The title of this article has been named after a chapter in the powerful personal development and
business development book called “The Answer” by John Assaraf and Murray Smith. This book
has had such a positive impact on my business and personal life that I felt compelled to share
what I have learned and how I have applied it in my world.
John Assaraf has been studying personal growth philosophies as well as brain science for the
better part of 25 years. When he refers to a “universe” inside of our brains, he makes an excellent
analogy. When I think of the universe, I think of a huge array of systems and processes that ow
together in perfect harmony. And that is exactly what our brains do. With the latest developments
in science and technology, we now know more about the brain than at any other time in human
With that in mind, anyone interested in achieving success, developing their potential and living a
ful lled life would be very wise to spend some signi cant time learning about this
“supercomputer” we have in our heads. Whether you realize it or not, your brain has been
programmed to control your behaviour and is directly responsible for the results you are
producing in your life. This is where “The Answer” comes in and where I have been able to
personally implement some life changing ideas.
One lesson that had signi cant impact on me was the fact that our conscious brain is responsible
for only 2-4% of our behaviour. This means that 96-98% of what we do every single day is
managed and controlled by our nonconscious brain. We don’t have to think about these tasks,
they are taken care of without our conscious awareness. Examples I have noticed for myself
include sitting in a chair, getting dressed, chewing food, writing notes and even driving my car.
These tasks did require my conscious attention at some point earlier in my life, but through
repetition have become “installed” in my nonconscious brain.
What’s amazing is that it is almost impossible to list out all of the activities we perform on a
daily basis because there are so many. With the awareness that only 2-4% of these activities
require us to think, it becomes quite obvious that using will power or other similar forcing
functions to reach a major goal in life is futile at best. The true solution is to reprogram the
nonconscious section of the brain so that those automatic actions work for us and move us
toward our goals.
Here is one example of how I have made this work personally. Knowing that I had many goals
that I had not yet reached and being aware of this conscious/non conscious relationship, I was
able to sit down and mentally review my self-limiting thoughts and behaviours. Some of my
personal examples included wasting time reading unimportant email, eating a snack when I was
not truly hungry, reacting with anger when a situation did not go as I wanted it to, starting a good
business book but not completing or implementing it (the list goes on as well). By simply
becoming aware of these nonconscious habits, I have been able to organize my own personal
development routines to replace these actions with more positive empowering ones. I will shed
more light on this as we move forward in this article.
Another lesson that I learned from “The Answer” has to do with what some people call self-
image’ or in the case of this book, the thermostat in your brain’. This idea was originally
described in the 1950’s by Dr.Maxwell Maltz in his famous book “Psycho-Cybernetics”.
Essentially, this part of our brain is responsible for keeping us safe and free from danger. It also
keeps us on track with a set point much like a thermostat would do for the temperature in a house
or an autopilot would do for an airplane. The problem is that our self-image sets the boundaries
of our comfort zone and so it can prevent people from taking action that will bring them
happiness and success if those actions require perceived risk.
For me personally, I have always had the goal of having a toned gure with very low bodyfat and
respectable muscle mass. While I have been quite disciplined at maintaining a tness routine, my
personal thermostat was not set at the same level as my goal. I had always been anywhere from
20-40lbs overweight for the majority of my life. Eating and drinking habits were my biggest
When I rst got entrenched in personal development, I started to make some physical changes. I
got down very close to my ideal bodyweight after years of trying to do so (I had actually done so
once in the past only to gain all of the weight back). Even though I worked hard to get to that
level, I still did not have the speci c body shape and tone that I had always dreamed of. Despite
my efforts, I still had lingering habits (of eating and drinking) that, in hindsight, I did not realize
were problematic until I starting studying the ideas in “The Answer”.
When I learned about the process of rewiring your brain’ to make signi cant and lasting changes
in personal results, good things began to happen. In essence, if we want to ingrain a new habit
into our behaviour, we have to “physically forge new neural pathways within the tissues of your
brain.” This is not a process that happens overnight, but rather, something that takes time and
Once I actually understood this process and studied what was going inside of my brain, I was able to create 30, 60 and 90 day challenges for myself where I would perform new tasks and create new habits that would move me closer to my ideal vision of my personal health. Those challenges helped me form habits that I keep with me today and made me a much healthier person today.
What kind of new activities could you be implementing and re-wiring into your brain to achieve bigger better and more exciting results for your life?