How To Achieve Self-Mastery By Leveraging Your Mind

Table of Contents A Thought Experiment – Who Has The Upper HandAnd The Winner IsA Conflict In Our…
How To Achieve Self-Mastery By Leveraging Your Mind

When did you first notice that little voice in your head?

We all have one, but why is it there?

What is it?

Perhaps most importantly, are you in control of it, or is it in control of you?

Naturally, we all feel like we have control over our bodies.

But what about our minds…

Do you think you’ve achieved self-mastery?

Are you really in the driver’s seat or are you being taken for a ride?

There’s a well-hidden source of influence that exists right between your ears.

So when it comes to self-mastery and satisfaction, it’s critical to understand and refine that most central relationship you have: Your relationship to yourself.

A Thought Experiment – Who Has The Upper Hand

Let’s do a quick test to see who’s really in charge of this mind of yours.

The thought experiment is a little battle of wills: You vs. The Voice in Your Head.

If you and I are in control of our own minds, then we should be able to direct our thinking.

And if we can move our thinking in a direction of our choosing, then we should also be able to stop it from moving in certain directions, shouldn’t we?

In fact, if we are in complete control of our minds, then it seems reasonable that should even be able to pause our thoughts if we try.

So here’s the test:

Set a timer for 2 minutes, sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, and simply stop all thoughts until the timer goes off.

When finished, let’s explore the results.

And The Winner Is

Let’s be honest (assuming you actually tried the experiment):

Unless you’re a Zen master who just recently came down from a monastery in the mountains, your experience probably went like this:

You sat there quietly for a few seconds, maybe as much as 10 or even 20 if you were particularly focused.

Then thoughts, images, ideas, your to-do list, questions, feelings, boredom, Facebook, friends, videos, movies, music, and a lot more started flooding into your awareness.

Once you recognized it, you could clear your mind for a few seconds, but then this whole process repeated.

The Key Takeaway:

None of us have complete control over our minds.

We have instincts and other automatic learned behaviors.

If we don’t acknowledge and understand how this works then that automatic part of us can be our greatest obstacle to success.

“What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am. ‘Who am I, then?’ The one who sees that.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

A Conflict In Our Heads

Can you remember a time when you had a goal that you sincerely desired, but at the same time you couldn’t get yourself to take the steps to make it happen?

Maybe it was a health goal.

Or perhaps you wanted to learn a new language, a new skill, or even a musical instrument.

But for whatever reason, something inside of you resisted your efforts.

Even when you had the time, something just held you back.

We’ve all been there, so what’s the deal?

Why is it that we can have a clear goal that we honestly want while at the same time we can’t get ourselves to do the work to make it happen?

Is there any reason for this inner turmoil?

An Important Psychological Fact

Research in psychology has found that our brains have at least two systems for processing information.

They work in parallel to one another but are responsible for different functions.

In his now classic book “Thinking Fast and Slow,” Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman called them System 1 and System 2.

System 1

System 1 is fast and automatic. It’s about gut feelings and emotional snap-judgments.

Sometimes these are thought of as “hot” cognitions.

It’s how you just know when someone is angry or excited at a moment’s notice.

Overall, this processing is outside of our conscious control.

We can think of system 1 as our instincts, learned responses, and impulses.

System 2

System 2 is just the opposite.

It’s slow, rational, and deliberate.

This system is responsible for “executive processes” like planning, reflecting, “cold” cognitions.

We can think of system 2 as our rationalityintellect, and self-control.

“One task of System 2 is to overcome the impulses of System 1. In other words, System 2 is in charge of self-control” ~ Daniel Kahneman, Ph.D. – Thinking Fast and Slow

Two Systems and Time Preferences

System 1 (our automatic thinking) is concerned with the here and now.

It can’t think about things in the future.

It’s motto: “I want it all, and I want it now.”

On the other hand, system 2 (our deliberate thinking) is that part of us that can see the benefits of planning long into the future.

It can easily see how a little work now can have big benefits down the road.

It’s motto: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Instincts and The Pleasure Principle

In the survival game, nature has given all animals, including humans, some quick and dirty guidelines to help us survive.

Freud called this the pleasure principle.

And it motivates us with 2 simple rules:

  • Rule 1 – “Feels Good! Want more!”
  • Rule 2 – “Feels Bad! Stay away!”

