Your own wisdom from personal experiences is the best kind of wisdom.
How plastic is your life? How plastic is your organization?
We can draw analogies to everything in relation to the human mind, made of complex networks from different areas to ensure the free flow of information and ideas.
The workplace, an ecosystem, social constructs, a computer… and life in general. The theory of human consciousness is also tied closely to the mysteries of the universe.
See? Everything is interconnected.
There are three distinctive parts of being human: the mind (thoughts), body (emotions), and spirit (intuition). Each role has a function and drives every decision and action you make. It shapes who you are internally and externally. To be able to “manifest” your life and utilize the “laws of attraction”, you need a firm grasp of how these three parts of your consciousness work in unison.
Defining The Term “Manifestation”
People who are overly analytical and critical, and tend to put too much emphasis on the things that don’t really matter (such as semantics), and are unable to grasp the bigger picture. When you apply rigid labels on everything, not allowing room for agility— it stalls growth.
They are likely to snuff at the idea of manifesting because let’s face it, the unknown is scary and it’s easier to fall back on what we already know— but to make the ideology more inclusive, here are a few simpler ways to reframe manifestation:
- Manifestation is execution.
- Manifestation is taking inspired action.
- Manifestation is turning ideas into reality.
- Manifestation is an act of making things happen.
- Manifestation is harnessing your energy to create a new reality.
Neuroscience is already pointing in this direction— even if it’s a “placebo” (an outcome we created with our own thoughts) it’s real.
Everything truly starts from within.
The “Laws of Attraction” was popularized by books such as “The Secret” which is accused of pseudoscience, claiming to be scientific and factual but they’re not. Most of these books oversimplify what manifestation really is, and skip crucial points to sell a “shortcut”. These shortcuts promote dangers to a society littered with “toxic positivity” (a discussion for another time).
As peak performers, we know there is no such thing as shortcuts.
But we can use our biology to our advantage.
Science is the process of experimenting through trial and error and requires shifts in thinking when new things are discovered or old ways disproven.
Some may despise the term “manifestation” because it comes from the woohoo realm of energy healing, grounding, and meditation (which are all emerging fields of science, by the way). These are all things we have yet to be able to quantify but just because you can’t see it, don’t dismiss it as new-age BS yet!
Besides, let’s not get caught up in “labeling”.
Let me explain.
Getting What You Want: Is It Luck?
When good things happen to you such as landing your dream job or that random time you met your life partner— some call it “luck” but it’s more than that. You attract what you want in life because you’re creating it with all your thoughts and actions … which changes your energy.
We’re energetic beings (99.9% energy + 0.01% matter) and like energy attracts like energy.
Warning: This also works the other way around when you attract bad things into your life.
The Laws Of Attraction Explained
Forget the dollar, bitcoin, and other currencies out there— the only currency that matters is our attention.
“Attention is currency.”
Do you understand how important attention is, especially in a world that’s trying to steal our attention left and right with endless distractions from smartphones to advertisements, and unsolicited opinions from an acquaintance you see a few times a year?
The laws of attraction are the ways we create everything in our lives from our jobs to our relationships as a consequence of our thoughts and subconscious beliefs. If you know what you want, you can choose to direct your attention to your desired outcome.
You manifest what you want, by focusing your attention on your desire, visualizing it as reality, and directing energy towards your desire with action.
The problem is when we don’t know what we want, the universe gives us chaos.
That terrible relationship. The acquaintance who stole your money. The fight with your in-laws. Accepting a job with a toxic environment. Making a bad investment.
You weren’t aligned with the vision because you didn’t have clear goals. You didn’t create boundaries that aligned with your vision. You accepted things in your life that were way below your standards, and that’s when bad things happen to you. And sorry not sorry, but you need to hear this: it’s your own fault.
The Recipe For Manifestation
- Methods For Visualization
- Placebo Effect
1) Intention— And How To Create Them
Intention requires a growth mindset and an understanding of your body’s neurological and stress response.
