Jun 1, 2007

Can Success Be Easy?

Well, of course. If you bother to find out how.

Mr Wang's methods are somewhat unorthodox. If he told you all about them, you'd think he's crazy. So he will be very careful about what he tells you. Take note - what you read about here today is merely a watered-down version of Mr Wang's unorthodox methods.

Mr Wang is a mindhacker. He didn't come up with that term himself. Mindhacker is the term that another blogger, Alvin Soon, once used to describe Mr Wang. It is an apt term.

Alvin Soon is a qualified neurolinguistics programming coach, who has used NLP to, among many other things, cure his clients' phobias (for example, of heights, public speaking etc). So Alvin Soon is quite an expert, quite a professional, at mindhacking too. Heheh, but Alvin knows that Mr Wang still has a trick or two to teach Alvin.

By mindhacking, I am referring to a collection of methods, techniques and processes whereby you will alter the way you think. One such method is meditation. Another method is hypnosis. Another method is NLP. There are others - some are esoteric and strange, and some are very simple and straightforward, such as writing down all your goals twice a day, every day, day after day after day, until they have been imprinted onto your subconscious.

Since the topic is vast, I can't address it in any real depth here. The applications are just as diverse. For example, one hypnotherapist I know helps her clients to quit smoking by hypnotising them to believe that cigarettes are vile and disgusting. When the client sticks a cigarette into his mouth, he immediately feels like throwing up (and in a 100% genuine physiological reaction, he WILL throw up, if he doesn't take that cigarette out of his mouth). Very quickly, the client will succeed in quitting his smoking habit.

Once you realise how malleable the human mind is, you will begin to see the endless possibilities. Life becomes vastly easier, if you can master just one or two mindhacking techniques and use them regularly. For example, suppose that you hate maths. If you could actually hypnotise yourself into loving maths, being excited and thrilled by formulae, equations and so on, aha ..... you'll see how very easy it could be, to succeed in doing well in maths. You just won't be able to keep yourself away from your maths textbook.

To better understand mindhacking, you must first understand that what we normally think of as objective reality, is actually highly subjective. What you think that the world is like, is mainly a result of what you think. What you believe that your circumstances are, is mainly a result of what you believe.

If you still do not understand that reality is very subjective, simply consider how different persons, placed in identical circumstances, can hold very different opinions about those circumstances. For example, two employees, X and Y, could be employed to do exactly the same kind of job in Company Q. They have the same pay, the same boss, the same colleagues and the same working conditions. X loves the job passionately and feels utterly fulfilled at the end of each workday. But Y hates the job bitterly and can't stop complaining about it.

Or two NSFs, A and B, are platoon mates in the same SAF unit, P. They are of the same rank and the same vocation, and their meals, pay, training, living conditions etc are identical. A thinks that army life is quite fun, exciting and adventurous, and he thoroughly enjoys the friendship and camaraderie of being with his army buddies everyday - these are the best days of his life. B, on the other hand, is so depressed about army life that he is secretly comtemplating suicide.

In truth, the job in Company Q is neither good nor bad, until someone thinks it is. Life in SAF Unit P is neither good nor bad, until someone thinks it is. Nothing in the world actually is, until someone thinks it is. That is why Prince Siddharta, you see, was trying to tell you that reality is just one big illusion. Albert Einstein agreed.

Now, if you are a mindhacker, you will learn the arcane arts of tinkering with your own mind. You will consciously choose the kind of thoughts and beliefs you want to have, and then you will penetrate into the deeper levels of your own consciousness, and you will plant those thoughts and beliefs there. And then you will be ready to play with that big illusion known as reality.

For example, if you are working in Company Q, you could hack your own mind and plant a mindset like X's, deep into your own head - and everyday, it will be a joy for you to go to work. If you are an NSF posted to SAF Unit P, you could hack your own mind and plant a mindset like A's,. into your own head - and everyday, life in the SAF will be fun, the most memorable days of your life.

