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“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you’re right.” Henry Ford

For the last 150 years, we have toyed with the idea that what and how we think is as important to who we are and who we can become as any other activity in our lives. High points along the way are marked by various books and trends, such as Napoleon Hill’s 1937 book Think and Grow Rich and Normal Vincent Peale’s 1952 best seller The Power of Positive Thinking. Over this window of time, many have benefited from these books and perspectives and yet many have been skeptical. Regardless of whether all the details were correct, what we are finding is that there is a seed of truth to what they were saying. Modern neuroscience and psychology are demonstrating the importance of changing your mindset. From Mindfulness meditation to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), researchers and practitioners are finding that a healthy life consists of not only the disciplines of sleep, diet, and exercise, but also ‘mindset.’

We have assembled a collection of quotations from various sources that confirm this perspective. Do we agree with every claim as stated? Not necessarily. Do we endorse every book in its entirety? No. However, the bibliography we have assembled is meant to show you that there is a mounting collection of references that claim, and substantiate the claim, that mindset matters.  

Walk Down The Mindset Path

In a day when our minds are bombarded by various inputs from news to social media, it is important to realize that ‘doing nothing’ is not an option: “When you refuse to change, you end up in chains.” We are built for change. However, what is possibly the largest impediment to change for most people: mindset. “Never surrender your dreams to noisy negatives.” Those noisy negatives might be telling you that you do not have the ability to change. Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset? “[W]e realized that there were two meanings to ability, not one: a fixed ability that needs to be proven, and a changeable ability that can be developed through learning.” You need to appreciate that you have the ability to take action and change. “A growth mindset is about believing people can develop their abilities.”

But how? “You don’t get a growth mindset by proclamation. You move toward it by taking a journey.” Illuminated Manuscripts are part of that journey.

A simple starting point is the idea of an affirmation. What is an affirmation? “An affirmation is a statement that describes a goal in its already completed state.” Said differently, an affirmation is “a repeated instruction to the subconscious mind, through the principle of auto-suggestion.” They are “also called declarations or mantras but the clearest explanation is that they are your goals written down in a completed state.” But how does one even arrive at an “affirmation”? What are the right affirmations for you?

The starting point is to remember the old saying “watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” It was Zig Ziglar who said “Repetition is the mother of learning and the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”

Consider the following from the source referenced above:

Audit your thoughts. Identify the lies you believe. Declare truth. Recognize your ruts. Dig new trenches of truth. Learn to ruminate.

Sounds easy, right? Not! This is work!

These Illuminated Manuscripts will, through using music and the wisdom of the ages, help put you in a headspace through which you can not only tackle your past, but you can engage your present and plan and instantiate your future.

To conclude, we are going to highlight a variety of quotes from our bibliography. These are soundbites – tweets of sorts – to help you see that there is growing consensus of the power of changing your mindset.

“They call it cognitive reframing. It’s when we learn to identify and correct irrational thinking. We could say this happens when we unbias our bias.”“Ask is it true, is it helpful, is it kind?”“The goal isn’t to stop listening forever to all my broken soundtracks. The goal is to turn them down when they get loud. The goal is to head them off at the pass when a traffic jam, unexpected corporate merger, call from an estranged sibling, or any of the billion surprises life throws at you cranks the volume to 10.” “You don’t think your way out of overthinking. You act your way out. You retire broken soundtracks. You replace them with new ones. You repeat those so often they become as automatic as the old ones. Those are all actions.”

The challenge is cognitive distortions. What are cognitive distortions? They are effectively when “we think about ourselves and our lives in ways that are pretty illogical and even unfair to ourselves. We make interpretations about what’s happening that are twisted and misleading, but we don’t realize it. That is what cognitive distortions are: a highly misleading way of thinking about yourself and the world. It’s a way of fooling yourself. And when you feel depressed and anxious, you will nearly always be fooling yourself.”“Need to learn to stop your ANTS: Automatic Negative Thoughts (Dr. Amen)”. “The key to dealing with any kind of negative thinking is to realize that you are ultimately in charge of whether to listen to or agree with any thought. Just because you think it – or hear it – doesn’t mean it’s true.”  