Those unable to reach their dreams ignore the interrelatedness of the mind and body— the emotional and the logical. They think the two are unrelated, and pit the instinctive response of the right brain against the logical processes of your left brain. On top of that, you have your somatic response, your intuition— the “gut feeling” stemming from your entire body.
Interoception: Being Able to “Sense” Your Body
There is emerging evidence that your brain sends signals to the rest of your body through your nervous system and vagus nerve.
The tightness in your stomach, the butterflies fluttering in your gut, the tension in your shoulders, the nagging back pain— being able to read and interpret these feelings has important consequences for your well-being.
Being able to connect your thoughts to your emotions is called “Intuition”
Intuition is knowing something that feels “unknowable”, you can’t really explain where that snap decision or moment of profound insight came from. It’s deep-rooted knowledge that is instinctual yet not always reliable because it’s tied to your subconscious programming.
For example, you may choose a job because it’s your “ultimate passion” (emotional) but that job may not pay enough to fulfill stability and security (logical). You haven’t developed the intuition to be able to make the right choice.
Intuition requires practice and repetition— the destruction of old patterns and formations of the new, and the gathering of new experiences to imprint new paradigms and wisdom into your unconscious mind.
You need to understand and accept your mind-body connection as a whole to create true intentions.
When we set an intention, a marriage of our heart and mind takes place— our deepest emotions paired with rational thinking create harmony. We need these three factors to be in absolute to be in alignment to reach our desired goals.
How To Set An Intention
Self-awareness and daily reflection is the best to set intentions because it’s a journey of going deep to get to know yourself. Ask yourself hard but simple questions. Write and ponder about these in your journal and revisit them often because you will go deeper every time.
- What do I truly want? Is it what I really want, or what I think I want?
- Is my life going in the right direction? Don’t sugarcoat this one. Be hard on yourself.
- Where are my desires coming from? Your intentions need to be intrinsic for them to be sustainable, meaning it gives you personal fulfillment and you do it truly for yourself. Examples of external motivators that you should avoid:
- need to impress others (social)
- feeling of lack or not wanting to invest in yourself (failure)
- need to control others (power)
When your motivations are linked to underlying external factors such as settling for a life partner because you think your biological clock is ticking, or a time-sucking corporate role because it pays well, your body is going to kick into a fight-or-flight state.
Why? You’re going against your values for momentary gain.
Your immune system takes a hit as your body is flooded with cortisol, preparing to “run from the lion” (or your anti-values) as part of its primitive stress response. This is the cause of anxiety, brain fog, depression, illness, disease, and inflammation.
In contrast, when you create intentions that are aligned with your true desires, your nervous system will be less likely to be distracted by anxiety, thus creating flourishing health, a stable environment in your body for you to reach your goals— meaning balanced hormones, healthy digestion, good moods, happy brains filled with endorphins.
Quantum Theory: How Your Thoughts Can Influence Matter
In the field of quantum science, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science conducted a highly controlled experiment demonstrating how a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed. The experiment revealed that the greater the amount of “watching,” the greater the observer’s influence on what actually takes place.
Although emerging, this field of research is incredibly significant in discovering how the act of thinking can affect every cell in your body. In other words, the condition of your mind, body, and spirit today is the result of all the thoughts you’ve allowed into your consciousness since birth.
You need to integrate your mind and body to fully create an intention that is aligned with your goals.
Visualization works because your mind can’t tell the difference between what you’re actually looking at and a reality you imagined. While there are many things we don’t know yet within the scientific community, principles from cognitive psychology can be applied to how visualization works. Let’s touch on cognitive biases, the placebo effect, and mental time travel.
a) Self-belief is everything.
Some interesting facts about your brain:
- Your brain is primitively wired to see the negative (before the positive) for survival. Let’s face it, your brain doesn’t care whether you’re thriving, as you stay alive and pass on your DNA to create miniature versions of yourself.
