Unlock the Power of Your Mind to create the reality you want
By Kris Hallbom
"Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker whatever he or she thinks into it."
– Ernest Holmes
You are always creating your future. You bring it forth through your daily actions, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, goals and dreams. I call this way of creating your life experience, “bringforthism.”
Understanding the key elements of bringforthism allows you to more “consciously” create the future that you want, versus “unconsciously” creating the future that you don’t want.
Intentionally using the concept of bringforthism is a powerful approach to take in achieving any of your goals or dreams. Once you recognize how your mind really works, it becomes all more possible to achieve almost any goal. 1
For example, when Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines, was a young man he wrote down all of his business goals in a notebook that he carried around with him everywhere. One of his biggest goals was to build a successful business empire. He looked at his goal list every day, and constantly thought about what it would be like to be running a successful business empire. He also set his intent to have as much fun as he could along the way. 2
By staying focused on his goals and staying true to his intent, Branson achieved great success in the business world while having a lot of fun in the process. Since 1970, he has launched more than 400 businesses, exploring pretty much every industry you could imagine from: airlines, hotels, mobile-phone companies, banks, and even space tourism. With an estimated net worth of $4.7 billion, he’s one of the wealthiest people in his country.
In addition to writing down his goals, Branson spent a lot of time thinking about his future, and imagining what it would be like to accomplish whatever he set out to do. Interestingly, one of his favorite past times was to fantasize about his future. By the time Branson was 25 years old, he was well on his way to becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. 3
All of your future goals are not only a reflection of your subconscious thinking, they are mediated by your Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS is the part of your brain that serves as a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. The RAS, which is located in the core of your brain stem, takes instructions from your conscious mind and passes them on to your subconscious mind.
Because of this biological function, whatever you are thinking about or focusing on will seep down into your subconscious mind – only to reappear at a future time. Have you ever decided that you wanted to buy a certain car, and shortly there after you see cars everywhere like the one you wanted? That is how the RAS works.
From a very young age, Richard Branson had begun the process of programming his RAS and his mind into achieving his goals. There were several things that Branson did to subconsciously create the future that he wanted…
- He set a goal and wrote it down.
- He maintained a positive state of mind and attitude whenever he thought about his goal.
- He focused all of his attention on achieving his goal.
- He set his intention to make his goal happen.
- He also mentally rehearsed each goal over and over in his mind, as if it were a movie that had already happened. He did this by constantly fantasizing about his future.
The first key element of bringforthism is to set a goal, and write it down. Writing your goal down will trigger your RAS, which in turn will send a signal to your cerebral cortex to stay focused on achieving the goal. The more clear and specific you can make your goal, the better the chances are that your subconscious mind will help you achieve it. 4
There are four conditions for setting a well-formed goal:
- Describe your goal in positive terms. Be certain to indicate what you do want, as opposed to what you don’t want. Rather than setting a goal to not be nervous during a job interview, you can set a goal for being calm and confident instead. Keeping the goal positive will make it easier for your unconscious mind and RAS to sort for feelings of calmness and confidence. If you set a goal to not be nervous, then you will have to unconsciously sort for being nervous first.
- Ask yourself, “Is achieving this goal under my control, and can it be initiated by me?” Setting a goal for your boss to quit being a jerk is not a well-formed goal because you can’t control what your boss does. The only thing you can control is your own behavior and attitude towards your boss. So instead, you could set a goal to be more confident or assertive around your boss – or to simply ignore his or her behavior.
3. Define and determine the sensory-based evidence for achieving your goal. You can do this by asking the following three questions:
Keep in mind that the more specific you can be in answering these questions, the easier it will be for you to get clear on the specific steps you need to take in achieving your goal or outcome.
- Be ecological. Think about your goal and define any possible downsides to achieving it. You can do this by asking yourself, “Who else might be affected when I achieve my goal?”
For example, one of my clients set a goal to become a successful motivational speaker who traveled the country. He knew that he could easily achieve his goal because he was already a talented speaker. After setting his goal, he thought about the ecology and quickly realized that achieving his goal would have a negative impact on his two small children because of all the travel involved with being a motivational speaker. If he were busy out traveling around the country, then he would never see his children. 5
He immediately decided to change his goal, because his children were more important to him than traveling around the country as a motivational speaker. Instead, he set a newer goal to start a training business in the city that he lived in, and to start writing books and creating online learning programs. Within in a short time, his training company became wildly successful, and he was still able to go home at night and be with his children!
