It is a guarantee that you’ve heard the phrase many times before–”Get off the beaten path.” When it comes to your state of mind, you may be surprised to learn that habitual brain patterns may be standing between you and the sales success you desire as a life insurance professional.

Studies have shown that your thoughts and mental habits become brain patterns that are ingrained into your mind. But more recent studies have clearly demonstrated that, in spite of what you might think about aging, the reality is that you can change your brain to think more positively and even more “successfully.”

The term that has been coined– “neuroplasticity”–refers to your ability to change your patterns of thinking.

Just consider the way in which the old Wild West was settled and you surely can imagine a wagon train driving across fields of grain and wearing a beaten path. At first the grain is tamped down until the constant travel forms two dirt grooves in which a driver steers the wagon wheels. The brain works the same way. Over time, the inputs you provide begin to create consistent patterns of synaptic firing and consequently habitual thinking.

Thus if you fixate on the current economic woes in the world marketplace, you will weave patterns of fear and pessimism. Your demeanor and behaviors will reflect your fears and ultimately translate into negative energy with your clients and the people around you.

Conversely, if you train your brain to weave new paths of optimism, you will discover that your outlook in life changes and you will change your brain for more positive thinking. Your clients will feel this positive thinking and lead to greater success in selling life insurance and building your business.

The most profound study of this phenomenon occurred during a study of brain patterns in Buddhist monks. A group of the sagacious meditation experts agreed, albeit reluctantly, to have electrodes pasted to their scalps to test their brain activity during meditation. Researchers discovered that an astounding level of gamma ray production had occurred in the right frontal cortex of their brains. Apparently gamma ray production is a good thing!

The researchers, not content to eliminate the possibility that these monks were genetically predisposed to superior cortical activity, engaged a group of volunteers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to participate in a study of their brains. They discovered, after measuring brain activity before and after meditation training, that the students were able to increase their gamma ray production with compassion meditation training. In other words, in just two weeks of mental practice, the student volunteers actually retrained their brains.

The most astounding aspect of the study occurred when the researchers continued their study by working again with the Buddhist monks. The researchers accidentally discovered that the monks had gamma ray production significantly above norms even when not engaged in meditative practice. The researchers concluded that ongoing mental practice can actually help you think, feel and act more positively on a permanent basis. Thus if you want to achieve more happiness and success in your sales career in these troubled economic times, try these mental exercises:

? Recognize that you are the cause of your own anxiety. Negative news items do not make you feel anxious. It is you and only you that can manage your mental outlook. Try filtering the difference between sensationalist journalism and legitimate news as you watch television and read the newspaper. Isolate the real facts and then choose to remain calm in the face of a storm. Train your mind to see what you can do to adapt to circumstances in life rather than try to change the circumstances.

? Feed your mind and soul with positive thoughts. Discover which thoughts and words calm you, read them and then think them regularly. For some people, contemplating the insignificance of a single person’s problems in a large universe has a calming effect. For many, it is faith in God. Still others find that poetry and philosophical words are the best. Unfortunately most people never stop to consider what positive thoughts will work for them. Discover what words truly work for you and surround yourself with reading that provides those words.

? Focus on long-term success. These turbulent economic times were not created overnight and no short-term solution will be forthcoming. You will only cause personal anxiety if you follow the compelling urge to create instant sales solutions to long-term ills. Instead, keep your mind focused on long-term goals and you will achieve better focus in the short term. Use this time to offer your struggling clients the empathy they crave and position yourself for sales opportunities when the timing is right. The answer is often not “no,” but instead is “not now.”

? Do the right things. Faith is a funny thing. Many so-called leaders will tell you that faith alone will help you achieve success and happiness. Faith requires actions. Faith is the belief that if you do the right things, then good results will eventually follow. Thus, you must do the tasks that you believe will result in positive long-term results without worrying about the short-term. Hard work creates positive long-term results.

? Share the love. The life insurance business is like no other in the world, helping people protect the things that are most dear to them, the things they love. Share love with family, friends and clients unconditionally and it will return to you in spades. Focus on helping others and you will achieve all the success you ever wanted.