Manifestation: Is It Really Worth Your Time?
Scott D. Clary | Mental Models, Performance, Business & Entrepreneurship
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Manifestation: Is It Really Worth Your Time?
Do you ever meet those people who just ooze confidence? Their posture is perfect, their investment portfolio is on-point, and their business is already thriving after one year of operation. You can hardly help but be drawn in by their radiant energy.
But when you ask them how they manage to live a superhuman life, they respond with, "I manifest my dreams!" and all of your respect for them quickly diminishes.
There's a lot of stigma around manifestation and the Law of Attraction in our society. There are plenty of believers, too – don't get me wrong. Most of the time, though, we scoff at this concept that seems to invoke ancient magic and invisible energy from the universe.
Recently, though, I spoke with a woman who I'm certain would change your mind in one simple conversation. I know I was convinced. See, manifestation doesn't have to be this strange channelling of the powers of the universe (unless you want it to, of course).
As my guest Natasha Graziano informed me, a lot of the mechanics actually come down to neuroscience. This is what we'll be exploring in today's newsletter – so let's dive in.
How manifestation is viewed in the business world
Natasha Graziano was my last April guest on the Success Story Podcast, and I want to explore her incredible takes on manifestation in just a moment. First, though, let’s take a tour through the ways in which we view (and misinterpret) manifestation in the business world.
The shortcut to success?
We’ll start with one of the most common misinterpretations of manifestation in business: the get-rich-quick scheme. Too often, we view manifestation as a way to circumvent the natural order of things. Most businesspeople know that, in reality, there's no shortcut to financial success – and this is where many people grow skeptical of manifestation.
In reality, manifestation was never supposed to be about taking shortcuts or magically bypassing the work that's necessary for success. Rather, it's about aligning your thoughts and actions with what you want to achieve and then allowing the natural way of things to run its course.
The spiritual 'woo-woo'
Another common turn-off for businesspeople is the spiritual affiliations often associated with manifestation. In fact, some businesspeople view the very idea of manifestation as a "woo-woo" concept that has nothing to do with the real world.
Now, I don't want to speak for all businesspeople – but I know that the majority of them are logical, rational thinkers. In fact, if you look at the four most common Myers-Briggs personality types of successful business people, they all include Thinking (rather than Feeling) and Judging (rather than Perceiving).
In other words, businesspeople are typically more interested in actionable steps that will produce tangible results, rather than in concepts that can be difficult to measure or quantify. And there's no denying that manifestation has spiritual links in its theoretical content, which can't really be measured or quantified.
The problem of inconsistency
Finally, there is the glaring inconsistency problem – and this also tends to surface in religious criticism. If manifestation doesn't work for everyone, why should it work for the minority? And, furthermore, if it does work for some people but not for others, what accounts for the difference?
These are all valid points that deserve careful consideration. After all, manifestation is an incredibly powerful tool – and we should be wary of any technique that has the potential to produce such vast outcomes. But at the same time, I think this also stems from a misunderstanding that manifestation is somehow synonymous with miracle-working or prayer.
As you'll see in Natasha's responses, though, manifestation relies more upon our own discipline and mindset than any outside force. In this way, it's more like a self-fulfilling prophecy than a miracle – and that's a much more tangible concept for most of us.
So let's get into Natasha’s thoughts on the matter.
Natasha Graziano: one of the greatest motivators of our time
You’ve probably heard this name floating around in business and productivity circles – but if you haven’t, here’s a quick rundown of her outstanding achievements thus far.
Natasha Graziano is the nation’s number one Mindset Coach. She was ranked ‘number 1 female motivational speaker under 40 in the world’ by Forbes Magazine, and the top female mindset coach by Business Insider.
Natasha is also the host of The Law Of Attraction podcast, which has gained over 100 million views to date (wow!) and is ranked in the ‘Top 10 podcasts to download in 2021’ by Influencive Magazine.
And if that wasn’t enough to blow your mind, Natasha is the creator of the renowned MBS Method (Meditational Behavioral Synchronicity) – your transformation to a greater life – which consists of ancient breathing techniques, meditation in altered states of consciousness, and strong roots in neuroscience.
Her knowledge has helped over 1.5 million people transform their lives, making her one of the most respected names in her field online internationally. She has been seen in The New York Times, Wealth Insider, Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar, BBC, Business Insider, Vogue, Forbes & many more top-tier publications.
Needless to say, you’ll want to hang on to your seats for this interview. Watch the full thing here for even more insights into her vast knowledge of behavioral neuroscience.
What is manifestation to you?
This is one of the main questions I explored with Natasha in our interview, not just for the sake of my audience, but for myself as well. I'm no skeptic, per se – but I do get stumped when people begin straying from reality into the esoteric.
To me, manifesting something means that you're constantly thinking about it. You're already assuming that you have the things you want so that all the actions you take in your day-to-day are subconsciously geared towards your goals.
Natasha takes it a step further, however, integrating principles of neuroscience and the ancient patterns our brains have always followed.
"I help people unlock their full human potential. I help people understand how to bring the ancient wisdom and the neuroscience together and where they meet. I knock out the skepticism, I knock out the woo-woo – I'm not interested in 'Think positively, and it will all appear!' No, forget it."
