Ack!! Your computer is acting up—again—and despite hitting “escape” and every other “get-me-outta-here” key you can think of, you’re in frozen hell. “I hate this computer!” you mutter. Your co-worker glances over at you, “That’s what you always say. Maybe you should try talking pretty to it.” You snort, “Right! And the computer can hear me and will suddenly unlock itself. I’ll bet you still believe in Santa Claus.” Your co-worker shrugs: “Works for me.”

You grumble and groan, finally give up and shut your computer off, knowing you’ll lose the last three pages you so meticulously labored over. Later, on your way home, you decide to stop off at the market. “Not that I’ll be able to find a good parking spot” you mumble, “Not in this rain.” Five complete rounds of the parking lot later, you jam your car into a too-small space all the way at the far end, under a tree you’re certain will drop sticky goo all over the car, and trudge into the market. Wet. You left your umbrella at home. “Figures,” you snarl.

Sure enough, there are a couple of sticky goo blobs on the windshield, you wrestle your dripping bags into the car and bang your knee as you sidle into your seat. By the time you get home, you’re not fit company for anyone. Not even your cat, much less your spouse and kids.

What happened here? Is your life destined to be no more than a series of irritating events? Well, maybe yes and maybe no. It all depends on what you’re willing to tell yourself about whatever is going on. Because whatever you tell yourself is what will shape your perception, and perception is what determines action.

Before you say “I have no idea what you’re talking about” and hit delete, read on just a little further. It will all become clear.

Minds are funny things. They respond to suggestion, which is actually direction. When you say “I hate my computer!” your mind looks for things to hate about your computer. When you say “I won’t be able to find a good parking spot,” your mind rushes to obey. It does that by focusing your attention on those things that will fulfill your own prophecy.

With your computer, it doesn’t occur to you to ask Mike down the hall, generally thought of as pretty computer-savvy, for his help because your attention is locked (just like your computer) on “hit a key and get out of this.” At the parking lot, your attention is fixated on “won’t find a parking place” so you don’t see the customer slip into her car, ready to exit. You forgot your umbrella because you repeatedly say to yourself “I always forget my umbrella,” which your mind promptly acknowledged by focusing your attention on locating your keys and away from the umbrella stand as you headed out the door.

Your mind is, at all times, a willing servant. All you need to do is give it different direction.

Say to yourself, “Things always work out well for me” and deliberately focus your attention on what is working out well for you. Your mind will get the hint after a while, and start looking for how things are working out well for you. Over time, you will see more and more ways in which things are working out well for you, and they will work out well for you much more of the time. You’ve changed what you are able to perceive in what’s around you.

Say to yourself, “My computer is great” and make the effort to think of the many ways in which you enjoy your computer. Sure enough, your mind will catch the drift and you’ll soon find you have thoughts that support your enjoyment of your computer: like thinking of Mike next time your computer crashes. “I always find the perfect parking spot for me,” repeated with genuine enthusiasm will orient your mind to perceiving opportunities for good parking spots.

The key to working with your mind is to talk to yourself genuinely, believing that what you are telling yourself will soon be true, just like when you said “I hate my computer” you said it with gusto, totally believing you did hate your computer.

Train yourself to talk differently, positively, to yourself, and you’ll be amazed at just how quickly your mind responds, and how your experience of your life shifts into a much happier, more successful place.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a career and relationship expert and trial consultant. For more than 20 years, Dr. Nelson has worked closely with attorneys and corporate executives applying her expertise on how people think, make decisions and how they commit to those decisions. As a relationship expert, Dr. Nelson has empowered countless individuals to be happier, healthier and more successful at work, at home and in relationships.