Our mental loops dictate who we are and what we value. Because of our loops’ power, it important to make sure we’re guided to creating positive loops. Sir John Hargrave, author of MIND HACKING, shares helpful tips to maintain positive loops.
In the Academy Award–winning movie Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio leads a different kind of mind hacking team. Inception is a mind-bending science fiction heist movie about a team that hacks not into bank vaults but into people’s minds as they sleep. Using a secret military technology, DiCaprio’s team is able to enter a “shared dream” with their target without that person’s knowledge, even implanting an idea into the person’s subconscious, a technique called “inception.”
As the movie progresses, we learn the backstory: DiCaprio and his wife once entered a shared dream, where they spent fifty years together in this alternate world, building massive cityscapes and seemingly growing old together. His wife began to fall in love with the dream reality, never wishing to return to “real life.” Unable to convince her, DiCaprio secretly placed an idea into her subconscious: This is not real.
The idea took root, and they finally woke up from their shared dream, to find that only three hours had passed. But that idea—This is not real— was so deeply planted in his wife’s mind that she could not escape it, even when she was back in the “real world.” Convinced she was still dreaming, she asked DiCaprio to jump off a building with her, before making the leap herself.
The movie contains three or four layers of meta-goodness, dreams within dreams within dreams, and leaves you with deep, unsettling questions about what reality really is. One of the critical messages of Inception is that implanting an idea in someone’s mind can have a far-reaching impact on the person’s life—for good as well as bad.
We want to use care in choosing our mental loops. If you’re writing code to regulate an automatic braking system or land a plane, a bug can literally result in lost lives. Similarly, choosing a loop like I’m the most important person in the world or I have absolute power over all my enemies, repeated millions of times, can lead to behaviors that are ultimately destructive to you and the world. Put another way: Be careful what you wish for.
Remember, your loops create your thoughts, your thoughts create your actions, and your actions create your life. This is not meant to paralyze you with indecision (a surprisingly common problem among geeks) but to encourage you to consider your positive loops carefully. Here are some tips that may help:
- Include the word “I.” Instead of Self-confidence, think: I am self-confident. Frame it in the first person, as if you are in control (which you are).
- Ask: What do I want? As with training a child or dog, keep it in the positive. Instead of I’m not so self-critical, try I’m gentle with myself.
- Think big. Think: How can I enlarge my sense of what’s possible? Instead of My business is making $20 million, try I’m a successful entrepreneur, adding massive value to the world.
- Create value. Ask yourself how you can add maximum value not just to yourself but to society. Instead of My wife and I get along or I have a successful marriage, try something like Our relationship is a model to the world. Have fun with it!
Now that you’ve mastered positive thoughts, don’t forget to dream big.