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The Power Source That is Our Minds

May 10, 2019 by  
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It’s totally amazing to me that the human brain can create so much energy of its own. Just a change of thought can quickly give you a huge burst of energy, and it’s not just when the brain stimulates the production of adrenaline because you have been suddenly surprised by a bear in the woods or get cornered by a stranger in an alley. We know that the brain also gives more energy to the body when it releases serotonin and dopamine, the feel-good hormones. And, of course, we are familiar with how setting a big, exciting goal can stimulate us too, getting us to jump out of bed in the morning and spring into action.

A man named Nando Parrado was able to save his life and 16 others when he set a huge goal, one that was literally a matter of life or death, in his mind, giving him an incredible amount of energy. That energy gave him enough strength and endurance to climb over the top of the highest peak in the Andes after he and 16 others survived a plane crash in those snow-covered mountains. He walked, climbed, and crawled in freezing temperatures for 11 days with virtually no food and lost 80 pounds in the process. His brain kept telling him that he could make it and save many others, which gave him the energy and strength to keep going. He had no equipment or experience in doing such a thing, and yet, he and a companion made it to safety.

You may remember the story. It was the subject of a TV documentary, a movie, and a book, all entitled Alive. The plane that crashed on that glacier high in the Andes was carrying members of the Uruguayan Rugby team to a match in Chile. Along for the ride to see the match were friends and family. On impact many of the 45 passengers on board were killed and others died within days. Still others died later from exposure and starvation and more died when an avalanche came racing down the mountain during one of those tragic nights. Only 16 survived and did so by eating the flesh of their dead teammates. They somehow miraculously stayed alive for 72 days with temperatures dropping below zero at night.

Without the energy created by the determination in Parado’s mind, everyone would have died. That certainly shows us the huge power buried in the human mind. We should never forget this story as it should motivate us to set goals and think about exciting things that stimulate our brain to create energy. These thoughts will, of course, make our lives more productive and exciting and help make the world a better place.

 

A Lesson From Tragedy

November 1, 2013 by  
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There are a lot of great lessons to learn in life and if we are paying attention–being acutely aware of what’s going on around us and inside of our heads–then we just might see what life is trying to teach us and learn some great lessons.

Two weeks ago my dear wife’s sister Susan and husband Val lost their 33 years old son Brad to cancer. It was a huge smack in the face for the whole family. My wife, Kimberly, quickly flew to North Carolina for the wake and to be with her sister and Brad’s wife and kids. I stayed home but became overwhelmed by my own grief as young Brad’s tragic death brought back the memories and sorrow I have surrounding my own daughter, Kristin, who passed at the age of only 16.

During my time alone I happened to open up my own book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living to page 159 and three lines of bold face print jumped out at me like a bright light. Those three lines were what Nando Parrado said many years ago after surviving that horrific plane crash in the Andes mountains. He and a companion climbed over one of the highest peaks during a grueling 11 day trek to civilization and the chance to rescue the remaining crash survivors who only survived because they ate the flesh of their dead rugby teammates. The life lesson that Nando wrote was this: “There may be only one good thing that can come from great human tragedy and that is tragedy can make you so much more human than you ever were before.”

When I think back and look at myself after Kristin’s death, I can see how it changed me and intensified tenfold my empathy, caring and loving of other people. I was especially empathetic towards those that had lost a loved one and, in particular, if they had lost a child. I can’t put into words the huge change in my feelings towards those people and their families.

There is not one of us 7 billion humans that are going to make it out of here alive (although I’ve thought about totally boycotting death!) and if we live long enough we are bound to encounter our share of tragedy. So given that probability, doesn’t it all just come down to how we handle those terrible tragedies?

As I see it we have 2 choices. One, we can totally give up, throw in the towel and lay around feeling sorry for ourselves until we die.  Or two, we can learn a lesson about life and go out in the world trying to help others survive and even thrive as well as help them make it through their tragedies.

We do have a choice here. I think if we chose the first option we are bound to drag ourselves into depression, misery and sadness for the rest of our lives. But if we chose the second option, I think we’ll see brightness and light not only fill our own lives but just as important we will see that light in the minds, souls and bodies of those we seek out to help.

So what do you choose?