By Brandon Cook
“If you accept a limiting belief, then it will become a truth for you.” – Louise L. Hay
“People are anxious to improve their circumstances but unwilling to improve themselves, they therefore remain bound.” – James Allen
In Part I of this series we began our exploration of the subconscious mind and took a brief look into what neuroscientists are learning about the ultimate potential of the human mind. In this second installment, we are going to examine how beliefs are impressed upon the subconscious and how they can effect who and what you become.
The Vulnerability of the Subconscious Mind
The subconscious mind plays a powerful part in the development of our perception of reality. Yet it is extremely vulnerable to outside influence. This is specifically true when we are young.
You may have heard before that the first five to six years of a child’s life are the most influential in the development of his or her personality, but have you stopped to question why?
The reason is because it’s at this time that the subconscious mind is highly susceptible and influenced by all that it encounters. It has no base of reasoning to distinguish among truth from illusion, fact from fiction, right from wrong, empowering beliefs from disempowering beliefs.
Since the subconscious lacks the ability to distinguish between a truth and a lie at such a young, impressionable age, it must accept everything that it is told as real and valid.
>>> If you’re told you’re stupid… the subconscious internalizes that.
>>> If you’re told that Santa Claus is real…. You believe that (hope I didn’t spoil it for you!)
>>> If you’re told that there are monsters in you’re closet… I bet you’ll be pretty scared at night!
At least until the subconscious gathers enough evidence to realize these are false or inaccurate beliefs.
Because of its great suggestibility during these early years, your values and beliefs are essentially shaped by your parents or those who are around you the most. In fact, in these early years you become almost a fusion or crossbreed of your mom and dad’s beliefs, attitudes, and values… scary, huh?
The subconscious mind is also extremely impressionable to repetition. The more times it experiences a situation or is told something, the more it accepts it to be true.
For example, if a child is repeatedly told “no, you can’t do that” or “you’re so bad” or anything along those lines, he or she may grow up with low confidence or lack of self-esteem.
Why? Because confidence is one’s internal belief in oneself and one’s powers and abilities, while self-esteem is the belief that you are a good person and deserving of success, happiness, and fulfillment.
The repeated negative statements to the child become their deep-seated core beliefs about themselves. They become ingrained below the level of conscious awareness, hence the term subconscious or unconscious beliefs.
Are you starting to realize how your subconscious mind can have a huge impact on your ability to live a happy and fulfilling life?
Let me give you an example from my own life, and most likely from any ectomorph or hardgainer’s life as well. This example can illustrate further how repetition can impact your unconscious beliefs.
Negative and Limiting Subconscious Beliefs
The subconscious mind’s development is not limited to those first few years. It’s constantly recording everything that you encounter, think, believe, hear, feel, learn, experience and are subjected to throughout your entire life. EVERYTHING!
The first five years are the most influential on the development of your core beliefs and your overall personality.
However, all of your childhood and teenage years also have a considerable impact on your values and beliefs about life, about yourself, your abilities, and your sense of self-deservedness. It is these years that shape your beliefs and determine who you will ultimately become.
Yet, it is wonderful to know that with the right attitude, tools, experience and mindset you can reprogram your subconscious mind and even change or take-on a new more desirable personality.
And that’s a beautiful thing, because some of you peeps are really wacked out!
“The Skinny Me”
Okay, back to my example. Now to most people in America this wouldn’t sound like a problem or negative belief at all! A “lucky bastard” is what most people would probably call you. “Stop whining, you’re so lucky! You get to eat whatever you want.” True, but that doesn’t mean that you should!
Yet in spite of all that, many ectomorphic men and women do find their racing fast metabolism and hardgainer genetics to be just that… a problem. A fat man’s dream is a skinny man’s nightmare. It’s all a matter of perspective.
If you happen to be a skinny guy or gal, think back to when you were growing up. How many times has someone called you skinny or implied that you were? Did you internalize this as a positive or negative thing? Did it make you feel good or bad about yourself? As a young man, I didn’t take it as a good thing.
When I was growing up I was never really involved in school sports or athletics. I was more of the “starving artist” type!
Since I am an ectomorph, I had a naturally high metabolism (like many of you.) On top of that, like most of the people in North America, my nutrition wasn’t optimal. So, yeah I was skinny.
People and peers at school began calling me skinny; telling me I was skinny; claiming that I needed to eat more because I was so thin. Bag of bones…You’ve may have heard this all before, so I won’t go into the excruciating details. So anyway… naturally I had to kick their @$$!!! No, I’m just kidding (fighting is bad kids!)
Needless, to say these repetitive comments influenced my subconscious mind and reinforced the limiting belief that I was a skinny person. So, I became even more self-conscious of being skinny.
I would wear long-sleeved shirts, and pants to hide the fact I was skinny, mainly to avoid people pointing it out. It became a part of my identity, the skinny me. I think this had a negative effect on my level of confidence as well.
Now the reality was that I WAS skinny, but since so many people repetitively pointed that out to me it became deeply engrained in my subconscious mind. Being skinny became a part of my self-image.
