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Gutsy vs. Brainy
Why the Name "Gutsiness"?
During my qigong meditation called "Small Universe" my attention is visiting and revisiting in a circular motion twelve energy points in my body. Among them are six lower ones that one way or another supply energy in what here in the west would be called "gutsiness". In particular, and probably the most important is the one in our solar plexus.
Solar plexus "chakra" is said to be responsible for energizing our will power, decisiveness, courage, character, integrity, and persistence. Now, aside of this eastern "energy anatomy" which includes chakras and energy meridians, our western anatomy is also telling us about this big network of nerves located in the area of our solar plexus, but also all over our abdomen.
Apparently, our "guts" are producing more of the "feel good" neurotransmitter serotonin and some others than our brain. The whole digestive system is not only called the "second brain", but is also the site of over eighty percent of our immune system. That should give us a hint how important it is for us, while not merely being a "processing food and crap producing mechanism".
So, when we talk about gutsiness, we mean this very vital part of our physiology that is not merely intestines and digestive organs, but so much more than that. Just remember how much in our emotionality we correctly attribute to our heart, which appears to be merely a blood pump. Even in our everyday expressions we often mention "gut feelings" - so let this little introduction take us to those practical aspects of our gutsiness in life.
Not Everything that Glitters Is a Diamond
It has been established for a fact that education and talent by themselves are not enough in the equation of success in life. Indeed, the world is full of smart and talented folks who never achieved anything beyond mediocre results in their lives. The missing link is that propelling force of gutsiness.
Now, in the relativity of everything, success may mean many things to many different people, and what may look like an obvious success could be a major deception. Mainly due to those standard parameters of successfulness prevailing in our materialistically oriented society, we see it in amassing a lot of money, in fame, and power of a sort.
However, let's think about it for a moment. Would we really call "successful" a multimillionaire dude who is on drugs and alcohol, in a bad health, with a dysfunctional marriage, spending most of the day miserable between his two fixes? After all, some of our movie celebrities are giving us an ample opportunity to revise our definition of "success".
In many of those cases, what started as a strong gutsy drive which secured them a stardom somehow lost its "voltage" in the process of being pampered by life, with no initiative left but to maintain the status quo.
A Star among those Free Blessings
It has been said - and I adopted it as my life's motto that "the best of life is free". Yes, money is great, but it can't buy you those most valuable things like health, happiness, love, and peace of mind. There are multi-millionaires who would probably give all of their material possessions for regaining health.
O.K., let's include some humor in all this by giving a chance to a hypothetical comedian to debunk the value of my motto of the best in live being "free". Like he would probably say it: 1) health is not free but very expensive these days; 2) happiness can be attained easily, as long as you have enough money for drugs and alcohol; 3) after you pay for hooker's love, you can have all peace of mind you ever needed. because a wife would cost you much more.
While I like humor just as much as the next dude, I am quite serious about seeing those blessings as free. And now we can add gutsiness to them. In all those many stories of rags-to-riches it was gutsiness as the crucial factor which led those ambitions to culminate into a huge success. Some brilliant and gutsy individuals didn't even possess a technical know-how, but surrounded themselves with those who did. It's truly amazing what sheer will power can do.
Ignition Spark of Activating Ambition
Indeed, from the smallest to the most complex aspects of being effective in life - whether of professional or private nature - it is brain that may do the "steering", but it's guts that "press on gas pedal".
However, let us not see it as a matter of "superiority" between these two mental forces, but rather as a priority, since it's the guts that are usually neglected and need more attention. Even those religious folks should be reminded how "faith without deeds is dead", and "road to hell is paved by good intentions".
At this point it's good to think of all those highly talented individuals gifted with, let's say a fabulous singing voice, who keep being told how they are "better than many of those on radio" - but don't have guts to sing for anyone but family and friends. Or those who have some brilliant business ideas which they keep for themselves for a lack of drive that would give life to their low voltage secret dream.
Another good example would be those who may stay single all their life for a fear of commitment that's crippling every good opportunity. And finally, let us think of ourselves and all those missed chances in life that will stay in our "regret memory account" as the most unforgivable.
Guts Setting Personal Limits
It's amazing how our low voltage guts are setting all those limitations in our brains telling them "what we can afford to think of as doable" - while the rest is considered as a sheer "blind optimism", or "wishful thinking", forever staying at its phase of a dormant potential.
