Get the Most from Yourself – Chapter 6

In previous issues of Computer Times, we printed a 26-month series from the book titled Get The MOST from Yourself, by Dr. Terry Kibiloski.  This is the seventh article of that series.

Image of Dr. Terry Kibiloski's smiling face

How to Have a Healthy Mind

The human system is similar to the personal computer system, with three major parts – the body (hardware), the mind (software), and the spirit, or soul, (user).

We are spirits having a human experience!

Image of Body, Mind, Spirit chart (copyright Dr. Terry Kibiloski, 1986)

To maintain the human system it’s important to understand:

  • Body specialists (doctors) help maintain our human body.
  • Mind specialists (psychologists) help maintain our human mind.
  • Spirit, or soul, specialists (priests, ministers, rabbis, etc.) teach us how to effectively use our body and mind. The ideal teacher is the Creator of our body and mind.

If you can understand the similarity between the computer system and the human system, you are on your way to getting the MOST from yourself. Let’s now look at some important principles.

  • As the computer operator uses the hardware and software to have a computing experience, our spirit uses the body and mind to have a human experience
  • Our overall health depends upon a harmonious relationship between our body, mind and spirit
  • Our human system seeks harmony and ease, not dis-ease

Last month we looked at the principles involved in having a healthy body. This month we look at our mind.

    • Our mind is a perfect computer, consistently performing the same actions it was programmed to perform in any given situation
    • Positive thoughts are processed into positive feelings, attitudes, and actions.

To complement a healthy body, we need a healthy mind. Remember, it is the mind that controls our body. Much like we need a well-trained jockey to get the MOST from a horse in the Kentucky Derby, we also need a well-trained mind to get the MOST from our body in the human “race.”

We can also think of our mind as the “computer” in our human system. Given the proper instructions (software), it can direct our body (hardware) to do just about anything within its physical limitations. Like the “computer processor” in computer system, our mind will consistently follow its programmed instructions until they are changed. It matters little if the instructions are good for the body (eat plenty of vegetables) or bad for the body (eat plenty of fatty foods). The mind is a faithful servant and will follow its programming perfectly.

Unlike a computer, though, our mind receives its programming from a multitude of sources. From the day we are born (and some research suggests even while in the womb) our mind is being programmed by people around us. We are being programmed how to act and react to every conceivable event. Some of this programming is very obvious (i.e. classes at school), most of this programming is not so obvious (i.e. subconscious observation of how those around us react to situations).

When I begin my Get The Most From Yourself seminars, I ask the attendees how many of them have not been angry, upset or mad for the past year, then month, then week, then day, then hour. I seldom get any hands raised until I get down to the day or hour. Then I tell everyone that I have not been upset, angry or mad one minute of my life for well over ten years and ask if anyone is interested in learning how to be the same way. Of course, most people say “yes” with great enthusiasm. The fact is, I really haven’t been angry, upset or mad in well over ten years. I have simply reprogrammed my mind to react in a positive way to all external events.

Like the digital computer, your mind will process negative data (negative thoughts) at the same speed it processes positive data (positive thoughts).

Watch people around you in rush hour traffic. They all experience the same external conditions but choose to react to the situation in very different ways.

Negative people get themselves all upset. Some honk their horns. Some yell at the traffic. By the time they get home they are exhausted. Their blood pressure is up. They have a headache. Some take their frustrations out on their spouse and children. Some develop serious family & health problems from their behavior.

Other people in the same rush hour traffic respond in a positive way. They are not surprised by the rush hour traffic. They expect it and take advantage of it. Some cherish the time in traffic, away from phones and daily demands. They listen to a story tape of the latest best seller, or listen to soft music and mentally leave the work day behind. Others play foreign language tapes (you can become conversant in a foreign language after a few months of rush hour traffic), or listen to motivational tapes. Whatever it is, positive people make the best of their time in traffic. When they get home they are refreshed and relaxed.

To understand our actions in any given situation, we need to look back to when our mind was programmed for that situation. As Winston Churchill said, “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” For example, your mind will act with whispers when you are in a library, if it was programmed to associate libraries with whispering. It may also lower your blood pressure, relax your muscles, and clear the input brain cells for accepting new reading material.

