Unleash Your Mental Powers – Brian Tracy

The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good.

– Brian Tracy

Every change in your life will come about as the result of your mind colliding with a new idea. Ideas are the keys to the future. Ideas contain the answers to all of your problems and the ways to achieve all of your goals.Your need is to become an idea generator, so that you are continually coming up with new and better ideas to deal with the continuous changes and opportunities taking place around you.

       Fortunately, you are naturally creative. It is an innate quality. You are born with it. But creativity is subject to the Law of Use, which says, ”If you don’t use it, you lose it,” at least temporarily. The good news is that you can reignite your creativity by practicing the specific methods and techniques discussed in this book.


    Changing your thinking requires that you expand your ideas and imagination about the person you could be, the things you could do, and the things that you could have. Every person who accomplishes anything worthwhile in life begins with a big dream or a vision of what is possible for him or her.They rise above their current surroundings, their existing limitations and problems, and instead they imagine themselves sometime in the future living the kind of life they would like to live.You need to practice this way of thinking as well.

           Earlier, we talked about your ideal future vision.You create this by projecting forward five years and imagining that all of your dreams have come true. What would your life look like if it were ideal in every way? Where would you be? Who would be there with you? What would you be doing? How much would you be earning? And so on.

           You then return to the present day and your current situation. You think of specific steps you could take to capitalize on your opportunities and to overcome your limitations and obstacles. This is the primary use of creative thinking. It is to solve your problems and trigger mental breakthroughs that you can use to move faster toward achieving the goals that are most important to you.


    You think and operate your life with three different minds. The first is your conscious mind.You use your conscious mind to take in new information, compare it with your current knowledge, analyze it in terms of its value or relevance to you, and then decide to act or not to act. This is the mind with which you direct your life. This is often referred to as the objective mind.

           The second mind you use is your subconscious. Your subconscious mind is a huge data bank that records every thought, idea, emotion, or experience that you ever have throughout your life.This is called the subjective mind. Its role is to keep all of your words and actions consistent with your self-concept and with your current attitudes, beliefs, fears, and prejudices. Your subconscious mind does not reason; it only obeys your commands.

           Your subconscious mind is also responsible for the operation of all of your bodily functions. It controls your autonomic nervous system and your heart rate, breathing, digestion, basic memory, and so on. It is like a huge computer, so powerful and precise that it can process a hundred million commands per second. It maintains a precise balance of hundreds of chemicals in each one of your billions of cells, 24 hours a day.

           Your third mind is your superconscious mind. This mind is your direct connection with infinite intelligence. It contains all knowledge, and can bring you all the ideas and answers you will ever need to achieve any goal that you can set for yourself. This mind is the source of all inspiration, imagination, intuition, and hunches. It operates 24 hours a day, and will bring you exactly the right answer to your problem or question, exactly when you are ready for it. It is stimulated by clear goals, vivid mental pictures, and clear, positive commands in the form of affirmations.

           When you use all three minds in harmony, with each mind performing the functions for which it was designed, you will accomplish more of your goals, faster than you have ever imagined. The proper utilization of your three minds is central to your changing your thinking and changing your life.


    There are three main factors that trigger creativity.You can use each of them regularly, in everything you do. They are: first, intensely desired goals; second, pressing problems; and third, focused questions. When you use them all, you begin to generate ideas at a rate that will amaze you.

           By using these three methods of mental stimulation – goals, problems and questions – you activate all three of your minds simultaneously and you begin to function at much higher levels than the average person.


    The first factor is a clearly defined, intensely desired goal. You must know exactly what you want, set a deadline, make it measurable, and develop a plan for its achievement that you work on every day.There is a direct relationship between how clear you are about your desired goal and how many ideas you will come up with to achieve it.

           One of the most powerful ways to harmonize the activities of your three minds, and to activate your creative powers, is for you to rewrite your goals in the present tense each morning.

           Get a spiral notebook. Each morning, after your daily reading, take a few minutes and rewrite your major goals in the present tense, exactly as if they already existed. Take a few seconds after rewriting each goal to visualize it as though it were already accomplished. See each goal in your mind as if it already existed. Then, smile, relax, and let go.

