I attribute much of my success to the importance of mindset, meditation, and masterminding. They have contributed much to my life and you too can enjoy their benefits as well with a little effort.
Changing your mindset and the way you think about the world around you will open you up to new possibilities happening all around you. Meditation will help increase your self-confidence and expand your awareness among many other things. Masterminding will help hold you accountable for your own personal growth and development.
1. Mindset: The Importance of Mindset
Study after study has shown that the mind is an extremely powerful instrument. Things most people thought was impossible were later achieved by scientists, athletes, businesspeople and everyday individuals, simply because they believed they could and they persevered.
You may have heard the famous quote from Napoleon Hill – author of the classic personal development book, Think and Grow Rich – who said:
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
That belief, by the way is a choice. It’s simply a thought you decide to think over and over again until it becomes automatic.
Scientists know that our belief about whether something is possible is a byproduct of our life experience. Through a lifetime’s worth of events, our brain actually learns what to expect next. Since our brain expects things to happen a certain way, we often achieve exactly what we expect.
This is why it’s so important to have a believing mindset. Believe it’s possible to achieve something in your life and things will often turn out exactly as you believe they will.
Of course, there’s a negative aspect of belief. Believe that failure or disaster will befall you – and guess what… it usually will.
Positive AND negative outcomes are why it’s so important to hold positive expectations in your mind.
When you replace your negative expectations with positive ones and begin to believe that what you want is possible, your brain will take over the job of accomplishing it for you.
2. Meditation: A Powerful Success Tool
Today, I am going to be a participant in a 5-day meditation retreat in Santa Barbara.
I always like to take a couple of weeks a year to spend in stillness and silence. It helps me to relax, de-stress, go deeper into my essential self and open myself to the inner guidance that I receive during these times. Once I catch up on my sleep after the first two days and enter into a deep state of peace, the insights, ahas, and breakthrough ideas that come to me are usually very profound and useful in my daily life and work.
The title for Chicken Soup for the Soul®, which has become a brand worth hundreds of millions of dollars, came to me after three days of meditation.
The idea for creating the Chicken Soup for the Women’s Soul book came to Marci Shimoff, who became the coauthor for that book, came to her during a silent meditation retreat. That book was the catalyst for all of the other more than two hundred targeted Chicken Soup books that followed.
Another reason I attend meditation retreats regularly is that I drop into a deep space of unconditional love for myself, my wife, the fellow participants at the retreat, and for people outside the retreat—my family, friends, staff, students and humanity in general. Living in this state of unconditional love and acceptance is one of the most fulfilling experiences life has to offer.
While I am of meditating for the next week, I encourage all of you to add meditation to your daily practices, even if for only 20 minutes a day. I promise you both the internal and external rewards will be worth it.
You can learn more about how to meditate from my meditation guide. It's a downloadable PDF that teaches you an easy meditation that you can do at home.
Guided Meditations and Visualizations
When I lead meditations at my training events, I use a process called guided meditation. I help my attendees meditate in a deeply relaxed state. They visualize the images, scenery and emotions they’ll experience once they’ve achieved the lifestyle they dream about.
Meditation and visualization has been repeatedly proven to :
- Enhance self-esteem
- Expand awareness
- Increase memory
- Facilitate optimal performance
- Evoke a more positive attitude
- Accelerate the learning of difficult subject matter.
Here is a video that walks you through a 4-part guided meditation for beginners.
In one of the most well-known studies on creative visualization in sports Ohio State University divided 15 basketball players into three groups of five players each. They tested each student to establish their average free-throw percentage. They asked:
- Group 1 to practice shooting free-throws everyday for 30 minutes.
- Group 2 to not touch a basketball for 30 days.
- Group 3 to not touch a basketball for 30 days, but instead visualize shooting free-throws and to see each shot going into the basket perfectly.
At the end of the study they had the players shoot free-throws and compare their results.
- Group 1, which had practiced 30 minutes a day, showed a 24% improvement.
- Group 2, which had not touched a basketball for 30 days, showed no improvement which is not surprising.
- But Group 3, which had only visualized shooting perfect free-throws, showed a 23% improvement without any practice.
The body literally cannot tell the difference between a real event and a vividly imagined event.
The point is that you can literally build skills, improve performance and actually program yourself to do the things necessary, see the opportunities available, and create the ideas necessary to achieve the goals you want.
3. Mastermind: The Power of a Mastermind Group
And the final success strategy is one of the most powerful tools ever used by successful people. Whether it's the world’s richest people from the early 20th Century or today’s modern icons of business. It’s called the mastermind group.
Napoleon Hill first talked about mastermind groups in his book Think and Grow Rich. It’s the one concept people most reference when they credit any one thing with helping them become a millionaire.
Andrew Carnegie had a mastermind group. So did Henry Ford. Ford would mastermind with brilliant thinkers like Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and others in a group they held at their winter mansions in Coral Gables, Florida.
Mastermind Groups Focus a Special Energy
They knew, as millions of others have discovered since, that a mastermind group can focus special energy on your effort, in the form of knowledge, resources and spiritual energy, too. While you must always do the work of becoming a great success, a mastermind group can harness and maximize the spiritual focus behind your success.
It’s this spiritual aspect that Napoleon Hill wrote about extensively. In fact, he said that if we are in tune with the mastermind—that is, God, the Universal Power or whatever term you use for the all-powerful life force, we have significantly more positive energy available to us. We can focus this power on our success.
In short, “mastermind” is both that power coming to us from above—from the God force—but also that power which comes to us from each other. Together, we know more and can focus more energy than any one of us can alone.
Assemble Your Own Mastermind
To assemble a mastermind group, choose people who are already where you’d like to be in your life, or who are at least one level above you.
If your goal is to become a millionaire, you won’t get much help if everyone in your mastermind group is making only $60,000 a year.
Of course, you might ask, “Why would anyone want to be in a mastermind group with me if I’m only making $60,000 a year?”
The answer is that you’re the one putting the group together. You’re the one providing the arena. You're organizing, supporting and building a forum for other people’s growth.
The truth is many people at a higher level will want to become involved simply because they then get to play at a game they might never organize for themselves.
The other people you’re going to invite are people they would like to be around, too. So make a list of ideal candidates and start asking.
If your goals center on a specific subject like starting a new business or investing money, you might start a mastermind group centered on entrepreneurship or investments.
You can always launch a general mastermind group plus a second mastermind group centered on a certain topic area where you invite people from the same field.
The ideal size of a mastermind group is 5-6 people. If it is too much smaller, it loses its dynamics. If it's bigger, it becomes unwieldy, meetings take longer, some needs go unmet and personal sharing is minimized.
Take Action and Start a Mastermind
Is starting or joining a mastermind group something you’d like to try?
Think about 5-6 people that you know who may want to start a mastermind with you. Think of people who are already where you want to be in your life. Ask them about joining. Leave a comment below of which one of these 3Ms had the greatest impact on your life, and I’ll be sure to follow up with you.
I’ve got a free download to help you get started in forming your own mastermind group, conducting the meetings and planning the best outcome for yourself from the masterminding process. It’s a comprehensive guide for inviting others to join the group, plus an agenda and tutorial on exactly how to conduct the meetings so everyone benefits.
Soon, you too could be assembled with people who are at the top of their game and who are eager to help you improve, too.