Wherever you go in life, whatever you do, you could just keep hacking your mind, and planting whatever you want, into the deeper parts of your consciousness. You will truly believe that Company Q is a great place to work. You will truly believe that SAF Unit P is a marvellous place. You will truly believe that cigarettes are nauseating. You will truly believe maths is fascinating and exciting. And as far as you're concerned, all these things will truly be that way.

(A brief digression. If you truly believe that Jesus is your saviour and your path to eternal life after death, that's probably going to work too. But that is a topic for another day).

Of course, the first limitation is how good you are at mindhacking. It does take practice. If you are not very good, you may not be able to plant certain thoughts too deeply. For example, just as you may not succeed in ridding yourself of a fear of public speaking, you may not be able to create in yourself the belief that army life is enjoyable - even though there are clearly some people who love public speaking, and some people who love army life.

But as you grow more and more adept at mindhacking, your ability to consciously change your beliefs will grow. Whatever situation you find yourself in, you will have greater and greater ability to consciously select the optimal thought patterns for your situation.

Remember - there are all kinds of people in the world. Some enjoy climbing cold, hazardous mountains or running marathons. Some fearlessly give public speeches even to 10,000 people. Some love the challenge of studying for the most difficult exams. Some are calm, focused and good-humoured even under stressful working conditions. Some are very skilful and confident about dealing with the most difficult clients, bosses or colleagues.

So if you ever have to climb a mountain, run a marathon, give a public speech, study for difficult exams, work under stressful conditions, deal with difficult people, whatever else ....... all you have to do is steal the relevant mindset, and go deep, deep, deep into your own brain, and plant it there. You can do it, if you know mindhacking.

And yes, success will come more and more easily then - whatever you want to succeed in.

This post is dedicated to PC, who knows the reason why. Go bend reality, my friend.


Guang Li said...

I tend to agree with this "mindhacking" of yours, except that you make it sound so mystical and occultish. I find it to be nothing more than mastering your own mind. For example, if I don't feel like doing something, I tell myself sternly to prove that I have free will and do that thing immediately. It usually works.

(Whether or not we truly have free will is another issue together and not one to be discussed here)

Xiong said...

hey, then we should all mindhack ourselves to love the PAP, just like lucky Tan!

Anonymous said...

Recently, I was doing some research and came across different medical cases about placebo effects and mass hysteria. It is interesting for me to know that even without any real causes, your brain can literally convince your body to experience symptoms like stomachaches, nauseas, vomiting and even paralysis. The power of the mind is really astounding


Mr Wang Says So said...

"It is interesting for me to know that even without any real causes, your brain can literally convince your body to experience symptoms like stomachaches, nauseas, vomiting and even paralysis."

You are right about that. The most striking illustrations of this actually come from abnormal psychology, especially the rare "split-personality" cases, where each mental switch to another personality will cause the body to undergo major physiological cases.

There was a documented case about a teenager who had several personas, including one where she was a diabetic 58-year-old woman.

Every time the teenager switched into the personality of the diabetic 58-year-old woman, her blood sugar levels would begin to rise, and rise, like a diabetic, and she would require medical treatment.

However as soon as the teenager reverted to her real persona, or another persona, the blood sugar levels would start to fall and she would cease to be diabetic.

Mr Wang Says So said...

I meant "changes", not "cases".

Mr Wang Says So said...

"I tend to agree with this "mindhacking" of yours, except that you make it sound so mystical and occultish."

As I mentioned, the topic is vast. There are many different possible perspectives to start looking at these sorts of matters. Some of these perspectives can be hard-nosed, rational and scientific. Others, however, can be occultish, mystical, religious or spiritual.

For example, suppose you are willing to make these assumptions:

1. God exists.
2. God hears our prayers.
3. Miracles do occur.
4. God will make miracles, if you have enough faith.

These are fairly basic assumptions in most religions. Eg a Christian or a Muslim would not quibble with any of the above 4 assumptions.