           This method of rewriting your goals each morning, visualizing them as if they had already been achieved, and them letting them go with complete confidence is a vital part of creating the mental equivalent of the things you want.

           By using this method, you will help your goals to materialize exactly when you are ready for them. By writing and rewriting your goals, you burn them deeper and deeper into your subconscious mind. At a certain point, you activate your superconscious mind. At that point, you begin attracting into your life people and circumstances that can help you to achieve them.


    Emotion is the key. The more intensely you desire a goal, the more rapidly it materializes. Combining your idea of your goal with the intense emotion of desire or excitement is like stepping on the accelerator of your mental potential.Your mind will speed up and generate ideas for goal accomplishment. The more positive, excited, and enthusiastic you are about achieving anything, the more rapidly your mind goes to work to bring it into your life.

           Think about how you would feel if you had achieved your goal. Would you feel proud, happy, relieved, joyous, or exhilarated? Whatever the emotion would be, you should confidently and happily imagine yourself enjoying the exact feeling that you would have if your goal were already a part of your life.

           If you want to earn more money and achieve a higher standard of living, imagine that you are already there, living the life you desire. Imagine how you would feel. Close your eyes and get the feeling of happiness, joy, and inner satisfaction.

           When you can combine a clear mental picture of your goal with the same emotion that you would have if it were achieved, you activate your higher powers of mind.You trigger your creativity. You get insights and ideas that will help you to achieve your goal far faster.


    The second factor that triggers your creativity and activates your positive mind is pressing problems. It is only when you are experiencing the pressure of problems and obstacles that you are motivated to perform at your mental best. Facing and solving the inevitable problems and difficulties of life make you stronger and smarter, and bring out the very best in you.

           Most people do not understand the nature of problems. Problems are a normal and necessary part of life.They are inevitable and unavoidable. Problems come in spite of your best efforts to avoid them. Problems, therefore, come unbidden.

           The only part of a problem over which you have any control is your response to your problems. Effective people respond positively and constructively to problems. In this way, they demonstrate that they have developed high levels of ”response-ability.” They have developed the ability to respond effectively when unexpected or undesired difficulties occur.

           Problems of all kinds bring out your very best qualities. They make you strong and resourceful. The more pressing your problems, and the more emotion you invest in solving those problems, the more creative you will become. Each time you solve a problem constructively, you become smarter and more effective. As a result, you prepare yourself for even bigger and more important problems to solve.


    One way to improve your ability to solve problems, and to trigger your creativity, is for you to think on paper.Take a few moments to ask, ”What exactly is the problem?” Then write the answer down in such a form that it describes the problem exactly.

           You can then ask, ”What else is the problem?” You should beware of any problem for which there is only one definition. The worst thing you can do is to solve the wrong problem. The more different ways that you can state a problem, the more amenable it becomes to a solution.

           Whatever difficulties, obstacles, challenges, or factors that are hindering you or holding you back in any way, define them clearly in writing. As they say in medicine, ”Accurate diagnosis is half the cure.”

           Sometimes, when you begin to define a problem, you will find that it is actually a ”cluster problem.” That is, it is a single large problem surrounded by several smaller problems. Most problems you deal with will be composed of several smaller problems. Often in a difficult situation, there is one large problem that must be solved before any of the smaller problems can be solved.

           The best approach to this type of situation is for you to determine the main problem and then define the individual parts of the problem separately.You identify the core problem that must first be solved and then deal with the smaller problems in order. Sometimes solving one part of the problem leads to the resolution of the entire situation.


    A goal that you have not yet achieved is merely a problem that you have not yet solved.This is why success has been defined as the ability to solve problems. If you are not earning the kind of money that you would like, that is an unsolved problem. If you are not enjoying the levels of health and fitness that you desire, this is just a problem that you must solve. An obstacle that stands between you and your goal is merely a problem waiting for a solution. Any limitation that is holding you back is just another problem waiting for you to solve.

           In every case, your job is to not let the problem get on top of you, but rather for you to get on top of the problem.


    If I asked you what you did for a living, you would tell me the name of your current position or job description. But whatever your title, your real job is ”problem solver.” This is what you do all day long. It is this ability that makes you valuable. You are a professional problem solver.Your success in your career is determined by how effectively you solve the problems and achieve the goals of your position.

