Figure Out What's Next

#39: Manifesting – True or False?

with Nicola Vetter & Peter Axtell
September 23, 2023 | 10 Minutes



Liquid error: Nil location provided. Can't build URI.


On "Inside-Out Career Design" this week, hosts Nicola Vetter & Peter Axtell speak about 

Manifesting True or False? Neuroscience meets Eastern wisdom to answer the question: Does Manifesting Work? We attempt to unravel the mystery of Dynamic Will Power, the Reticular Activating System, Visualization and Mantra, all combined to give you the best chance of manifesting what you want.

Does it work? Use what we teach, and you be the judge.

Some questions for you to reflect on

  • What's your take on "Dynamic Will Power?" Ever heard of it before this episode?
  • Do you agree that neuroscience and spiritual concepts like manifesting can co-exist? Why or why not?
  • Which of the four practical steps—Intention, Power of Visualization, Mantras & Repetition, or Action—most resonated with you and why?
  • Did the scientific studies mentioned in the episode make the concepts more believable for you?
  • Have you ever tried using visualization to achieve a goal? Share your experience.
  • What's one thing you're going to immediately implement from this episode to kickstart your own manifestation journey?

Connect with

Connect with Nicola & Peter

Books, resources, and people mentioned in this episode

Drop us a note

Any topics you’d like us to cover or guests you’d like to hear? Let us know at [email protected]

About the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast

This podcast is obsessed with answering a single question: Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career?

Join Nicola Vetter and Peter Axtell, co-founders of the Career Insights platform and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment, as they follow their obsession with answering this question by sharing their insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talking with career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches -- anyone and everyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of “what’s next for me?” and “what should I do with my life?”

They seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers.

Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are and what you are meant to do with the time you’ve been given.


Nicola Vetter  00:00

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast. Today, Peter and I are going to take another dive into the territory of power and transformation, which is both magical and profoundly real. We'll intertwine the art of dynamic will power with the neuroscience of the human mind. We're talking about manifesting again, but this time, it's manifesting on steroids. And don't worry, we'll keep it simple, like a casual chat over a fine cup of coffee.


Peter Axtell  00:44

I discovered the idea of dynamic will power from the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Swami Yogananda. He wrote it in 1946. It was an influential book, sure. But why did it resonate with personalities like Steve Jobs or George Harrison? Because it tapped into something universal, the human desire to control our destiny. I remember when I first read the book years ago, I thought it was two words dynamic willpower.


Nicola Vetter  01:18

But you had it totally wrong. It's actually three words, dynamic will power, because these three words when strung together, represent a force so compelling, that it's as if you have the universe's cheat codes.


Peter Axtell  01:40

Love that. So, we're not just talking about willpower or dynamism individually. We're weaving them into a powerhouse that creates genuine change. Let's first explain the definition of these three words, shall we?


Nicola Vetter  01:56

Sure. DYNAMIC means a force that creates change. WILL is the desire or intention to achieve something. And POWER is the ability or strength to make something happen. So blend these three together, and you've got dynamic will power. It's a tool that doesn't just say, "I want this," but that screams, "I will make this happen!"


Peter Axtell  02:33

Here's where the RAS or reticular activating system comes in. We already spoke about it in Episode 35, which we recommend you watch after this episode. You'll find the link at the end. Neuroscientists have discovered that the RAS plays a crucial role in attention and goal-setting. Dr. Marvin Minsky, a pioneer in artificial intelligence, describes the RAS as the gatekeeper of information in the brain, focusing on what's essential, and filtering out the rest.


Nicola Vetter  03:06

Just imagine your brain's own personal spotlight operator, focusing your attention on what's vital to your goal, filtering out everything else. And when coupled with dynamic will power, it's like putting that spotlight operator on triple espressos.


