Book Review: Mind power
Cool Bluez Rating (7/10)
A compilation of different topics related to the potential power our brain possesses. If you want to improve your organization and problem solving skills, this book can be a good read.
Selected Points From The Book
stress can produce real illness-true changes in the body chemistry and structure
of quite normal people.
can make the body ill.
the punishment-stop reward sequence, the punishing thought loses its potency if
you do not reward yourself.
control is more powerful than avoiding stimuli, because every refusal increases
training is based on the premise that we can modify or gain control over a range
of bodily functions once thought to be totally automatic. We all use natural
forms of feedback to perfect skills.
is unhappier than the perpetual reactor. His center of emotional gravity is not
rooted with himself, where it belongs, but in the world outside him. His
spiritual temperature is always being raised or lowered by the social climate
around him, and he is a mere creature at the mercy of these elements.
words: A word or group of words that recurs frequently is one of the surest
clues to who or what is on a person’s mind.
mental patients use “I” oftener than any other word-about once every 12
words three times as often as normal people. As these patients recover their use
of “I” and “they” goes down, and their use of “we” goes up.
counts: Verb tenses can provide a hint as to how much a person dwells in the
past as compared with his concern for the present and his plans and hopes for
the future. When the past tense predominates it may indicate melancholy or
person who’s happy with his job usually answers promptly. A long pause, a
cough, laugh, throat clearing or sniffle may indicate trouble in that
department. “Married or single?” again, in this doctor’s experience, a
hesitation can be meaningful. Pauses may indicate tension or anxiety associated
with the words that follow “I, er, ah love you” means something very
different from a forthright “I love you”.
who weather a crisis well are those who actively search for a solution. They
thirst for helpful information. They want to know in advance exactly what
surgery is like, or how to care for a premature baby. They avoid blaming
themselves or others, realizing that this is a distraction from the real
problem. They are not ashamed to express fears and anxieties. They learn how to
rest when their efficiency falls because of fatigue, and how to discipline
themselves to return to the painful struggle when they have been replenished.
is probably the most fatiguing experience a person ever has. There is nothing
more enervating than not succeeding-being blocked, not moving ahead. It is a
vicious circle. Failure breeds fatigue and fatigue makes it harder to get to
work which compounds the failure.
in two main ways; as start up fatigue and performance fatigue. Start up fatigue:
we keep putting off a task. The remedy is exertion of will power. The moment I
find myself turning away from a job or putting it under a pile of other things I
have to do, I clear my desk of everything else and attack the objectionable item
first. To prevent start up fatigue, always tackle the most difficult job first.
fatigue is the more difficult to handle. Here we are not reluctant to get
started, but we cannot seem to do the job right.
put down on paper all the reasons why this problem cannot be solved.
the snare is not in the problem itself, but in the social situation-or so it
often, the snare that blocks us is purely personal. Subject to human
distractions, we let personal problems weigh on us, producing a fatigue-failure
that blocks our productivity in every sphere.
our first step should be to use inexplicable fatigue that has no physical base
as a radar-an early warning system-and trace the fatigue to it’s source; to
find the defeat we are papering over and not admitting. Then we must diagnose
the cause of this failure. In rare cases, it may be that the task really is too
difficult for us.
tied yourself up in knots, stop thinking consciously about the problem for a
while. Let your unconscious work on untying the knots.
worst mistake we can make is to regard mental fatigue as if it were physical
are more inert than our ancestors, and cleverer at inventing excuses for
of the blame can be laid squarely on the doorstep of overprotective parents. In
thousands of homes, well-meaning fathers and mothers blunt their children’s
eagerness and sense of adventure with an endless barrage of don'ts. “Don’t
climb that tree, you might fall out”, “No, you can’t camp out this
weekend; it might rain”. The drive to live is a leaping flame in most
children, but it can’t survive an endless succession of wet blankets.
reason for our watch-not-do attitude is over-preoccupation with health that
borders on national hypochondria. But today, once you cross the threshold of the
middle years, everywhere you look someone is separating himself from some
activity or pleasure because someone else has convinced him that giving it up is
good for him. And the disease of non-living can be progressive.
only one answer, really. Each of us must be willing, at least sometimes, to chop
wood instead of sitting by the fire. Each of us might fight his own fight
against the betrayal of life that comes from refusing to live it.
depression arises from erroneous thinking, and that we have it within our power
to control the furtive thoughts that dupe us into needless gloom.
principles of cognitive therapy:
All your moods are created by your thoughts or ‘cognitions’. You feel the
way you do right now because of the thoughts you have at this moment.
