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To change your life, you must first change your mind
Why do 80% of professional athletes go broke and 70% of lottery winners file for bankruptcy? Because they do this one thing wrong. Find out below, and avoid this mistake more easily by getting your free copy of the 5 Building Blocks of a Happy Gay Life here.
The mistake with trying to change your life before you change your mind
When we were drowning in debt, we looked for any way to pay our debt off fast. We considered credit consolidation, refinancing, bankruptcy and even borrowing from our 401(k)s.
The credit consolidation company we worked with was credible, had reasonable fees and tried to help us. The problem wasn’t them.
The problem was us.
We hadn’t changed our mindsets by the time we hired them and, therefore, hiring them was just more money out the door. We were fortunate, as we’ve read horror stories about debt consolidation companies.
Have you considered debt consolidation? Have you considered filing for bankruptcy? Have you considered borrowing from your retirement savings?
Eight percent of Americans who file for bankruptcy file more than once. On the one hand, that’s low. On the other, as painful as bankruptcy is, I’m surprised anyone files for bankruptcy twice.
Having spent our adult lives in finance, we’d have to be in dire straits to borrow from my 401(k). So, we were surprised that even one-third of Americans do this.
There are all options to become debt free, some better than others. Every single one is serious.
Not being in the right frame of mind when trying to fix a problem, whatever the proposed solution is, can make a dangerous situation worse. That’s because our thoughts (usually unconscious) produce our feelings. Our feelings produce our actions. Our actions produce our results.
It was our experience with debt that taught us why our lives wouldn’t improve until we first changed our minds.
Contrary to what scientists used to believe, that our brains were static, science now shows that the brain can reorganize itself by forming new neural connections or pathways, from negative conditioning to positive conditioning.
This is the science of neuroplasticity, and neuroplasticity can be used to help you change your mind to then change your life. The Mayo Clinic calls people’s current beliefs about themselves, whether true or untrue beliefs, “fixed mindset.” Thankfully, having a “growth mindset,” reconditioning our unconscious thoughts toward the positive, is just as possible.
That’s what we outline below.
It’s important to mention here that science is also showing that the use of psychedelics can aid in neuroplasticity. Influencers such as Michael Pollan, Jason Silva, Ram Dass and many more have advocated for their use. Pollan wrote How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, which was very well-received.
The use of psychedelics to change our neural pathways to change our lives, while viable, are outside the scope of our this site. Everything we’ve done and share with you below you can do with your mom.
So, how do you use neuroplasticity to adopt a growth mindset and change your life? Follow these seven steps.
1. Discover your truest hopes and dreams
Don’t you love dreaming about bigger and better things? We do!
Think of the last time you bought a lottery ticket (as we alluded to above). The best part about having that lottery ticket (literally for most lottery players), as most of us never win, is dreaming of what we’ll do with our multi-million-dollar winnings (don’t go bankrupt).
To truly change your mind, start first with your hopes and dreams, your purpose, your why. In Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl said, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear almost any ‘how’.”
What’s your why?
What are your truest, deepest hopes and dreams? What’s on your bucket list? Where do you want to travel? What does retirement look like? Who do you want to be?
Most of us don’t know what we want despite how much time we’ve spent with ourselves.
It’s not about what your parents, extended family, friends or colleagues want for you. It’s not about what your community or society wants for you. It’s especially not about what you think you should want for yourself because of mom and dad, that kid who wouldn’t be your friend in grade school or because of what’s on TV.
Figure out who you are and what you want. The irony is with all those external pressures you put on yourself, no one really gives a shit or, at least, not as much as you think. So, set your goals to achieve your dreams.
A great way to document your vision for your best life is to create a vision board, either virtual or physical. Our screensavers for all our devices, including our TV, have some sort of vision board-quality/aspirational pictures to them. We also have our physical vision boards.
All of this acts as constant reminders of our goals, which keeps them at the forefront of our minds. These repetitive reminders seep into our subconscious to change our thoughts, then our feelings, then our actions . . . and then our results.
Until we figured this out and did this exercise ourselves, we were living up to the gay cliché of living fabulous but being fabulously broke. That’s because we were trying to make up for our past and to live up to our community’s definition of fabulous (a.k.a. worthy). Feeling unworthy – not good enough – made us do dumb things that produced stressful and disappointing results.
2. Decide what you need to achieve your hopes and dreams
Once you figure out your biggest goals and loftiest dreams, figure out what it’ll take to make your dreams come true. This exercise invites you to dig deep and consider what’s truly preventing you from having the life you want.
We asked ourselves, “how do we get out our financial hole?”