- Your brain is “plastic” meaning it can rewire in response to experience and stimuli.
When we want something, we tend to notice it more— this is called “confirmation bias”. For example, if you’ve been dreaming of buying a blue BMW, you will notice blue BMWs everywhere. Because you want it that bad, you’re going to direct all your energy and attention into getting that blue BMW.
When it comes to goals and you only focus on the negatives, guess where that will lead you? A negative outcome. For example, if you want to lose weight but don’t believe you can, and your thoughts including “there’s no point” or “I lack willpower” will make you less motivated and more anxious. These negative thoughts force your brain to send signals to the rest of your body, causing a downward spiral, and activation of your stress response.
To make it simple, your cells are constantly replicating and if it’s constantly bombarded with negative signals from your brain that’s stuck in a state of chronic stress, the new cells will continue to deteriorate, weakening your body over time.
Your negative thoughts are affecting you at a molecular level.
Read that again.
In contrast, when you view your goals in a positive light, constantly giving yourself positive reinforcement with thoughts and mantras, you’ll feel more relaxed as you naturally drive your attention toward your goal. Happier people attract more opportunities, have better relationships, and manifest their goals easier.
Why? Because you have to believe in yourself.
A self-fulling prophecy.
To truly believe in yourself, you have to remove limiting beliefs. This is where visualization comes in.
b) Your brain can’t tell what’s real and what’s your imagination.
This is why visualization work — if you can visualize how you feel once reaching different stages of your journey or what your life will be like when you reach it, you can “trick your brain” into thinking it’s happening, or already happened.
The secret is that when you’re visualizing your future self, you have to embody the emotions that come with it. You know it’s working when you’re daydreaming and laughing, smiling, or even crying to yourself.
Your brain thinks it’s happening in real-time, and will begin to produce chemicals and send signals throughout your body, motivating you to get there. It’s like reverse psychology!
A self-fulling prophecy may just be the definition of manifestation. When we truly expect ourselves to reach our goal (self-belief), we’re more likely to.
Methods For Visualization
- Create an action board. Don’t call it a vision board, but an action board.
- Mental time travel. Athletes use mental visualization to “warm up” before a competition which involves a play-by-play blueprint of their game plan as if they’re watching a videotape of themselves.
- Intentional day-dreaming. I do this often when I’m out riding my road bike, during walks, at the elliptical at the gym, or before I drift off to sleep. I literally feel my dreams so profoundly that I feel like it’s happening. Your brain thinks it has too.
Visualizing & Enjoying The Journey
The Placebo Effect
The placebo effect is the idea your brain can convince your body that something “fake” is actually real (eg. medical treatments). It’s grounded in science and connected to our dopamine reward system.
The opposite of this is the Nocebo Effect: when you tell someone something good is bad for you, that person’s entire mind and body will believe it and start showing corresponding symptoms. Sounds like the negativity bias, right?
I’ve seen the placebo effect in action when I watched somebody get drunk over ginger beer.
The Magical Currency of Our Time: Dopamine
The placebo effect is part of your dopamine reward system.
Dopamine itself is not about the reward but the pursuit/buildup of the reward (your goal). It’s possibly the most important “currency” of our time because it drives motivation and attention. Neuroscientist, Dr. Andrew Huberman taught us that it’s literally about the journey and not the destination. Here is a quick Dopamine breakdown:
- Dopamine reinforces the pathways where you decide and tell yourself that certain things are good for you. You can learn to enjoy doing things over time even if you don’t just by consistency.
- Your goal should be able to put the effort in front of pleasure to be able to control your dopamine circuits.
- When you chase the reward instead of focusing on the journey, your dopamine baseline will end up decreasing because you receive less pleasure from the activity itself, so motivation drops.
- The amount of motivation or pleasure you may experience next depends on the amount of motivation you received prior, hence the importance of maintaining balanced dopamine levels.
- To control dopamine, you have to take breaks from dopaminergic activities good and bad whether it’s exercising, writing a book, shopping, or drug addiction.