When you feel depressed, it’s because your thoughts are dominated by a
Negative thoughts nearly always contain gross distortions.
cognitive therapy, the doctor challenges the patient to listen to his own
negative thoughts-trains him to identify these inner saboteurs and silence them.
Results come quickly, usually with a few weeks.
most common self-defeating thoughts and patterns:
All or nothing thinking: you see everything in black and white.
Overgeneralization: you expect uniform bad luck because of one bad experience.
Mental filter: You seize a negative fragment of a situation and dwell on it.
It’s like wearing a special lens that filters out everything positive.
Automatic discounting: we often brush aside a compliment.
Jumping to conclusions: You assume others look down on you without checking the
validity of your assumption. In the second you look into the future and see only
Magnification and minimization: Either blowing things up or shrinking them, out
of proportion. You look at your imperfections through binoculars and magnify
them. But when you think about your strengths, you look through the other end of
the binoculars and shrink everything.
Emotional reasoning: Your emotion seems to be evidence for the thought.
Should statements: Thinking that makes you guilty instead of motivating you to
Labeling and mislabeling: “I’m a failure” instead of “I made a
mistake”. Such self labeling is irrational. Your self cannot be equated with
any one thing you do.
Personalization: You think: whatever happens, whatever others do, it’s my
positive insights to replace negative thoughts:
feelings are not facts! If your thoughts make you no sense, feelings they create
will be just as absurd.
can cope: even with genuine sadness due to real loss or disappointment, a
substantial portion of the suffering comes from thought distortion. “When you
eliminate distortions, coping with the real problem will become less painful”.
base your opinion of yourself on your achievements: You can’t base your
self-worth on looks, talent, fame or fortune. Most depressed individuals are in
fact much loved, but it doesn’t help. At the bottom line, only your own sense
of self-worth determines how you feel.
yourself better and you’ll feel better. “Self esteem can be viewed as your
decision to treat yourself like a beloved friend”. If a famous visitor came to
stay with you, would you insult him? Would you peck away at his weaknesses and
imperfections? Of course not. You would do everything you could to make your
guest feel comfortable. Now-why not treat yourself like that? Do it all the
psychiatrists now stress that the human mind, like the body, has a whole battery
of weapons to heal it’s own ills.
excellent illustration of this is Glenn Cunningham who having been burned as a
child and told he would never walk again, not only walked but became one of the
world’s greatest milers.
person lost money in a foolish investment, he explains it as an ‘expensive
lesson, worth having’.
end to emotional growth: personality is often quite capable of straightening
itself out during maturity. Emotional growth never stops. It often takes only
the sunshine and rain of love, work, parenthood to make the bent plant
heating of love: When we fall in love, we gain a sudden new perspective on
ourselves; we know how we want the loved one to see us and we try to transform
ourselves to match that image. Most of us fall in love with someone whose
personality is the complement of our own and through whom we can try to fulfill
challenge of work: Thomas Carlyle wrote “Work is the grand cure for all the
maladies and miseries that ever beset mankind”.
and reconditioning: Important ability that helps in curing us is human
propensity to forget unpleasant things.
antibodies: Just as a cured infection leaves antibodies behind, a hurt, once
healed, may leave us with a net gain-greater self-awareness, increased maturity,
None of this means that we can always sit back and complacently assume that all
will go well. Natural and unconscious inclination is to mend ourselves rather
than to destroy ourselves.
death in situations of psychological stress is by no means confined to humans.
Trappers and zoo keepers know that animals may die after fights or when escape
becomes impossible, or when they are transferred to an unfamiliar locale or
exposed to abrupt stimulation.
man’s behavior is guided more by his feelings than by his rational thinking.
people, tragically, can love only themselves and find it extremely difficult to
have affectionate two-way relationships with others. Still others are so
narrowly confined to themselves that they spend inordinate amounts of time
treating themselves and talking about their illnesses. These ways of mishandling
love, of course, drive other people away.
have a wide variety of courses of gratification. They find pleasure in many
different ways and from many things. If for any reason, they lose some source of
gratification, they have others to turn to. A person has the same problem if his
only interest is his job or his immediate family, or a single hobby.
under stress: When faced with problems, they can see alternative solutions.