           Never complain about your problems at work.You should be grateful for them. If you had no problems at work, you would have no job. When people become unable to solve the problems that arise in their work, they are quickly replaced by people who can. When you become an excellent problem solver, you are quickly promoted to solving even bigger and more important problems.

           From now on, see yourself as a problem solver. The only question is, how good are you at your job? Your goal is to become absolutely excellent at solving any problem that the world can throw at you.


    The third way to activate your creativity is by asking focused questions. Well-worded, focused, provocative, challenging questions activate your mind and stimulate your thinking. The very best consultants often describe themselves as ”insultants.” They don’t give answers. They instead force their clients to ask and answer tough questions.

           To trigger your own creativity, you have to ask yourself some tough questions as well, and then question your answers.

           Remember zero-based thinking? Keep asking yourself, ”If I were not now doing this, would I start it over again today knowing what I now know?”You will be amazed at how creative you become when you examine every aspect of your life as though you could choose to start it again, if you wanted to, based on your present knowledge and experience.

           Often, the answer to your biggest dilemma is simply to discontinue an activity altogether. If it’s not working out, sometimes the smartest thing you can do is to simply abandon a particular course of action. Always ask, ”What is the simplest and most direct solution to this problem?”


    There are additional questions that you can ask to trigger your creativity – for example, ”What am I trying to do?” Be absolutely clear about your answer to this question.

           Whenever you experience any frustration or resistance in achieving a goal or getting a result, ask yourself, ”How am I trying to do it?” and ”Could there be a better way?” Don’t fall in love with your current methods.

           What are your assumptions? What are your obvious assumptions and what are your unconscious assumptions? What are you assuming to be true that if it were not true, your thinking would change altogether? Alex McKenzie wrote, ”Errant assumptions lie at the root of every failure.”


    I often work with companies that are trying to market a new product or service and they are having difficulties in the marketplace. When we seek the reasons for their business problems, they usually give me long lists of difficulties with advertising, promotion, people, sales, distribution, delivery, and service. However, the core problem is always that their sales are not high enough.

           I then ask them three questions. They are questions that you can ask when considering any potential product or service for any market.

           The first question is, ”Is there a market?” Are there people who can and will buy this product or service in competition with other products and services currently being offered? Many people start businesses without realizing how hard it is to attract a customer away from another supplier if the customer is currently happy with the other vendor.

           If the company’s answer is, ”Yes, there is definitely a market for what we sell. There are people who want it and are willing to buy it from us,” my next question is then, ”Is the market large enough?” Many a product or service is good, valuable, and worthwhile, but there is not a large enough market to justify investing all the time and energy necessary to bring it to the market. There are better and more profitable uses for the money.


    Many people go broke, especially in entrepreneurial ventures, because the market is simply not large enough for them to sell enough to justify the trouble and expense of producing the product or service in the first place. Every investment must be compared with other possible investments that are available at the same time.There may be better places to put your time and money.

           This principle applies to you personally, as well.Your job is to invest yourself so that you are getting the highest ”return on energy.” There are a thousand different ways that you can spend your time and your life.You yourself are your most valuable resource, and you must always invest this resource where you can get the highest return.

           The third question I ask my clients is, ”If there is a market, and the market is large enough, is the market concentrated enough so that you can advertise and sell to it in a cost-effective way?”

           This final question is what often sinks a new product idea.Yes, there is a market, and yes, the market is large enough, but the market is spread over such a wide geographical area that it is virtually impossible to sell to it effectively.


    A good way to trigger creative solutions to your problems is to apply the ”theory of constraints.”This theory says that, in every process or series of activities, there is a limiting factor. There are constraints or bottlenecks that determine the speed at which you get from where you are to where you want to go.The very act of identifying the critical constraints in your environment often triggers ideas and insights that help you to alleviate them.

           For example, let us say that your goal is to double your income over the next three to five years. You begin identifying the constraints on achieving this goal by asking, ”Why isn’t my income twice as high already?”

           Be honest. Ask yourself the brutal questions:Why aren’t you already earning twice as much as you are earning today? What is holding you back? Of all the things that are holding you back, what is the major limiting factor that will determine how fast you achieve your goal?