Bringforthism and Your State of Mind… Whatever You Think, You Shall Receive
The next key element of bringforthism has to do with your state of mind. This has to do with the emotional states that are connected to your goal. When you experience a positive state about achieving your goal, and stay focused on the outcome, you are sending a powerful message to your subconscious mind to bringforth the desired goal. Have you ever noticed that when you are in a good mood and having a great day, people will smile at you more than they usually do? That is because you are sending your Reticular Activating System (RAS) a message to be happy, and so your subconscious mind will begin to pay attention to more positive experiences.
In his essay on Compensation, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Whatever you think, you shall receive.” Hence, your attitude, moods and feelings are energetic attractors for various life experiences. Each one of these elements serves as a driver for your state of mind—and your state of mind serves as a trigger for where you place your conscious attention, and what you choose to focus on. If you are in a bad mood, then you are more likely to place your attention on negative things, which will makes it more difficult to achieve your goal. 6
Therefore, whatever you are feeling, you will bring forth into your awareness because your outer reality is a reflection of your inner reality. If you stay focused on your goal and have positive feelings about it, then your chances of achieving it will increase significantly – because you are sending a message to your RAS to filter its attention for the desired goal.
One way to keep your attention on your goal while maintaining a positive state is to monitor your internal dialogue and thoughts… Because of your higher cognitive ability as a human, there is a tendency to be constantly talking to yourself about what is going on in the world outside of you, and how it impacts you. Sometimes, it’s really easy to get into a negative space and not even realize it, because your ongoing internal thoughts and dialogue are outside of your conscious awareness. They are operating at a subconscious level, and are controlling the experiences that you bring forth, both positive and negative.
An easy way to become more conscious of your deeper subconscious thinking is to set your intent to be more consciously aware of your internal experience. You can do this by periodically checking in with yourself throughout the day to see how you are feeling emotionally. If you are having a good day, then chances are that you are maintaining a positive state of mind, and keeping your attention and focus on your goals for the day. If you find yourself wondering away from you goal, and having a hard time staying focused on it, then you can ask your subconscious mind the following question, “What is going on inside of me, and what is stopping me from achieving my goal?”
Interestingly, if you give your subconscious mind a moment to answer, it will tell you exactly what is going on in the form of a picture, a movie, or an internal commentary. You can then begin to communicate with this deeper subconscious part of yourself, and ask, “What do I need to do to get more focused on my goal?”
Again, more often than not, your subconscious mind will give you the answer or solution. Sometimes, the solution is really simple, like perhaps you need to simply rest or take a break. Other times, it may be more complicated.
For example, I had a coaching client named Barbara, whose goal was to start a new business. Barbara’s problem was that she was unable to take the necessary steps to bring her goal of starting a business into fruition. Every time she thought about doing the things she needed to do to start her business, she got overwhelmed and would place all of her attention on everything else, but her new business. Because of this, she got frustrated with the whole idea of starting a business and became depressed.
Finally, one day Barbara called me to see if she could help her regain her focus. During our session, she told me how overwhelmed and depressed she was by the whole idea of starting a new business. After listening to her for a few minutes, I asked her a simple question,
“Take a moment to drop inside and ask yourself, what is really stopping you from achieving this goal?”
Barbara quietly sat there for a moment as she contemplated this question. After about a minute of thinking about it, tears started coming from her eyes, and she said, “I finally realize why I have been so depressed about starting a business. Several years ago, I went into business with another woman and she horribly betrayed me. We ended up splitting up as business partners, and I had to take another job working for someone else. What I am realizing from this is that I still have a lot of anger toward her for what she did to me, and I need to forgive her and let go of that anger.”
The Power of Positive Intention
I then asked Barbara another really simple question, which was,
“What do you think the positive intention of your anger is?” (In other words, “What good are you getting from being angry, and how does it serve you to keep being angry?”)
Again, Barbara got quiet and contemplative. As she began to think about her answer, I noticed that her face softened up and she didn’t look so angry anymore. Barbara then replied in a soft voice, “Well I think the positive intention of my anger is that it was trying to protect me from something bad happening when I started my new business.”