Flexibility under stress is closely related to having a wide variety of sources
recognize and accept their limitations and their assets: They know they cannot
be anyone else.
treat other people as individuals: This is a subtle phenomenon and an important
one. People who are preoccupied with themselves pay only superficial attention
to others. They are so tied up in themselves that they cannot observe the
subtleties in another person’s feelings, nor can they really listen. Mentally
healthy people really care about what other people feel.
are active and productive: Do what they do because they like to do it and enjoy
using their skills. They do not feel driven to produce to prove themselves. They
are in charge of their activities; the activities are not in charge of them.
with the central nervous system of a sea snail, they discovered that if one of
the snail’s large nerves is repeatedly stimulated, that nerve cell will
increase its output of acetylcholine; a neurotransmitter. If the stimulations
are stopped for a while and then started up again, the cell ‘remembers’ the
earlier stimulations and responds by emitting an even larger measure of
acetylcholine. The nerve cell, Dr. Barondes say may ‘remember’ for hours
that it should release more acetylcholine. But if the nerve cell is given
dopamine, serotonin or alcohol experimentally, it’s ‘memory’ span is
nor epinephrine transmission lowers animal's ability to perceive pleasure while
enhanced nor epinephrine transmissions increases their ability to derive
lot of metal illnesses”, says one researcher “may be caused by an inability
to experience enough pleasureful rewards”.
brain is not like your muscles. It’s operations are not muscular. When your
brain appears tired after hours of mental work, the fatigue is almost certainly
located in other parts of the body, your eyes, or the muscles of your neck and
seems like mental fatigue is often boredom. It often is not fatigue that you
feel but inattention and inability to ignore distracting thoughts.
in general only employ 10-15% of their brain capabilities.
of items that can be remembered is far greater than number of brain cells.
is a pity that so many of us store up so much less learning and experience than
of us have unnecessary inferiority complex about our I.Q.’s-the figure that
represents native intelligence as compared to that of the average individual.
intelligent people also have good blood circulation to the brain, bearing
oxygen, glucose and certain other important chemicals. It is possible that a
person with some very special talent-a mathematical or musical genius, for
example may have an unusually thick bundle of nerve fibers in one particular
place in the brain.
of most important men in history had no more than ordinary I.Q.’s.
of the commonest misconceptions about the brain is that as you grow older
something happens to it so that further attempts to study are difficult. Except
in the case of serious brain disease, however the number that die is negligible.
tends to atrophy with disuse and becomes better with exercise.
new-born baby lacks most of its myelin which is one reason why we cannot
remember much that happened before we are 2-3 years old. Intensive exercise of
any part of the brain encourages the growth of additional all-important myelin.
more reasoning you do, the easier it is to go on to new reasoning.
aspect of your personality is stored in your brain. This includes your will
power, which is also developed by practice. Each time you exert your will to
drive yourself to the completion of unpleasant or irksome task you make it a
little easier next time to do what you need to do.
can sometimes even improve your tomorrow’s mood if you will say to yourself
when you go to bed and believe it that you will be more cheerful in the morning.
‘genius’ tends to be technical rather than creative. Child prodigies are
good at chess but not at writing plays. They may perform superbly but they do
not have the life experiences necessary for the creation of superb ideas. And
later on these technical abilities may not matter so much.
of genius. Geniuses, without exception are absorbed, drowned almost, in their
work. The second quality evident in the work of genius is the ability to see a
pattern in things. The philosopher Schopenhauer said “Always to see the
general in the particular is the very foundation of genius”.
to see the general in the particular is the very foundation of genius.
geniuses, go beyond a merely questioning and skeptical cast of mind to outright
gullibility. He meant that they look at the world with the fresh and wondering
vision of the child rather than with the tired eyes of the adult.
still others the vision and creativity of childhood get worn away by the
friction of the experience, dulled by the necessary formalities of education.
