Personal development advice: The mind is a muscle


In her personal development article this month Karen Northfield looks at a muscle that can be an asset or a liability.

The mind is not just any muscle. The mind is our body’s most powerful muscle.

There is a proverb that says “fall down seven times, stand up eight”. This is a good lesson for obstacles that life throws at us. Often when we are stuck in a pit or when we feel we can do no more, we actually can. We may think we are at the end of the road or think there is no solution, we are in fact wrong. We can always try one more time or approach things differently. Not only are we more capable than we think, but we can overcome life’s most challenging obstacles too. Our minds can be our greatest liability or our greatest asset. Our minds are so powerful that they can make us sick or when used as an asset, improve our health.

It often depends on choice and our self-belief. Often, we go through many situations in life feeling subordinate to the mind. The trick is learning to train the mind to make it our greatest asset – at all times. By training the mind as you would a muscle, you can learn to adapt to situations to overcome life’s many challenges.

Napoleon Hill once said: “Our only limitations are the ones we set up in our own minds.” Often our minds are our barriers. The difficulty of the mind is controlling the negative and self-limiting thoughts. Thinking you can or can’t do something is synonymous with belief. And belief is a powerful, powerful thought. Henry Ford once said: “If you believe you can, you’re right; and if you believe you can’t, you’re also right.” Either way you’re right. Here’s the catch. The moment you give up is the moment you stop believing in yourself. However, if you train your mind to create positive beliefs, you enter the realm of possibilities and can learn mechanisms to overcome these (self-) imposed limitations. Belief is like opening the door to a forest. You have to first open the door in order to discover the depth and richness of the forest. Unless you open your mind, you don’t know what’s there.

Our minds are machines
Our bodies are powerful machines. The body is made up of over 640 muscles. Of all the muscles, the most powerful one is the mind. But the mind isn’t just any muscle. The mind is a muscle of its own. It is the powerhouse of the body. Its capacities are beyond any organ or muscle of the body. The mind commands the entire body, the other muscles, allows us to think and take action, and makes sense of the world. No other organ or muscle is as multifunctional and can do so much at the same time. If a computer can process one piece of information at a time, the mind can process information up to 11 million bits per second. Inside the mind we have up to 80.000 thoughts a day and a single thought can travel up to 400 km/h (equivalent to the fastest car in the world).

Imagine if you were to stir all of your daily thoughts in the direction of your belief or goal, how much power you would generate towards self-realization? When you get a better understanding of what the mind is capable of doing, you can learn to direct your thoughts and energy in the direction of your choice.