For discussion's sake, let's just define miracle as "a highly positive event which according to conventional science or rational logic, should not have occurred or was extremely unlikely to have occurred."

Now, having made those 4 assumptions - notice the following:

(a) Prayer is a mental process. You think thoughts, don't you, when you pray.

(b) Faith is just belief, a pattern of thoughts that is very strongly held in your own head.

What does this tell you? Based on the assumptions that religious believers make -

altering your thoughts and beliefs, or strongly holding on to a particular set of thoughts or beliefs ...

..... can cause a highly positive event (which according to conventional science or rational logic, should not have occurred or was extremely unlikely to have occurred) to occur.

In other words, extrapolating from very basic religious assumptions -

what you think can cause, or lead to, miracles.

Anonymous said...

Of Champs, Chumps and Chimps, by Philip Jeyaretnam

Michaelk said...

Mindhacking is a great way to help students ace their exams.

When I was in Sec 4 last year, I was surrounded with negativity and distractions from classmates. They whined about stress, how difficult Physics and A Maths was, etc. I overcame those external forces by blocking out negative thoughts, fear, uncertainty and doubt. I rebutted those whiners in my mind. Coupled with pure hard work, I got 8 points for L1R5.

So, mindhacking is a great tool.

Alvin said...

Kudos, Mr Wang. You definitely have more then just a trick or two to show me and like all mindhackers out there, I look forward to it ;)

Anonymous said...

To Xiong:

the pappys have been mindhacking you all these while whether you like it or not. well, they've been TRYING. The 66.6 have succumbed...

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Wang, for your self-help/personal development series of posts, it would be really great if u could also include a reading list of materials that you have come across and found useful.

Karen said...

Mmm, Napoleon Hill. :)

Janice said...

This post somehow reminds me of the book, "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind" by Dr Joseph Murphy.

visceral said...

each person has his pet placebo

Anonymous said...

Running is a good way to build mental strength, perseverance and self confidence.

You are all alone in the journey.
It's the only time you hear your own voice clearly and from what it's telling you, you understand yourself better.

amatu said...

Mr Wang, ego leh...but i wont disagree u have more tricks than most ;)

Anonymous said...

The human mind is infinitely malleable.
Sounds a lot like doublethink...

yuez said...

Great post Mr Wang, you just told me exactly who I am like.

Under the pressure of doing well for exams over my years in school, I subconciously did what you call "mindhacking" now, basically psycho-ing urself to do something unpleasant for the sake of long term benefit.

Eventually it became like a habit, till I am able to do a self-paradigm shift whenever I discover new insights etc. It made me rather adaptable to new daring ideas, which is very important if we want to be an innovative country

Anonymous said...

Mind hacking appears to be a tool that gives human more freedom, more mastery over their life. But have we really found the holy grail? I am a little skeptical

First of all, I accept the mind can somewhat be self programmed. For example, if you tell yourself you want to remember a dream when you wake up, its more likely to succeed if you tell yourself that you want to remember your dream prior to sleeping.

However, can it really make a math hater into a math lover? Can self programming really make a person love something he has never liked before? I would like to discuss some qualifiers.

Firstly, when a student dislikes a subject, it could be due many reasons. For example, a student keeps telling himself to like accounting but never could do so no matter hard he tries. As he did not grasp the most foundational “double entry” concept in the first 2-3 chapters of the book, learning accounting becomes impossible when the other chapters are interlinked this “double entry” concept. This particular student has little chance of ever understanding accounting unless an experienced teacher tells him to restart from zero instead of working on the new chapters. Mindhacking cannot solve the source of problem, hence cannot change the dislike of the subject.

