Think Big

Welcome to my first installment into the realm of Blogdome. I guess I’m kinda late to the game since most of my colleagues have effectively tapped into this ever-growing resource. It seems that almost everyone has a blog these days. And you know what? I get a kick out of most of them. Whether the blogger in question is Lou Schuler, Alwyn Cosgrove, Jason Ferruggia, or Andrew Heffernan, it seems almost everyone has something to say about nearly everything.
Time for my two cents.
As I thought about my inaugural blog, I figured it would only make sense to write about what I consider the most important component of success, health, and fitness. So I’m here to tell you what I think it is…wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me do what any writer should do and build up the story from the beginning.
Here’s the question that’s been asked by a few intelligent people who, more often than not, developed very lucrative careers: Do successful people think different than unsuccessful people?
Before I get to the nuts and bolts of it all, let me qualify my discussion by saying that “success” can be defined any way you want. I simply define it as the place in life you want to be, relative to where you are now (assuming there’s a difference between those two places). Of course, I’m being figurative when I mention the word “place” since it’s not so much a physical location as it is a mental location.
Do successful people think different than unsuccessful people?
Many experts, books, and seminars have attempted to answer that question. The “answer” keeps resurfacing in many different forms. You could go back to Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” or you could read T. Harv Elder’s “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” or you could reference the latest text that attempts to answer this question by picking up a copy of “The Secret.” If you believe the answer that’s been exposed by Dale Carnegie, T. Harv Elder, or The Secret, there’s something that super successful people understand that the rest of us don’t. Put another way, it seems that their state of mind is what really makes them unique.
Since I’m a neuro guy I always feel vindicated whenever the solution to a puzzle points directly back to the brain, especially when we’re talking about enhancing our success. Indeed, our mind is our most powerful tool, no matter how cliche it sounds. So let’s look at some unique pieces of research that gives a glimpse into the power of what lies between our ears.
One of my favorite pieces of research was based on imagined contractions. Let me explain.
In 1992, the lab of two scientists, Yue and Cole, performed a study to demonstrate the power that our mind has over our muscles. The studied consisted of two groups of people. The first group performed a strength training exercise for the pinky finger, five times per week, for four weeks. The second group imagined performing the same exercise for the same frequency and time-frame. In essence, the group that imagined the contractions sat quietly and didn’t move a muscle. And to make sure they didn’t move a muscle the lab hooked up their pinky muscle to an EMG to make sure no contractions took place.
At the end of the study, the group that performed the actual strength training improved their strength by 30%. What about the group that simply imagined the strength training exercise? They improved their strength by 22%!
I still get chills when I think about that study.
Another demonstration was with the classic study that Sigmund Freud performed way back in the day when he convinced one of his hypnotized patients that he was holding a burning cigarette in his hand (little did Freud’s patient know, but the burning “cigarette” was actually a piece of chalk). When Freud touched the piece of chalk to his patient’s arm, a welt appeared as if he’d been burned by a cigarette.
From here, I could talk ad nauseam about the power of the placebo effect. I spend a lot of time reading research papers, and most of them are about as entertaining to read as the ingredients on a shampoo bottle. But I always get a kick out of the results that are demonstrated by the group that got the sugar pill. Indeed, sometimes the sugar pill group get results that are comparable to the drug group!
A few times each year, it seems that another fly-by-night company comes along and puts out a hair regrowth package replete with pills, massage techniques, and some goopy crap to smear all over your scalp. Everyone knows this stuff doesn’t regrow hair. Well, everyone except for those who don’t have hair. So these poor, bald saps plop down a hundred bucks to buy the “new and improved” hair regrowth formula. And you know what? I bet many of the follicle-challenged fellas out there do regrow some hair because they’re so damn convinced that the product works. After all, if none of these hair regrowth products ever did anything, they wouldn’t reappear with every new season.
And all of this supports my position that the mind is really more powerful than we’ll probably ever understand. So it stands to reason that if you can imagine an exercise and get stronger; if you can develop a scar from a inocuous piece of chalk; if you can regrow hair with a concoction that consists of nothing more than filtered water and a few herbs, well, you can surely harness that power to improve your body, health, and wealth, right?
So, it’s my assertion that successful people became successful because they focused on goals, no matter how unattainable, that rewired their neural circuits to attain those goals.
Well, that’s what this blog is for: to help you reach a new level of success, whether it’s building more muscle, losing fat, living a pain-free life, or rewiring your brain to achieve everything you want out of life.