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This Holiday Season, Start Attracting the Life You Want With the holiday season truly upon us, we are all reminded of just how much we have in our lives to be grateful for.

By Daniel Mangena

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You've no doubt heard of the Law of Attraction (LOA) by now. Its many proponents are well known and widely publicized. While LOA practices are often chalked up to being the preserve of the "woo-woo" or spiritual, there is no doubt a great amount of truth in it. In fact, the Bible even talks about it.

You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. - Psalm 65:11

LOA practices are about attracting more of that which you focus on. In essence — manifesting your thoughts into reality. Really what this is all about is harnessing the way in which our brains work, more specifically the reticular activating system (RAS), buried in our subconscious. The purpose of this part of our brain is to enable us to focus on the stuff needed for survival.

As cavemen, we needed potential food to stand out to us — things like ripe fruit, animals we could hunt and non-poisonous plants. We also needed (and still do) to be able to assess danger and act quickly, hence why we evolved a part of our brain to process the info for us and bypass the decision-making phase.

The problem with the RAS in a modern context is that it hasn't caught up with society. It's not governed by our intellect. We can't directly ask it to find something for us. It's running on programming that's fed to it by evolution and emotional energy. The RAS is either pulling us towards or repelling us from something. But this doesn't mean that we can't train it to work for us.

So how can we use our RAS to our advantage?

Firstly, think just how much you run on auto-pilot each day. If you've got kids, you run a business and a household, it's "go-go-go" all day, every day. How do you remember locking the house when you leave in the morning? Do you remember turning off the light when leaving the bathroom? How about where you leave your keys?

All these things are habitual. Your keys, for example, probably have a designated hook or bowl that you leave them in when you get home. Because you have developed the habit of putting them there every time you come home, your RAS blocks the action from your memory and just takes care of the physical action for you.

This enables you to remain focussed on the important tasks, whatever they may be. Here's the thing, though: Your RAS is fairly impartial when it comes to its priorities. It's really only concerned with your survival. And the programming that covers that is simply same equals safe.

Because your day-to-day actions thus far have not resulted in your demise, your subconscious seeks to preserve the status quo. The problem with this is that the status quo could be a toxic relationship, drug abuse or something that is keeping you from your dreams. That's why it is so hard for people to break out of patterns that aren't serving them.

We have to start introducing new programming to our subconscious as though we already live in a new status quo. This is what LOA practices can help you do, and if they speak to you, I encourage you to pursue them. But we can start with something far simpler — practicing gratitude.

Related: Why Gratitude Makes Leaders More Effective

What does practicing gratitude actually mean?

Gratitude takes practice for most of us. We all know folks who simply can not stop complaining about their life, despite living in one of the most advanced, prosperous and abundant times in history. They sit there moaning about everything, not realizing the irony that they are creating that reality for themselves. This is the RAS's indifference to what you really want in action. Those people have locked into a narrative about their lives — one that paints them as poor, "put-upon" victims of a cruel world. Armed with this, their RAS is searching for evidence to support it and ruthlessly, it will find it.

This is what people often refer to as "confirmation bias." It's your subconscious programming guiding your conscious experience of the physical world, without your awareness. It's how you frame the world that creates your experience of it, which brings us back to that Bible verse from earlier.

You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. - Psalm 65:11

What this Psalm is talking about speaks to the power of Thanksgiving and practicing gratitude. If we take the zoomed-out view of the year ahead and "crown it" (i.e. view it in the context of) a bountiful harvest, all of the trials and tribulations that we might face will be in the context of abundance.

This is what those moaners struggle with: context. They get hit with crisis after crisis, seeing themselves as victims of an unusually harsh reality. If they could "crown their year with a bountiful harvest" though, they would realize that it's all part of the wider picture. It's all in service of their abundant lives.

Related: How Gratitude Can Help Your Financial Life

Training your brain with the practice of gratitude.

To start finding business growth opportunities, resources you never knew you had and moving towards an abundant life, start practicing gratitude for the small things.

Your RAS (as discussed) is impartial. It doesn't know the difference between a small thing and a big thing. It also takes its cues from your emotional reaction to events. That's why trauma can continue to govern behavior well after the event has passed, and even after it has faded from conscious memory. The advantage for us in this is that we can celebrate finding a penny as though it were a million dollars, and our RAS will log it as a huge win.

Do this consistently and you will start to notice more and more to be grateful for. Just look around you right now and pick something. Maybe you've got a nice, freshly brewed cup of coffee in front of you. Perhaps you're sitting in your favorite cozy chair. Whatever it is, find it and celebrate it. Feel that warm sensation of comfort that it gives you. Focus on all of the pleasant feelings these things evoke and celebrate them as though they are evidence of your dream life made manifest.

It might feel disingenuous and forced at first. But once you get good at regularly observing everything in your orbit that you can be grateful for, then you'll start to see the shift.

Do this in your business as well. There are always challenges that crop up daily, but practice gratitude for the good things and the challenges, for it is through those that you are given evidence of your resourcefulness.

Remember: You are creating the reality in which you live. You can choose to change that with every new moment. Start with gratitude and witness just how much incredible abundance starts showing up for you. Do this consistently for a year and I promise you, you'll look back and realize just how much your life has changed.

Related: Why Gratitude is the Best Marketing Plan Ever

Daniel Mangena

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of Dream With Dan & Dream inc

Dan Mangena is a best-selling author, radio host, international speaker, master money manifestor and the creator of the Beyond Intention Paradigm. He is completely self-made and has spent decades perfecting his world-class coaching to help others live an abundant, joyful, purpose-driven life.

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