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iPod - The Ultimate Self-Help Tool
Wow, what an outrageous claim! Why do I say this? Simple. I believe that listening to self-help audio books, seminars, and yes--you knew I was going to say it--Power Affirmations (even ones you record yourself), is the most powerful way to learn and recondition your thinking. And when you improve your thought habits, your life automagically improves.
The fact is that we live in a media driven world. There's television, radio, music, movies, magazines, newspapers, print ads, bill boards, business signs, websites. etc. There is no end to it. There is clutter--dare I call it mind spam--everywhere. All of these businesses interrupting your train of thought constantly in order to get you to spend money.
As the stakes get higher, the clutter is getting worse. Have you noticed how many movie posters/signs/banners are now starting to appear in your local mall? I walked through a mall recently and they have now started to hang the posters from the ceiling! Worse, the posters were all for the same movie and were strung together no more than a few yards apart. Just down a single hall within the mall, there were at least 20 posters one right after another essentially shouting for your attention. There was no way you could miss them. The movie being advertised was MR. & MRS. SMITH. No wonder it did so well in the opening weekend. Between these posters (and of course the soap opera being played out on the tabloids between Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Jennifer Anniston), it's no wonder the movie was a hit.
...and More Clutter
Here's another example of recently added clutter. There is a mall near my office (different from the mall mentioned above) that I sometimes go to for lunch. The mall has a typical foodcourt with a lot of tables. Up until recently, the tables were very typical--just a plain table top. About two weeks ago, they replaced every single one of them. What did they replace them with? Wooden tables with a plexi-glas table top insert that you could see through--where they could place more ads! Now you can't even sit down in the mall to have a nice quite meal without being distracted with more ads fighting for a piece of your brain.
I'm certainly not against advertising. All I'm saying is that every ad is designed for this: to interrupt your train of thought, tell you about their product, and get you to go buy more stuff (whether you need it or not). It's called interruption marketing for a reason. Unless they are able to interrupt your current thoughts with their ads, the ads don't work.
And this is just advertising. Add to this all the other forms of media, the voices of your friends and family, and there are a lot of internal representations buzzing around in our minds.
There's Power In Your "Internal Representations"
What do I mean by internal representations? They are the internal equivalent to our five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. This is how we think. And thought is power. We all have memories of these experiences, internal representations, that are replayed in our thoughts over and over. If I say, "pink elephant" you automatically form a representation of this phrase within your mind. Same with any other noun. If you notice a song stuck in your head, that's the internal representation of sound. Same with the words of other people. If you are in love, how many times do you hear the other person saying "I love you" in your mind even though they are no where in sight.
Here is a secret: your internal representations drive your current actions! They control our pain and pleasure which largely determines the actions you take. So advertisers work very hard to associate feelings of pleasure to having their product and pain to not having it.
If You Don't Think for Yourself, Others Will Do it For You!
There is a price we are all paying for all of this mind clutter--or mind spam. It means that you have to be really disciplined and mentally aware of what is happening so that you can choose your own thoughts. With so many distractions, you have to have an iron will to stay focused on your own personal goals and beliefs. If you don't learn to think for yourself, there are a lot of other people who are happy to do your thinking for you. The exact same thing is true for planning: if you don't have a plan for your life, others will plan it for you.
So with with this ocean of mind spam all around us, it's no wonder that we sometimes feel overwhelmed. That's because we are! At least mentally.
Take Back Control of Your Thoughts!
What are we to do? How do we take back control? There are a lot of ways, but the most effective way I have found yet is through audio programs. A lot of audio programs--but ones that I choose for myself. Ones where I know I will learn and where I know I will be fed the beliefs and ideas I need to achieve my goals. Even better, if I can create my own audio content in the form of Power Affirmations, so that pick the beliefs and the goals I want to focus on repeatedly in order to create the right internal representations and habits that will lead me to their fulfillment.
Why is the iPod (or any other MP3 player for that matter) the ultimate self-help tool? Simply because you can pack so much positive audio content in it and take it everywhere you go.
A Short History of Self-Help Audio
First there were records. Some people listened to positive material on records, but not many. I understand that Earl Nightingale had a best selling record, but I haven't heard of any others. Besides, you can only fit a small amount of material, it isn't portable, and you can't listen in your car.
Then there were casette tapes. This is when self-help audio really exploded. They were small, portable (the Walkman was the "original" iPod--how did Sony miss the transition to digital!), and you could listen in your car. But the amount of content was still limited--it took a lot of tapes for a seminar. And they have high duplication and shipping costs. Worse, they wear out or jam your player.
Then came CDs. These brought a vast improvement, but there was still the constraint of space (only about an hour of audio per CD). So if you wanted to listen to a lot of content without having to manually change CDs all the time, you had to get a juke box. I had two: a 100 CD juke box at home and a 20 CD juke box for my car. Being able to load so many CDs gave me a huge advantage. Newton's law applies here: a body in motion tends to stay in motion. As long as one CD after another could play without my having to do anything, they just kept going. And that made a huge difference for me. But the systems were big, bulky, clumsy, and and CDs could get scratched.
The iPod and other MP3 players have changed all of that--forever. Now I can pack all of my self-help programs on to a single device and listen hour after hour without having to do anything. And because the files are stored on my computer as well as the iPod, the only way I'd ever lose them is if I delete them or have a simultaneous crash on both systems. And there is no more searching around for a misplaced CD. Or having to move the CD from my car, to my portable CD player, or to my home. I just need to take my iPod--a seemless transition from place to place. Feeding my mind with Power Affirmations and positive content everywhere I go. And living in the "afterglow" of listening to it (replaying/rethinking the content in your mind long after you've stopped the iPod).
A Call to Action
Take action today to start listening to self-help audio programs. If you don't own an MP3 player yet, then go get one or listen to CDs. As you consistently feed your mind with positive material, your life will almost certainly improve. You will earn more money. You will have better business and job opportunities. You will have better relationships. Your health will improve. You will make progress towards your goals. Like a seed that blooms into a flower, it will take time for your ideas to take hold and make a difference in your life. Change may not happen overnight, but I bet you can progress faster than you may currently think is possible. Just like planting the seed takes only a moment, change can start right now. Change starts in an instant. The instant you make the decision and follow through. Do it now!
If you are interested in Power Affirmations on MP3s, then visit http://www.poweraffirmations.com/mp3files.htm.
Copyright (c) 2005 Bill Marshall - All rights reserved. Feel free to republish this article provided you include the copyright information and the weblinks where possible.
For practical self-improvement tips, visit http://www.poweraffirmations.com. Get my new free e-book, "Power Affirmations: Power Positive Conditioning for Your Subconscious Mind"
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