How to change rapidly through the power of autosuggestion

Rapid self change through the power of autosuggestion

There was once a kid who hated himself. We won’t use his name so we’ll make up a fake name, let’s call him Garrett. Everyday this kid named “Garrett” would wake up, look in the mirror, and wonder things like “why does anyone like me?”

One day, he decided that the lack of self confidence would keep him from ever achieving his dreams and decided to do something about it. Because of that, he started outwardly telling himself and others: “I’m great, people like me, I like me”. Because of that, he eventually believed himself to be “not too bad”.

And now? He’s being flown to exotic places to teach entrepreneurism. It’s not fantasy, it’s autosuggestion.

What could your life look like if you had the power to create and shape your emotions, your self-confidence, even your abilities just with thought?

The power of autosuggestion: if you train your subconscious, you’ll train success

Autosuggestion is a psychological technique that was developed by Emile Coué, at the beginning of the 20th century. Effectively, what autosuggestion is, is repeatedly telling yourself, and thinking, visualizing, etc., but giving yourself and your subconscious, thoughts that you want to create and own as part of who you are, your being if you will.

Eventually, with enough repetition, and using the techniques properly, your subconscious doesn’t understand the difference between ‘what is true’ and ‘what is something you’d like to be true’, even when it’s false. So, by focussing on where you want to be, eventually, with these techniques, your subconscious will latch on to whatever it is that you are telling it through autosuggestion as truth.

How autosuggestion brought me from self hatred to self confidence

Yes, the story above is absolutely true. As an incoming freshman in college, I had no self-confidence, I had no belief in my own abilities, and I wasn’t excited; I was scared.

After living this way for really my whole life, but being acutely aware of it for about 5 years, I finally went through threshold. I no longer could accept the fact that I was not self-confident, I could no longer live this way, and I had read what effectively was autosuggestion, that if I was to fake it, after a long enough period of time, myself conscious would just believe it.

I had nothing to lose, so as a freshman in college for the first 6 months, all I did was act what I thought was confident; I was cocky… really cocky.

I wasn’t aiming to be cocky, I was aiming to be confident, but I kept telling myself that I was great, I kept telling myself that I was fantastic externally. Internally, my sub-conscious would respond that I was a fool to believe that I was so great.

Over time, about three to six months, my self-consciousness stopped fighting. It stopped saying “No, you’re not great, shut up” It started saying, “Yeah, we like us. I like me.”

This is an enormous typical moment in my life, going from no self-confidence, to liking myself. It sounds funny, but this was done entirely through autosuggestion techniques, and really trying to figure that on my own.

First technique for utilizing autosuggestion: overdo it

Going to the extreme end of the spectrum is a way to accelerate your process. What do I mean? For my self-confidence autosuggestion, I acted incredibly cocky.

I didn’t just say, “Yeah I like myself.” I said, “I am the best thing that has ever existed. I am incredible, I am phenomenal” And while I didn’t initially believe those things internally, and I don’t believe them now, by going to that extreme, it helped counteract the opposite extreme.

Think of a bracketing in a negotiation. If you want to get an item for $10, and it’s currently $15, one way to get it for $10 is to offer $5, and meet in the middle. This is what I’m suggesting with overdoing it.

Second technique for utilizing autosuggestion: visualization

If you’ve read through our recommended book, ‘Think and Grow Rich’, it is all about visualization for autosuggestion, and utilizing autosuggestion through visualization.

Spend time picturing exactly what it is that you want to happen, and your mind starts to take you there.

An example here would be Jim Carey, before he ever got famous or even slightly known, he was broke, living in Hollywood, driving around in a beaten up car, and one day, he stood at the top of the Hollywood Hills, looking out over Hollywood, he even wrote himself a check for $10,000,000 for “Acting services rendered”. But I’ll let him tell you the story.

And not long after, was making $10,000,000 per movie. This is the power of visualization.

Third technique for utilizing autosuggestion: creating an external feedback loop

Create an exterior feedback loop with others, telling you what it is you want to become.

So, let’s say that you want to be confident, by acting confidently, your friends and family might start mentioning that you seem confident. They might start mentioning that you seem cocky which for me was fine, because I knew that ‘cocky’ led to confidence. So, it may be a little bit of a round about to get there.

In the Vietnam War, the Chinese developed a technique that was incredibly effective at breaking Americans and getting them to turn in or to essentially switch sides. There was no torture involved, at all.

What they did instead, was they sat the American down, gave him a nice meal, gave him cigarettes, made him comfortable, but then, interrogated him for about 24 hours, until mentally, his defenses were down. Then they said, “Communism can’t be all bad right? Why don’t you write down a couple of reasons why communism might be okay?“

Then, the GI would write down a few reasons. Next they’d say, “Capitalism can’t be all good, can it? What are some of the reasons why capitalism may not be incredible?” And then, he’d write down some reasons.

Next they’d have the GI sign what he’d written.

The next morning, they read out this GI’s responses that were written on paper with his signature, to the entire camp. At that point, the GI could not deny that he seemed to look very pro-Communist, and not very American.

Worse for him, is that his fellow americans would start accusing him of being very un-American, a communist, and a traitor. Repeat that exterior feedback again and again over time, at some point, their subconscious said, ” I must be a traitor. I can’t deny that I said communism isn’t horrible. I can’t deny that I said capitalism isn’t perfect. Therefore, all of my exterior friends say I am a traitor, therefore, I am a traitor.”

At that moment, they switched sides. These are men who are highly trained in being able to be tortured and give up no information who snapped and went to the other side, reporting on the very men they fought alongside just months before.

Utilizing this in a positive manner for ourselves: doing that which you want to become gets people to tell you that that’s what they see in you, which in turn, tells your subconscious that that’s who you are, and if that feedback loop continues for long enough, that is who you become.

Utilize autosuggestion so that it doesn’t utilize you

We possess within us, a force of incalculable power, which, when we don’t handle it consciously is often detrimental to us. On the other hand, if we direct it in a conscious and wise manner, it gives us a mastery of ourselves, and allows us not only to escape and aid others to escape from the physical and mental shackles that hold us back but also to live in health, happiness, and wealth.

Stay driven my friend.


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About Garrett Dunham

Garrett Dunham is a Silicon Valley born-and-raised entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and startup advisor. His companies have been featured on the New York Times, NBC, TechCrunch, Fast Company, and Venture Beat, among others. He spends his days mentoring startups at Start-up Chile and Singularity University, building products, and blogging about entrepreneurial success and self optimization.