Peter Axtell  03:32

Ha, the triple power. Now, let's break this down into something practical. There are four parts: The first is intention. You've got to want something deep in your core, not just a fleeting wish, but a burning need that feels real and tastes real. That's your intention. Set it, feel it, live it. Studies like the one conducted by Dr. Sarah Lazar at Harvard Medical School, show that focused intention, like meditation, helps in creating new neural connections, making you more adept at achieving what you're aiming for.


Nicola Vetter  04:10

Next is the power of visualization. Dr. Guang Yue, I hope I pronounced that right, an exercise psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, found that merely visualizing a workout can increase muscle strength by up to 13.5%. Your brain can't differentiate between real and imagined actions. So visualization is a potent tool. So let's try it. Close your eyes and see your goal. No really see it. Smell it. Taste it. Touch it. Let it soak into every pore of your being. You're not daydreaming. You're previewing your future reality, or your future self as we say in our Figure Out What's Next program.


Peter Axtell  05:20

Then there is the effect of mantras and repetition. Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist at Thomas Jefferson University, has extensively researched the effect of repetition on the brain. And he found that chanting mantras or repetitive phrases can change the structure and function of the brain, making new neural pathways and help you focus on specific goals. Here's how you do it: Repeat a phrase that embodies your desire. That phrase develops a pattern in your brain, kind of like a song that you can't get out of your head. And that's what you want. The pattern goes from your conscious mind to the unconscious mind, which goes to work bringing that desire into reality.


Nicola Vetter  06:08

And speaking of song, and with you being a former professional musician, remember that short mantra we filmed in this 400 year old, tiny chapel in Germany, just a year before we got married exactly there? Let's put that up on our YouTube channel as special, what do you think?


Peter Axtell  06:37

Okay, but let me add a quick story to that. One of my teachers gave me a mantra that I made into a song, and I played it over and over and over again. And to this day, it's embedded in my mind, like one of my favorite songs. This stuff, it really works.


Nicola Vetter  06:57

Now, back to your reticular activating system. It will start showing you signs, messages, opportunities. Listen to that intuition. It's your inner guide, waking up and saying, "Hey, this way." However, you can't just magically think and the BMW shows up in your driveway. Which is contrary to what some self-help people teach.


Peter Axtell  07:34

So, there are two more parts we need to cover. Action being one: You must take tiny action steps coupled with a positive mindset. Your mantra and vision are now directing your future reality.


Nicola Vetter  07:52

And last but not least, celebrating success and dopamine: If you can acknowledge and celebrate the successes, even the small ones, it triggers the release of dopamine, the feel-good hormone. Dr. Kent Berridge, a leading researcher in Affective Neuroscience, found that dopamine is linked to motivation, driving you to pursue goals more passionately.


Peter Axtell  08:24

Now, here's the exciting part: The harmony of neuroscience and dynamic will power isn't merely a theory or esoteric concept. It's real. It's happening in your brain right now. Your thoughts, intentions, visualizations, mantras, they all interact with your neural network in ways that we're only just beginning to understand. And the best part? You're not just a passive recipient of these processes. They're going on all the time to help you bring the future reality you want.


Nicola Vetter  09:03

There is one downside however. Usually, manifestation takes longer than we'd like. It requires patience. You wouldn't plant a corn seed and expect a six foot corn plant the next day, would you?


Peter Axtell  09:22

So true. We took a scientific approach here to show the hard-core skeptics among you that some perceived woo-woo things are actually backed by science.


Nicola Vetter  09:35

It's also how we teach. Like learning soft skills backed by data and facts. If you're interested to learn more, sign up for one of our live online workshops, where we teach how to successfully reinvent your career in midlife. To save your spot in our next workshop, go to We'll see you there or for another episode here.


Peter Axtell  10:08

Thanks for joining us today. For show notes go to, where we share links and other relevant information.


Nicola Vetter  10:20

Please subscribe, like and leave us a comment, a question or a topic that you'd like us to explore in a future episode. We'd love to hear from you.