How few of us retain the sense of challenge and newness. As we grow old we grow
wise; the world becomes boringly familiar; we settle into comfortable mental and
look at the world with your hands in your pockets”. Mark Twain once told an
aspiring young author. “To write about it you have to reach out and touch
your eyes and try to become aware of everything that is touching your body-even
the air on your bare skin. We are so used to taking the body for granted that we
tend to lose contact with it. But five or ten minutes of reflection will
probably give you an awareness of the entire body surface-and with it greater
physical relaxation and inward calm.
becomes more real when heard as well as seen. It is, in fact, quite hard really
to know a person by sight alone, without hearing his voice. And it is not just
the sound of the voice that informs. Even the rhythm of footsteps reveals age
and variations of mood-elation, depression, anger, joy.
occurred to me then that, as our complicated civilization claims us, we lose
that sense of discovery and amazement with which children see the most everyday
things. We lose the capacity for undiluted delight, the capacity to enjoy what
used to be known as ‘simple pleasures’. We are forgetting gradually to use
and trust our senses. And I don’t think we need to.
the matter is one that can be settled by observation, make the observation
that you know when in fact you don’t is a fatal mistake, to which we are all
you cannot travel, seek out people with whom you disagree and read a newspaper
belonging to a party that is not yours. If the people find the newspaper seem
mad, perverse and wicked, remind yourself that you seem so to them. This
reflection should generate a certain caution.
comes not to the person who is self satisfied and uncurious, but to the person
a few cubic inches your brain stores much more information than can be stored in
a large computer installation costing millions. One researcher calculates the
brain’s storage capacity at one quadrillion bits of information-that’s a
million times a billion.
term memory is severly limited. But if a short term item is encountered often
enough-your own zip code, the name of a new neighbor-it will be moved into
permanent storage in long term memory.
term memory is the consummate wonder. Once a bit of information gets in, it
apparently is there for life. You may have difficulty retrieving it, but it is
are unconscious of the vast information we have stored but under special
conditions it can be brought to the surface. Hypnosis enabled a bricklayer to
recall exactly an unusual pattern in a wall he had laid 40 years earlier. A
middle aged man described his first-grade schoolroom in minute details.
present evidence, there is no single storage area in the brain. Indeed each
memory appears to be stored in a number of places. As much as half the human
brain has been removed without serious impairment of the memory.
of the short-term memory in the elderly may trace, in part, to oxygen lack. A
1969 study reports that 13 patients (68 years averagely) spent 2 90 minutes
sessions a day, for 2 weeks breathing pure oxygen under pressure. Scores on
short term memory tests shoot up.
the best advice” said Professor Craik “is to keep mentally active by
reading, observing, learning. The brain responds to exercise. Memory fall-off is
far less in the intelligent, mentally active person than in others.
people who become alarmed at the antics of teenagers fail in empathy; instead of
imagining themselves as teenagers again, they expect the younger generation to
act like oldsters.
some cases of counseling, it has been found that more difficulties can be
resolved by acknowledging how the student feels than by explaining the study
problems he brings. The awareness of how others think and feel can be the key to
effective leadership and management.
to use empathy takes patience. It’s necessary always to remember that empathy
works only as long as you remain detached, acknowledging the other person’s
feelings but never sharing them. But the effort is rewarding. Using empathy to
enter the mind and heart of another human being can become a great adventure.
are normal to all active minds. Through daydreams our brains put us through
mental rehearsals and keep us aware of the unfinished business in our lives.
They make use of to help us modify a dull situation, plan for the future or try
out new ways of relating to the people around us.
advantages and uses of day dreams: 1. Help make your life more creative and
original : The talented individuals indulge in their fantasies and engage in
playful mental explorations of the most odd and outlandish possibilities that
come to mind.
Faraday used to picture himself as an atom under pressure and gained insight
into the electrolyte. Einstein daydreamed about what would happen if a man could
fly out into the pace at the speed of light. Charles Kettering trying to
determine why kerosene ‘knocked’ more than gasoline, had a visual image of a
flower, the trailing arbutus, which blooms early in the spring even beneath the
snow. It’s red coloration, which absorbs heat faster than other hues, gave him
the idea of tetraethyl lead.
paying attention to daydreams, the life can be made better.
Help develop your personality: Say to yourself “Suppose I were president of
the company, or boss of the section, or chairman of a particular committee”.