All in all, it’s a pretty handy quick guide to staying alive and passing on genes.

Food, water, and sex all bring pleasure and keep us going.

Predators and poisonous foods make for a short living.


Our System 1 (i.e. instinctual thinking or that voice in our heads) still uses the pleasure principle to make decisions.

Unfortunately, these basic rules are just too simple to help us make the best of life in our modern technological worlds.

If peak performance or self-mastery matter to you, it’s critical to consciously recognize how system 1 influences your thinking.

“Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain, and pleasure.” ~ Jeremy Bentham

Reasoning and Delayed Gratification

Living as a human in the 21st century is about as complex as life has ever been.

If you want to do great things, then you can’t always chase whatever feels best right now.

This is where the power of System 2, the intellect, comes into the picture.

Since we all have this powerful ability to think and plan for the future, we know that creating the life that’s best for us will take some work.

That means that occasionally we need to go against the pleasure principle and delay gratification.

Delayed gratification means giving up short-term pleasure for even greater rewards in the future.

“The more unwilling we are to make room for discomfort, the lower our quality of life” ~ Dr. Russ Harris – The Confidence Gap

Intellect Plans – Instincts Resist

Every day, we wake up, and these two sides of our minds wrestle with each other.

Our intellect can think about the future and create plans for how we can get what we want out of life.

But our instinctual side just can’t understand the long-game. It can’t understand the idea of “mastery.”

And doing work now for distant rewards seems uncomfortable.

So our instincts resist all those good ideas to improve our lives.

Even worse, it uses emotions and the voice in our heads to trick us into thinking that…

Maybe those distant goals aren’t really worth all that effort. Perhaps it’s better just to forget about them and live for the moment.

Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.” ~ Steven Pressfield – The War of Art

Rationalizing Vs Reasoning

We can use our power of intelligence either to help or hinder our progress.

So we have to be careful when the instincts snatch the tools of the intellect.

When this happens, we can come up with powerful arguments for why “we don’t really have to do the work right now anyway.”

This is is called rationalizing.

Rationalizing is when we start with a conclusion and then find reasons to support that position.

It usually starts with a feeling and then looks for excuses to justify it.

For example:

I don’t really feel like working out, but I can skip my exercise today because I already did a good job at work. Plus, I didn’t even get a pastry with breakfast this morning.

Reasoning, by contrast, is the opposite.

It starts with the facts and evidence, then moves towards a logical conclusion.

For example:

Regular exercise has been shown to help increase memory, creativity, baseline energy levels, and general self-confidence. I wonder how I can fit three days of strength training into my schedule each week?

“People are extremely good at rationalizing beliefs when they are motivated by a desire to believe a certain conclusion.” ~ Steven Novella

How to Help the Mind to Work With You

Once we recognize the nature of the mind and what we’re dealing with, we can craft strategies for creating better outcomes for ourselves.

They all have one thing in common:

Seeing the bigger picture and then setting yourself up for success.

Because instincts will always be there.

So we can’t rely on will-power alone.

With this in mind, it’s possible to create conditions that set us up for success every day, every week, every year, and every decade.

If Passion drives, let Reason hold the Reins.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Strategy #1: Recognize and Remove Distractions

If you have a distant goal that will take persistent effort, then make it hard for that voice in your head to distract you when it’s time to work.

Instincts are always looking for potential distractions.

So create a workspace that helps you get the results you seek.

If you know, your phone or social media easily grab your attention, then leave them in another room.

If you have trouble focusing with other people around, find a space where you can be alone.

If you there’s no place where you can be alone, then politely explain to those around you that you are working on something important and would appreciate being left alone for a period of time.

Strategy #2: Find Your Cognitive Peak

We all have a time when our mind is at its peak.

When we focus our energy during that time, we can create better results faster.

In general, most people reach their peak around 2-4 hours after waking up.

But some people vary.

So, experiment and find that time of day where your mind is fresh, and you can make things happen.

By focusing your efforts at this time, you help yourself create excellent results with maximum efficiency.

Strategy #3: If It’s Important, Do It Early

If something is important to your long-term goals, finish it early in the day.

Unexpected things pop up all the time.

The longer you wait, the more likely it is that something will interrupt your routine.

By putting important things first, you ensure that even when a long-lost friend calls, or when an emergency strikes, you have already invested some time on crafting your dreams.