For you, are you spending more than you earn? Did you pick a career to make your mom happy? Are you with the wrong person because you’re afraid to be alone? Is pride keeping you from saying, “I’m sorry” to someone?
Once you uncover the root cause of what’s keeping you from achieving your hopes and dreams, then figure out what you can do to overcome those obstacles. For us, we had to stop spending so much money and figure out how to pay our credit card debt off fast.
For you, it could be figuring out how to change careers or gravitate more toward what you’d love doing. It could be breaking up with the wrong person to possibly find the right person (or learn to love yourself more). Or, it may be mustering the courage to finally say, “I’m sorry.”
This exercise is hard because it requires you to face your fears and have courage. It’s only successful if you’re honest with yourself and truly uncover what’s blocking you from your truest goals. Being honest with yourself is hard, but not being honest with yourself will only lead to more disappointment.
3. Figure out what you’re willing to do to achieve your hopes and dreams
Finally, decide what are you willing to do to make your hopes and dreams a reality.
Robert Collier said, “Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.” So, what habits will you break and what habits will you replace them with to reach success? (We’ll walk you through how to break bad habits in the second exercise of the Fabulous Life Combo.)
Everything, every dream, has a cost. This is the Law of Compensation, the eighth law of attraction. But you have to be willing to pay the price because otherwise, your efforts will fall flat.
We had to ask ourselves, “how far are we willing to go to achieve financial freedom?” Our answer was anything. We quit travel, quit dining out, quit going out so much, got diligent about our spending – everything and more.
For you, how committed are you to getting that other job? How much do you love yourself to leave that person you don’t love anymore? How much do you miss the person you can’t say you’re sorry to?
Ultimately, how much are you willing to change your mind and yourself today to become the person you aspire to be tomorrow?
You may feel that working for all your hopes and dreams is more than you can handle. That’s fine. Start simple. The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time (please don’t eat elephants).
But, do something, even if it’s scary. Even if you only work on one small task to reach your big goal, do it. Just do it (thank you, Nike).
After you complete that objective, work on your next task and so on and so forth until you reach your big, one time “impossible,” goal. Each time you complete a task, you’re creating momentum. That momentum will lead you toward the success you outlined in the first exercise of the Fabulous Life Combo.
As you progress regularly check-in with yourself and the accountability partner you picked when doing the Fabulous Life exercise. Then, work towards your next goals.
As you’re doing this, you’re creating new experiences that create new neural pathways in your brain. Rather than the negative language of “I can’t,” “it’s hard,” “why me,”, etc., you’ll condition yourself to think (and believe) “I will,” “I will,” “I will.”
That’s when you start to change your mind. For help focusing less on your goals and more on your habits, as Collier advised above, continue below.
Now, change your life from the inside out
As you can see, to truly change your life, you must change on the inside (not necessarily on the outside).
For most people, for example, it’s not hard making money; it’s hard keeping money. Like many in the LGBTQ community, we struggled with limiting beliefs about what we were worth, whether we were worthy and if we deserved it.
To recondition our minds, we needed to do internal work. This is more than finding the external queues of acceptance and success. We needed to accept ourselves and trust that, even if we can’t see it now, success is ours because if we can think it, we can have it – because everything you want wants you.
4. Meditate daily to change your mind [ and change your life]
Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Workweek once said that there are two habits every successful person does. They meditate and journal. A good boss of mine once said, “Find out what successful people do, and do that.”
So, here you go.
Our alarm goes off 5:00 am daily. We get out of bed immediately, make warm lemon water with ginger, cayenne and turmeric, and then meditate between eight to 20 minutes. Aside from making our lemon water, meditating is the first thing we do every single day.
Meditating will change your life for two reasons. First, meditation will give you space for calm. Regardless of where we are and how hectic our day will be, we get at least 15 minutes of calm. That time of calm reduces stress and clears our minds.
Second, because thoughts produce feelings, feelings produce emotions, emotions produce actions and actions produce results, meditation helps us produce better, healthier thoughts.
You see, neurons that fire together wire together, and we had a lifetime of negative thoughts about ourselves and our worth polluting our mind, both consciously and subconsciously.
On the outside, we may have appeared fabulous, we may have looked confident and we may have even said we felt fabulous, but on the inside, way deep down in our subconscious (the layer that produces 95% of all our actions), we didn’t feel fabulous or confident.
That unworthiness, despite how unconscious it was, produced feelings that produced actions that produced results . . . results we weren’t proud of.
Sticking with the theme here meditation, also, helps create new neural pathways. This results in us getting out of our own way and stop trying so hard or, as one of our mentors says, “stop efforting.”