Play each of these ‘as if’ behaviors out in your mind as vividly as
possible. By doing so you may actually detect overlooked strengths in your
personality, ambitions that are worth developing further, and many of life’s
options that you may have prematurely foreclosed. You may also recognize the
things that are not practical.
Calm and soothe yourself: In moments of extreme tension and fretfulness,
allowing you to drift into a daydream may help you to identify some of the
underlying conflicts or areas of difficulty. Use of positive imagery of nature
scenes can at least calm you temporarily and prevent rash actions. We can see in
purely psychological terms some of the advantages of prayer and meditation.
Help to overcome your loneliness: Some people enjoy a kind of private dialogue
with an imagery visitor from their past, a beloved grandfather or a teacher, or
a famous person. Such playful exercises in daydreaming not only compensate for
mild loneliness but can distract you from nervousness and fear when traveling in
Strengthen yourself during adversity: Danger is that we will too soon dismiss
our daydreams and plunge into other activities that preclude imagination. Too
often we engage in empty and inane conversations, or sit staring vacantly at the
television programs. If we will just take time everyday for quite meditation and
playful fantasy, we may begin to get the true benefit from the great capacity
for imagination with which we all have been endowed.
irritates all kinds of human relationships. But accuracy in all our dealings
sweetens relationships, averts misunderstandings and helps keep the pace. To
Facts: Do your homework: We live in a time of the instant opinion, the prefab
argument and the pesudo-statistic. Facts are not always easy to interpret. But
we must do our homework, know what the facts are thought to be. Proper weighting
to all the relevant facts, not 'picking our cases' and ignoring those that
weaken our position.
Precision: Finding what is true is not always easy. The accurate person will
more often withhold his judgment than hazard a wild guess. He is more willing
than most to say, honestly "I don't know".
prejudge people before we ever lay eyes on them.
stereotyping begins early in life.
grownups we are constantly having standardized pictures. Stereotyping may become
a substitute for observation. Moreover, quite aside from injustice it does to
others, stereotyping impoverishes us too.
we continue to carry our childhood grievances with us, to feel overwhelmed by
bad luck because everything is our parent's fault, for instance, we won't make
any attempt to improve our lot.
you recognize your own role in creating less than perfect situations, you are
able to make changes. The more we act to change our luck, the more we take
charge, more secure we feel.
we repeat frustrating failures and errors in specific areas in our lives again
and again, the accumulation of bad results often make us conclude that we have
you begin o see a pattern of things going wrong, ask yourself 'what is my role
in this? Why do I feel bound or trapped in this situation? What makes me
complain about it, rather than doing something about it?" In effect, be
aspect of self criticism involves the ability to evaluate and criticize your
personal relationships. Perhaps you have problem-ridden friends who are
emotional dependents-who lean on you so heavily that it's an emotional drain. We
ought to examine our excuses for wasting time with emotional dependents. What
really lures us?
of escaping from frustrating experiences in this way, why not ask yourself
"What can I do that will make me feel more competent? Forgo the pointless
telephone chatter or refrigerator raids. Instead, do a task-even some household
chore you dislike, like cleaning out a messy closet. That single, small
accomplishment will promote new feelings of pleasure and security because you're
pleased with yourself for taking charge. Making little changes makes you like
yourself better. And when you like yourself better, you begin to do more useful
things and improve your life in small ways, which can lead to bigger ways.
society is in so swift a flux that only a man who deeply knows himself can
decide which of the changing ideas he will accept as a part of what he believes
and feels and is, which ideas he will reject.
measure of a man's worth is how much he can give to a group. He who brings
special excitement to the otherwise tedious round of conventional activities is
the sought after guest, the desired friend. And that person, always, is one who
has studied and learned enough of himself to be more than a carbon copy of
recognizing a block of this sort will often help clear your mental circuits.