Not to mention, willpower fades as the day goes on.

So, it’s harder make ourselves do the work as the day progresses.

Strategy #4: Weekly Reflections

There is no overstating the power of a weekly review.

This is a key to making consistent improvements for the rest of your life.

Simply take a few minutes each week to write about:

• What went well this week?
• What got in the way of my progress?
• How will I improve next week?

Very few people take advantage of this practice.

Those who do put themselves in the fast lane to success.

This habit sets you up for success in 3 ways.

  1. You acknowledge what went right and appreciated the effort you gave.
  2. You identify some potential areas that hindered your progress.
    (Often there are small factors in our lives that make huge differences – It’s the 80/20 rule).
  3. You set a new focus to direct you over the next week.

It may not seem like much at in any single moment, but this practice can transform your life in as little as a 1-year.

“The money and success that truly last come not to those who focus on such things as goals, but rather to those who focus on mastery and fulfilling their Life’s Task” ~ Robert Greene

Putting it All Together

Overall, even though we feel like we are the master’s of our own lives, this is not entirely true.

We all have instincts, and these instincts are a powerful driving force influencing everything we think.

Instincts use the pleasure principle to make decisions.

If we want to craft deeply satisfying lives, we must recognize the influence of instincts and learn to see past them.

Once we do, we can use the power of the intellect to create strategies to help us thrive.

Among those strategies, the most powerful is self-reflection.

By setting aside a few minutes every week to consider how we can make improvements next week, we give ourselves the opportunity to continually improve our lives.

This is the mechanism of self-mastery and can ultimately help us achieve almost any dream we can imagine.

Over to you

Instincts or intellect, which side of you is in the driver’s seat of life? What do you think we ought to do about the voice in our head? Does it help? Does it get in the way? Share in the comments.


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  1. Great post, and very informational.

    I can completely agree with the distractions. I have recently found out how productive I can be, just by eliminating a certain distraction when I go online, and not only that, was even able to go to bed on time!

    I have never tried the weekly review, so will hopefully give that a whirl and see how it goes. In fact, I may also use it as a way of boosting confidence, by reflecting on my triumphs as well. Thanks for posting

  2. Fantastic article Jeremy! You bring up some really important points here. I especially like your point about weekly reflections. This seems to be something people overlook, or only do after something goes wrong. I find it incredibly important for me because it helps me correct actions I may be doing that take me off the path of my long-term goals. I have to ask, have you heard of Jaret Grossman? He has a really cool blog that may resonate with you based on this article. I’d highly recommend his 365 series. It’s helped me get a deeper sense of self mastery. I’ll link it at the end. Really great work, I’ll have to search for your other articles. Have a great day!

  3. Nice and useful post,It helps people to some extent by practice and read your post again and again.

  4. Hi Jeremy,
    Great post. How wonderfully you have differentiated rationalizing from reasoning; how we fall pray of instinct and pleasure principle.

    Your idea of completing the most important first in the day is very impressive and practical.

    1. Abhishek,

      Thank you very much for your comment. Over the last few years I’ve set out to find as many practical tools for staying focused and being at our best. My seeking has led me through 9 countries spanning 3 continents over the course of 6 years abroad. Now I try to synthesize the most useful golden eggs so that others can make similar leaps in their own abilities but in half the time (or less).

      If you ever have any goals or challenges that you’re working on and would like to get there faster, feel free to contact me through the link in the biobox and I’d be happy to contribute to your ongoing success however I can. Thank you again for the comment and keep doing what you’re doign 🙂

      1. Thanks Jeremy, for your helpful hand. I am stunned to travel. Happy to connect with you.

  5. Hello Jeremy,

    Really very useful post and 3rd Strategy (If It’s Important, Do It Early) is awesome. And yes you are right Unexpected things pop up all the time. So by saying that reason we should not escape. Thanks for your post Jeremy.

  6. Hi Jeremy,

    Glad to see you here as a guest writer. This is indeed a great post. I love the test exercise you introduced at the beginning. I actually tried that but couldn’t last for 30 seconds without thoughts running through my head. Indeed we are not completely in control of our minds.

