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Professional Corner

How to Manage Your Mind

By Michael Ritt, Jr., Napoleon Hill Foundation

To have a positive mental attitude, you must develop a solid, success-oriented, "I can…I will" philosophy.

You can’t develop this attitude overnight or turn it on and off whenever there is something you want. A positive mental attitude must become an ingrained habit.

Become the Manager of Your Mind. The one thing in your life you can command is your own mind. Whatever negative people and situations you face, you can always choose a positive attitude. But doing so requires a firm, strong commitment.

Helpful: Begin by writing a self-convincing creed – I believe I can direct and control my emotions, intellect and habits with the intention of developing a positive mental attitude.

Post it where you’ll see it when you get up in the morning. Read it during the day, and say it aloud. Speaking an intention reinforces it.

Choose a "self-motivator" – a meaningful phrase tailored to help you reach your positive thinking goals. Examples:

  • Counter discouragement with the phrase "Every problem contains the seed of it’s own solution."
  • Fight procrastination with "Do it now."

Keep your self-motivators nearby – in your pocket or on your desk – and repeat them throughout the day to instill these important new values.

Develop A Life Plan. Setting short and long-term goals each day creates a road map for your life. You identify where you’re going, focus your mind on getting there and avoid many wrong turns.

Helpful: Use the D-E-S-I-R-E formula as a goal-setting guideline…

  • Determine what you want. Be exact, and express the goal positively. Say what you want to be or do rather than what you don’t want.
  • Evaluate what you’ll give in return. How much work will you do to turn your plan into action?
  • Set a date for your goal. Be realistic, allowing enough time without postponing it too long.
  • Identify a step by step plan. Devise immediate, small steps to get started.
  • Repeat your plan in writing.
  • Each and every day, morning and evening, read your plan aloud as you picture yourself already having achieved your goals.

Writing out your daily goals helps maintain your motivation. Keep them in your pocket or purse to read frequently throughout the day.

The Power of Visualization. Because visual images reach into our deepest mental levels, I have found pictures to be profound motivational tools.

Helpful: Make a list of personal qualities you want to develop…write down the names of people with whom you would like to have better relationships…list the material possessions you want to own. Now clip pictures from magazines and newspapers that symbolize your goals.

Example: If generosity is your chosen quality, you could use a photo of someone with an outstretched hand.

Put the pictures where you’ll see them everyday…and believe that you will get what you have visualized. You may also create your own "mental pictures" to defeat negative thoughts, such as dwelling on past reversals.

Maintain A Positive Focus. Giving yourself positive experiences actually reinforces your positive attitude. Examples…

  • Treat your five senses everyday. Listen to your favorite music, taste a food you love, enjoy a beautiful view, etc.
  • Cultivate a sense of humor. Laughter relaxes tension, and seeing the funny side of things helps you take yourself less seriously.
  • Smile when you feel like frowning. Smile at yourself in the mirror. If this makes you laugh at yourself, the smile will be that much more real.

Now realize the optimistic face you show the world creates positive thoughts about you in everyone you meet.

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Last modified: January 26, 2013