  • APPLY THE 80/20 RULE

    The 80/20 Rule seems to apply to constraints, but in a special way. In this context, this rule says that 80 percent of the constraints that are holding you back from achieving your goal are inside yourself. They are contained within you, rather than in your environment.

           Only 20 percent of the factors that are holding you back are in the outside world. This discovery is a shock to most people.The vast majority of people think that their major problems are created or caused by situations and people around them. But this is usually untrue. Most of the reasons why you are not moving ahead have to do with your own lack of skills, ability, or good personal qualities.


    Let us say that you are in sales.You want to double your income in the next three to five years, if not sooner.The first critical constraint you will identify is the amount of your product or service that you have to sell. If you could resolve this problem, you would achieve your goal.n

           Once you have identified this main constraint, you then ask, ”What is the constraint behind that?”Your next constraint could be the number of prospects that you have to find. If you could speak to enough prospects, you could probably double your sales and double your income.

           You then look behind that constraint and ask what is the constraint that is causing this limitation. This actual constraint may be your ability to prospect, something that is inside of you rather than in the marketplace.


    One good way for you to determine whether the constraint is internal or external is to look around you and see if anyone else is accomplishing the same goals that you want to accomplish. Is anyone else already earning twice as much as you are earning selling the same product or service in the same market? If someone is already doing it, then the constraint is internal, not external. It is something inside you. It is the lack of a particular ability or attribute that you need to overcome.

           It has been said, ”When a man’s fight begins with himself, he is really worth something.” The superior person always asks the question, ”What is it in me that is holding me back?” Superior people always look to themselves first. It may very well be that there is something in your outside world that is acting as the brake on your potential, but the place to start looking is inside. The odds are you’ll find it there.


    When you pull these triggers regularly, you will be stimulating your creative ability and switching on your mental lights, like turning up the lights in a dark room with a dimmer switch.

           When you set clear goals that you have a burning desire to achieve, you activate your creative mind. When you combine your goals with pressing problems, clearly defined, you generate more ideas. When you continually ask focused questions that provoke your thinking, you see more and better possibilities in every situation. And when you identify your key constraint to achieving any goal or solving any problem, you begin to perform like a genius.You put yourself onto the high road of success and great achievement.


    You have at least 10 different forms of intelligence, according to the research of Howard Garner at Harvard and the work of Charles Handy in England. Throughout your schooling, you were tested only on the basis of your verbal and mathematical intelligences. But research in the past few years indicates that you have a variety of intelligences, in any one of which you could be a genius; in combination, they enable you to accomplish extraordinary things.Your first job is to identify your predominant intelligence or intelligences; you then apply yourself using more of that intelligence in whatever it is you are trying to achieve.


    Your first intelligence is verbal. This is your ability to speak, your command of language. The ability to understand and to use language well is closely associated with success in any field that involves communication with others. In every society, there is a direct relationship between your level of fluency in your language and your income.You can actually increase your prospects and your rate of promotion just by learning and using more words.

           Each word is actually a tool for the expression of thought. The more words you know and understand, the more complex thoughts and ideas you can form. The better your vocabulary, the more respected and listened to by others you will be. This is why language skills are considered a key measure of intelligence.


    The second intelligence used to measure IQ is mathematical. This is your ability to use numbers skillfully, to add, subtract, divide, and multiply. In business, this is your ability to read financial statements and develop financial projections. The more knowledgeable you are about prices, costs, expenses, and financial ratios, the better decisions you can make, and the more valuable you become.

           Many people feel that they have no ability for numbers. They therefore avoid any area or activity where financial fluency is necessary for success. This can be fatal if one of your goals is to achieve financial independence. Fortunately, you can learn to understand the critical numbers in your business with a little study and application. As a result, you will be far more competent and capable of making good decisions for the rest of your business life.


    Your third area of potential genius is physical intelligence. This is the kind of intelligence enjoyed by top athletes who have extraordinary abilities of timing and coordination in the movement and use of their bodies. A person could fail in school on verbal and mathematical tests and still be an extraordinary success athletically, even though it would never show up on a report card.