    Your strategies are pretty cool as well. I love ”Strategy #1” because that seems to be working for me. Actually I can’t concentrate on any task when there are people around me, same thing happens when my phone or computer is just around me. I am always tempted to log unto social media and do a thing or two. So I agree that leaving your phone in a different room and being alone is the perfect solution to this very issue.
    Thanks for constructing such an educating piece. I appreciate. Enjoy the rest of the day


    1. Chinedu,

      Thank you very much and I’m most happy to hear you’ve found some value here. I’m actually working on a book right now that will be titled something like “Better Results Faster.” It will be a guide for harnessing one’s focusing, creating routines, and looking at the big picture in order to get better results with less work.

      Through the link in my bio box I also have some other resources that I think you might find helpful. If you enjoyed the exercise at the beginning, then you will likely love The Game. If you ever have any questions or would like some tailored strategies to achieving a specific goal of yours even faster, contact me through my website and I’ll be happy to help any way I can.

      Until then, keep doing what you’re doing, and enjoy your day as well,


  7. This is definitely a great post on personal development, distraction is always the problem which can be really and take tons of time to improve on.

    1. Thank you very much. And you’re totally right.

      If you’re interested, I have a fun resource called The Game that you can access for free through my site linked in the bio box. I would just send it to you here but I’m not allowed to use links in the comments.

      Thank you again for reading along.

  8. Hello Jeremy,

    This was just what i needed at a time like this. I often find myself in what i call a ‘self-induced dilemma’, i have come to accept the fact that they are two people living inside my head, the one i have control over and the other i have no control over.

    Indeed the human mind is like a computer desktop that keeps popping up windows automatically, the moment you think you have closed one window, two more pop up.

    Self-mastery is what i really need right now, i’m certain this would help my increased confused state.

    Thanks for sharing this, Jeremy.

    1. Raphael,

      That’s great insight you just shared. That level of acceptance of those automatic processes rather than just trying to overpower them is actually a much more powerful strategy for achieving self-mastery on both the short and long-term.

      Just so you know, one of the areas I focus on in my work with clients is helping them achieve goals months and years faster than they thought possible, and the main way this is possible is through some pretty amazing tools and exercises that help people crystal clarity and laser focus.

      I would be happy to pass some free resources your way if you think they would provide value to you. I just can’t post the links in the comments here. You can send me a message directly through the website linked in my bio box.

      The ideas here are really the tip of the iceberg and it sounds like you’re primed to achieve some major breakthroughs right now if you apply the right sort of leverage.

      Either way, thank you for the great insight and for reading the post,

      1. Thanks a lot Jeremy. I’ll send you a message. I could really use the resources you want to share.

        I appreciate much.

        1. Cheers Raphael,

          Happy to help any way I can. There’s a lot of valuable and useful info out there. I’ve spent years sorting through this stuff and have successfully compiled some of the best stuff out there.

          The best part is that now you can go straight to the gold and bypass all that extra work. I look forward to talking more,

  9. Hi Jeremy,

    Great to connect with you here on AHA Now.. I just loved this article you have written and yes, I did take a two minute break in the beginning as you suggested. After doing some blog-hopping I needed that peaceful visual experience.

    Self-mastery can help us achieve just about anything we want. That “voice” in our heads can be controlled if we want to…but it does take a while to do so. I call it self talk because that’s how I learned to do it. If something negative goes through my thought process a red flag alert comes to my mind. I reflect on it and if it is something that could stop me in my path, I turn the thought process around. If it is something like “I can’t do …” I keep on repeating in my mind “I can” and then go on to imagine the results being positive of course.

    Here, Mastery is the correct word because it does take some time and consistency to master our minds. I am a true believer in this and have done many disciplines over the years. I just love this stuff!


    1. Donna,

      Clearly you’ve been putting the mindfulness practice in for some time, congratulations! It’s very difficult to achieve that level where you recognize the negative self-talk as it arises. It certainly takes a lot of work.

      What are some practices you used to arrive at this level of self-awareness?

      If you’re interested in some ways to translate this sort of moment to moment self-mastery into projects for crafting long term projects, you should reach out to me through the link in the bio box. I would love to dialogue more and share some resources if you’re interested but I can’t put links through the comments here.

      If not, enjoy anyway and good work again,

  10. Hi Jeremy,

    Loved this post on self mastery. I think I initially was all about intuitiveness and then found that planning and doing helped me long term so I think I transitioned a bit to the intellect type. I practice meditation at times and learned to clear my thoughts from lessons taught to me from a therapist years back. I truly love what it taught me. Yes, you nailed it when you said it is extremely hard to keep your mind clear. Getting through 20 seconds is a great accomplishment for many. I’m lucky if I get there. : )

    I think its so helpful to just continue to keep practicing it.