Secondly, the human mind has an instinctual element that is very difficult to reprogram.
For example, a lady who wants to achieve her ideal figure plans to lose weight using NLP. She tries to reprogram herself to suppress her hunger and eat very little. She tells herself that she would suppress her hunger and go on a diet. However, the body has such a system that when instincts are suppressed, it must resurge with a stronger stimuli to make a person to consume the food, hence overcoming the previous programming. The biggest danger is when the programming succeeds like a friend of mine. She cannot feel when her body is hungry and often forget her meals. Her body has taken toll and is facing an array of health problems. There are many similar inherited natural instincts such as fear of darkness, tendency to mate, etc that functions unconsciously. Can we really reprogram them that easily? And if we do, would the results be disastrous?

Lastly, the like and dislike of something is also heavily influenced by emotions. As emotions are directly linked to motivation, mindhacking devoid of any emotional content is like motivation powered on a 0.1V battery. It would be exhausted as quickly as it came. Can we really “will” our emotions at our will?

Mr Wang Says So said...

each person has his pet placebo

In your typical placebo experiment, a person has a medical condition; he is prescribed a drug. The drug is actually a dummy drug with no medicinal effect; it may be, for instance, just Vitamin C; but the patient believes that it is a real drug.

He consumes it, and shortly after, his medical condition improves. The patient is cured. We know that the dummy drug could not have done it - what cured the patient was his belief that he would get better by taking this drug.

People who don't understand the implications may say dismissively: "Oh, this drug is just a placebo", and miss the real implication.

The real implication is that what you think, what you believe, has a direct impact on your body. The patient believes that the dummy drug is a real, effective drug; (this is false); and he believes that this dummy drug will cure his medical condition (this again is false) -

but the effects of his belief on his body are NOT false. The change in the medical condition is measurable and observable - the blood pressure will drop; the pain will go away; the rash on the skin will clear up; the man will be able to have his erection again etc etc.

These are REAL effects.

The thing is that the patient is able to bring himself to believe that he will get better, only because he has been prescribed a drug and he believes that it will help him.

But the power to affect our bodies through our own thoughts is inherent in all human beings, although few of us can consciously do it (or do it without being duped by a placebo drug).

Yogis are a well-known example of how people can consciously affect their physiological functions with nothing more than their thoughts. They've often been studied by scientists. Here's one example:


"He participated in experiments that helped to revolutionize scientific thinking about the relationship between body and mind. He amazed scientists by his demonstration, under laboratory conditions, of precise conscious control of autonomic physical responses and mental functioning, previously thought to be impossible. Under these scientific conditions, Swami Rama demonstrated his ability to stop his heart from pumping blood for seventeen seconds, to produce a ten-degree difference in temperature between different parts of the palm of his hand, and to voluntarily produce and maintain specific brain wave patterns on demand. He first generated brain wave patterns that were predominately characterized by beta waves; then he produced alpha waves, which are generally associated with a relaxed state. Finally, he was able to demonstrate the production of theta waves. Theta waves are associated with unconscious states, in contrast to alpha and beta waves, which are associated with conscious states. While producing theta waves, Swami Rama appeared to be in a state of deep sleep. However, he was able to recall everything that had transpired in the room during that period."

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Firstly, when a student dislikes a subject, it could be due many reasons."

This is an illustration of something else which I may blog about in future. It's about limiting beliefs and sunconscious beliefs.

In this goal, the goal is to do well in maths.

But the student does not like maths.

So he seeks to instill a love of maths into himself.

But his dislike of maths may stem from different factors.

So the next step is simply to go one level down and see what those factors are.

And one more level, and one more level, if necessary.

This kind of probing actually teaches you a lot about yourself. For example, today you may feel that you are a mediocre, incompetent person who will never achieve success.

But why do you feel that way?

You can go probe your own head and find out.

And go one level down, and one level down ....

... and so on.

Often you will discover that the root cause is some incident that happened to you when you were a small child.

Eg some kindergarten teacher humiliated you in class in front of the whole class.

Suddenly you realise that this little incident has subconsciously affected you for your entire life.

Today you are 40 years old, and you feel that you cannot do your work properly.

And it all traced back to the time that you were 5 years old, and your teacher made you feel that you cannot do your work properly.

