Perhaps you’ve heard the line often attributed to Adolph Hitler: “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” Based on the source alone, you might be hesitant to believe it is true, but, like it or not, the idea is sound.
Politicians use repetition all the time to sway our vote. “Vote for me. I’ll solve all your problems. My opponent believes. . .(insert an option here that the people won’t like). Then the campaign runs that commercial repeatedly on every form of media at their disposal, pounding the negative idea into our heads until there is no way we will vote for the other guy, unless we do because we’ve heard the other candidate’s name so often in the negative campaigning that it’s the one embedded into our memory once we reach the polls.
According to the advertising industry, a potential client needs to see your ads at least seven times before they'll act on it. Only seven times and the new information is in your long-term memory forever. Consider the new song you hear on the radio. The first few times you might hum along, catching a phrase or two that sticks with you. Usually the first words you remember are the oft-repeated chorus. Eventually you learn the rest of the words, sometimes whether you want to or not. I’m sure each of us knows the lyrics to a song we can’t stand–“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”–and finds the words stuck in our heads the rest of the day anytime we run across the song out of happenstance.
The things we hear repeatedly bore into our minds and become a solid part of who we are. Too often the things we hear come from our own minds, and they are usually negative. When we assign ourselves negative labels–You’re fat. You’re too stupid. You can’t do that.–we can be guilty of stopping our own progression toward the goals we want and the potential within us. We become our own worst enemy.
But what can we do to turn our lives around? How can we change that little negative voice with so much power into a force for good within our own minds?
Think and Grow Rich author Napoleon Hill once said, “Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” Protestant preacher and author Norman Vincent Peale (The Power of Positive Thinking) said, “Change your thoughts, and you change your world.” We are even told in the New Testament book of Matthew: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
Did you catch that? All things. Not just some things, yet how many times have we been guilty of picking and choosing those scriptures we will believe and those we do not? If we believe part of the scriptures to be true, then why not all? As we learn in Proverbs 3: 4-5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”
Change the negative thoughts in your head to those which are more positive, and you will find your life begins to change for the better. Trust and believe that you can lose weight, and you’ll find your actions become more supportive of that goal. Tell yourself you can learn whatever it is you need to know, and you’ll find a sudden hunger for knowledge that can be gained through reading or taking courses. If you want to change an aspect of your life or relationships, you can do that, if you only believe in yourself and you are willing to put forth the effort to do so.
Find those positive affirmations that work best for you and repeat them often. Act as if the things you say are true. Then watch the changes that come about in your life, and perhaps in the lives of the people around you. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish, if you only believe.