Get the Most from Yourself – Chapter 7

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 eighth article of that series.

Image of Dr. Terry Kibiloski's smiling face

How to Have a Healthy Spirit

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

In the past two months, we looked at the principles involved in having a healthy body and mind. This month we look at our spirit.

  • The choices you make are directly linked to the image, the thoughts, you have of yourself
  • The greatness, the ultimate success, of our human system depends on our spirit, the creator of our thoughts

The biggest influence on your life is your thoughts, the way you think. Everything you are, everything you do, is a product of your thoughts. The primary difference between a highly successful, happy person and someone who has little success and happiness is the way they think. The bad news is very few of us have learned to think in positive ways. The good news is YOU can control the way you think.

Our thoughts, the way we think, can make survivors out of potential victims. We’ve heard testimonies from returning prisoners of war, hostages, and people trapped in perilous surroundings. They tell us how their positive thinking made the difference between survival and perishing. Some of them filled their minds with such pleasant thoughts they virtually left their brutal surroundings and no longer felt the pain.

We witness this same power of positive thinking when we see a weaker team, or individual competitor, achieve victory through positive thinking. You may have experienced this same thing on the golf course or the tennis court. When you’re thinking positively, when you’re “up for the game,” you play a better and more enjoyable game.

By applying this same principle in your daily life, you can become a highly successful and happy business person, computer professional, student, etc. You can reach a level of happiness and fulfillment beyond your wildest dreams. It’s simply a matter of applying the principle “you become what you think about all day long.”

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

The important thing is to first make a decision to be a successful and happy person, and then only fill your mind with positive thoughts. Positive thoughts can be applied to all situations and processed into positive feelings, attitudes, and actions.

Now for a short survey.

  • Who has upset you in the past 30 days?
  • Who has made you feel good in the past 30 days?
  • Who can make you happy no matter how bad things become?

When I am speaking to a group of teens, whether it be a Christian youth group or a room full of Girl Scouts, typical answers include parents, teachers, boyfriend, girlfriend, and best friend. I’ll let you sort out which answers go with which questions.

When I am speaking to a room full of adults, be it a Christian adult group or a group of office workers, typical answers include parents, boss, husband, wife, kids, and best friend. Notice the answers haven’t changed much. They are simply similar people with different titles.

No matter who you are, or what has happened in your past, I can positively tell you the correct answer to all three questions for you. Notice I said correct answer, not the answer that popped into your mind when you read the questions. The correct answer to all three questions is – YOU!

  • Who has upset you in the past 30 days? – YOU!
  • Who has made you feel good in the past 30 days? – YOU!
  • Who can make you happy no matter how bad things become? – YOU!

YOU are the only person who can get you upset, make you feel good, or make you happy. All of your feelings are directly linked to the way you think. And only YOU control your thoughts. So, think happy!

Remember our previous examples? We talked about prisoners of war, hostages, and people trapped in perilous surroundings, who filled their minds with such positive thoughts they virtually left their brutal surroundings and experienced an inner peace far beyond anything they ever imagined possible.

Viktor Frankl, an Austrian Jew who suffered tremendous physical abuse by the Nazis at Auschwitz, is a perfect example of a person processing positive thoughts into positive feelings, attitudes and actions. He kept thinking of the things he would do with his family at the war’s end. He shaved each day with small bits of razors and glass. He recognized that happiness comes from within, that you become what you think about all day long. No matter how brutal his external surroundings, Victor chose to think and act positively. You can do the same.

It’s important to realize it is the person, not the situation, that causes the negative feelings. You have been trained all your life how to react to certain situations. If your father yelled at traffic, you may do the same thing. We pick up behaviors quickly as children. The important thing to do is retrain yourself to act positively in all situations.

Recognize that you are responsible for the negative thoughts that are processed into negative reactions. You can’t blame the situation. Situations are neutral. Rush hour traffic just is. It doesn’t care. It will be heavy traffic until it turns into light traffic. What matters is how you choose to process it in your own mind. So, why not turn it into something positive?

This applies to every situation in your life. No situation, or human being, has the power to make you mad – or even happy. It’s how you process them that counts. All emotions are inner directed by YOU. They are a direct result of the way you think. Thus, happiness and inner peace come from inside, not from outside of you. You are in total control. Isn’t that exciting?

Once you truly understand this, your life has no boundaries. You can rise above any situation, just as Victor Frankl did at Auschwitz. You can then free your mind of daily cares and extend yourself to the greater rewards of the soul. When that happens, truly, the sky’s the limit.

Let’s return to our similarities between the personal computer system and our human system.

  • As the computer operator determines how to use the software to control the hardware, our spirit determines how to use our mind to control our body.
  • As the greatness of the computer system depends on the computer operator, the greatness of the human system depends on the spirit.
  • As the computer operator uses the hardware and software to have a computing experience, the spirit uses the body and mind to have a human experience.