“Visualization activates the creative powers of your subconscious mind. It focuses your brain by programming its reticular activating system (RAS) to notice available resources that were always there but were previously unnoticed, and through the Law of Attraction, magnetizes and attracts to you the people, resources, and opportunities you need to achieve your goal.” “Remember: your negative feelings will always result from your thoughts and not from the actual events in your life. And if you're depressed and anxious, your thoughts will nearly always be distorted.” Things to be on the lookout for: “all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, mental filters, discounting the positives, jumping to conclusions, magnification and minimization, emotional reasoning, ‘should’ statements, labeling, and blame. These all denote forms of cognitive distortion.”

“As someone who wants to eliminate all self-sabotage, you avoid prioritizing which of your self-defeating patterns are the most important to target. And instead of actually trying out some suggested strategies, you ruminate about all the mistakes you’ve made in the past and continue to make.” … The “problem is with doing what they know rather than knowing what to do.” “Whatever you think about most will grow.”“The MPA (Multiple Perspective Advantage) means standing back and observing your own thinking.” “Our emotions are strongly determined by how much we talk to ourselves and how we interpret the events happening around us. A great deal of energy, time, and attention can be wasted on small and insignificant incidents just because they are continually being replayed in our minds.”

“By continually talking, thinking and writing about the way things are, you continually reinforce those same neuro-pathways in your brain that got you to where you are today. To change this cycle, you must focus instead on thinking, talking, and writing about the reality you want to create. You must flood your subconscious mind with thoughts and images of this new reality.” “Repetition of affirmation of orders to your subconscious mind is the only known method of voluntary development of the emotion of faith.” Write down your affirmation, repeat the affirmation day and night, and write it down and place it somewhere that you encounter frequently. 

“Remember, as you carry out these instructions, that you are applying the principle of auto-suggestion, for the purpose of giving orders to your subconscious mind.” “Remember, your subconscious mind functions voluntarily, whether you make an effort to influence it or not. This, naturally, suggests to you that thoughts of fear and poverty, and all negative thoughts serve as stimuli to your subconscious mind, unless you master these impulses and give it more desirable food upon which it may feed.” “Whether we consciously recognize it or not, we are always responsible for our experiences. It’s impossible not to be. Choosing to not consciously interpret our lives is still an interpretation of the events of our lives. Choosing to not respond to the events in our lives is still a response to the events of our lives.” “I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love with not the fight but only the victory. And life doesn’t work that way. Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.”

Are you starting to see a pattern or theme?

Now that you know The Story and The Science, the only remaining part of this triad is for you to learn a bit about The Sound.   

Selected Bibliography

    Acuff, Jon. Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking. Grand Rapids, MI: BakerBooks, 2021.

    Amen, Daniel G. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 1998.

    Boyce Ph.D., Alice. The Healthy Mind Toolkit: Simple Strategies to Get Out Of Your Life. New York, NY: Tarcher Perigree, 2018.

    Brooks, Arthur C. From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose In The Second Half of Life. New York, NY: Portfolio/Penguin, 2022.

    Brooks, David. The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. New York, NY: Random House, 2020.

    Burns, M.D. David D. Burns. Feeling Great: The Revolutionary Treatment for Depression and Anxiety. Eau Claire, WI: PESI Publishing & Media, 2020.

    Canfield, Jack. The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be. New York, NY: William Morrow, 2015.

    Canfield, Jack and Dave Andrews. The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How To Cut Back Or Quit Drinking In The Privacy of Your Own Home. New York, NY: Atria Paperback, 2016.

    Canfield, Jack and Dr. Peter Chee. Coaching for Breakthrough Success: Proven Techniques for Making Impossible Dreams Possible. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education, 2015.

    Dweck Ph.D., Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York, NY: Ballenine Books, 2016.

    Gottlieb, Lori. Maybe You Should Talk To Someone. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.

    Greene, Robert. Mastery. New York, NY: Viking, 2012.

    Groeschel, Craig. Winning the War in Your Mind: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2021.

    Hill, Napoleon. Think and Grow Rich. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Essentials, 2019.

    Leaf, Caroline. Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess: 5 Simple, Scientifically Proven Steps to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, and Toxic Thinking. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2021.

    Manson, Mark. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. New York, NY: Harper One, 2016.

    Mason, John L. An Enemy Called Average. Tulsa, OK: Insight Publishing Group, 2013.

    Saad, Gad. The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2020.