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You think first, and the more you think, the more your future thoughts and actions are determined. The more you do, the more you can do.
The more I bowl and think first about bowling, the more I can bowl a perfect frame (I hope). I try this in the lab, organizing an impromptu league. Although I don’t bowl a perfect frame this time, I keep thinking, and improving.
The more you think first, before the action . . .
We always think (sometimes unknowingly) before we do things, even when it seems we’ve been foolhardy. This thinking and instantaneous decision making take priority and prompt either wise or foolish action. We are what we think.We are what we think. This thinking and instantaneous decision making take priority and prompt either wise or foolish action. Click To Tweet
If you control the thought process, you can master yourself, but as history has proven, you can also influence and even control other people. Think of your favorite advertising slogan and whether it influences people’s behavior. The people under your sway, influenced by thought, become programmed for certain ideas and actions.
Propaganda and indoctrination work in this way, using immersion and repetition coupled with the right mood and intonation to make changes in the brain.
Fortunately, as we’ve just learned, our brains can participate in a virtuous loop as we improve our abilities through a wide range of activities.
Our mental activity stimulates neurons whether we’re imagining new concepts (such as the ones in The Explanation), concentrating on a mathematical dilemma such as a probability riddle, focusing on a book, meditating about a personal relationship, practicing a presentation in our minds, or learning our Mandarin.
The more neurons that fire during the contemplation or learning, and the more axon-dendrite transmission that takes place, the more our new thoughts, exercises and skills are integrated and incorporated in the brain. Even with thought, ‘think first’, practice makes perfect! Fortunately, this practice is assisted by and influences our brain chemistry.
As we learn better ways of driving, giving a presentation, or studying our probability homework, our brain releases the fine-tuning neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Endorphins associated with exercise such as basketball make our members want to engage in the sport more often, which reinforces playing basketball in our minds.
Also, when we accomplish the skill of dribbling (or my personal preference, bowling) or successfully manage a community drive to organize food and clothing for the needy, dopamine released in the brain reinforces our dribbling or charitable habits by producing pleasure in achievement.
This is the virtuous loop, but we also see the vicious cycle. The more we think first about how to study to pass that exam that will earn us a degree and better employment, or how to best practice language lessons with a friend and native speaker in order to succeed in our new situation, the more the neurons fuse.
This gives us that pleasurable hormone rush when we succeed. Likewise, the more we think about trashing the lab, the more the neurons fuse and make us perversely elated when we succeed at doing something destructive. Putting other people down and being aggressive makes us want to do it more often if that bullying succeeds.
The more we repeat “good” and “bad” thought habits, the more payoff we receive, and the more the neurons fire in a set pattern.The more we repeat “good” and “bad” thought habits, the more good and bad payoff we receive. Click To Tweet
Some of our group members volunteer stories of people who associate two desires, even subconsciously, that feed into each other. They include “I’m stressed out; I need some cake,” or “I’m upset; I need a drink.” In the case of children, they include “I don’t like my mom saying no; I can throw a tantrum and break something.”
The deeper the link between A (stress) and B (eating too much cake) becomes etched into our brains, the more our bodies express it. It becomes automatic like an autopilot, or like eating mindlessly in front of the television because you have done it so often.The more we think about associate ideas: A (stress) and B (eating too much cake) the more they become etched into our brains, the more our bodies express it Click To Tweet
The payoff hooks us more deeply with each repetition and produces added negative baggage such as a few extra pounds, missing work due to a hangover, or tension in the home. These consequences prompt us to seek the same remedy.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all decided to practice positive associations? “I’m learning something new; this is exciting.”Wouldn’t it be nice if we all decided to practice positive associations? “I’m learning something new; this is exciting.” Click To Tweet
“I’m being challenged to understand, so I’ll imagine the concept.” Positive thinking begets more positive thoughts and associations. We see a smiling young man on one of the monitors and we imagine him thinking, “I’ve solved a number of similar problems before, so there’s no reason I can’t repair this computer.” Think first is a key.
We know that it can be challenging enough for adults to learn all they need to know, to practice through repetition, and to learn. Our brains are plastic. What about children? It must be easy for them. They’re blank slates. Imagine if we adults had the minds of newborn infants.
The world would be incomprehensible, as if we had landed in an alien society. Infants begin this way. How do they learn? How do they learn which number is larger, for example, or how to recite a nursery rhyme? How do they learn to do those things on command?
This post is an excerpt from chapter 9.6 of Inventory of the Universe.
The Explanation Blog Bonus
To be right up front with you, I had difficulty finding a video for this post. Here’s an interesting one. However, sometimes the wording can be ambiguous.
The notes below this video on Youtube say: Amazing photography of changes that take place when you think new thoughts! Thanks Dr. Joe Dispenza for this amazing video that shows how our mind can change our biology.
“Our mind can change our biology’. If this means that new thoughts can change our brains then I’m all in with total agreement. If it means our brains can change our biology then count me out. The fundamental question is, what is the mind? Is the mind a part of the brain, in other words, is it a ‘physical part’ of the brain? The answer to this question is vital and I get into it a little later in this chapter we’re reading in Inventory of the Universe.
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