The brain is either a tool or a weapon used against you.
None of us are born with an operating manual for the mind.
Schools don’t teach much about psychology. And your parents probably have no clue about psychology either unless they’re psychologists. To top it off, other people can use psychology as a silent weapon against you to get what they want.
After a disastrous battle with mental illness that I eventually won, I became obsessed with psychology.
Here are the psychological mind games you must understand to get ahead.
The biggest mind game you must master to become successful
The brain is wired to screw up our lives from birth.
As soon as we experience pain or discomfort, the brain tells us to stop. A few borderline crazy people have turned this mind game on its head. One of them is ultramarathon runner Courtney Dauwalter.
She has taken the concept of comfort from her brain, which tells her to stop running, and turned it into a sign to keep going.
Once I changed my storyline around pain, I was able to celebrate it rather than just try to survive it.
Discomfort is when the growth kicks in.
Yet many of us take this false queue from our brain and follow its orders. Turn uncomfortable signs into hints of where success is found.
What you want lies on the other side of pain in the ass discomfort.
Create at least one piece of evidence that shows you can deal with discomfort. Whenever discomfort strikes again, use this example as evidence against your brain, so you can keep going.
The powerful way to open up new mental pathways
If the brain is a game then you need a way to create new opportunities.
The mental pathways in your head help store, send, and receive information. Sometimes there are roadblocks in your thinking so the neural pathway is blocked. The stupidly simple way to remove the roadblock is to ask questions.
- Questions expand the mind
- Questions lead to fresh thinking
- Questions open up new possibilities
Questions leverage your natural curiosity. Without curiosity, you’re dead inside and the mental pathways are full of roadblocks that halt progress.
Ask more questions to explore the world more and consume new ideas.
The weapon of mass destruction used against you daily
The mind is a game that has external enemies too.
One of those ugly mofos is gaslighters. I think of them like knobheads who come out of nowhere, release some gas, and then light it on fire. The tiny spark leads to a bonfire. That fire can kill people.
Gaslighters use lying, denial, contradictions, and misinformation to make you doubt yourself or get confused. Their aim is manipulation carefully camouflaged as passive-aggressive conversation.
Gaslighters hate when you uncover them. Ruin their day by ignoring them.
The mind works like a bucket
Visualization is a powerful mind game. One that I learned from my psychology-obsessed friend Dan Koe is the idea that the mind is a bucket.
The mind bucket is full of water also known as energy.
Fill your mind’s bucket by socializing, learning, and reading books. Empty your mind’s bucket with long walks, meditation, and journaling. Use the energy from your mind’s bucket to focus, create leverage online, and write.
If you don’t look after the mind’s bucket of energy, it starts to get holes in the bottom. Energy leaks occur. Opportunities die. You have zero motivation.
When you overthink, the water in your mind’s bucket gets stirred up. All the negative thought sediment in the water sloshes around everywhere.
The only way to make the tornado of water settle is to slow down and become mindful. When you do, the sediment of negative thoughts becomes heavy and falls to the bottom of the mind’s bucket.
Now you have mental clarity.
Thoughts can have a hidden tax
Your brain plays a game where it produces negative and positive thoughts all day. The negative thoughts act as a tax. They stir up trouble. They live rent free in your head. They can even make you go broke.
Positive thoughts act as tiny investments. They can combine to help you have a breakthrough, or produce an aha-moment, or take your life to the next level.
Some thoughts tax you big time. Some thoughts get invested with a compound rate of growth that eventually make you appear lucky or privileged.
Dismiss the unhelpful thoughts. Invest in the good thoughts.
The pain in the ass effects of sarcasm
Sarcasm is another mind game to avoid.
People use sarcasm as a way to mask what’s really going on. After a while you can’t tell if they’re for real or not. I see it with good writers all the time. They become so sarcastic that they think they’re being smart. Really — they appear broken, lost, and out of control.
Sarcasm can be used to harm you too. People can crack jokes at your expense while their true intentions are hidden.
If you react they’ll say “Geeez I was only joking.” Not really.
Sarcasm is a mind game that can even be used to distract you or divert attention away from one thing and over to another.
Distance yourself from overly sarcastic people. They have mental trauma that only a psychologist can fix with their permission.
Sarcasm = Fearful
Slow responses to texts
Certain nasty people can use this psychological mind game to make you anxious.
While you’re waiting for the answer the anticipation is crippling.
My old boss used to use it. I’d text him with an urgent customer complaint and he’d be slow to respond to give me the maximum pain possible. He knew the customer would call me a hundred times in-between his response — and it made him aroused.
Defeat slow responders by taking action, even though they haven’t replied. When they find out just say “the world doesn’t wait for anybody.”
If you’ve ever transcended into the hellhole that is online dating then you’ve copped this one. Ghosters don’t reply because typing an answer requires more work than not. They also ghost because it makes them feel superior.
Don’t keep following up. Move on.
Keeping you waiting
One customer I had in banking used to take weeks to get an appointment with. I had to jump through circus hoops while he yelled “good boy!”
When the meeting time arrived he’d always keep me waiting. He wasn’t busy either. He’d leave his office door open. You could see he wasn’t on the phone or in a meeting. He just loved to be late.
When people make you purposely wait it’s a message: “You are worthless. I am superior. Sit there and let my ego purrrr like a pussy cat.”
Don’t wait longer than 10 minutes after a scheduled meeting. They’ll soon get the message that you’re a no-BS man/woman.
Lateness = Rudeness
The Ikea Effect
Some businesses use mind games against us too.
The Ikea Effect explains one uncommon mind game. Ikea figured out that if you had to assemble your own furniture you’d place a higher value on it because you made it. Evil.
The Ikea Effect is found in the online writing world all the time. Writers complain when their writing doesn’t perform.
“I worked so hard on this piece and the algorithm blocked it.”
They worked hard on it … but maybe it sucks.
Don’t let your hard work make you delusional enough to think it’s good. Disconnect from judging and just put your work out into the world and let humanity decide for themselves.
The great leveler in life
There is one final mind game you can play that levels the effects of all others.
Justin Welsh wrote that successful people believe in themselves while unsuccessful people think everything is rigged.
The difference is mindset. What you think becomes reality.
So if you want access to unfair advantages, rig the mind games in your favor by adopting a healthy mindset. That’s how you get ahead and change your life forever.