We were joined by the neuroscientist, executive advisor, and author of the game-changing new brain training book: The Source.

Last week we welcomed Dr Tara Swart — neuroscientist, author, and executive advisor— to the Library at YCN. In her latest book, The Source: Open Your Mind, Change Your Life, she stirs up science and spirituality; showing us how to master our minds in order to fulfil our potential. Tara taught us about the power of thought, being more mindful about the choices we make in our lives, and the neuroscience at the head of it all. 

Here’s what we learned.

Control = confidence

Tara began with a kind and candid nod to YCN: “There have definitely been times in my life where I feel like, of course ‘You Can Now’, and there have equally been times in my life where I feel like you can’t do this, you can’t do anything”. It was this sentiment which inspired her work on how to change the way you think. Over the course of her talk, Tara lists six interconnected ways of thinking: “mastering your emotions, knowing yourself, trusting your gut, making good decisions, staying motivated and resilient, and creating the life you want”. Harnessing control over these concepts teaches us to be more confident, and helps us to achieve self-actualisation, she explained.

Opening our Minds, Changing our Lives

A vision board can change your life

Tara is a big believer in creating vision boards, either digitally or with magazine cutouts, using images that physically or conceptually represent what you want to achieve in the coming year. The reasoning behind this being the need to channel your focus and get more control or, as Tara put it, “because we are bombarded by so much information all the time, our brain naturally filters out a lot of that. If you primed your brain with these images of the things you really want in your life, it is more likely these things won’t get filtered out."

She emphasised as well that it’s not enough to “make a vision board and sit at home waiting for the cheques to roll in”, but instead “create the board, look at it frequently, visualise everything on it coming true, but also make sure you are doing something, if not every day then regularly, to move yourself towards some of these things happening”. 

Opening our Minds, Changing our Lives

Replace the negative with the positive

“Imagine your mind is like your dream home”, said Tara, likening our psyches to a physical space which we would keep clean and tidy. She drew a link between the physical and the mindful, explaining how the actions we take on a daily basis make a big impact on our ability to achieve and be resilient. You therefore need to be mindful not only about who you are surrounding yourself with, and what you tolerate from others, but also what we tell ourselves. Buddhist philosophy encourages us to immediately replace any negative thought with a positive one, a philosophy which Tara backs up with science: “Your brain is constantly shaping and moulding itself in response to everything you experience. You can train your brain to build stronger pathways in the areas that you want to, connecting up more and more neurons for that capability, until it goes from being a dirt road to being a super highway”. 

Opening our Minds, Changing our Lives

Do your future-self a favour

“If I do this now, what is that going to mean for my future self?” This is a question we can ask ourselves about decisions we make now which will positively impact our lives later down the line. “Logic is biased by emotion”, Tara explained. “If we are stressed, if we are not taking care of ourselves, our decisions become based on the feeling of scarcity. Whereas if we are well-rested and well-nourished, we make decisions from a place of abundance”. 


Tara Swart’s book ‘The Source: Open Your Mind, Change Your Life’ is out now and yours to borrow from our YCN Library. 

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You Can Now