• Summary written by:

Do you believe in magic?

If so, then it probably exists!

In his book, BrainShift, Jeff Wilson talks about the influence that beliefs have on our thoughts and behaviours. We all hold beliefs, which are a set of rules we create to make sense of how the world works. However, it’s these very beliefs that often hold us back from achieving what we want. In the book, Jeff helps the reader understand how we develop beliefs throughout our lives, and then he teaches techniques in changing these beliefs in order to get the results we want for ourselves.

The book begins by showing us how our minds work. To help us understand this, he uses the analogy of a computer. Think of the monitor as our conscious minds and the CPU (central processing unit) and hard drive as our sub-conscious. We get sensory input from the ‘monitor’, which then turn into beliefs that we store in our ‘hard drive’.

Once we understand this, he then shows us how to access this ‘hard drive’ in order to identify and change beliefs that aren’t helping us. The book is chock-full of techniques that can be used to install new beliefs and reinforce them, allowing us to not only feel great, but even convince ourselves we are great.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

You Are What You Believe

"Persuasion is the process of getting people to do things that they would not normally do on their own."
- BrainShift, page 73

What stood out to me the most in the book was the 20 different ways we can install beliefs into others and ourselves.  Author Jeff Wilson calls them the “principles of belief installation” and they are basically the natural psychological elements that influence our beliefs. They come from both external sensory tools (our 5 senses) and internally generated sensory data in the form of internal visual images and feelings. Learning these 20 principles helps you alter the limiting beliefs that others or you may be holding onto.

For example, if all your friends believe in something there’s a good chance you will too. We all need to feel connected to a peer group, and in doing so become influenced by the group’s beliefs. This is why they often say, “You are the company you keep.”

Jeff makes it clear that these techniques are not intended to be used for unethical manipulation. They are naturally occurring principles, and by understanding them we can leverage them to increase the performance of others and ourselves.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Breaking the Ice

"Developing a sense of connection – or rapport – with other people is a fundamental human need."
- BrainShift, page 44

Building rapport is a crucial part of shifting another person’s beliefs. To do so involves showing great care and empathy for another person, so as to build the level of trust between you both. Once you build rapport you then have the ability to discuss beliefs in a way where both individuals can learn and understand their current beliefs, and how said beliefs are affecting their behavior.

As an exercise, try to develop rapport with a stranger. Speak and listen to them in a way that focuses on their interests and perspective. Really try to ‘jump into their world’ to see what they see. Be genuinely concerned about the other person. See what happens!

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Discover Limiting Beliefs

"The power of this procedure (belief mapping) comes from the fact that, unbeknownst to most people, it is usually possible to determine the beliefs of others with astonishing accuracy. This is possible because, fundamentally, we’re all wired the same way."
- BrainShift, page 53

As a second exercise, after you successfully build rapport with someone, try to determine a belief that is holding them back in their lives. This can include beliefs such as “I can’t,” or “I’m not good enough.” Help them see that this belief is limiting their lives.

For you to be effective at this you must really listen to the other person and understand their perspective on life and the reasons as to why they have it. It is important not to just find the belief and point it out to them, but rather to understand the person and then help them understand how the belief is limiting them.


In closing, BrainShift by Jeff Wilson literally revolutionized my way of thinking. As a leadership coach it is imperative that I help others remove limiting beliefs, and this book gave me the skills, tools and insights to do so.

Each and every one of us has the power to choose our beliefs. What’s amazing about this fact is that, in doing so, we have the power to control our lives at any given moment. We can use our beliefs to help us or hurt us. At the end of the day, we’re only as great as we believe we are. BE-lieve great!

Consultant or Coach? Take our Fit Assessment to find out if partnering with Actionable is right for you.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Back to summaries