    Have a great week ahead and it’s good to meet you here at Aha-now.

    Take care.


    1. Irish,

      Great insights for sure. The mind is a fickle beast. It’s pretty shocking how it can run on autopilot and direct us, or we can use it in our favor.

      I too am an intellectual type but I’ve also been collecting some tools and exercises for creating highly aligned plans that keep my daily focus and my long-term goals within reach. If you’re interested in trying them out, I would be happy to send them your way.

      I’m not allowed to use links in these comments but if you contact me through the page in my bio box I would be happy to send some things your way.

      Thank you again for your insight here,

  11. Hey Jeremy,

    Great post indeed. I call System one the whiner or the nagger. It constantly is attempting to bargain with me. Always looking for immediate gratification. However my system two is the dominate force at the moment. Everything planned from this side of the brain has had many years of experience to come up with daily targets that are do-able, weekly goals that generally get completed.

    However that was not always the case. System one had been the enforcer. For years I talked about my struggle with discipline, but system one was the trouble maker.

    Your two minute exercise is similar in meditation. One of my teachers used to say you won’t be able to breath in and out of the nose three times before you mind is doing that ‘to do list’. However I no longer see that as a problem. When I become aware that I have drifted off, I am good at coming back and starting again. Its taken lots of practice.

    Look this post is full of gold nuggets, sound advice. I thoroughly good read, a topic I constantly focus on.

    One more thing. I constantly review my week but never write it down. After reading this post, I am going to make that a regular weekly habit. Thank you.


    1. Rachel,

      It sounds like you are in an excellent rhythm in life right now so great work. Your awareness is clearly very high. Giving a name to the different aspects of your mind is actually another great technique for dealing with that part of you. Like you said, it helps to notice it when it pops up.

      And yes, that exercise really is a form of meditation. It’s true, what your teacher says about counting breaths. It takes quite a bit of practice for that to subside. But you’re clearly so on point because, like you said, it’s not about trying to force yourself to focus but rather just notice when it happens and bring things back to the present. If you’re interested, here are some videos I’ve made regarding different ways of working with one’s meditation practice.

      Writing really is an awesome way to help reflect on those refinements more formally to great effect. I’m actually doing a little email experiment with some people where we are doing they are writing to me with these reflections once a week. If you ever want to get in touch or if you would be interested in joining this experiment, perhaps reach out to me and we can keep this conversation running.

      Thank you so much for reading along and for your kind words. I really appreciate your insight.

  12. Hello Jeremy,

    This is a matured post on controlling the mind!

    I tried the experiment and needles to mention failed in 2 attempts. In the past whenever I tried meditating, I have failed to keep those thoughts away.

    Many-a-times my mind has stopped me from doing something new that eventually would have brought good results… but phew!

    Coming to the strategies, point number 1 is very crucial as I have realized that the assignments which can be done in an hour, gets stretched unnecessarily due to these distractions.. I am trying hard to tame the temptations though!

    Thanks for this post. I need to work in a number of areas, I guess!

    1. Tuhin,

      Cheers man, glad to hear you took the time to try the experiment. Sounds like you’ve got some first hand experience with practices in self-awareness, so that’s awesome.

      I’ve certainly learned all these lessons the long and slow way so hopefully this will help others takes some time of their learning curve.

      Meditation is truly incredible. If you’re interested, here are some videos of mine offering some tips and ways of experimenting with and deepening a meditation practice.

      You’re right though about those distractions. What would you say are some of the biggest obstacles to your success on a daily basis?

  13. Hi Jeremy and Harleena

    An excellent post here.

    You’ve brought up so many powerful ideas and themes

    Clearly we are not masters of our lives. In reality, we don’t have that much control. Anything can happen – we live in such a random world.

    That said, there are some things we can do to – hopefully – put the odds in our favor.

    I like all four of your strategies. They all make sense

    1. Removing distractions is fundamental. Without it, we can never direct energy in a focused way to the most important areas.

    2. Finding Our Mental Peak. Vital too. I know when I am at a mental high point – great ideas and strategies are the outcomes.

