Napolean Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, famously said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve ''. This statement implies that the mind is a powerful tool, and when put to good use can achieve whatever we set out to do. Success is merely a choice.
Example of the Power of Belief
Scientists used to believe that humans responded to information that flowed into the brain from the outside worlds and external triggers. Today, they’re learning that instead, we respond to what the brain expects to happen next. Simply put, what we think about we bring about.
Research was carried out at Baylor College of Medicine, where they studied the outcome of arthroscopic knee surgery on patients with painful knees. The patients were given two different arthroscopic surgeries - one surgery involved scraping out the knee joint, and the other surgery involved washing it out. Their results were then compared to patients who had unknowingly received a pretend surgery, whereby a tiny cut was made around the knee area, but no actual surgery had taken place.
Years later, the patients who were given the ‘pretend’ surgery reported an equal improvement in pain relief and knee function as those patients who received the actual surgery. In this instance, the patients who received the pretend surgery expected their knee would improve - their brain made the assumption that the knee should improve. This is often known as the placebo effect.
Why would this happen?
Why would the brain allow this to happen? Neuropsychologists who study expectancy theory say it’s because we spend our whole lives becoming conditioned. Through all of the experiences we go through in our life, our brain becomes conditioned and learns what to expect next. When our brain expects something to happen, we often achieve exactly what it anticipates.
Why is this important?
Knowing the above helps us to see why changing our beliefs can help bring about what we think about. It is so important to hold positive expectations in your mind. When you replace your old negative expectations with more positive ones, and when you begin to believe that what you want is possible, your brain will help put you in the best position to accomplish this.