Once you realise that - and once you see that your kindergarten teacher's opinion does NOT matter, 35 years later - then you are ready to set yourself free.

You no longer need to be mediocre.

This is why I commented what I commented in that other post. Someone said something like, "10% of people will do well no matter what, the other 90% are just mediocre and nothing will ever change that."

I asked him: "What makes you think you're mediocre? Who told you that? When did you start believing that? Why?"

If he probes his head far enough, he may well find some vindictive, angry authority figure in his early childhood who inflicted such a negative self-belief on him.

Then he will be ready to be free. He will say: "This kindergarten teacher has probably died of old age by now. F--- her."

And he will be ready to release this belief, and consciously choose NOT to be mediocre.

Slawek Rogulski said...

Once you remove limiting beliefs and attitudes, work on your remaining beliefs and attitudes such that they are empowering you towards success, hone your mental focus to a fine point to bring forth to bear on your goal all the power you can muster like a laser beam then comes the responsibility to choose your goals. And what better way to achieve that than to have a clearly defined life purpose that can act like a filter and a milestone on the journey of life.
However, any of the mental gymnastics (NLP, paraliminals, HPP, hypnosis, affirmations, ...) do not answer the question of purpose. If anything, they make it more difficult to discern the purpose as more opportunities open up. The paradox (and paralysis) of choice. One realizes that previously impossible or difficult things are now within reach. Then one asks, what else is now possible? What goals are worthy of my potential and which ones are mere trifles, a waste of my new found potential?
And then comes the realization that if you truly can have anything then all desires disappear save for a few basic needs to do with keeping the body fed and clothed albeit simply.
So then one heads up a mountain to contemplate the Potential, mind of God, the invisible world, etc. Realizing this potential by the process of creation is mere child's play. Any mortal can do it. And one still remembers the entrapment of this creation, how the self was identified with the creation forgetting it's true nature. Understandably one is content to with the Potential which is the only permanence as opposed to the shadow play that this light throws down.

nofearSingapore said...

Hi Mr. Wang,
Having a can-do attitude is so impt.
Whatever you call it, Maslow's or Herzberg 2 factors or mindhacking, Sgporeans need to believe in themselves more.
Our authorities love us to be dependant and have small ambitions- cos we then become easy to control.
Running the 42km Marathon is not impossible- when I did my first one, I was only running 2 km about 8 months before the race.
I thought I was poor in Maths, but after psychoing myself, I love my accountancy module when I attended classes 2 years ago.
FYI- the double-entry part is very unimportant now- just need to understand the concepts.
Everything can be learned- just a matter of whether we want to spend the time to do it.
If we want our social-political system to change- it can be done, just whether enough people wants to work towards it or not.
Nothing is impossible.
Money is not everything.


Mr Wang Says So said...

Hi Slawek

You know Mr Wissel, don't you? Why don't you ask him for his views on purpose.

Mr Wissel - he is a very interesting & profound man. He knows much more than IT. :)

i said...

How about love? Can you mindhack yourself to love someone that you do not have natural affination towards?

To illustrate, take for eg. a man who has to make a choice between 2 women. One he has natural affections towards but unfortunately possess certain qualities that he does not find attractive, eg. plain-looking, poor family background and perhaps not as highly educated. The other lady ironically suffers the opposite, rich, attractive and highly intelligent, but alas these qualities fail to move him towards the same love he has for the first lady.

Assuming a very pragmatic mindset, this man, no doubt an ISTJ myers-brigg personality type, decides that he must set aside his feelings and think rationally to secure his future happiness. As chance would have it, he comes upon Mr Wang's post on mindhacking and firmly convicted like many of the commentors here, he applied this technique on himself.

And it worked very successfully. He wakes up from his hypnotic state and finds his newfound feelings of love rightly directed at the more deserving target. And they lived happily ever after.

