Prime Your Brain for Mega Success

Did you know that the thoughts, ideas, images, and emotional states you are bombarded with every day are constantly influencing your level of success in life and business? Recent scientific research has shown that a single word delivered to your mind just before you begin a task can affect the decisions you make when performing that task. Furthermore, your emotional state will affect your memory and the degree of your success when making decisions and evaluating problems and solutions.ii Science refers to this phenomenon as cognitive priming. It literally optimizes your brain to make it work faster and more efficiently, and when you change negative beliefs into positive ones, restrictive moods literally melt away.

If you’re at point in your life where you know you want to make a specific change in your life, but you lack faith in your ability to make that change with confidence and certainty, cognitive priming can make all the difference. Let’s use the power of cognitive priming right now. When you’re finished, you’ll be in the right mood and right state of mind to achieve whatever goal you desire with greater ease, and you’ll transform your old behaviors and mindsets that have interfered with your success in the past.

  1. Write down one thing you would like to change in your life or business.
  2. How do you feel about your ability to begin making this change right now? Notice your thoughts and feelings, and write down your first impressions without too much analysis.
  3. Now think of a time in your life when you achieved a similar goal. The idea is to identify some past achievement that relates to your desired goal in any way at all, no matter how minor. For example, if you were unexpectedly asked to give a speech in two days and you haven’t given a speech before, you might feel quite nervous. In this instance, you could use cognitive and emotional priming by consciously remembering positive and enthusiastic conversations you’ve had with both friends and strangers in the past. Relive those memories of success vividly: see the colors and images your saw at that time; feel the feelings; smell the aromas, taste the flavors; think the thoughts you experienced at the time; and see the world the way you saw it at that time.
  4. Now think about the desired the change you wish to make in your life now. How do you feel about your ability to begin making this change right now? Write down your first impressions without giving them too much thought. You should notice a tangible shift in your confidence and enthusiasm.
  5. Write down one action you can take immediately that will help you achieve your goal. Now do it and notice how you feel.

Congratulations! You have just primed your brain and mind to successfully achieve your desired goal. The key, however, is to practice this every day. And how do you do that? Simply recall a time when you created a new positive habit, and vividly remember it with as much sensory detail as you can. Then take positive action. It really is that simple.

i - Mark Waldman and Andrew Newberg. Words Can Change Your Brain. Hudson House/Penguin, 2012.

ii - The affective regulation of cognitive priming. Storbeck J, Clore GL. Emotion. 2008 Apr;8(2):208-15.

iii - Making things difficult in lexical decision: the impact of pseudohomophones and transposed-letter nonwords on frequency and semantic priming effects. Lupker SJ, Pexman PM. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2010 Sep;36(5):1267-89.

iv - Individualized measurement of irrational beliefs in remitted depressives. Solomon A, Arnow BA, Gotlib IH, Wind B. J Clin Psychol. 2003 Apr;59(4):439-55.