           Many people sell themselves short by believing that they are not particularly capable at sports or certain physical activities.The good news is that with proper instruction and practice you can perform quite well in a variety of sports, such as swimming, skating, or skiing. It is really only a question of desire on your part.You have far more physical ability than you have ever used before.


    Your fourth form of intelligence can be musical. A Mozart or a Beethoven could have been poor at sports and poor in school and yet capable of composing some of the most beautiful classical music of all time. Many of the top musicians and popular singers today did poorly in school but turned out to have an exceptional ability to create and express music.They were able to perform at outstanding levels musically.


    Your fifth area of mental potential is visual-spatial intelligence. This is the ability to see and create shapes, forms, and patterns. An architect, an engineer, a painter, or a person who has developed the capacity to visualize very clearly would have this intelligence.

           An architect, for example, might be able to develop, first in his or her mind and then on paper, beautiful buildings that then people with mathematical intelligence would be able to convert into blueprints and exact dimensions for construction.

           This is also the intelligence you use for visualizing and seeing your goals in your mind’s eye before they emerge in your reality. This is an intelligence and an ability that you can develop with practice.


    Your sixth form of intelligence is interpersonal. This is the highestpaid form of intelligence in the United States. It is the ability to communicate, negotiate, influence, and persuade other people. It is characterized by a high degree of sensitivity to the thoughts, feelings, motivations, and desires of others. A person with high interpersonal intelligence has the ability to interact with people effectively to get things done.

           Successful managers, team leaders, and even military officers usually have interpersonal intelligence developed to a very high degree. As a result, people want to work and cooperate with them in the accomplishment of group goals.

           The highest-paid salespeople are those who are excellent at persuading others to purchase their products and services. The most effective businesspeople, consultants, and professionals demonstrate this intelligence constantly. It is the most important single ability of the successful politician. This may be your particular area of genius, as well.


    Your seventh form of intelligence is intrapersonal. This is the ability to be aware of yourself – who you are and who you are not. With this intelligence, you know exactly what you want and what you don’t want. You are capable of setting goals for yourself and making plans for their accomplishment. People with high levels of intrapersonal intelligence are good at introspection. They reflect on how they are thinking and feeling. As a result of understanding themselves better, they are more effective in dealing with others.

           The greater your level of self-awareness, gained through thought and introspection, the greater your level of self-understanding. The better you understand yourself and why you think and feel the way you do, the greater will be your level of self-acceptance.The more you accept yourself as a valuable and worthwhile person, the more you like and respect yourself. And the more you like yourself, the more you like others and the more they like you. Intrapersonal intelligence is very important to a happy and successful life, and you can develop it with practice.


    Your eighth form of intelligence is entrepreneurial. This is the ability to see market opportunities and then to bring the various resources together to produce products and services that can be sold at a profit. Entrepreneurial intelligence is one of the highest-paid forms of intelligence in our society today, and is the foundation of all successful, fast-growing businesses.

           Most self-made millionaires and many self-made billionaires started with nothing and made their money by applying their entrepreneurial intelligence to market opportunities that appeared before them. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft with an idea to develop software for the emerging market in personal computers. Michael Dell began assembling personal computers in his dorm room at college. They had high levels of entrepreneurial intelligence. You probably do as well.


    Your ninth form of intelligence is intuitive. This is the ability to sense the rightness or wrongness of a situation, to judge people quickly and accurately, and to come up with ideas and insights separately from your logic or training.

           Many people are great judges of character. They seem to know an enormous amount about a person within just a few seconds of meeting them or even just hearing their voices.

           Women’s intuition is more respected than men’s. But when men and women are tested and given intuition-dependent questions to answer, men and women score equally well.Why then do we respect women’s intuition so much? It is because women themselves listen to and trust their intuition more than men do.

           Fortunately, your intuitive intelligence is inborn and can be increased with use. The more you listen to and trust your intuition, the sharper and more accurate it becomes. As you use your intuition more, you will receive more and better answers from it. Author Jane Ponder said that ”men and women begin to become great when they start to listen to their inner voices.”


    Your tenth form of intelligence is abstract, or conceptual intelligence. This is the kind of intelligence possessed by an Einstein who could see himself riding on a beam of light and as a result was able to formulate the theory of relativity, which completely revolutionized the field of physics.