Barbara quickly realized that her subconscious anger was keeping her from maintaining a positive attitude and focus around her goal of starting a new business. I then asked Barbara another question, which was,
“What are some other ways that you can protect yourself, without having to be angry?”
She thought about this for a minute and got a big smile on her face saying, “Well there are a lot of other ways that I can protect myself such as paying better attention to the business records that I keep, and being more careful about whom I do business with. I had a bad gut feeling about the woman who betrayed me, and I didn’t listen to it. In the future, I will pay better attention to my internal thoughts and feelings.”
Barbara then proceeded to outline a concrete business plan for starting a successful consulting business, which was the first time she was able to do this with such clarity and peace of mind.
Barbara’s inability to stay focused on her business goal was directly related to her deeper subconscious fear and anger around being betrayed. Once she gained conscious awareness of these feelings, she was then able to let go of her fear and anger and replace them with her own internal resources for protection. She did this by simply sorting for the positive intention of her subconscious anger, and then coming up with several solutions to insure that she would always be protected from any type of future betrayal. 7
Thus, Barbara’s subconscious mind was completely at peace with the idea of achieving her future goal of starting a successful consulting business. She was finally able to maintain a positive state of mind, while keeping her conscious attention and focus on her desired outcome of starting a new business.
Bringforthism and the Magic of Setting Your Intent to Create What You Want
Setting your intent is another key element for encouraging your subconscious mind to bring forth a desired goal or outcome. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word intent is derived from the word intend, which means to direct the mind and proceed on course towards a goal. Interestingly, the word intent originated from the Latin intendere, which means to stretch towards. Whenever you set your intent you are directing your subconscious mind to stretch towards your desired goal and future, and to enjoy the journey getting there.
To gain an experience with setting your intent and positively programming your Reticular Activating System and subconscious mind, try saying the following three sentences to yourself:
1.”I hope to enjoy my dinner tonight.” (Notice how you actually think about this – your internal pictures, voices, and feelings.)
2.”I want to enjoy dinner tonight.” (Notice how you actually think about this – your internal pictures, voices, and feelings—what is different from the first question?”)
3.”I intend to enjoy my dinner tonight.” (Notice how you actually think about this—your internal pictures, voices, and feelings—what is different from the first two questions?”)
Pay attention to how each of these simple changes in your language create a very different experience for you. For most people, the first question will produce some doubt. In other words, multiple images will appear in your mind representing different possibilities—one is that you may enjoy dinner and the other one being that you won’t.
The second sentence should produce a different representation. When you say, “I want to enjoy dinner tonight,” you will typically see what you want in the future, but you may not see yourself having it now. The future then may feel compelling because you see what you want. But there is still some room for doubt because it is more difficult to put yourself into the actual experience of achieving it.
The third image of intending to enjoy your dinner should put you into the act of fully enjoying your experience and being present to it. Intending for something to happen will generally associate you into the experience of achieving your goal and all the feelings, images and sounds that go with it. It’s as if it has already happened!
When you set your intent, you are marrying your subconscious mind with your conscious will to make something happen. It is like you are sending your Reticular Activating System a message that you are “expecting” the event to happen, and there is absolutely no room for uncertainty.
Setting your intent is a way of preparing your subconscious mind and RAS for the kind of journey that you will have in achieving your desired goal. While setting your goal represents the end result you want to achieve.
For example, Richard Branson set a goal early in his career to build one of the most lucrative businesses in England, which is where he lived. He also set his intent for it to be a fun and enjoyable experience. By staying focused on his goal and fully aligned with his intent, Branson became a wildly successful entrepreneur while having a lot of FUN in the process.
I originally learned about the idea of setting intent from a Peruvian shaman who my partner, Tim Hallbom, worked with many years ago in the deserts of Southern Utah. Tim was involved with a group of NLP Practitioners who were modeling the healing powers of the shaman. One of the men in the group, named Steve, had the beginning symptoms of early Multiple Sclerosis and asked the shaman if he would do a healing with him.
The shaman said, “Yes,” and told Steve to lie down on the ground, and engaged him in a rather unusual healing ceremony. He first got a rattle out, and shook the rattle over the Steve’s head, and chanted and sang for a long time. He then picked up Steve’s arm and gently spoke to it. He kept doing these kinds of activities for almost an hour.