    3. Do It Early. Oh yeah!

    4. Weekly Review. It’s always good to reflect and review. Then fine tune from there

    Thanks, Jeremy – so helpful!


    1. Kim,

      You make an excellent point talking about the chance aspect of our lives and what we need to do is to “put the odds in our favor.”

      Because so much of life is really out of our control. It’s like sporting event, both sides start in similar positions and we can’t know what’s going to happen until things start moving. Opportunities open and close in real time and all we can do is work with what’s available.

      Nevertheless, we do have the power to influence the odds. I’m curious, what are some practices of yours that you use to bend the odds in your favor?

      Thanks for the excellent insight,

  14. Hey there Jeremy,

    What an awesome post here. You went all out and did such a great job. Lots of value and golden nuggets here.

    Our minds are no joke. It can literally be our most powerful tool to change not only our lives, but the lives of others as well or it can be a weapon that will do nothing but bring you down and destroy any opportunity that comes your way.

    I truly believe in weekly reflections. It’s important to get from the week, not through it. By taking time to honestly look in the mirror and accept the truth of where we are, we can then find perfect solutions to become a better version of ourselves. We’ll also be able to come up with creative ways on how we can get more things done in a more effective and efficient manner.

    It truly is powerful. One thing I always tell people is to constantly train your brain because life is a never ending learning experience. The day you stop training your brain and learning new things is the day where progress will stop.

    If we want to grow and expand our horizons, we need to expand our thinking. My mentor says we should give our brain a set of 6 pack abs.

    After all, after carefully observing rich and successful people, we can all conclude that the successful ones (Making big impacts and contributions to the world) all have libraries. So therefore, we should definitely read more books.

    It’s also important to give our mind its much deserved peace and quiet every now and then so that we can re-connect with our souls.

    Thanks for sharing this post. Awesome stuff! Keep it up! 🙂

    PJ Zafra

    1. PJ Zafra,

      Such awesome and rich insight you just provided here!

      I highly recommend checking out The Game resource in the author bio as I think you will find it a fun addition to your already excellent practice.

      What stands out as especially important in what you mentioned is that habit of continually looking for opportunities to grow and continue developing. It’s true that there’s really no standing still when it comes to health and well-being… either keep moving forward or start sliding backwards.

      And what you said about books is so true, at least in my experience. With technology today and services like Audible it’s more possible than ever to take in extremely high quality info on a daily basis.

      Do you have any recommendations for books that have been especially helpful or insightful for your development?

      Thank you for sharing,

      1. Hi there Jeremy,

        Thank you. I’ll definitely check that out. I checked out your site as well. Would it be ok with you if we connect on social media? I love surrounding myself around positive minded individuals.

        Growth is definitely important. One thing that I’ve learned that really stuck with me is life can be the best experience when there’s activity and growth.

        When things are stagnant, that’s when all the harmful and destructive thoughts like self-doubt, worry and depression start kicking in. Activity = Life.

        True happiness and fulfillment is not achieved by gaining material objects, but through progress, activity and achievement.

        We’re definitely blessed to be in an age where we literally have access to everything. If there’s something we need, within a few clicks, we can get it.

        Audible is definitely powerful. There’s nothing like hearing a voice literally speaking to you. It’s a powerful food source for our subconscious mind. Aside from Audible, people can even search stuff on YouTube which has tons of amazing content there as well. I go through a lot of TED talks on YouTube. There’s definitely no excuse as to why someone cannot learn or master a skill that would change their lives.

        As long as we constantly implement what we know, we’re constantly growing. Fast or slow…we’re still putting one foot in front of the other.

        As for books, one that stands out and has really changed the way I see, think and understand things is called “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. There’s a new modern version that’s nice too but I still highly recommend the original 60’s version. That book will literally unlock your creative side and teach you a lot when it comes to what you’re capable of achieving in life. I highly recommend that book. I’ve read it several times and I learn something new each time I go through it.

        Another good one is called “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. It teaches and shows you how you can build a strong inside world (Your Attitude, Philosophy and Beliefs) that will reflect on the outside world. Another good one is called “Outwitting The Devil” by Napoleon Hill. This is a solid and pretty controversial book. It was released 70 years after Napoleon Hill’s death because he and his family were hesitant to release it due to its controversial content. It will basically teach you how to conquer hell on earth (Negative Mindset & drifting in life). “The Element” by Sir Ken Robinson is a book about your passions and why it’s important to educate yourself based around your passions and how to follow through. Beautiful teachings there. As for the classics, anything by Jim Rohn, Og Mandino and Tony Robbins I’d recommend.