- You must get excited about the learning process to your end goal.
- You must intrinsically enjoy activities for a larger dopamine hit. If you truly believe the activity is good for you and you keep on doing it, it’ll reinforce neuro-pathways by the process of myelination on a chemical level. Myelination is a fatty membrane that forms around neurons that carry electrical signals around your brain. Like how exposed wiring is weak and prone to damage— insulated neurons speed up neuronal transmission helping you form new habits and behaviors faster.
The science of dopamine is extensive and if you want to learn more, I recommend books such as Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence.
Live as though you have already achieved your goals.
What are the feelings you’ll feel once you reach your goal? You have to truly feel them. For extremely detailed visualization; relax, close your eyes, and ask yourself these questions when you are immersed in your desired outcome:
- How do you feel?
- What do you smell?
- What are you wearing?
- What are you eating?
- What do you taste?
- What do your surroundings look like?
- Are you inside or outside?
- Who is with you?
- What are they wearing?
- Is there music in the background?
- How is the mood?
When you truly embody the feelings of your journey, you are creating intense magnetic desire— an emotional intent so strong it is part of the formula to manifest your goals.
I recommended guided meditations on The Insight Timer. You can search for “visualization meditations”.
You can read and listen to all the advice you want but nothing matters unless you act on it.
Insights are conclusions drawn by analyzing information. Tips to drive action from insight:
- Keep it clear and concise. When you have clear, concise goals that align with your values and vision, you are more likely to take action, hence the importance of intentions and visualization.
- Measure your journey. Results drive motivation so document or journal wins along the way. Set milestones to give yourself rewards.
- Delayed gratification. Look at the bigger picture and break down your milestones into small daily actions and focus on doing them every day. One push-up, one page of a book versus none at all. This will help you not feel overwhelmed. The more you do something, the stronger connections get, and the less resistance there is.
- Make time to rest your mind. You can’t take action if you are overwhelmed and your brain if full of to-do lists and worries. Make space throughout your day to do absolutely NOTHING which will literally declutter your mind.
- Learn to trigger flow state where tasks feel effortless because you’ll be completely present and immune to distraction.
- Live on the edge of discomfort. Because dopamine requires effort preceding the reward, the tasks you are performing need to be challenging enough so your mind doesn’t get bored and your attention drift onto something else. The desire to overcome obstacles is wired in us because we all crave a sense of achievement.
- Have fun. When times get hard, don’t be too hard on yourself and trust yourself to stay on track. Take it one day at a time. Manifesting your goals should be fun because once we get there, we are naturally going to want more. Life is seriously ALL about the journey.
- Use strategies such as affirmations, mantras, journals, and reflection, and surround yourself with new and supportive, like-minded environments.
- To maintain momentum in your actions, use the power of gratitude to rewire your brain to see the positive first (rather than the strong negative bias you are wired with). Start this practice by journaling your gratitude daily.
TL;DR: The Science Of Manifestation
- Manifestation means literally making things happen.
- Attention is currency. You attract what you focus your attention on— the good and the bad.
- We are all wired towards negativity bias. Manifestation requires us to learn to rewire our brain toward positivity instead.
- Intention, belief + visualization are all required for neuroplasticity to help you manage your goals.
- Manifestation isn’t about “being positive” but taking action to rewire your entire brain and physiology to make things happen for you by harnessing your own energy.
- Quantum theory suggests that we build our own realities.
- The placebo effect plays a huge role in manifestation because if you truly believe it, you’ll most likely make it happen.
- The placebo effect is part of your dopamine reward system which dictates effort precedes reward to keep the system balanced.
- Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that drives motivation (not the reward itself). Think of the intense craving for ice cream before licking your cone or the process of selling your company— once all those high dopamine hits are achieved, some people fall into depression because they didn’t make the effort to maintain a healthy baseline of dopamine.
- Manifestation is not yet a quantifying phenomenon but it’s something to keep an eye on!