Finally, the shaman looked at Steve and told him to stand up. He reached out his hand to help. When the shaman was finished, Steve, stood up and proclaimed with excitement, ‘I feel a lot better. I feel like I have been healed!”
Everyone in the group was impressed by this, and someone asked the shaman, “When did the healing actually take place?”
The shaman looked really confused by the question and replied, “The healing took place took place when I set my intent. The rest was just ceremony.”
What the shaman meant by his comment is that when he was clear on his intent, then it made it easier to achieve his goal of healing the man. Hence, the shaman recognized that if he and Steve entered into the same system, any change he made would be reflected in the bigger system including Steve’s health.
In Systems Thinking, there is a presupposition that if one part of the system changes, then the rest of the system has to change. Anthropologist and systems thinker, Gregory Bateson, metaphorically addresses the power of intent from a systemic perspective in his book, Steps to Ecology of the Mind.
“When the phenomenon of the universe is seen as linked together by cause and effect and energy transfer, the resulting picture is of a complexly branching and interconnecting chain of events. In certain regions of this universe (notably organisms in environments, ecosystems, societies, and computers), these chains of relating events form circuits which are closed, in the sense that causal interconnection can be traced around the circuit and back through to whatever position we chose as the starting point of the description. In such a circuit, events at any position within the circuit may be expected to have an effect on all of the positions at later times.” 8
Setting your intent is a powerful way of directing your conscious energy and attention towards your future goal, which in turn helps your subconscious mind and RAS stay focused on the desired outcome. Your subconscious mind and conscious mind are a system that co-exists within a larger system that we call reality.
How we think, act, and behave has a direct influence on the greater system of our external reality. When we set our intent, we are influencing both our inner reality, and our outer reality in a way that sets a chain of events into motion. We are bringing forth a new chain of events that are directly related to our deeper subconscious thinking, as well as our overall intent for the desired outcome and journey that unfolds.
Hence, the shaman was clear on the fact that the actual “healing ceremony” offered Steve’s subconscious mind something to wrap this process around. The healing ritual or ceremony was a way to comfort Steve’s subconscious mind, but the action took place systemically. You can’t change one part of a system without impacting the entire system. So, when you set your intent, not only are you sending a positive message to your RAS to create what you want– you are also influencing the greater system around you.
Not only does intent setting work well with goals and creating your optimal future, it’s also extremely useful to do throughout the day. For example, you might set your intent to find a parking spot quickly and easily when trying to park your car in a crowded area. Or perhaps you have a big meeting with your boss and you want the meeting to run smoothly and effortlessly. You could then set your intent to be calm and to speak clearly throughout the meeting.
Here is an easy process for setting your intent around certain goals and your future:
- Think of the goal or situation that you would like to set your intent for.
- Set intent for yourself in terms of the experience that you want to have in that situation, or in achieving your goal.
- If there are other people involved, then set your intent for the kind of interaction that you would like to have with them. Perhaps you would like to have fun, learn something new, be productive, feel peaceful, be happy or loving, feel respected, be calm and helpful, or feel connected with others.
- Create a mental movie of what you’ll be like in that future situation. Notice what you are experiencing in the situation once you have set your intent. What are you hearing? What are you saying to yourself? What are you seeing and what are you feeling? 9
Your Outer Reality is a Reflection of Your Inner Reality
If you don’t like what you see happening in your life, then consider it an opportunity to change your thoughts and feelings. Remember that whatever you see happening on the outside is a reflection of your deeper thoughts, feelings and beliefs about your life and who you are in the world.
You can start making immediate shifts in your life by taking responsibility for your life, and realizing that YOU are the one who is making it up. You are the creator and artist painting the portrait of your life, and you are doing it with your thoughts, emotions and beliefs. If you don’t like what you see on the outside, then take responsibility for it by changing your thoughts and feelings. And of course one of the quickest ways to change your thoughts and feelings, is to set your intent everyday to be more positive and grateful for all the good things in your life.
Have you ever noticed that when you are in good mood and having a great day, people will tend to smile at you and treat you more nicely? And when you are in a bad mood or having a difficult day, there is a tendency to attract negative experiences. This is because you have mirror neurons in your brain and people will literally mirror back to you whatever you are feeling. And of course, this is all taking place at an unconscious level.