This same type of situation-action response occurs for every life situation for which your mind has been programmed. If as a child you observed your father yelling and going crazy in traffic, your mind may trigger the same response when you are in traffic because in its memory banks “yelling and going crazy” is the stored response for traffic. This works the same way for every life situation. Your mind consistently performs as it was programmed. This is important to realize when you get upset and yell at someone in a particular situation. Chances are your yelling is a learned response to the situation. You may have no ill feelings toward the person. Your mind is simply acting according to the way it was programmed. You may have been yelled at in a similar situation when you were a child, or you may have observed an adult yelling at someone in a similar situation.

Each time you encounter a specific person, place or event, your mind quickly searches its memory banks to see if it has encountered the same (or similar) situation before. If it has, it reacts in the way it was programmed to act during its last encounter. This programming could have come from you, or from an outside source.

We see outsiders try to program our minds on a daily basis. The most obvious example is in advertising, through a process called association. Advertising companies know we associate music and movies with pleasure, so they combine clips of a popular singer or movie star with a product. In a 60 second TV commercial, we are shown repeating images of singer, product, singer, product, singer, product . . . This technique tries to program our mind to associate the pleasure we get from the singer with the product. If the programming is successful, the next time we see the product our mind associates it with pleasure and we buy the product.

Marketing professionals understand this mind programming very well. Knowing our mind can be programmed by even 30-second suggestions, they are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on short television commercials to affect our behavior. And even if the commercial is totally unrealistic, they know they can still program our mind to believe it if we see it enough times. For example, in beer commercials they show us slim people with great bodies (where are the beer guts?) and in cigarette ads they use words like “cool” and “refreshing” (not exactly accurate for a hot, burning item). Consciously, we may see humor in these examples, but subconsciously our mind can be programmed to accept them as reality.

Radio is also a very powerful programmer of our mind. Some radio stations feel they have an obligation to help us feel miserable each morning. Does this sound familiar? “Here we are on another gloomy Monday, only two more days till hump day. We can expect another miserable day of rain.” Do you see the programming? The fact is, a day cannot be “gloomy” and “miserable,” only people can CHOOSE to be gloomy and miserable.

Similar techniques are used throughout our society from military basic training to exercise classes.

As we listen to the radio each day, our mind is blasted with programming messages. On Mondays, you hear a lot of negative programming about the first day of the work week, the weekend being over, and other negative things about Mondays. Soon, many people have their minds programmed that Monday is a terrible day. In fact, Monday, like any other day, is just a day. It becomes positive or negative in the way we think.

The bad news is our mind reacts very quickly to negative programming. The good news is our mind also reacts very quickly to positive programming. So, choose your programming wisely. Listen to positive radio, watch positive TV, read positive books, and choose to S-M-I-L-E, in spite of what is going on around you.

In my seminars, I give everyone an orange and ask, “If you squeeze an orange, what will come out?” If you are squeezing a healthy orange, what will come out is orange juice. It doesn’t matter who squeezes it, what time of day it is squeezed, or where you are when you squeeze it. If you squeeze an orange, what comes out is orange juice. Why does orange juice come out when you squeeze an orange? Because that’s what’s inside. There’s no mystery in that answer. It is simple physics. When you squeeze an orange, or anything else in this universe, what comes out is what’s inside.

Now for the harder question. When YOU get squeezed, when someone puts you under pressure at work, in traffic, or at home, what comes out? Anger? Hate? Peace? Love? You are really no different than the orange. What comes out is what’s inside.

If you fill yourself with hateful and angry thoughts, or other negative thoughts of depression, anxiety, etc., that’s what will come out when you are under pressure. That’s the only thing that can come out, because that’s what’s inside.

Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic missionary to India’s poor, is an excellent example of this principle. When placed under political pressure or personal pressure, what comes out is always love. That’s the only thing that can come out because that’s what is inside Mother Teresa.

What if our healthy orange was injected with a small amount of vinegar each day for a week? What will come out if we then squeeze our orange? Certainly not pure orange juice. We will get a mixture of orange juice and vinegar. If we continue to inject vinegar into our orange, it will soon be difficult to find any orange juice at all. On the other hand, we can practically eliminate the vinegar by injecting large doses of orange juice back into our orange to replace the vinegar. Soon, our orange will again yield orange juice when it is squeezed.

Our mind works the same way. If our spirit fills our mind with large doses of negative thoughts filled with anger, hate, etc., it becomes difficult to find the happiness and love we once knew. However, like the orange, we can practically eliminate the negative thoughts with massive doses of positive thoughts.

Achieving the massive doses of positive thinking, that is so important to our success and happiness, requires a source of positive thoughts. Some find great help in the Christian Bible, others in great works of other religions, motivational tapes, positive poetry, movies, or spiritual meditation and prayer. You need to find a source of positive thoughts that works for you.