Tell me there's something not quite right with this?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Aha. First you must understand that the mind works at many levels. While you could use different terms to describe this, a simple way would be as follows:

1. conscious
2. subconscious
3. unconscious
4. superconscious

When I speak of mindhacking, I am referring to doing things at Level 2.

Level 2 is where we human beings often tend to pick up a lot of bad stuff. At Level 1, we apply our reasoning and logic, and we know that the stuff is bad, but we often can't consciously stop ourselves because Level 2 kicks in automatically.

Eg at Level 1, we may know that smoking is bad and we know that it is a good idea to quit. However, when Level 2 kicks in, we automatically reach for the cigarette and light up. After we've put the ciggie in our mouths and puffed, then we recall, "Hey, I'm supposed to quit this."

What mindhacking can do is overwhelm the Level 2 patterns which, at Level 1, we've already decided are bad. So for example, we mindhack at Level 2 and plant the idea "Cigarettes are disgusting and they make me vomit."

Now what happens is that the next time you automatically reach for a ciggie and put it in your mouth, you're going to get an instant reminder to stop. You're going to get instantly nauseous.

Now, in other situations concerning other topics, we, at Level 1, may not be sure what is the best thing for ourselves. We know for sure that smoking is bad, and we want to quit - but in another scenario, eg a choice between two lovers, we are not so sure.

We wouldn't know what we want to plant at Level 2 then.

If you still would like to use some mindhacking techniques to address this, what we need is to access Level 3 (which I haven't really discussed so far). Here you will find access to deeper inner resources like wisdom and you will get insights into how to solve your problem.

If you think I'm pulling your leg, you can just google around and check on the effects and benefits of meditation, which is very much about accessing Level 3.

Try this, for instance:


Notice that these are mentioned as some of the benefits of meditation:

(3) It develops insight into the unconscious causal connections between thoughts, attitudes, perceptions, feelings, body states, and behaviors.

(5) You will be able to see the larger picture of things instead of small day to day problems.

(10) Your inner ability to solve complex problems will increase.

My word for all of the above was "wisdom". And wisdom will help you to sort out your thoughts and feelings and decide what you want to do with your two lovers.

By the way, in my earlier post "The Definitions of Success", you'll notice that Steve Jobs said this:

"Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice."

Level 3 is where the inner voice speaks. Go to Level 3, be quiet and you will hear it. ;)

Level 4 is where you're going to hear another kind of voice which isn't even yours, haha. Not to be discussed in a mainstream blog like mine.

i said...

I do not dispute the power of the mind and the mastery of it towards creating outcomes in the real and tangible.

What I find particularly disconcerting is that an undue emphasis has been placed on the importance of using the mind to erase or even deny the impact of other human beings on oneself.

While it is true that the humiliation suffered at the hands of that kindergarten teacher could maintain a subconscious hold on our behaviour today, the opposite could very well hold true. For eg., an act of kindness from a stranger with no ulterior motives that suddenly inspires you thereon to live life differently.

Instead of celebrating the internal locus of control in exercising one's will to changing oneself, perhaps more needs to be said about the positive impact of other peoples' actions on changing one's mindset?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Oh, if something has a positive impact on you, then you just leave it alone to continue. No mindhacking required.

Jason said...

I started out looking at mindhacking stuff when reading Margo Adair's Working Inside Out: Tools for change, in which she uses applied meditation, similar to self hypnosis.

But like Mr Wang wrote when he discussed the example of the student having multiple reasons for not liking math, I found that this level of mindhacking wasn't quite sufficient in letting me figure out what my inhibitions were and how to deal with them.

I am currently looking into vipassana meditation, aka insight meditation or mindfulness meditation. Perhaps Mr Wang might blog about similar stuff in the future.

sim said...

it's like lieing to myself.

sim said...

its like lieing to myself..

Mr Wang Says So said...

That's because you think your existing beliefs are an accurate description of reality.

You do not see that another person could be placed in your shoes, and hold another set of quite different beliefs, and also think that his existing beliefs are an accurate description of reality.