Your mind is one of the most powerful assets you have. You are a genius, and you may not even know it! We are all geniuses. Take note of all the information that you have to process in order to walk, talk, reach for that cup of coffee, or read this article.

Your mind is so smart, in fact, that in this moment, it is absorbing information that you will never even be conscious of!

That is because your conscious mind can only do two or three tasks at once. Your unconscious mind, however, can process vast amounts of information at every moment. Your survival depends on your unconscious mind, not your conscious mind, because of the sheer volume of information that must be processed in order to function. An example of this is when you’re driving a car. There is so much information that comes at you when you’re behind the wheel: Is that child going to run out in front of the car? Where am I going? Is the car ahead of me accelerating? Is the traffic light about to change? All these things are being done for you automatically by the unconscious, which is the part of your mind that also dictates the majority of your behavior, choices, reactions, and experiences. That valuable piece of information alone should be enough motivation for you to want to master your mind!

If you don’t talk to your mind, if you don’t master it, it is going to master you.

You can always identify people whose mind is mastering them: they’re full of desires; they are always chasing something, on the move; and they simply can’t relax or “just be.” They are running on old and automatic programs that they learned from parents, teachers, society, and all kinds of sensory input. Maybe that’s you at times. If you learn to talk to your mind and tell it what to do, you become your own master and begin to break down negative programming.

Start by observing how and when you put yourself down. Let’s be honest, there are enough people in the world, unfortunately, who will put us down without us helping them to do it with self-criticism. Throughout your day, take a moment to breathe. It’s as simple as remembering to take a deep breath. By doing so, you are giving a command to your mind to relax. The more you relax, the more you’ll begin to observe your self-talk. When you observe yourself being self-critical, stop. Change your mind.

Our minds are actually wired to explore new things. That is great news for those of us who want to grow, expand, and embrace our own genius! Yes, we are wired to learn and integrate new information and experiences in every moment. So how do we reconnect with that aspect of ourselves that often gets forgotten? By remembering that an open mind brings you joy, and a closed mind brings you, well, very little.

The mind is also wired to ignore negatives. That is why if you ever say to yourself “Don’t eat that cake tonight!” and find yourself eating it anyway, it is because your mind has deleted the negative (“don’t”) and registers only “Eat that cake tonight!” Your unconscious accepts the command and ensures that you eat that cake! This is valuable information to have, because when you understand that the mind is wired to be optimistic, it becomes much easier to be positive in general. Think about it: In the face of hardship, what do we do? We keep going. So when you are self-talking (which is most of the time) remember to be gentle with yourself, and stay positive.

Here are five tools that will help you reconnect with your inner genius.

But please remember, I can give you a saw, a screwdriver, and a hammer, but they will not make you a carpenter. In order for you to become a carpenter, you have to use the tools. You have to take responsibility for your life, because if you don’t, somebody else will.

1. Remember to breathe.

If you consciously remember to breathe a few times throughout the day, you will be commanding your mind to relax. And a relaxed mind is an open mind. It will also develop your discipline, which leads to even more self-mastery.

2. Watch for self-criticism.

If you simply begin to watch your own self-talk, you’ll begin to recognize that self-critical voice when it kicks in. Change your self-talk and you’ll be on a fast track to a more positive and empowered relationship with yourself and the world around you.

3. Start your day right.

Begin every day by saying to yourself, “Every day, in every single way, I am feeling happier, more confident, more positive, and more worthwhile in the world.” Saying this simple statement every morning will begin to create a set of pathways in your mind that will begin to manifest that statement and bring it into your life.

4. Speak in positives. 

Remember that your unconscious mind does not process negatives, so when you’re speaking to it, always speak in positives. For example, avoid saying “I am not self-critical anymore.” Your mind will delete the “not” and process the rest, giving you more of what you don’t want. Instead, state the positive. For example, “I am more self-accepting than ever before!”

5. Embrace the new!

Opening up to new ideas, learning, experiences, and understanding is very empowering. It also opens you to abundance. Welcome new learning and your mind will love you for it!

Derek O’Neill is an internationally acclaimed psychotherapist, motivational speaker, author, martial arts sensei, and humanitarian. He is the author of More Truth Will Set You Free, the “Get a Grip” series of pocket-sized books, several children’s books, and an upcoming book on parenting (Fall 2013 release). Inspired by his worldly travels, he formed SQ Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focused on helping solve global issues facing humanity today. With charitable projects in twelve countries, the Foundation brings food, medicine, education, shelter, and other basic needs to children, families, and communities in need. In 2012, he was honored as Humanitarian of the Year and named International Celebrity Ambassador for Variety International the Children’s Charity.
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