The last two points are very important. You are not a human being having a spiritual experience, you are a spiritual being having a human experience. The greatness, the ultimate success, of your human system depends on your spirit, the creator of your thoughts.

This is nothing new. People through the ages have discovered these truths.

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “We become what we think about all day long.”
  • Shakespeare tells us, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
  • Abraham Lincoln stated, “People are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.”
  • Norman Vincent Peale taught us to “change your thoughts and you change your world.”
  • The Christian Bible tells us “The mind controlled by the spirit is life and peace (Rom. 8:6 NIV),” and “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom. 12:2 NIV).”

It’s interesting to note that the word psychology originally meant the study of the human spirit, or soul, rather than the mind. The prefix “psych” comes from the Greek myth of the goddess Psyche, the human soul.

Many truly successful, famous people have recognized the importance of the spirit. Among them are Buckminster Fuller, Helen Hayes, Mother Teresa, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, and Norman Rockwell.

Spiritual values have also led to significantly longer life spans. Granger Westberg, a Lutheran hospital chaplain, observed that survivors of serious illnesses had deep spiritual values of love, forgiveness, and hope, while the non-survivors had a lack of spiritual values and harbored negative attitudes of anger, hate, and helplessness. Maryland studies showed people who attended church regularly had significantly less risk of dying from heart disease than others. Statistics show that the Mormons of Utah, who center their lives around spiritual values, are much healthier than the population as a whole. It becomes obvious that those who understand the importance of the spirit lead healthier, and happier lives.

We see the opposite being true for those missing, or ignoring, the spiritual side of their human system. Few people destroy their computer hardware when they have an operator problem, yet, we see negative people destroy their body (abuse, suicide, etc.) when they have a spiritual problem with their human system (unhappiness, anger, hate, envy, etc.). Few people intentionally slow down their hardware and software when they need a finely tuned computer system to accomplish their goals, yet, we see negative people slow down their body and mind (drugs, alcohol, etc.) when they need a finely tuned human system to accomplish their goals.

  • 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.

As we mentioned earlier, imagery is not some magic potion. It is simply the driving force behind your actions which turn your images into reality. 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 little girl who swims across the pool for the first time, and the little engine of storybook fame that makes it over the hill, you will act upon the positive image of yourself and make it happen!

As you can see, the key difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful person is their image of themselves. To help you define the image you create for yourself, let’s look at two very different images of success: “striving” and “arriving.”

Webster defines striving as “to devote serious effort or energy,” and “to struggle in opposition.” Webster defines arriving as “to reach a destination,” “to achieve success,” and “to reach by effort or thought.” A close look at these definitions will quickly reveal something very important. “Striving” involves a lot of effort and energy and leaves you in a state of struggling – a never ending journey. “Arriving” also involves effort but combines it with thought, and reaches a destination, achieving success. Which definition best summarizes where you want to be, striving or arriving?

Unfortunately, many people buy into the definition of success called “striving.” It is characterized by the disease called “MORE.” No matter how much they own, or how much they have achieved, they always want MORE. They never arrive. They never enjoy the present. Their entire life evolves around the future. “When I get this job…,” “When I get my degree…,” “When I pay off these bills…,” “When I get my new car…,” “When I save enough money…” The list goes on – forever! We see this disease of MORE take a terrible toll on people in all walks of life through stress-related illnesses and suicides. It’s not surprising. Striving leaves you in a constant state of struggling.

The alternative to striving is “arriving.” People who view success as arriving are successful every day of their lives. Success is not something they strive for in the future, it is something they bring to everything they do. They are aware of the future, and even plan for the future, but they LIVE in, and thoroughly enjoy, the present. They enjoy who they are, what they do, and what they have, each and every day of their lives. These people are truly successful.

It is important to realize success is not something you get from a job. Success is something you bring to the job. Take two baggers in a grocery store. One of the baggers complains throughout the day, bags the groceries in whichever order they come through the checkout counter, impatiently waits for quitting time, and views success as something to strive for in the future. The other bagger makes the best of the present situation, is friendly to the customers, bags the groceries to minimize damage to the fragile items, and works at being the best bagger in the store. Which bagger would you hire to work for you? Which one do you think will be “successful” in future jobs?

As you can see, success is something internal, an attitude, a positive image. Success is “arriving” in the present, not “striving” for the future. Truly successful people don’t chase the future, they live in the present. The future automatically rewards successful people with the money, position, reputation, and all the other things the “striving” person is forever chasing.

This ability to live in the present, and bring success to everything you do, is available to each of us. Think back to one of those times you were totally involved in the present. It may have been listening to a concert, walking on the beach, developing a computer program, working on a jigsaw puzzle, or reading a book. You were so involved in the moment that you had no sense of time passing. Hours passed in what seemed like minutes. Your total involvement in the present seemed to transcend time and space. This is the state of “arriving,” enjoying the present moment to its fullest.