For example, finish this sentence: Money is the root of all _____. If you said “evil,” you have a negative money story.
Finish this sentence: Money doesn’t grow on _____. If you said, “trees,” you have a negative money story.
Finally, finish this sentence: Making money is _____. If you said, “hard,” you have a negative money story.
If you (like most Americans) have a negative money story, then (like most Americans), it’s no wonder you suffer the money struggle. Similarly, we were attracting exactly what we put out.
You know what Sir Isaac Newton said about motion, right? “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
It’s just science. If you unconsciously think that money is bad, you’ll unconsciously push money away. If deep down you don’t feel you deserve financial security, you’ll forever be financially insecure.
Meditating can help you tap into your unconscious to produce healthier (and wealthier) thoughts.
If you’re following along with us on the Living Fabulous Daily Journal inside the Fabulous Life Combo, you’ll see you can log the sum of your daily meditation every day at the bottom of the journal. This way, you can meditate more than once a day (it’s that important).
5. Recite affirmations daily to change your mind, that will change your life
After we meditate, one of us leaves the living room for our bedroom so we can each recite aloud and in first-person (I am, I believe, I have, etc.) our daily affirmations. We’ve already created a neural imprint on our subconscious of what we want by meditating.
Affirmations create an audible imprint, which also affects our neural pathways, of our best life.
We repeat our affirmations emphatically for five minutes. We both have a short paragraph that we’ve memorized to repeat aloud. We occasionally switch them up, but we stick with the same affirmations until we’ve achieved one of our goals or a goal changes.
Your affirmations should be personal to your hopes and dreams. Affirmations should be specific, clear and said in first-person using positive, proactive action-oriented verbs.
6. List your daily goals to change your mind and life
After we recite our daily affirmations, we pull up at our kitchen bar to list the most important things we need to accomplish that day. With clear heads and confirmation of our goals, we write down the most important actions for us to take that day to reach the best life we envisioned while meditating and reciting our affirmations.
It’s important here that we focus on fewer things. Most of us try to cram too much into our day.
When we feel like we have too much to do, we ask ourselves The One Thing question: What is the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
How profound is that? The question asks, how can I eliminate non-essentials to reduce my stress and be more effective and efficient.
The answer to this question is rarely “answer emails,” “attend unnecessary and unnecessarily long meetings,” “answer unscheduled phone calls,” or “get in a scroll hole on FB.”
Use the One Thing rule when listing your daily tasks every day in your Living Fabulous Daily Journal and watch your success.
7. Write down what you’re grateful for and watch your life change
Our last morning ritual is to write down what we’re grateful for every day. With clarity and focus, it’s easier to appreciate what’s going on in our lives, what recently happened or will happen (because we meditated on it).
If we get upset or angry, we have our daily gratitudes to refer in order to maintain a conscious and unconscious mentality of abundance.
When someone cuts us off on the highway, we think about what we’re grateful for. When we spill our coffee, we think about our morning gratitudes. When we’re stressed or depressed, we go to our morning gratitudes.
Some days are harder than others to list something for which we’re grateful. But, this exercise challenges us to change our mind subconsciously (inside) and our life consciously (outside).
7. Write down good things about every day before bed to change your life
When we go to bed, we list five things about that day that made us happy. This can be anything from drinking a delicious cup of coffee to closing a lucrative brand partnership. This helps make our last thoughts of everyday positive thoughts.
This makes it easier to fall asleep and sets the foundation for another good day tomorrow.
Finally, be patient with yourself. Don’t get caught up in “the cursed hows,” as Mike Dooley of Playing the Matrix says.
What you want also wants you. We humans get so caught up in the cursed hows because we doubt ourselves, then we repel anything we try to attract – that Third Law of Motion, again. So, be patient and have faith in the powers that be (and in yourself).
We repeat these exercises over and over each day to build healthier and wealthier neural pathways. These exercises help us use the science of neuroplasticity to become the best versions of ourselves.
They’ll help you.
Extra credit to change your mind and change your life:
- Let go of the past
- Don’t be anxious about the future
- Live in the moment
- Read more
- Learn more
- Stop being reactive and be more proactive
- Share your ideas more (and improve them, as necessary)
- Write one paragraph (of your book, business plan, personal mission statement)
- Update/check your budget twice a month with the Budget Buster Bundle here
- Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people
More help to change your life:
- How to Start Being a Happy Gay Man
- 5 Ways to Make Your Gay Life Fabulous
- 30 Cute Gay Date Ideas If You’re on a Budget