Manly Mind Training

You are what you think you are.

Now, I could probably finish this blog post there and go eat a pizza and drink a glass of wine but, for the sake of it being a random Monday, lets expound that statement shall we? In fact, a more correct statement would be “What you think, you are”.

The mind, like the body is an adaptive system that develops and grows as a result of the stimuli it encounters. Of course, there are genetic components to this melange. Your genetic makeup will likely determine precisely how you would react given certain stimuli, but let’s just assume that’s a given and look at the environmental factors. The mind doesn’t work for us. Actually, most of the time it works against us. For example, your mind won’t suddenly become less anxiety-ridden just because you tell it to, anymore than your bicep will get bigger just by imagining it. What’s required is action.

Take the bicep example. If you want to grow your bicep you need to make it work, such as making it lengthen and shorten while applying a load to it. Your brain’s autonomic systems think “Oh shit! This bicep be gettin’ smashed yo! Better start funneling proteins toward it to prepare for future onslaughts of whatever the hell Eddie is doing”.

bicep brain

If you want to be a positive, success-minded person (if you don’t you can close the browser now) than you need to continually expose the positive and success-oriented side of your brain to the correct thoughts. Unfortunately most people suffer from automatic negative thoughts, what Daniel Amen calls “ANTs“. The brain adapts to whatever you throw at it, it rarely discerns whether something is inherently good or bad, it is just a hyper-efficient adaptation machine.

In our distant caveman past,  our brains and bodies did the job of simply adapting frugally to the environment that surrounded us. Natural selection (Basically dying or being killed before you can get laid) sorted out which traits followed us onto the next generation. ANTs in those days were probably pretty useful, I mean when there are sabre toothed tigers everywhere it’s probably warranted being a little fearful and paranoid.

Nowadays however, most of our ANTs hinder us in our pursuit of awesomeness, because these types of fears create self-limiting beliefs. Self-limiting beliefs suck pretty bad, and definitely won’t help you get ahead in life. So what’s the fix?

You need to actively TRAIN your mind, like a muscle. Like a muscle, it responds to repeated and progressive exposure to thoughts and actions. If you keep bombarding it with Automatic Negative Thoughts and a self-defeating, fearful attitude, you’re left with the equivalent of a morbidly obese weakling who couldn’t bench press a broom stick. Now, if you fill your mind continuously with positive, confident and success-laden thoughts you’ll eventually grow your mind muscle to bulging and vascular Hulk-like proportions!

Remember, if you’re ever fearful and insecure, slap yourself in the face and man up. YOU control you mind, not the other way around.


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