By Dr. Steve
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Making the Mind Quicker Than the Eye
you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself,
but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
was one of the worlds greatest mountain climbers in the early 1900s. The story is
often told of the time he was climbing a mountain in his native country. While trying to
maneuver around a particularly narrow turn, he kicked loose some stones which caused him
to lose his footing. Having lost his footing, he fell over the edge of the mountain
plummeting to his sure death.
tumbling through the air, miraculously he managed to grab hold of the roots of a tree that
was attached to the side of the mountain. As he was dangling from the roots, he tried
desperately to kick himself back over the side of the mountain to safety.
more Robespierre tried kicking himself to safety, the more he pulled the roots out from
the side of the mountain. As he stared down at the razor sharp rocks at the bottom of the
valley below him, he realized that his death was inevitable.
he had no other recourse, Robespierre finally looked to the heavens to enlist the help of
his God. He shouted at the top of his lungs, Lord, please, please help me out of my
troubles. I will do anything you ask of me if only you will rescue me!
waited for a signal. Finally he heard the voice of the Lord shouting back down to him.
Of course I will help you my son, just let go.
now Robespierre was drenched in sweat, his grip loosening because of his sweaty hands. He
took in the Lords words, looked to the bottom, imagining his fate landing on those
trusting the Lords intentions, he again cried out for help, protesting the wisdom of
the Lords plan. But the Lord again shouted out, Just let go.
again looked down at the jagged rocks at the bottom of the valley, looked over to the side
of the mountain and saw the roots all but coming loose, looked upward to the heavens with
the Lords solution ringing in his ears, finally he shouted out to the heavens,
Can I get a second opinion from someone else up there?
much of our experiences with transforming our lives is the never ending battle between
holding on and letting go. One of the things that we cling to hardest and longest is the
way in which we think about and see the world.
like Robespierre, although we may reach out to others for help, although we may choose to
surrender our battle with whatever aspect of our life we are at war with, it never ceases
to amaze me how we inevitably reject the solution that is right under our nose if that
solution doesnt coincide with what we want the solution to be.
dont despair. Theres a remedy for that. That remedy brings us to the next
step. This step is the step of empowerment. This step is the means by which we can exert
the most influence in any area of our lives.
next step I call Transforming the Mindset. For me, transforming our mindset is the key to
reclaiming our personal power in any given situation. Our ability to transform our mindset
can make friends out of our enemies, replace our fears with seeds of courage, and
transform seemingly immovable obstacles in our path into opportunities for growth.
the Mindset, a step towards empowerment? Well, think about this for a moment. What is the
one thing that robs us of our personal power? Is it our insensitive boss? Is it our
uncaring family? Is it a chronic disease? Is it a bad economy that keeps us from doing
what we want to do with our lives?
all of those things may be true about our family, friends, and life-circumstances. But the
bottom line is not what our circumstances are but how we view those circumstances, how we
evaluate those circumstances, how we evaluate ourselves in the context of those
circumstances. That is really what determines whether or not we feel empowered.
you see how that is so? Let me share with you a story that a teacher of mine once told.
seems that there was an all-star executive in a fortune 500 company. This man was greatly
admired for his ability to turn around failing companies bought by his parent company.
Once a month he would report to his CEO the results that he had achieved from the previous
month. The only rub to this mans performance was a rather embarrassing problem. You
see, whenever he would give his monthly report to the CEO, he would wet his pants.
mans boss, wanting to help his star employee, suggested that he go see a doctor to
have the problem treated.
the next months meeting, the CEO was surprised to see that the man still had wet his
CEO inquired of his employee whether he had gone to see the doctor or not.
man replied, No I couldnt make an appointment with the one you suggested, so I
went to see a psychologist instead. And guess what, he cured me.
cured you, the CEO responded somewhat exasperated. What do you mean, you are
still wetting your pants.
I know that sir, but I no longer feel the least bit embarrassed about it.
the story has a funny twist to it, it really makes the point that I am trying to convey.
We dont have to insist that the circumstances of our life change, we only need to
change the meaning we give to the circumstances of our life.
does it take to change our relationship to the events in our life? We merely need to
approach our life with a degree of flexibility for how we view the events that are
happening in our lives. Simple to say, hard to do. But think about this.
years ago than I care to remember, I went to a summer camp. The food was awful. The
mosquitoes made a smorgasbord out of every part of my body. We were forced to swim in the
coldest water you can imagine. There were so many crickets out at night that I could
barely get three hours of sleep on any given evening. The stars shined so bright through
my window, that if the crickets didnt keep me up at night, the light from the stars
surely did. Clearly, I was not a happy camper. And I was never shy about letting anybody
that all changed one day when a very wise camp counselor asked me a question I had no
simply said, Everything here bothers you. The food, the water in the lake,
the mosquitoes, the stars, the crickets. All these things are imposing upon your life. Let
me ask you one thing. When the crickets chirp away at night, how do you know that the
crickets are bothering you? Could it be that your energy is going out and bothering them?
Just whose life is imposing upon whose life?
that was like a splash of cold water in my face. I learned much that day. One, that I am
not the only one living on planet earth. Two, what I view as the source of my discomfort
is inevitably just someone elses way of expressing who they are. Three, by changing
how I view those things I experience as antagonistic to my well-being, I no longer have to
feel done in by those very circumstances.
our mindset is a process of letting go of certain assumptions that we carry about
ourselves and our place in the world; letting go of our self-centered egocentricity;
letting go of the notion that everything done is done to us, against us. How would our
lives be different if we stopped personalizing what is done and said to us?
go of the belief that the world must conform to our way of living and being. Accept the
notion that other people have as much right to take up space on planet earth as we do.
Furthermore, other people are entitled to make their place in this world in a way that
makes sense to them, not as would be most comfortable for us.
living in a space of acceptance rather than condemnation, we can let go of our feelings of
victimization. That is what brings us back to how we can empower ourselves. Transforming
our mindset from that of a victim. That requires that we think of ourselves as empowered,
we see ourselves as empowered, and we act as if we are empowered. Quite simply
victimization means that we are welded to one viewpoint of the world, whereas empowerment
implies that we have choices about how we act, think, and feel.
this step some serious thought. Is it possible by shifting how you think about yourself
and the people in your world, that your life can be enhanced? Is it possible that the
problems in your life are oftentimes created by your continued insistence to hold
onto your viewpoint of the world? Is there any value in learning how to transform the
relationship between the events in your life and the way you think about those events?
the rest of this section as an opportunity to create your own meaning for Transforming the
are the things that your mind clings to with absolute certainty? Does that unshakable
belief in those things support your well-being, undermine your well-being, or a little of
each? If so, how does it do any of those things?
are the shifts that you might create about how you view the people in your life and the
circumstances in your life that would enhance your emotional and spiritual well-being?
be frightened off by the enormity of what I am purposing here. What I am talking about
doesnt start and end within this book. However, we need to get started at some
point. Make no mistake about it, it is difficult for any of us to get to where we want to
get holding onto our current mindset.
out of the shadows requires much give and offers very little take. We can be just like
Robespierre, we can hold out for the solution that sounds most pleasing to us, that offers
the least amount of pain, but in the end, holding out for what we want will likely do us
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.