Yes. It can be done.
If you’re willing to temporarily sacrifice your comfort zone and all its unhealthy, unproductive, uninspiring elements…
Real change and growth awaits you, and it’s going to be fast. Like, so fast you won’t recognize yourself after a few months.
Still skeptical? You won’t be after you learn how the mind works and how each of us has the power to “crack the code”.
Is brainwashing bad?
I assume you’re reading this to…
- Shift to a better/more empowering mindset
- Experiment on yourself, not others
- Improve some of your positive traits/habits
- Eliminate or reduce negative traits/habits
In which case brainwashing — seeing your mind and by extension your life as a container that you have the power to fill with experiences — is actually a good thing.
Typically, we associate the term with really scary stuff like social engineering, abusive governments, psychological control techniques etc.
I guess these have taught us that brainwashing is indeed possible, but we don’t have to use it for the same reasons.
Any psychological technique (applied to yourself or others) is nothing but a tool, which means it’s almost never inherently bad — you choose how to use it.
Can you really brainwash yourself?
I guarantee you don’t want to use any extreme techniques on yourself anyway, so that being said, yes, it’s possible.
By the way, this post refers to “brainwashing” as the technique/process of changing your mental and physical behavior (e.g. habits) in a relatively short period of time.
The miracle of such techniques is that normally it would be extremely difficult (and time-consuming) to change habits that are deeply ingrained, especially after years or decades.
If you look at many people’s lives, you see some really unhealthy habits (e.g. addictions, negative thinking, endless complaining) being repeated over and over again.
The result: huge amounts of health, vitality, energy, and time being wasted. Rationally, everyone understands these habits are bad, yet it’s so incredibly difficult to get rid of them.
Luckily, there is a way out, and it’s easier than you think as long as you’re willing to go through the “brainwashing” process.
Scientific studies: how your brain works
To understand how your mind works and how this is possible, we look at scientific proof from studies on animals and humans.
This is dark stuff — don’t google it… I already did so you don’t have to. Also (in case it’s not obvious) I don’t support such studies, I am simply using them as evidence.
In short, experiments have shown that some deeply ingrained habits and even views (e.g. political, philosophical) can actually be changed or reversed quickly.
The bad news — the individual needs to experience some sort of shock. For example, a sudden loss, extreme stress, physical pain, etc.
The good news — to brainwash yourself, you can replace this with other types of sudden changes that are not painful and probably not even stressful.
As long as there is some type of sudden uncomfortable change, you can turbocharge your personal growth.
How to brainwash yourself
First of all, you need to decide that you are going to experience something new and invest some of your time/energy into it.
You also need to decide how you’re going to use this brainwashing thing and what your goal is. Is it better health, learning something new, a mindset shift?
The decision itself is the hardest part. Things can “happen”, but nothing can be done without your conscious decision. So… decide!
This is the key part. You want to “shock” your mind on purpose to make it detach from limiting beliefs and unhealthy habits. But as mentioned, this doesn’t have to be painful, just uncomfortable.
- Change your environment; move somewhere new, permanently or for a while
- Go hermit mode: use complete solitude to detach from any external distraction
- Wake up earlier (be consistent but make sure you don’t sacrifice sleep or health)
- Force yourself to get rid of a bad habit e.g. sell or throw away items linked to it
- Delete all your social profiles
- Drastically improve your diet
Remember, your brain won’t allow sudden changes as long as it’s comfortable. When comfort (routine and dopamine-inducing habits) is removed, magic happens.
This is essentially where you replace old with new and stick to it. You want to repeat the same exact activity each day, ideally multiple times a day.
Note that this can (and should) be done not just in terms of physical behavior but also thought. You can call it a mental diet.
Example: want to change the way you see the world and think more positively? Then force yourself to consume only the right content and think only positive things for the whole period.
The fourth and last step is to get to the point where you have forgotten who you used to be. Not literally, but still.
If you’ve 1) decided to change, 2) experienced the “shock” in the form of sudden change or loss, 3) repeated a certain thought and behavior over and over again…
Then chances are the new version of you has become subconscious. Which means the mind no longer questions what you are thinking and doing.
This is the secret: to get to the point where your mind doesn’t interfere. Change itself — any change — is always easy. It’s your mind and its mechanisms that get in the way.
If you don’t believe change is easy, look at it as objectively as possible. From the point of view of effort and time involved…
- Isn’t healthy eating the same as unhealthy eating?
- Isn’t consuming inspiring content the same as consuming toxic content?
- Isn’t being the best you can be the same as being the worst?
- Isn’t focusing on the good the same as complaining?
Subconscious habits are what either kill or save you. And here’s the thing — you will always have subconscious habits no matter what.
So the best long-term approach is to break the bad ones and then replace them with the good ones.
- Decide that you’re going to change
- Remove old sources of comfort/dopamine, change your environment, be as “new” as possible, avoid people who remind you of who you used to be
- Repeat the desired behavior as many times as possible, at first mechanically, then naturally and subconsciously
Thanks for reading and good luck! 😉