           The scientist F. A. Kekule saw a great snake curling back on itself and grasping its own tail. He recognized it as a clue to the ringlike structure of the benzene molecule, a critical discovery for our century.

           Often in your life, you will get a sudden idea or picture that combines several factors into a new synthesis. This can turn out to be a new business idea, such as Ray Kroc had when he observed the mass production methods for cooking hamburgers and french fries developed by the McDonald brothers of San Bernardino. With that insight, he started the 30,000-unit McDonald’s Corporation.


    Your combination of intelligences makes you a potential genius, and also makes you different from anyone else who has ever lived.Think of yourself this way: Imagine that these 10 intelligences are like the 10 digits from zero through nine. If you take any large city, you will find that there are hundreds of thousands of people with different telephone numbers, even though all of their telephone numbers are made up of an area code plus seven digits.

           If you give yourself a score from zero to nine in each of the 10 intelligences, you will have a 10-digit number that describes your personal combination of intelligences. This unique combination of intelligences forms a kind of personal intellectual telephone number. Your private mental code number makes you different from every other person who has ever lived. Like DNA, the likelihood of someone else having the same intellectual formula as you is billions to one.


    By developing and exploiting your unique combination of intelligences, you can perform at extraordinary levels. You need to first evaluate your intelligences and then grade yourself in each one.Next, you identify the special areas of intelligence that you enjoy the most, the ones that you have used most successfully in the past. Finally, you look around you and think about what kind of work you could do that would enable you to use your special combination of intelligences at the highest level.

           Above all, you must develop a greater respect for yourself and your potential brainpower. The psychologist Abraham Maslow estimated that not more that 2 percent of adults were doing all that was possible for them based on their special talents.You must therefore develop a higher level of faith and confidence in your ability to use your mental powers to overcome any obstacle and to achieve any goal that you can set for yourself.


    You have three ways of learning: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. You can learn by listening, learn by seeing, or learn by feeling and movement. Each person uses all three modalities to learn, but each person also has what is called a preferred learning style.


  • The Visual Learner

           Visuals like to see things clearly in front of them.They process information with their eyes. They have acute senses of sight and like to meet friends and business associates personally. If you give them verbal information on business results, they will ask, ”Do you have that in writing?”

           They are avid readers. When you quote a book or a magazine, they will want to get a hard copy to read personally. They like to take photographs, and like to see things rather than to talk about them.Visuals represent about 50 percent of the population.


  • The Auditory Learner

           An auditory learner likes to listen to others, to educational audio programs, audio books, music, lectures, speeches, and seminars. They are active conversationalists and prefer to have new ideas and concepts explained to them. If you hand them a written report, they will glance at it and ask, ”What does it say?”

           Auditories say things like, ”That sounds good to me,” and ”I hear what you’re saying,” or ”That doesn’t sound right.”

           They are also sensitive to music, and enjoy high-quality stereo equipment, concerts, CDs, and other sound reproductions. Auditories represent about 40 percent of the population.


  • Learning by Doing

           The third preferred learning style is kinesthetic, or learning by doing and touching. Kinesthetics have a hard time just sitting around. They want to be active, to try things out, often ignoring the written instructions (visual) or verbal instructions (auditory).

           You find kinesthetics in any type of work that requires manual dexterity, such as carpentry, mechanics, construction, and even driving trucks or cars. Athletes are kinesthetics as well.


    What is your preferred way of learning and dealing with the world? You will be happy and fulfilled only when what you are doing on the outside is in harmony with the unique and special person you are on the inside.

           When you combine your dominant intelligences with your preferred method of learning, you can create a combination of intelligence and ability that will enable you to achieve extraordinary things with your life.


    There are two powerful methods that you can use to unlock your brainpower and generate more ideas for goal attainment. These methods are called ”mindstorming” and ”brainstorming”. The first will make you rich personally, and the second will make you successful by enabling you to tap into the brainpower of other people. These methods are responsible for the creation of many self-made millionaires. You can use them almost anytime and anywhere.


    The process of ”mindstorming” is often called the ”20-idea method.” It is so powerful in generating ideas that when you begin using it your entire life will change. I have taught it to many tens of thousands of people all over the world. Everyone who uses it sees immediate profound improvements in each part of their lives to which this method is applied.

