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The Science of Getting What You Want

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We do not always get what we want when we ask for it, but perhaps we do not always ask for the things we want. "Asking" has conscious and unconscious components to it, so while you may be consciously asking for more money, good health or a relationship, unconsciously your requests may be quite different and outside of "earshot" of your conscious brain.

Why may it be true that if we ask, we will be given? And what can we do to optimize this? Here is the story as I see it.

(1) Myth One: "The plan you make consciously is the one that the brain follows." The brain creates action plans to get you to your goals. These plans are made deep in the unconscious. What you call your plan is only the blueprint, but the actual makers of your plan can only work efficiently when they are in the light of your unconscious.

(2) Myth Two: "First you intend, and then you act." Actually, several studies have shown that intention is also unconscious much of the time, and that sometimes, when we say we "intended" to do something, we actually just make this up retrospectively. You should suspect this whenever what you want is not happening despite your working hard to do this.

(3) Myth Three: "You make things happen with thoughts only." Actually, the final information pathway that takes you to your goal requires thoughts and emotion. If you "think" you are working harder to get what you want, you may not be actually making more money because your brain's efforts to get you what you want are thwarted by your resentment.

(4) Myth Four: "When you get what you want you will be happy. " Getting what you want brings relief. Happiness is a creative force that is different. It motivates the brain outside of reason.

(5) Myth Five: "Desperation will bring you what you want." It almost never will. Persistence is a different thing. But desperation is the result of fear, which slows down the brain. In my book: "Life Unlocked: 7 Revolutionary Lessons To Overcome Fear", I explain how understanding the brain biology of how fear disrupts your goal-setting can lead you to much greater happiness. Setting your goals in your brain while afraid is like trying to grow a plant in shaky soil in an earthquake. It never takes root.

So what can you change in order to be more likely to ask and be given what you want?

1. After you articulate what you want to yourself, let go of the goal and engage in the process of getting there. Let your unconscious brain do its work. Thinking of your goal all the time requires too much effort and robs the unconscious brain of the energy it wants.

2. If action and intention are actually "one" process, then stretch your imagination to understand that what you want is also connected to it. When you "want" something, you make it separate from who you are. Instead, give up the want and take short 5-10 minute breaks to practice even "pretending" that you have what you want. As you increase this time interval, you will see how what you want is already with you.

3. Strive for happiness without tying it into getting the things you want. Lead with happiness. If you do this, you will free up your brain to do its work. How can you do this? Mediation or mindfulness is one way. You take yourself out of "wishfulness" into "observation." Recognize that the world is as it is. When you notice things, truly notice them, it brings you into harmony with yourself and the world. Pure attention without question or doubt calms down the fear center in the brain.

Many people believe that these steps are impossible. And this belief is what stands in your way. There is a difference between the "emotions" you experience when you are simply your real self and those that you experience as a result of life's trials and tribulations. I am not recommending blissful denial; just openness to the possibility of other worlds of consciousness that our magnificent brains are capable of creating.

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