I’m conducting a little experiment and I’d love for you to try it with me. I recruited my very amicable wife to join me as well. (She’s a really good sport and commendably open-minded.)
I recently listened to one of my favorite podcast episodes in a long time. It was Tim Ferriss’ interview with Scott Adams of Dilbert fame. (He has a really cool blog of his own actually. Very sharp guy!)
Now, I’ll begin by admitting that I went through a period of time where I read Dilbert avidly, and there’s certainly an element of fandom to my enjoyment, but I’d attribute a mere 15% of my fascination with this episode to said fandom.
Truthfully, the guy is just very sharp, his perspective is definitely unique and he has some great insights.
A number of things were mentioned that got my attention. For example, I ordered the book “Influence,” by Robert Cialdini, after Scott said, “It seems like every high achiever I know has read that book.” (I’m about two chapters into the book right now.)
However, the key actionable item that I took away and that I’ve been implementing for a while now, (not for the first time, but with new belief and enthusiasm), is the use of affirmations.
I’ll admit the first thing that came to mind was Bill Murray in What About Bob: “I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful. I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful.” But slowly the real life value of the exercise began to crystallize.
Scott shares the story of how he went through 3 or 4 experiences, beginning with the stage of trying affirmations simply to satisfy someone else’s prodding. He then tested them out of disbelief at the results of his first experience, and finally embraced them as a clearly useful and powerful tool.
His story got me excited, particularly considering the barrier to entry (there is none) and the potential upside. In short, it seemed to me to be an investment worth making.
To paraphrase his story, eventually Scott settled into telling himself daily (sometimes written, but more often than not, simply recited in his head), “I will be a successful cartoonist.”
I’m not saying that the affirmations are why his story unfolded the way it did, and neither does he. I’m simply saying… he is a successful cartoonist. I don’t believe it’s magic, I don’t believe that the Universe responded to his vibrations. I don’t believe that if you stare at a photo of a Ferrari above your bed long enough, you’ll wake up and have one in the driveway.
I do believe, however, that the affirmations played some role in his success, at the very least engaging and awaking his mind in inspired ways, heightening his sensitivity to opportunities, and probably instilling unreasonable yet necessary confidence. I’m a firm believer in the power of the conversations we have with ourselves.
So, I’ve been trying these myself. I started them on our vacation to Gulf Shores last year. I walked down the street to one of the many kitsch-y sundry shops, dug through the pooka shell necklaces and wooden boats in small bottles to find my prized souvenir: a red spiral notebook.
I’ve committed to writing two different affirmations 15 times each day. Each day gets one page in my book. I write one mantra on the front of the sheet, and one on the back. Fifteen times, every day.
I’d love it if you’d join me in trying this. A few notes about my vigorous return to affirmations, let’s call them ground rules for this experiment.
- I use my name every time (per Mr. Adams’ recommendation). For example, “I, Brian Bandas, will write a blog about affirmations.”
- I created phrases that state what will happen. “I, Brian Bandas, will live to be 105 years old.”
- If I miss a day of writing, I still find a minute to say them out loud or even in my head. It still engages the mind.
- If I miss a day of writing and saying or thinking my affirmations… I don’t care. I keep going. I pick back up the next day. No guilt, no wasted energy, and no abandoning the idea.
- I committed to giving this a truly solid run. I told myself that I would do it without stopping for a minimum of a month, although it has now been about 5 months and I don’t anticipate stopping any time soon. This habit is here to stay. I recommend you commit to at least a month.
So let’s give this a go! Truth be told, I’m a bit uncomfortable sharing my two mantras—they are fairly personal—but I also believe that authenticity and transparency are phenomenally enriching, and I know how much I enjoy it when others are willing to share. So I’ll share one of them with you, and please be aware that I believe this to be true.
“I, Brian Bandas, will have a net worth of $1 million by age 35.” (We’ll get into why this is a goal in another post…)
I’m 31 now. I’ll let you know in 4 years whether or not I made it. And here’s the thing… I really will let you know. Accountability, after all, is another great tool!
So what one or two affirmations are you willing to try speaking or writing 15 times a day for the next 30 days?
Leave a comment below, and then check back and let me know how it’s going!
Go-To Resource: This is a fascinating book about the power of subconscious psychological triggers, and how we can use these when communicating, negotiating, leading and more. Influence is very in-depth and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The information has the potential to be pretty life-changing. But I urge you: use these powers for good!