           The method is simple, which is probably why it is so powerful. All you need is a blank sheet of paper. At the top of the page, write out your current problem or goal in the form of a question.

           Let us say that your goal is to double your income over the next two years. Make the question on this goal as specific as possible. The more specific the question, the better your mind can focus on it and the better quality of answers you will generate with this exercise.

           So instead of writing, ”How can I make more money?” you would write instead, ”What can I do to double my income over the next 24 months?” Remember, you write this question at the top of the page.


    You then discipline yourself to generate at least 20 different answers to that question. Force yourself to write out 20 different things that you could do that would help you to double your income. You can write more than 20 answers, but you must write a minimum of 20.

           Your first answers will probably be simple and obvious. You could write, ”work harder,” ”work longer,” ”upgrade my education,” ”improve my skills in specific areas,” and so on. They will be easy. The next 5 to 10 answers will be harder. The last 10 answers will be excruciatingly difficult, like squeezing water out of a stone.

           But to get the most out of this exercise, you must force yourself to continue writing until you have answered the question 20 different ways.You can play with these answers if you like. For example, you can write the exact opposite of one of your earlier answers.You can also generate ridiculous answers as well.


    For example, you might write, ”work harder at my current job.” Your next answer might be, ”work less at my current job.” Or, ”work harder at a different job.” Or it may be to create your own job. Or it may be to get a second-income job, or to work part-time in another field.

           If your income depends on selling and your success in selling depends on prospecting, your answer could be to double the number of qualified prospects you see each week. Or it could be to see higher-potential prospects who have the ability to buy twice as much of your product. Or it could be to sell a different product with a higher commission per sale.

           In any case, the potential answers are limited only by your imagination, and your capacity to generate ideas to help you is, to all intents and purposes, infinite.


    Once you have answered your question with at least 20 answers, go back over your answers and select at least one answer that you are going to take action on immediately. This step is very important! It is your taking action of some kind that keeps the torrent of ideas flowing through your mind. As you take action on one idea, another idea for another action will come to you.

           Here is an exercise you can use to double and triple the impact of the 20-idea method. Once you have generated at least 20 ideas and selected the one idea you are going to implement immediately, you can then perform the 20-idea method on that new idea, generating 20 different ways to put that idea to work.


    If you generate 20 ways to achieve your major goal in the morning before you start out, you will find yourself thinking creatively all day long.Your mind will be sharper and more alert.You will see solutions to problems and obstacles as fast as they come up.You will activate the law of attraction and begin drawing into your life people and resources that can help you to achieve your goal.

           If you practice this exercise each day for five days, you will generate 100 new ideas to help you achieve your goals in the next week. If you then select one idea per day, you will be initiating five ideas per week.That is more ideas than the average person generates in a month, or even a year.

           If you generate 20 ideas per day, 5 days per week, 50 weeks per year, you will come up with an astounding total of 5,000 new ideas to improve your life and work each year. If you implement only a single new idea each day, 5 days per week, 50 weeks per year, you will be using 250 ideas per year to help you solve your problems and achieve your goals.

           The average person lives with very little creativity. He is usually a victim of psychosclerosis and homeostasis, content to keep on doing the same things in the future that he has done in the past, whether doing so is working or not. When you practice mindstorming on a regular basis, you will soon have so many good ideas that there will not be enough hours in the day to carry them out.

           More people have become rich using this 20-idea method than any other method of creative thinking ever discovered. All that is necessary for this method to work is for you to practice it regularly in your own life. All that is required is your willingness to use mindstorming regularly, and then to try out the ideas you generate until this process becomes a normal part of your life.


    Mindstorming is an exercise that you can do by yourself. Brainstorming is something that you do with others. Brainstorming is a form of mindstorming done in a group, but it has slightly different rules.

           Brainstorming was originally developed by advertising executive Alex Osborn, and was first described in his 1946 book, Applied Imagination. It has since proliferated and is used all over the world, in every type of organization and situation, to generate ideas for a variety of reasons. It is a very simple process to learn and use.