Although your current job or position in life may not allow you to spend every waking hour doing everything you love, you can still love everything you do. You can become absorbed in the present moment and buy into the success that comes with “arriving,” rather than chasing after the false success called “striving.”

Consider giving the gift of life, your new “arriving” life, to yourself, your family, and your coworkers. If you’re drowning in the struggle for success called “striving,” save yourself by grabbing on to the lifeline called “arriving.”

“Striving” people always need to make MORE money, lose MORE weight, buy MORE things, take MORE vacations, and even get MORE happiness out of life. The reality, though, is the more you work at getting MORE the less happiness you seem to find. We see so many examples of striving people who “had it all” and became drug addicts, or took their own lives, because they weren’t happy.

“Striving” people spend a lot of time chasing external things for their happiness, and blaming external things for their lack of happiness. This same erroneous logic sends them to external things to “fix” their problems. We see “striving” people turning to alcohol, drugs, and other externals to achieve happiness.

“Arriving” people realize happiness and success are internal, spiritual in nature. In Wayne Dyer’s book “Gifts From Eykis”, Eykis makes the statement “There is no way TO happiness, happiness is the way.” Inner peace must be found within our own spirit.

You can’t take a vacation to get away from it all, YOU are the ALL from which you are trying to escape.

In the best-seller book of the 1970s, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Jonathan, the seagull who “arrived,” told Fletch, the seagull who was still “striving,” “Poor Fletch. Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.” A Christian bumper sticker echoed this in the words “Let go, let God.” The message is not new. It has been echoed over the centuries. Unfortunately, few have understood it. Once you truly understand it, your greatest desire is to help others.

As you progress in your life journey, you will come to the realization that true happiness comes from desiring less. Think back to the times in your life when you were really happy. Many people find they were times when they had little material possessions to clutter up their life.

Abraham Harold Maslow (1908-1970), developed a need hierarch theory that suggests there are five basic categories of needs. The needs are arranged in a hierarchy, from basic survival needs to higher level self actualization needs. Maslow’s five basic categories are shown below, from the most basic to the most advanced.

  • Physiological needs – food, water, and adequate shelter needed for our most basic survival.
  • Safety needs – physical and psychological safety from external threats to our well-being.
  • Belongingness/Social needs – companionship and a sense of personal belongingness.
  • Esteem needs – personal recognition, self esteem and a feeling of self-worth. These needs are considered a “growth” need.
  • Self-actualization needs – personal growth, development of one’s full potential, accomplishment of all that one is capable of doing. These needs are unique in that they can never be full satisfied or fulfilled. According to Maslow, the more these needs are fulfilled, the stronger they become.

Maslow’s theory suggest that each higher level need only becomes important to us after we have met the lower needs. For example, if you are struggling for food, water, and shelter, personal recognition is probably not your primary concern.

If we compare our body, mind, spirit chart to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we see a similarity between our progression from body, to mind, to spirit and Maslow’s progression from physiological needs to self-actualization needs. This is natural, since any valid teaching about the human experience must agree. The self-actualization stage is many times associated with a strong desire to do something that has never been done before.

When your desire becomes intense, it then turns into a dream and dreams are powerful things. There are numerous examples of people making miracles happen in their lives pursuing a dream. We hear of cripples who walk, defying all logic, because they refused to give up their dream. We see kids from broken homes and extreme poverty, against all odds, have success in their lives because they never gave up on their dream. My favorite example of turning a dream into reality is Walt Disney’s dream of a family theme park. What a wonderful reality we have because of the dream (the thoughts) of one man. If dreams can bring those type of accomplishments, imagine what they can do in your life.

Wendell L. Willkie, an American lawyer, businessman, and politician (1892-1944), once said “I believe in America because we have great dreams – and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true.” That is the same reason I believe in YOU. The mere fact that you are a reader of this book tells me you have great dreams, and you certainly have the opportunity to make them come true. It is simply a matter of focusing on your dreams and making them happen in your life.

So, what is your dream? If I had a magic wand and told you I could make any dream come true for you, what would your dream be? Be aware, you are not limited to a single dream. You can have several, and change them as your interests change. The main thing is to have a dream, or many dreams, and to act on them.

! Earlier, when you wrote your notes on “My Desired Reality,” you answered specific questions about your desired health, age, personality, etc. Now, let your thoughts run free and write down your dreams that you would like to see become your reality. Label these thoughts “My Desired Reality – Part 2”.

Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND.

Much more next month . . . Get the Most from Yourself – Chapter 8

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This file is protected by copyright laws. It may not be copied or reproduced in any way without the expressed permission from the author, Dr. Terry Kibiloski. Readers who purchase a copy of this file from Computer Times, may make a printed copy for their personal use only.