Remember what happened the last time you bought a car? Didn’t it seem that everyone was suddenly driving the same make, model and even color car you had just bought? This happened because buying a car was an emotional experience. It caused your brain to start focusing on that model and color car. We are wired that way—it’s how the brain functions. Once you understand exactly how the brain works, you will be able to condition it to focus on achieving anything you want.

The Brain Googles

Ninety-eight percent of everything scientists know about the brain has been discovered since 1996. Modern science has finally proven what successful athletes and entrepreneurs have known all along: that you can physically change your brain’s neurons and hard-wire your subconscious mind to focus like a guided missile on reaching your dreams and goals. This implies that no matter how bleak your past has been, you can make a choice to have an unbelievably successful future: if you can change the wiring in your brain, the past does not have to equal the future.

At the base of the brain, where it connects with the spinal cord, is a region called the Reticular Activation System (RAS). The RAS acts as a filter that decides which thoughts to focus on at any one time. We need this system to filter out the noise because every second, there are about eight million bits of information flowing through our brain. The RAS decides which messages will arrive at the brain. Once a stimulus gets past the RAS filter and enters the cerebrum, it can turn into conscious thoughts, emotions, or both. Even though the cerebrum is the center of thought, it will not respond to a message unless the RAS allows it. The RAS is like Google—there are millions of websites out there but you filter out the ones you are not interested in simply by typing a keyword.

You can think of the RAS as the brain’s gatekeeper to conscious thought. It’s critical to your future that you learn how to get the right messages past the gatekeeper.

Training the Gatekeeper

What causes some of the messages to get through the RAS and others to get blocked out? Whatever you are currently focusing on gets through. If your focus is to buy a house in the Rockies, your RAS will automatically filter in ideas that will help you get that house—people who might help you, opportunities to make it happen or resources that you might need.

What that means is that the more you keep your goals “top of mind,” the more your subconscious mind will work to reach them. Writing your goals down every day, visualizing your intended outcome and regularly saying affirmations will help you focus your subconscious mind on what’s important to you.

Visualization taps into the creative powers of the subconscious mind and gets it working 24/7 on helping you reach your goals. Unless you visualize, you miss out on resources that are available to help you out. And by the way, five-sixths of your thoughts are subconscious thoughts. You don’t want to ignore five-sixths of your resources, do you?

This also means you need to trust your hunches, gut feelings and intuition. Whenever you get a hunch, what actually happens is that your subconscious has just detected circumstances that are favorable for taking action. The sum total of your subconscious memory has spotted an opportunity favorable to you. Don’t ignore your intuition or gut feelings!

Once you learn how to get your subconscious mind working for you, your life will start to change dramatically. You’ll find yourself waking up in the morning filled with great ideas that will help you reach your goals. You’ll start meeting people who can help you realize your dreams. You’ll be like a magnet that attracts favorable conditions. People will start saying you are lucky!

The Power of Emotion

Whenever you repeat an affirmation or visualize something using a lot of passion and emotion, new neural pathways are formed in your brain. Intense emotional experiences actually stimulate the growth of additional spiny protuberances on the dendrites of brain neurons, which result in more neural connections and stronger memory and retention of that thought. This is why people can remember what they were doing when JFK was shot, when the Challenger exploded, and on 9/11. Those events were so emotionally charged that they created new mental pathways in our brains.

The newest brain research shows that passionately repeating the same statements over and over forms new neural pathways that can eventually fire as “belief,” and when this belief fires, it triggers you to take the actions that will help you reach your dreams. This is also why your self-talk and your choices in whom you associate with are so crucial to your success. What you say to yourself and whom you hang around with will determine what kind of neural pathways you develop.

Do you want to believe more in yourself? Beliefs are developed in the subconscious mind. If you don’t believe you can succeed, you need to change those beliefs by reprogramming your subconscious mind.

What kind of neural pathways are you building? Whether they will lead you to success or to failure is all up to you—so get to work on it right now! Schedule daily time to write your goals, vividly imagine what success will be like for you, get in front of a mirror and passionately tell yourself that your dreams will come true…and they will!

RUBEN GONZALEZ is a three-time Olympian, an award-winning
speaker and author of the book
The Courage to Succeed.