Mind over Matter
How you think matters more than you think
Over the years, I’ve read countless articles about the power of reframing our reality. Essentially how we think about things plays a large part in how they turn out.
There is The Secret which argues that what we think about emits a frequency and energy of sorts and attracts other things of a similar frequency and energy to us.
Dostoevsky, in Winter Notes on Summer Impressions, famously quipped: "Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute."
The first episode focuses on how mindsets affect our stress responses. I love the phrase Alia coins, ‘ just another cold dark night on the side of Everest’. If you imagine climbing Mount Everest, there will be difficult moments, but what do you expect? This is part of the process, what makes you great and how you succeed.
When you focus on why you are doing something, it is easier to accept the stress involved. We don’t get stressed about things we don’t care about.
Our perceptions of what happens during an event differ from the actual event, yet we often forget that these are two different things. And that we have agency over how we think about things, to the point where we can ask ourselves if how we think about something is helping us respond to it in the best way.
In the second episode, Crum goes deeper into experiments where she proves the famous quote by Henry Ford “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right”.
She shows how our beliefs about food and exercise affect our bodies. I was amazed to hear that our physiological response to food changes depending on whether we think we are eating low- or high-calorie food. And that our ability to perform hard physical exercise changes depending on if we believe we are genetically disposed to find exercise easy or hard.
The episode raises many questions about the ethics of self-help, which may be doing us more harm than good and, instead of helping us identify our mindsets and evaluate their usefulness, are simply supplanting one unhelpful set of beliefs with another set.
Or, indeed, if you are in the business of driving change, what people tell you they need may not at all be what they need. Your role might be more of a coach and psychologist than you believed was needed. I would love to hear your thoughts..
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