        Hope you’ll enjoy these books as much as I did. The first 4 I shared really helped shape who I am.

        1. Awesome recommendations, I’ve already gotten ahold of The Slight Edge so I’ll be checking that out soon.

          I checked out your website as well and sent out an invitation via social media to link up. We’re definitely on the same page with the attitude towards learning though I haven’t read many of the specific titles you mentioned.

          Keep up the awesome work man, you’re clearly on point with the mindset for mastery. That’s what this world needs more of.

  15. Hello Jeremy, it’s a unique & influential post. Controlling our mind is the best mastery. Mind can lead you anywhere. But if you control it properly, it can guide you to success path. There is some institution in our place which helps to make our mind peace & active. I also joined there. Its a kind of meditation. Thanks for such awesome post.

    1. Thank you Ahsanul,

      You’re totally right. For most of us, our minds lead us around by the nose and rarely to those places that are ideal for us.

      I’m glad to hear that you’re finding ways to practice mindfulness and meditation in your personal practice as well. I would highly recommend checking out the resource “The Game” in the author bio box as it’s a fun way to practice these throughout daily life.

      Thank you for sharing as well.

  16. Hello Jeremy and Harleena,

    This is a very interesting topic indeed.

    It could have been very awesome if everyone can easily control his mind. The mind is one of the most vital tool we all have and its good learn how best to always use it for good results.

    Yes, one of the best ways to achieve self mastery mind is to avoid distractions at all cost whenever we want to make use of the mind.

    I also love the idea of doing the most important tasks first and early enough.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Theodore,

      Thank you for checking out the post. It’s true, all mastery starts with the mind. Without the right mindset, we’ll never be able to stick with the journey long enough to reach our goals.

      Excellent insight

  17. Hi Jeremy. I’ve done that experiment many times, and like you said, it doesn’t take very long for that voice to speak up. I think it is important. When you are driving a car, that voice is all of the indicators and gauges on your dashboard that give you feedback on what is going on. The trick is to not let that voice drive. You have to keep hold of the steering wheel. The voice in your head is a valuable employee, but for many people they let it become the boss. That’s when it causes trouble.

    I find it easy to manage most of my distractions. I don’t stay logged in to social media. Only a handful of people (family) have my direct phone number, the rest go to Google Voice. Email is the only thing that stays on all the time. It has a small popup in the corner of my screen so that I can see who it is. I will recognize the sender if it is something I need to look at immediately, otherwise it can wait.

    I do my best work in the morning before my family wakes up and I have to start with the homeschooling every day. That gives me a few hours every morning. If it is important then it has to be done in the morning, otherwise I do the best I can to get things done in my business while juggling the obligations of being a stay-at-home Dad who home schools two kids.

    I used to do a nightly gratitude practice that is similar to what you described as weekly reflections. I have let the practice slip lately, so I guess it is time to pick it back up again.

    Thanks for the interesting post. I enjoyed it.

    1. Ben,

      You’ve made some excellent points here. I couldn’t agree with you more. Those automatic processes are absolutely integral to a fully engaged life.

      And, like you mentioned, the first trick is to get to the point where you notice that it’s there so that you can recognize their influence. For me, before I started to see that, it was like I was living on autopilot.

      It sounds like you have an excellent set of regular practices that are keeping your rolling while also contributing to the well-being of your family. Those are some excellent examples so thank you for sharing.

  18. Hi Jeremy,

    What an awesome post. We can get ourselves into trouble when we fail to practice self-control.

    I’ve discovered most of the time what I’m feeling or thinking I don’t benefit from if I react on impulse.

    We have to find a healthy balance.

    My cognitive peak is morning. That’s when my creative juices flow the best.

    Some of us are addicted to pleasure, power and chaos.

    When one knows what’s his driving force is, he then can know how to enjoy life while those voices are having their daily conversation.


    1. Vernon,

      That’s great insight and self awareness you have. You’re right too about addiction to the vices and how they can undermine long term goals.

      In my own experience and with many of the people I work with, I’ve found that having a symbolic North Star as a distant goal or guiding values is a strong way to counteract those addictive tendencies that we all have.

