“OK guys, this is it, the big one. Remember, stay loose and relaxed; don’t tighten up and above all, DON’T DROP THE BATON.” These were the coach’s final instructions minutes before the start of the men’s 4 x 100 meter relay at the state track and field championships. We took our positions around the track. I was the slowest runner on the team but we had the fastest starter and best finisher in the state and were the favourite to win.
I usually focused my attention on the length of the transfer zone, where I would smoothly receive and hand off the baton but this time the coach’s words filled my thoughts. I turned and faced the start line. A loud CRACK from the starter’s pistol and they were off. As the sprinters pounded toward me, one thought repeated in my head: “DON’T DROP THE BATON.”
52 seconds later, our fastest runner streaked across the finish line; dead last. I had dropped the baton.
What went wrong?
We had raced as a team for two years and not once in the hundreds of practices and competitions had I dropped the baton. What had gone wrong this time? Had the coach inadvertently planted the thought in my mind? Would the result have been different if his final instructions were “most of all, pass the baton smoothly and safely”?
I had fallen victim to one of the most fundamental laws of the universe: What you think about most, becomes your reality. It is as certain as the law of gravity.
How affirmations work
Affirmations are verbal declarations, which have a powerful effect on our conscious and subconscious minds and ultimately our actions. They must NEVER be stated in the negative. We must choose our words carefully. Psychologists, neuroscientists and metaphysicians all agree that the subconscious cannot understand or acknowledge a negative. The affirmation, “I don’t [negative] want to be fat” is heard by the subconscious as, “I want to be fat.” We cannot help focusing on the word fat. The positive alternative, “I want to be slim” would be much more beneficial.
Don’t believe me? Close your eyes and repeat this statement three times. “I am not afraid.” Open your eyes. Which word stands out? We cannot help it; even though afraid is what we do not want to be, it is certainly the dominant word our mind focuses on. Now try repeating, “I feel safe.” Notice the difference? What we think and focus on the most becomes our reality. This is true in any aspect of life.
Archimedes formulated the principle of flotation in 200 BC. But Dr Wayne Dyer rightly observed, “The law of flotation was not discovered by contemplating the sinking of things.”
Success follows your dominant thoughts
I have read biographies of many great achievers. They all share a single trait—their thoughts, and thus their actions, are dominated by what they want to achieve. How they might achieve it is secondary. Since they keep thinking about succeeding most, success becomes their reality.
I spend a great deal of time in group homes and institutions talking to seniors. “What is your purpose, your goal, your dream, your worthy cause?” I ask. Sadly, many say they have none. Then I ask, “Well what is important to you, what do you want in life?” More silence. “OK, tell me what you don’t want in life?” Within seconds the responses pour out.
“I don’t want to be sick.”
“I don’t want to be poor.”
“I don’t want to be lonely.”
“I don’t want to be fat.”
“I don’t want to die.”
“I don’t want to die alone.”
“I don’t want to be senile.”
The sad truth is, most people are much better at telling you what they don’t want in life than at telling what they do want in life. What they focus on and think about most is what they don’t want and that becomes their reality.
Can we think your way to sickness? You bet!
Does this hold true for our health? Certainly. Our brain controls every part of our body. The science of biofeedback has conclusively proven that thoughts have the power to control the physical states of our bodies. We can raise or lower our temperature, change our heart rate and blood pressure, and direct blood to different body parts all by our thoughts alone.
Our thoughts can also have devastating effects on our health. The most destructive and toxic element unleashed on the human body is stress. Where does it come from? It’s not a bacterium, a virus, an amoeba, a fungus or mould. Nor is it a burn, trauma or pressure injury. We cannot see it, touch it, cut it, isolate it, weigh it, grow it, inoculate against it or transmit it to another person. It exists only in the mind, but its devastating effects are felt in every physical system of the body.
Stress is produced by what we think of most. Our stressful thoughts manifest themselves in the physical plane and show up in every organ and system.
Most people pay little or no attention to their health until something goes wrong. When the episode passes and the body heals, they often go back to their old habits, thoughts and lifestyles until the next time their body’s defence systems get overwhelmed again. Some, however, heed the warning and start considering and practising disease prevention.
Although this seems like a positive step in the right direction, it can be greatly improved. The problem is we are still focused on disease, even though it is the prevention of disease.
A far more successful strategy would be to focus on wellness. This is not simply semantics. Dominating thoughts of wellness can only lead to wellness.
What are you focussing on?
Do you think any great general in history ever won a battle by focusing on how not to lose?
If your sole goal in life is to accumulate great wealth [I feel sorry for you if it is], do you think there is any chance of attaining it by focusing on how not to be poor. Does the circus performer say to himself, “Don’t fall,” as he steps onto the high wire? Will you ever find love by filling your mind with thoughts of how not to be lonely?
What you think about most becomes your reality. Do not be against illness; rather direct your thoughts toward complete and total wellness and it will become your reality. You possess the power. It’s all in your head.
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