So much so, that even at the age of 18, after I began eating tons of food, lifting weights, and doing everything I could to become a bigger, more muscular person… that subconscious belief was still there.
So, even after I gained thirty pounds of muscle I still felt skinny and still thought of myself as skinny.
In reality I had went from skinny to a normal or average weight and wasn’t skinny anymore, but that same “skinny me” belief would stick around to haunt me throughout my twenties… even sabotaging my efforts to go from an average weight to a champion’s physique.
At times it felt impossible to gain any more muscle even though I was training, eating, and believing that I was doing everything I could. I wasn’t. There were certain fundamental principles of life and training that I was missing. When I looked in the mirror I would notice how skinny I still was and believed that it was my genetics that was holding me back.
“Waaaa… I’m a hardgainer!”, as Jason Ferruggia would say.
Instead of looking in the mirror and saying, “Wow, I am becoming stronger and more muscular every single day”, I saw the poor skinny me who could never gain weight no matter what I did. And since that is what I saw and believed… that is what I continued to get.
The Shift in Mindset
Knowing what I know now, I have been working very effectively at removing those old, disempowering beliefs and replacing them with more empowering ones that will allow me to take my body to the next level.
In other words, I have created a new self-image of myself as muscular in my mind and replaced the old “skinny me” version of myself.
In keeping with our hardware/software analogy from Part I, I have reformatted my computer/brain by deleting the old software programs and installing a new and enhanced version…
Brandon 2.0, if you will!
Your mind is a computer after all, and in fact is the most powerful supercomputer on Earth, up to this point. An actual computer or robot may beat you out within the next few decades, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Simply by changing my self-talk, imagining and visualizing the body I desire every day (in the correct manner), I am reprogramming my subconscious mind to accept the new self-image as my new reality.
Since my subconscious mind controls my automatic behavior and impulses, this will cause me to act and think in a way that will eventually lead me to a more muscular body in the real world. Instead of repeating my past mistakes for the next 50 years, I’ll achieve my goals a lot faster.
I want to emphasize that this is FACT… not fiction. Athletes and Olympians have been successfully using visualization to increase their athletic performances for over a few decades now with quite impressive results. Don’t take my word on it, do some investigative research of your own.
Change Your Mind, Change Your Body
This “skinny me” story is just one, simplistic example of a limiting subconscious belief and how to overcome them. It is not just one event or situation that creates and defines your beliefs and values. It’s everything combined.
There may be more than one limiting belief that’s holding you back in some way. It could be your level of confidence, it could be your degree of self-deservedness or self-worth, it could be your identity as a skinny person… or heck it may just be because you don’t know the proper way to train to build muscle naturally!
Most likely, it’s a combination of things.
Yet, this is why I am giving “developing the proper mindset” so much attention at first.
Without the right mindset you can end up wasting years of your time (if you last that long) trying to transform your body and your life, but getting no where fast. Most people just give up when they don’t see any results. I don’t want that to happen to you.
That being said; the most important point of this section is this:
Despite all of your hard work and effort, if you still harbor negative and limiting subconscious beliefs about yourself, you will have a hard time transforming your body and life. You will have a tendency to revert to your old way of thinking and doing things.
You may meet with some success at first, but despite all of your conscious efforts you may find yourself unable to break past a certain barrier or plateau.
You may also experience self-sabotage in the form of engaging in negative habits that limit your success (such as smoking, excessive drinking, skipping workouts, eating like crap, etc.) or other circumstances such as pushing yourself to the point of injury, slacking off, or something similar.
Now most people that already have the proper mindset may still make similar mistakes with their training. However, they quickly learn from them and make the appropriate lifestyle changes.
Once they make these changes they go on to achieve success. The key is that they already had the proper mindset for success. Therefore, they understood exactly what to do to correct their mistakes. It’s that awareness that makes all the difference!
On the other hand, if you have limiting and negative subconscious beliefs like I did, this self-sabotage may become a repetitive, downward cycle that you just can’t seem to break despite all of your hard work and efforts.
This may continue indefinitely, UNTIL you have taken the proper steps to eliminate and/or replace the negative and limiting beliefs that are deeply entrenched within your subconscious mind.
When you lack the proper mindset it can be very challenging to achieve success at anything in life. Luckily for us all, we can always change our minds by reprogramming our subconscious with the proper techniques!
That’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in Part III of Harnessing the Power of Your Subconscious Mind.
….to be continued!
About the Author:
Brandon Cook is creator of The Awakened Warrior Blog, and co-creator of HardgainerMuscleBuilding.com, a website specifically designed to teach the hardgainer the laws and scientific principles for building a classic, muscular and functional physique.
HargainerMuscleBuilding.com features a free email class covering the basic principles of training naturally, eating a nutritious, muscle-building diet, and understanding the truth about supplements. The website is filled with free articles, videos, and the programs you need to create your ideal body.
Please visit us at http://hardgainermusclebuilding.com
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