  • Six Steps to Brainstorming

           Step One: Assemble the group. The ideal number of people in a brainstorming session is four to seven. Below four, you don’t have enough minds to generate a large enough variety of different solutions to the problem. With more than seven people, the group becomes too large for participants to get sufficient opportunity to contribute.

           Step Two: Do not permit criticism or ridicule. The essential part of brainstorming is that no evaluation of the ideas takes place during the brainstorming session. The entire focus of the brainstorming session is on generating the greatest quantity of ideas possible within a short period of time.

           Nothing kills a brainstorming session faster than the tendency of people to criticize the ideas as they are generated. As soon as one person’s ideas are criticized, the brainstorming session comes to a halt. No one wants to be criticized. No one wants to be humiliated or ridiculed in front of others.That is why you must concentrate on the quantity of ideas and leave the evaluation of them to another time, or to other people.

           Step Three: Set a specific time limit. The ideal length for brainstorming sessions ranges from 15 to 45 minutes. One of the jobs of managers and team leaders is to sit their staff down on a regular basis to brainstorm certain problems. Call everyone together and announce that you are going to brainstorm a particular goal or situation for 15 minutes and then everyone is going to go back to work.You’ll be amazed at the results.

           Step Four: Select a leader for the group. The leader’s job is to encourage everyone to contribute as much as possible. One of the best ways to lead a brainstorming session is to go around the table and encourage each person to contribute an idea – almost like playing cards, where you encourage each person to bet or pass. Once you have gone around the table a couple of times, people will start generating ideas at a rapid rate.

           Step Five: Select someone to keep track of the ideas. A key function in a brainstorming session is that of the recorder. This is the person who writes down the ideas as they are generated.

           Step Six: Be punctual. Start and stop the brainstorming session exactly on time, no matter how well it is going. At the end, you gather up all the ideas and take them away to be evaluated at a later time.


    In another type of brainstorming session involving dozens of people, we break the group up and distribute index cards to each subgroup. Each of the smaller groups is assigned to generate ideas in answer to the question or problem. Afterward, the index cards containing the ideas are collected. They are then shuffled and handed out to the subgroups again, completely mixed up.

           In the second phase of the exercise, each subgroup is asked to take the ideas on the cards that they have received and evaluate them, rating them in terms of their value prior to reporting back to the overall group.

           In a session with 20 or 30 people, two or three hundred ideas will be generated in 30 minutes. When those ideas are gathered, distributed, evaluated, and reported back to the overall group, the results are absolutely astonishing! I have worked with companies that have come up with so many solutions to problems that had been stumping them that they did not have enough hours in the day, or enough people, to take action on more than a small number of them.


    If you are in a good relationship with another person, the two of you can form an excellent ongoing brainstorming team. A husband and wife, or any two people, together can generate a continuous flow of ideas, as long as they do not attempt to evaluate or criticize the ideas at the same time they are generating them.


    There are two parts to unlocking your mental potential and harnessing the genius that lies within you.The first is to accept that you are extremely intelligent in your own way. The second is for you to use the methods and techniques described in this chapter until they become second nature to you. Like a muscle that grows and becomes stronger with use, your mental muscles grow and become stronger every time you practice one of these exercises.

           There is something exciting and uplifting about generating ideas that help you to achieve your goals.The more ideas you generate, the more energy and enthusiasm you have. The more energy and enthusiasm you have, the more confident you become that you can achieve any goal you can set for yourself. The more ideas you generate, the faster you change your thinking about what is really possible for you. Eventually, you will reach the point in your own thinking where you will be unstoppable.


    1. Define your most important goal or problem in the form of a question and write it at the top of a page.Then, generate at least 20 answers to your question.
    2. Make a list of your most pressing problems or obstacles to achieving your goals.What is the simplest and most direct solution to each one?
    3. Think of your most important goal and ask, ”Why have I not achieved that goal already?”
    4. Identify the constraints or limiting factors that determine how fast you increase your income.What can you do right now to alleviate these constraints?
    5. What are the intelligences that you seem to be better at than others? How could you organize you life and work so that you are capitalizing more on these intelligences?
    6. What have you been good at in the past? What activities give you your greatest feeling of importance?
    7. What parts of your work give you the highest return on energy? How could you structure your work and your life so that you are spending more time in these areas?

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