Right off the bat, I'm on board with this interpretation of things. I think taking a down-to-earth approach is what will help remove the stigma around these types of practices.
"Our mind is this piece of hardware, two million years old. It's the most incredible piece of hardware that we have in our body. It helps us to function, and it also helps us malfunction if we don't use it correctly. Sometimes you've got to unlearn what you know to grow."
So, what are the mechanics behind manifestation?
Natasha was kind enough to talk through some of the main points in her book, Be It Until You Become It, which hasn't even been released for wider purchase yet. She's got an immense knowledge base when it comes to this stuff, and I was excited to dig in.
Neuroscience and the anatomy of our thoughts
"Neuroscience is something I've researched for many, many, many years. We have a part of our brain called the reticular activating system. In the lower part of the brain, it filters two million bits of data every second – colors and sounds and things you see. And it shows you the things that you deem as important."
I'd heard of this concept before. If you notice a yellow car, suddenly you're seeing them everywhere. If you believe in bad luck, you'll begin focusing on all the bad things that happen to you.
"Anything you focus your mind on is what you deem as important. So if you are thinking thoughts of imposter syndrome and negativity – "I'm not worthy of love", "I'm not worthy of the pay rise", "I'm not worthy of having a good podcast" – your reticular activating system is going to show you evidence to prove that that belief system that you apparently deem as important is real."
I actually did a quick bit of research on this, because it sounds a lot like confirmation bias. Dr Carol Dweck, one of the most influential researchers in the field of mindset, talks about something called the Fixed Mindset; if you tell yourself that improvement is impossible and your goals are unachievable, you stop trying. All the evidence points to failure before you've even started.
"But if you start thinking thoughts of worthiness, of abundance, of wealth, of something different," Natasha explained, "Those new neural pathways, the synaptic connections, change. Your reticular activating system shows you new evidence around you. So it is up to you."
That last remark resonated with me – it is up to you. What turns a lot of people away from manifestation is the misconception that you give all responsibility over to the 'powers that be' – but as Natasha explains, it doesn't work like that. Refusing to take control is turning down an active role in your own life.
You can change your thoughts
Not many people are aware of this, but our thoughts are totally within our control. They aren't like stray hairs that refuse to be tamed on a humid day – we can change our entire mindset. The well-respected Dr. Caroline Leaf has spent much of her career proving this fact through extensive research. But it takes action, and it takes work.
"The other day, I was feeling amazing," Natasha said, "But I didn't start my day like that. I started my day in a very bad way. So how do you change those thoughts? You shake it off. You go do yoga, you go for a run, you literally physically shake the body. Because when you shake up the body, the DNA physically moves. The cells move. The atoms move. We change."
This is totally based on science, by the way. It's been proven time and time again that our physical state directly correlates with our mental state. Exercise sends more blood and oxygen to the brain, and it also stimulates the release of endorphins – aka the "happy hormone."
This is why so many people swear by things like yoga and meditation. They help to quiet the mind, and they allow us to focus on the present moment. This is key because our thoughts tend to wander towards the past or future.
And no, I am not suggesting that physical movement is a cure-all. Conventional medicine has its place in mental health treatment, just as therapy does. However, sometimes you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and you need to be shaken up like a snow globe to get back to your right mindset.
You are your habits
Natasha had one last piece of advice to help with building a manifestation mindset: be aware of your habits, and pull out the weeds as soon as they germinate.
She shared a great rule of thumb to remember – your thoughts become your feelings, your feelings become your habits, and your habits become you.
“Your habits become you. Who we are by the age of 30 years old is just an amalgamation of our habits. What we do, what we do regularly, and what we believe – that's who we are,” Natasha explained.
It's essentially a reworking of the infamous quote from Lao Tzu:
Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
You don't need research to back this up (although I'm sure you could find it). Isn't this simply reality for every single one of us? If you spend lots of time being inactive, you become unfit. If you spend most of your days reading, you become well-learned.
And now I'm really beginning to understand what it is to manifest: it's to take responsibility for your actions and to hold every thought captive.
But how do you actually do it?
After a quick surface Google search of "how to manifest your dream life", it was made clear to me that half of the advice on the internet right now is airy-fairy nonsense. (The other half is completely bizarre).
To be honest, I think knowing how to manifest simply comes from a deeper understanding of what we talked about in Natasha's interview. If you understand that your thoughts can quickly become your actions and that your actions can create your reality, you are well on your way to attracting the things you want.
I would take it a step further and say you're already manifesting without even knowing it. Of course, you might be manifesting the wrong things – failure, a lack of confidence, friendship loss, etc. – but you're still manifesting through every decision you make, every word you speak, and every emotion you feel.
The key is to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and learn how to direct them in the right way.
I'll round out the newsletter with some practical advice Natasha gave on changing your habits and your mindset:
"Write down every single thing that you've done from the morning until the evening. Before you go to bed, look back at every single thing you wrote down, and mark them out of 10. So you had your coffee? That was a nine out of 10. You had a negative call, so that's a two out of 10.
"Now, why am I asking you to rate them out of 10? Because anything that is under an eight out of 10 is something you want to dig out of your garden. You want to uproot and get it out of your garden – it's a motherf*cking weed."
Does she need to say more? Get rid of those weeds, and get the life you want. I know you’re more than capable.
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