Because they know what they want, ” he said. “The ability to work hard and make sacrifices comes naturally to those who know exactly what they want.

“Most people believe they have goals when, in fact, they only have wishes. They might tell you their goal is to get rich without working hard, without making sacrifices or taking risks. That is not a goal, it is a fantasy. Such people are unlikely to write affirmations daily because it would be too much effort. And they are unlikely to be successful in any big way. ”

“So the affirmations are unnecessary? ”

“They have a purpose. Writing your goals every day gives you a higher level of focus. It tunes your mind to better recognize opportunities in your environment. ”

“What do you mean by tuning your mind? ”

“Have you ever had the experience where you hear a strange word for the first time, and then soon afterward you hear the same word again? ”

“That happens all the time, ” I said. “It’s freaky. It’s as if hearing a word for the first time makes it appear everywhere. Like fescue. I never heard of that word until I saw it on a package of grass seed in the store last week. That night I was at a party and some guy used the word. I’m fairly sure I’ve never heard that word before in my entire life, then I hear it twice in a matter of hours. What are the odds of that?

“And last night I was at my neighbor’s house down the street, shooting some pool on his new table. I asked him if he ever played a game called foosball. It’s that table game where you use handles connected to little soccer players and try to kick a wooden ball into the other guy’s goal. ”

His face said that he didn’t need to know the details of foosball table design.

“Anyway, ” I continued, “we talked about foosball for twenty minutes, how we both played it in college but hadn’t seen a foosball table in years. I can’t remember the last time I uttered the word foosball. Fifteen minutes later, I’m walking home and something catches my eye in an upstairs window of a neighbor’s house. I’ll be darned if it wasn’t a bunch of kids playing foosball. I’ve gone past that house a thousand times and never seen that foosball table in the window before. ”

“Your brain can only process a tiny portion of your environment, ” he said. “It risks being overwhelmed by the volume of information that bombards you every waking moment. Your brain compensates by filtering out the 99. 9 percent of your environment that doesn’t matter to you. When you took notice of the word fescue for the first time and rolled it around in your head, your mind tuned itself to the word. That’s why you heard it again so soon. ”

“It’s still a coincidence. I don’t think people are saying fescue around me every day. ”

“Yes, probability is still involved. But fescue and foosball were only a few of the unusual words and ideas that you tuned your brain to this week. The others didn’t cross your path again so you took no notice of their absence. When you consider all of the coincidences that are possible, it is not surprising that you experience a few every day.

“A person who does affirmations takes mental tuning to a higher level. The process of concentrating on the goal every day greatly increases the likelihood of noticing an opportunity in the environment. The coincidence will create the illusion that writing down the goal causes the environment to produce opportunities. But in reality the only thing that changes is the person’s ability to notice the opportunities. I don’t mean to minimize that advantage because the ability to recognize opportunities is essential to success. ”

“Well, maybe that’s part of it, ” I said. “But I’ve heard of some pretty amazing coincidences that happened for the people doing affirmations. One of my friends was writing affirmations to double his income and he got a phone call out of the blue from a headhunter. Two weeks later he’s in a new job at double his salary. How do you explain that? ”

“Your friend had a clear goal and was willing to make changes in his life to accomplish it, ” he responded. “His willingness to do affirmations was a good predictor of his success, not necessarily a cause of it. The headhunter in your example increased the pay of many people that month. Your friend was one of them.

“People who do affirmations will have the sensation that they are causing the environment to conform to their will. This is an immensely enjoyable feeling because the illusion of control is one of the best illusions you can have. ”

He continued. “Another way to look at affirmations is as a communication channel between your conscious and subconscious mind. Your subconscious is often better than your rational mind at predicting your future. If your subconscious allows you to write ‘I will be a famous ballerina’ fifteen times a day for a year, it’s telling you something. Your subconscious is saying it likes your odds, that it will allow you to make the sacrifices, that it will give you the satisfaction you need to weather the hard work ahead. On the other hand, if you try writing your affirmation for a few days and find it too bothersome, your subconscious is giving you a clear message that it doesn’t like your odds. ”

“I don’t see why my subconscious would be better than my conscious mind at predicting my future. I thought the subconscious was irrational, ” I said.

“The subconscious is an odds-calculating machine. That’s what it does naturally, though not always to good effect. If your subconscious notices that you lost money on your last three business dealings with people who wear hats, you’ll never trust people in hats again. Your subconscious isn’t always right; it depends on the quality of the information you feed into its odds-calculating engine. Luckily, the topic your subconscious knows best is you, because it has known you since you were in the womb. If your subconscious allows you to spend ten minutes out of every busy day writing, ‘I will double my income, ’ your subconscious likes your odds and it is qualified to make that prediction. ”

“Couldn’t affirmations be more than that? ” I asked. “You made a big deal about saying things aren’t exactly what they seem, but who’s to say that concentrating on your goals doesn’t change probability? ”

“Go on, ” he said.

“Okay, imagine you’re a sea captain but you’re blind and deaf. You shout orders to your crew, but you don’t know for sure if they heard the orders or obeyed them. All you know is that when you give an order to sail to a particular warm port, within a few days you are someplace warm. You can never be sure if the crew obeyed you, or took you to some other warm place, or if you went nowhere and the weather improved. If, as you say, our minds are delusion generators, then we’re all like blind and deaf sea captains shouting orders into the universe and hoping it makes a difference. We have no way of knowing what really works and what merely seems to work. So doesn’t it make sense to try all the things that appear to work even if we can’t be sure? ”

“You have potential, ” he said.

I didn’t know what that meant.


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