Another cause of emotional block is pressure. When you are seeking new ideas or
trying to solve a knotty problem, increased pressure is more likely to cause a
mental block. Being too eager to succeed can produce the same results.
the overzealous ballplayer who makes the wild throw: the overeager job hunter
who stammers during the interview; the over intent quiz-show contestant who
blanks out about something he knows.
you face a serious problem and have been strenuously working at it without
getting anywhere, 'sticking to it' may be a mistake. Under
pressure your brain has probably developed something like 'feedback
effect'-it goes round and round, and nothing new can get in. So leave the
problem for a while-go fishing, paint the house, visit a friend. Give your mind
time to clear it's circuits and let the flow of ideas begin again. When you come
back to your problem, you may find a completely new approach.
can you do about preconceptions? If you find yourself stymied by a problem, try
thinking: "How would a high school kid, or my wife, or the brightest person
I know try to do it?" If this doesn't help, then find people whose
knowledge and training are different from yours and talk the problem over. May
be an outside catalyst is what you need.
ironically, cna be another source of mental block, especially if students are
taught to approach every problem in a rigid manner.
rigid, narrow education. If teachers and parents pound into a child's head that
there is a right and wrong way to do everything, he will tend to be rigid in his
thinking. If they encourage him to work things out for himself, his thinking
will naturally be more flexible.
of the most successful methods for countering mental blocks is 'brainstorming'.
The rules for it are :
The wilder the idea's, the better
Nobody criticizes any idea.
down ideas as fast as they come into your mind. You might also try to imagine
what different people would say in response to each idea.
prominent writer said about the awful time he used to have trying to get a good
beginning for an article; it cost him days of wasted time. His solution: start
anywhere and get going. When he's through, he finds it easy to back up and tack
on a beginning.
can usually tell when a decision accords with our nature; it brings an enormous
sense of relief. Good decisions are the best tranquilizers ever invented/; bad
ones often increase our mental tension.
right time: We should sleep on big decisions as our behavior is affected by our
postponing a decision-deciding not to decide is not the same as indecision.
can make it flexible: Too many of us find decisions painful because we regard
them as final and irrevocable.
final ingredient: Be prepared to stand a sense of loss as well as gain. It helps
to talk such decisions over with others-it can illumine aspects of the dilemma
that we may have missed but because in the process of talking we sort out and
clarify our own thoughts and feelings.
you have a good product with an apparent drawback, you don't try to conceal the
liability. You exaggerate it, present it as something special-and the minus
becomes a plus.
for problem solving:
Reversal: It frees you from old ways of looking at a problem.
Redefinition: The solution to problem depends on how it is stated. If you define
it narrowly (how can I design a better mousetrap?) you'll find narrow, limited
answers. But if you define it broadly (How can I get rid of mice?) you open up
whole range of possibilities.
Planning for results: Instead of looking at personalities and methods, you
outline the expected results and work backward.
Brainstorming: Invite everyone to call out whatever ideas occur. There are 4
No criticism or evaluation is allowed during a session.
Participants are encouraged to think of the wildest ideas possible. It's easier
to tone down than to think up.
Emphasis is on quantity, not quality. The more ideas produced, the more good
ideas are likely to turn up.
Participants are urged to build upon or modify each other's ideas.
can even brainstorm yourself. Write down everything that occurs to you, then put
list aside. When you pick it up again, you may find the solution to problem.
Making a minus a plus:
an idea a chance to grow, cultivate it; get some facts.
up information in an intellectual silo without ever using it will cause
fermentation, nothing more. Both ways-starving or stuffing your mind-are
delaying tactics, ways to avoid thinking.
mind is the one thing that never grows old and never has to. It's resilience is
astounding. It can lie dormant for decades and then spring forth like the
pleasure of learning is universal, why are there so many dull people in the
world? It's coz they were made dull, by bad teaching, by isolation, by surrender
to routine, sometimes, too by the pressure of hard work, poverty. With luck,
resolution and guidance, however the human mind can survive not only poverty but
means keeping the mind open and active to receive all kinds of experience. Among
the pleasures of learning, we should include travel; travel with an open mind,
an alert eye and a wish to understand other peoples. other places, rather than
looking in them for a mirror image of oneself.
also means learning to practice, or at least to appreciate an art. Every new art
you learn appears like a new window on the universe; it is like acquiring a new
unhappiness has been suffered by those who never recognized that it is as necessary
to make themselves into whole and harmonious personalities as to keep themselves
clean, healthy and financially solvent.
learner has ever run short of subjects to explore. The pleasures of learning are
of the mysteries is that the universe contains innate joy. Once you fully open
your sense to anything, a sunset-a waterfall, a stone, a blade of grass-the joy
Blake said "He who binds to himself a joy, does the winged life
destroy" but he who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in eternity's
The Page Is A Part Of Cool Bluez