      Do you have any big goals on the horizon to help you get back on track when things get tough?

    1. Lorrain,

      Thank you so much. It’s an honor for me if anything I create can be of value to others. If you ever have any specific questions or challenges that you’d like an outside perspective with, you can always reach me directly through my website I’d be happy to hear from you.

      In the meantime keep doing what you’re doing 🙂

  19. Wow, this is very interesting and so true. I like to try to balance intellect system 2 with instincts, system 1. 🙂 I don’t always do that though. That said, the voice in my head has saved me a few times! Lots to think about here, Jeremy. Very informative post. Thanks!

    1. LIsa, you hit the nail on the head in my opinion. The real golden goal is to find that key balance because our instincts are a healthy part of us too once we recognize them for what they are. Great insight!

  20. Thank you, Jeremy for this excellent post. I found it practical but clearly you have also walked the path. I appreciated Daniel Kahneman’s System 1 and System 2 concept as well. Our hopes, dreams and desires no longer need to be determined by our conditioned responses from the past! It is good when we become self-aware and then begin to take some other more enabling actions.
    Thanks for sharing and look forward to reading more.

    1. Absolutely, awareness is really key. It’s so easy to recognize instincts in other animals but we rarely even think to look for them in ourselves. But as you mentioned, once we notice them and see what’s going on, we put ourselves in a position to do some pretty cool things.

      If you enjoyed this post, I would highly recommend checking out out The Game in the Author bio box. It’s a fun tool for recognizing instincts and working towards living mindfully. Thank you for reading

    2. Very True Jasbindar, What I certainly feel that its in everyone’s head – Everyone likes to be in its own created comfortable zone . If they are sad or in pain or troubled they love to be the same as they create a comfortable zone in that situation. To come out of that situation one has to work and break the comfort of that zone and try some distraction, put some effort and move out .For instance if we are upset or sad or depressed we tend to stay in it making ourselves comfortable being sad or depressed we hardly try ourselves to come out of it rather we expect someone else to help us out . Very few people understand the fact of ” comfortable zone” which each one of us create in and around the situation we are in. We need to make ourselves uncomfortable to move out and step into a better situation.

  21. Hi Jeremy,
    Nice post!
    Loved your way of starting the post by pulling the reader in by getting them to do a experiment. This is a great post!

    I should honestly tell you, I couldn’t sit beyond the 20-25 second mark. You are right, we have no control over our minds and it is not the way it should be.

    Delayed gratification is surely something everyone should be practising. Short term pleasures often harm the long term goals.

    The weekly reflections principle is also a great tip. It will help us to check what went wrong, where we did good and how we can better things that went bad!

    Thanks for this post!
    Enjoy your week ahead.

    1. Swadhin,

      Thank you very much. And I’m glad you got the chance to try the experiment. I’ve been meditating for 7 years and the voice in my head still runs wild every time I sit down. On the bright side though, once we realize the “natural course” of the mind, we can start to pick up tools to actually do something about it. Let me know which one’s do or don’t work for you and I’d be happy to provide some of the other gems I’ve collected over the years.

      Enjoy your week as well,

  22. What a great experience to share my first post here with Aha!Now. So I’m glad I got to share a topic so close to my heart.

    Self-Awareness is the first key to self-development. Certainly I had to learn this the hard and slow way. It was crazy how my instincts and learned behaviors were getting in the way of my own goals for way too long before I noticed what was happening. After that, I spent years working on this part of my life.

    I just hope my experiences can help take years off of the learning curve of others.

    1. Hi Jeremy,

      Welcome to Aha!NOW as a guest author. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your great insights and knowledge as I’m sure this would benefit my blog audience. It is true that the voice in your head sometimes get negative and adversely affects your efforts to be successful. So, it truly helps to have a complete understanding of how you can avoid the instincts get into your way.

      Thanks again Jeremy, and I hope you’ve a great time interacting with the readers of your post. 🙂

      1. Harleena,

        Thank you, it’s great to be part of the community. You know it’s funny how it’s those things that are closest to us that are the easiest to overlook. And things don’t get much closer than inside our own minds.

        That’s probably why I’ve found that raising my own awareness here has had incredibly positive effects throughout my health, professional work, relationships and so much more. Thank you again.

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