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Mind Numbing...

Updated on December 5, 2008

Okay raise your hand, how many of you reading this expected the next word to be “Sex”? Mom put your hand down and leave the room please. Gross! Okay, I need to recenter a second.....I'm back. Now, where was I.

What was that all about?

An exercise in leading you the reader around by a simple choice of words. The idea is to illustrate how we, you and I, lead ourselves around by the choice of our words both spoken and unspoken. It is a personal power we have but in many cases don't know how to use. Worse is we use it all the time inadvertently sabotaging our every day journey striving for happiness, achievement and success. While I am not pointing the hard line of oppressive compulsive control, I am discussing self-talk and word thoughts that take the reigns of your life.

The Rooted Trees of "No"
The Rooted Trees of "No"

When control is lacking in control.

In growing up the word you learn after Mommy and you as an infant are apt to use second most is “no”. The reason is fairly obvious. In the infant stage your job in life to explore the unknown and learn about the mysteries that surround you. Because that mission takes to place you should not yet go, Mommy dearest is hovering over you exerting control with the word “no” constantly. So you begin to use and misuse the word to express your thoughts as a result. We have all seen a mother offer a child something and the child say “no” only to cry when it is taken away. What the child really meant was yes. This is due to the fact children at that stage know the word “no” but not how to use it. You as a child just parrot back what you hear all day. You do this without understanding the word and how to use it. This problem of word misusage takes root from the seed of the spoken into your underlying thoughts. Over the years, it matures in our minds much the same as a tree's roots do in the ground. This word root system tends to stick with us right into adulthood.

We are controlling our destinies more than we are aware.

Emotions tend to bring us back to our bare roots of expression. In the heat of the moment it is not uncommon to the verbal demand-request “What do you want” to get in return “What I don't want”. This in the adult equivalent of using the word “no”. The reason being we are trained from birth to think from the negative. When emotions rule, we go back to our roots of thinking from the negative. Introspect, we are only employing the pattern of thought we have been taught. Rarely does anyone begin the learning process from this is what you have to do. We first learn from this is what we are not supposed to be doing. Our problems arise because that is how we broach what we think positive thinking should be. By thinking with a negative we multiply our positive thoughts with negative words.

Thought times word equal deed

A basic rule of mathematics is a positive multiplied by a negative equals a negative. What you want is a positive integer. What you don't want is a negative integer. So when you say I want (positive) to (times) not (negative) your focus (equals) is now a negative.

The proof

Look at the picture on the right. Do not think about the pink elephant in a room. We all know that game. We all know how it works in our minds. Once you have visualized the pink elephant in the room it becomes very difficult not to think about. The “not” or what you don't want or whatever is your pink elephant everyday.

The answer is to relearn perspective

We have to deprogram ourselves. We have overcome that little voice that speaks loudly in our minds. It talks about negatives. It looks to the critical negatives of our task. Tenzin Gyatso or as we know him better Dalai Lama preaches “We allow our thoughts and emotions to be determined by our negative...” His point is to move forward in life to the positive, we have to avoid infecting it with thoughts of the negative.

How do you eliminate the negative?

The key is to learn to approach positive action with positive thought and emotion. Let's go back to “What do you want!” The answer and the thought should be solely focused with a “I want.” Address only what you need to be doing or accomplishing. If you stand around thinking or saying “I will not think about the pink elephant in the room.” that's clearly what you are thinking about. Everyone one has found themselves in a situation where they have said, “I've been trying not to do that” only to have done “that” whatever it is anyway. Your focus needs to be adjusted toward the end results desires. There is equation changes when you do not include the negative.

I just tried and it didn't work

There you go addressing the negative again by thinking in the “not” sense. Your are relearning or deprogramming a lifetime worth of learning. Like that tree thats been around for years and years you can't just rip it out quickly and get all the roots up in one fell swoop. It takes a repetitive action like digging. Even when you get the as much as you can you know there is more. Over time mother nature will absorb those roots making them slowly dissolve away. Your method of digging is learning to go back toward seeing the positive which you have achieved.

The four minute mile

Once considered an unapproachable barrier the four minute mile was broken by Roger Bannister in the year 1954. His record of 3 min 59.4 seconds became the new unapproachable barrier. That record has been broken repeatedly until 1999 when Hicham El Guerrouj cloaked a time of 3 minutes 43.13 seconds. That record one day will be broken by someone with a mindset of “I will do” instead of “I will not” as every one who has run against the previous unapproachable time before.

A modern life that serve as an examples of living in the positive

Randy Pausch had the irony of being the professor selected to give the yearly, “The Last Lecture” at Carnegie Mellon University, on September 18, 2007. The concept model of the lecture being what knowledge would you impart on others it if were your last opportunity to do so. That August past Randy Pausch was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given six months to live. The professor would out himself and go on to deliver a deep message about life and living. As of this writing February of 2008 Randy Pausch is still living and an example of his own lecture's legacy.

A more personal example

My seventeen year old dog, Magnus who for six months defied logic and a failing body. Magnus loved his walks. Each journey was harder than the last. Finally, he decided every walk of every day could not end until he reached a certain house and back. He would stop, pause, sit a few minutes whatever it took to complete his trek. What once took a five or ten minutes took a half hour or more. Attempts to help by carrying him any part of the way resulted in a barking tirade of sheer indignation.


Every morning began we began together with no other thought, but one more day together. Each night ended with a promise for one more day to come. For several of those nights I would spend on the hard floor comforting him as he slept. Attempts to retreat to the bed were met with a paw gesture for more. Magnus' last moments were spent once again fending off help, sharing affection, before passing away during one final attempt to stand on his own. You have to know he never gave into “not” and “cannot”. Mangus finished out his life striving for that one final “I will”.

What is positive thinking?

It is the method by which to best create positive actions and momentum in your life. It is the best way to happiness, achievement, and success. You might say learning to live this way is indeed mind numbing.


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