According to the American Psychological Association, mirror neurons are a type of brain cell that respond equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action. This explains why you might flinch, when you see someone else fall down. Or if you see someone eating your favorite chocolate desert, you begin to salivate. It is because your mind is mirroring back the other’s person’s experience, and it’s as if you are momentarily experiencing their reality.
If you want to bring forth more positive life experiences, then be more positive. If you want to feel good about yourself and feel good about your life in general, then start monitoring your internal thoughts. Notice what thoughts you are carrying and what attitudes you are projecting.
Negative thoughts are self-reinforcing. Whenever you are in a negative mood, then you will have the tendency to focus on the negative in your life– and thus bring forth negative experiences. Whenever you are in a positive state then you will feel more motivated to sort for the positive experiences in your life, because you are literally directing your brain and unconscious mind to sort for what is good in your life. Remember that life is a mirror.
I had a funny experience a while, where I told a flight attendant on the airplane that I had intended to have a positive state of mind throughout the whole flight – and that I wanted the flight to be a good experience. I told flight attendant this because the plane had been delayed by three hours and everyone on the airplane was really grumpy.
Interestingly, every time the flight attendant walked by me, she would look at me and say, “Oh it’s you, you are the happy one!” Of course, I ended up having a wonderfully positive experience during the flight, despite being delayed by three hours. I also got a free glass of wine from the flight attendant!
In closing, I would like to suggest that you sent your intent to be more positive. I also encourage you to start writing out your goals and dreams, and to consciously focus on what whatever you want in life. (Versus what you don’t want in life.) Whenever you get in a bad mood, set your intent to be grateful for all the good things you have in your life.
Gratitude is another important key to bringing forth what you want
I encourage you to also start being more grateful for all the wonderful people and good things you do have in your life. You can do this by taking stock of everything that makes your heart and soul smile. Once you start doing this, you will begin to notice that the more grateful you are and the more positive you are, the better you will get at creating the reality of your choice and bringing forth more of what you want. Remember, life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker whatever he or she thinks into it.
References and Footnotes
- The word bringforthism, was coined by Kris Hallbom in 2002, and originated from all the research she had done in the fields of systems thinking, NLP and autopoiesis. She first came across the idea of bringforthism from and essay that she read on autopoiesis. The term autopoiesis means, “self-creating”, and was originally introduced by Chilean biologists Francisco Varela and Humberto Maturana in the early 1970s. The Greek meaning of the word auto is “self” and refers to the autonomy of self-organizing systems such as the human mind. The Greek poeire means production or creation, such as poetry, and refers to the ongoing creative processes that exists within all living systems.
Understanding the concepts of autopoiesis and bringforthism can help you further understand the deeper structure of our human experience on this earth, which includes bridging the gap between the subconscious mind and the conscious mind. Autopoiesis also explores the internal occurrences that happen within a system and the parts that make up the system; the relationships between those parts; the boundaries that surround and contain the parts; how information emerges from the system via cognition; and how external information triggers the structure of the overall system.
- Top 10 Tips for Making Lists by Richard Branson. (Www.virgin.com blog)
- Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson (Virgin Books, Ltd. London England, 1998 page 57).
- Write It Down, Make it Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser (Simon & Schuster, Inc. 2000).
- The Well-Formedness Conditions originated from the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).
- Compensation, The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson – Volume II Essays I (1841)
- Positive intention is common term that is used in the field of NLP. It originated from the NLP Presupposition, “Behind every behavior is a positive intention.”
- Steps to An Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson (Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. 1972)
9.The Intent Setting Process originated from the WealthyMind program developed by Tim and Kris Hallbom in 2000.
Kristine Hallbom is an internationally recognized NLP trainer, author and professional coach. She is the co-founder of the NLP Coaching Institute and has been actively working in the field of NLP for over 30 years. She is also the co-creator of the WealthyMind™ Program, which has been taught to live audiences in over 20 countries and has helped thousands of people create more of what they want in their lives.
She is the co-author of the book, Powerful Questions and Techniques for Coaches and Therapists, and has published numerous articles on wealth consciousness, NLP Coaching and systems thinking for a variety of psychology journals and magazines.
Kris can be reached through her website at: www.krishallbom.com
© 2020 Kristine Hallbom
Join my newsletter to receive articles and videos on how to achieve your full potential and become the best version of yourself. You will also receive valuable information on the latest research and trends in the fields of positive psychology and NLP.