If your orange (mind) is filled with vinegar (negative thoughts), it may be time to inject large amounts of orange juice (positive thoughts) back into your orange. You will then begin to positively experience the principle “you become what you think about all day long.” The adventure is just beginning.

Another important principle you need to understand if you wish to get the MOST from yourself is –

* Each human system responds to pleasure and avoids pain

Said in a more down home way, “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” While this saying usually applies to others, it also applies to us when we want to get the MOST from ourselves.

Tom Sawyer understood this when he changed his friends’ behavior by describing fence painting as pleasure (honey) instead of pain (vinegar). Soon, he had friends standing in line to give him their boyhood treasures in return for the “opportunity” to paint the fence.

The same thing has been done by health clubs. They’ve focused on the pleasure of looking good, enjoying life, and being healthy rather than on the pain of exercise.

Notice that the events are the same, they don’t change. What changes is your focus, and your desire for a positive outcome. Both are important.

You can change your focus on every event in your life. You no longer diet (pain), you eat healthier to feel better (pleasure). You don’t go to “work” (pain), you challenge yourself to be creative and find smarter ways to accomplish your tasks each day, always improving yourself for a better position (pleasure). You don’t put up with the kids (pain), you enjoy them while they’re young and help them grow into wonderful human beings (pleasure). Do you see the difference? It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it. You focus on the pleasure.

You must also have an intense desire for a positive outcome. There is a story of a disciple who asked his teacher when he would find God. The teacher took the disciple to the lake and held his head under water. After a few minutes, the teacher released him and asked the disciple how he felt. The disciple replied, “I was dying for a breath of air.” The teacher said, “When you feel that intensely for God, then you will find him. Do you have an intense desire to get the MOST from yourself?

As you can see, you are the sum total of all the choices you have made up to now. The choices you make are directly linked to the image, the thoughts, you have of yourself.

Imagery is a very powerful force in the human system. Think of a young girl who learns how to swim. Why couldn’t she swim the day before? Physically she is the same. Spiritually she is different. She developed an image that she could swim, and she acted upon that image. We hear parents reinforcing that image around the pool, “Come on, you can do it, you can do it.” Think about the children’s story of the little train engine who kept telling himself “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I know I can, I know I can.” That is a wonderful story about the power of imagery.

When you plant positive images in your mind and tell yourself you can do something, you use your body to act upon those images and DO IT! Unfortunately, this works the same with negative images.

Take the child who has been told all his life he is a failure, he can’t do anything right, he is not as smart as his brother or sister. Soon, the child believes what he hears and develops an image in his mind of being a failure. He then acts upon that image and fails at home, at school, and ultimately in society. Let that same child find someone (coach, teacher, Big Brother, etc.) to encourage him and help him develop a positive image of himself, and soon the child acts upon his new image and becomes a success at home, at school, and in society.

I once heard a missionary tell a story of a boy from San Salvador who could make beautiful art objects. When a friend of the boy was asked how the young man could make such beautiful things, the friend replied “No one has told him he’s not an artist.”

What about you? Did someone tell you you’re not an artist, or a good student, or a productive employee, or a successful person? Did you believe them? Do you have a negative image of yourself? Remember, you are the sum total of your choices, and the choices you make are directly linked to the image you have of yourself.

This is not some magic potion. I am not saying you simply need to imagine something and magically it will appear. Think of the child in our example. Positive images did not magically change the child’s life. The child changed his own life, by acting upon his positive images.

If you want to accomplish something physically, mentally, or spiritually, you must plant the positive image in your mind that you can do it. Then, like the girl who swims across the pool, and the little engine that makes it up, and over, the hill, you will act upon the positive image of yourself and DO IT!

The only difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful person, is their image of themselves. We see many examples of great people rising above hopeless conditions because they have a positive image of themselves. We see minorities rise above the ghettos by acting upon the image of playing on a professional ball team, or being successful in business. We see young people at the Special Olympics who rise above their physical and mental limitations by acting on the image of being a winner. Examples are everywhere.

This same power of imagery will work for you too. What image do YOU have of YOURSELF? What image would you like to have? Beginning right now, plant a positive image in your mind several times a day. Soon, you will act on that image and make it happen. Remember, YOU are the sum total of YOUR choices, and your choices come from your spirit.

Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND.

Much more next month . . . Get the Most from Yourself – Chapter 7

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