Moreover, many of those ideas don't even reach our awareness, being dismissed as "ridiculous" somewhere at an unconscious level. Whenever you see an introvert enjoying a high gear action movie, it could be a sign of an unconscious cry for a more gutsy self-expression.
Now, here follows my personal story from the way back in my childhood when I could have experienced the power of gutsiness for the first time - or it only stayed memorized as such, pushing all earlier ones in its shadow.
Hard Times Giving a Birth to Gutsiness
In some parts of the post-war (WW2) Europe there was a big scarcity of fresh foods, and many people survived on anything edible. My own folks were bringing home powdered milk, eggs, and canned cheese from those Red Cross centers for protein. Times were hard for everyone, and don't bother asking what we had for dessert - unless you have a box of Kleenexes at hand.
We lived at the outskirts of the city, and several of our resourceful neighbors got the permission from the local authorities to plant their vegetables on a temporarily borrowed piece of land. It was a sizeable area covered with corn, peas, yellow beans, potatoes - but also with those that could be eaten without cooking. In other words, a tantalizing temptation for a group of us little rascals who craved them in our limited diet.
So that's where we would hide in high cornstalks and help ourselves with those red, juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and radishes, having brought some salt from home. However, it was not without a danger involved because of that huge and mean neighbor who watched his veggies from the balcony like a hawk, probably looking for any moving cornstalks.
In more than one occasion he was chasing us with his wide belt, and those caught had some lies to tell their parents about their red marks on legs. Telling the truth was out of question, because then we would have got additionally punished for stealing and for "upsetting the good neighbor".
Daring in Making
It was in one of such occasions that we were again running like scared rabbits in front of the old, bad giant with his belt, and I had a simple option of either crying and peeing in my pants, or something else. I still don't know what in me opted for "something else" in that moment and allowed me to actually think.
But there it was - at the edge of the cornfield a curving trail was stretching from our home buildings all the way to a meadow where we would frequently go to play soccer; and if I could get to that path without disturbing any cornstalks...
It worked. As I found myself on that trail I started walking towards our chaser - whistling something and kicking a pebble. Soon he showed up on the veering trail, and I politely said "Good morning". He bought my bluff, thinking that I was coming from that meadow, not being a part of little thieves - why else would I have dared to walk towards him instead of running for my life.
It stayed as one of my dear memories of childhood where a gutsiness in making was triumphing over brain - not mine but that neighbor's.
No Contest between Daring and Thinking
It's worth emphasizing that there is no competition for importance between brains and guts within the hierarchy of our mental forces. Being a little bunch of daring and hungry little rascals didn't turn any of us into future criminals, but it did turn up the voltage in our gutsiness to be used for more dignifying ventures in life.
However, not every story ends up that way, and some kids learn early in life that it takes gutsiness to get things easy way - and continue betting on that card, which makes penitentiaries crowded as they are.
"All guts no brains" could be the title of their biographies, which actually reminds me of two funny cases in the TV series "The Dumbest Criminals". In one of them, an "Einstein" threw a brick onto the window of a jewelry store - the brick bounced off and knocked him out unconscious.
Another smart ass robbing a store of its goodies allowed the storekeeper to call home "to let the family know that he was going to be late for dinner". Cops got the call and the brainiac had an ample time in jail to figure out what went wrong with his plan.
Let Us Do Something about It
Everything presented so far could serve as a reminder about our possible need to pay more attention to the role of our neglected gutsiness in life, and stop wondering why life doesn't work despite our smartness.
To consciously increase the voltage of our solar plexus energy, we might as well work on those activities which make us feel more alive, like laughing, which massages our diaphragm with that network of nerves called the "second brain".
Also any light exercise, even walking will do. Moving is the word. Breathing properly by raising tummy at every inhalation instead of chest, and making it regular can give us a new sense of calm and being energized. Remember how our breathing gets shallow and irregular, or even stops when we are tense or scared.
On a mental level we should exercise our will by putting more intent and less hesitation into everything we do. With time, that eventually turns into a wonderful habit of living consciously, not turned on automatic pilot and merely letting life happen to us.
So, let us shift some of the weight of life from brains to guts, for then even our brains will work more efficiently for us, as they get a signal from guts that it's O.K. to "want".