Dreams or Dreads
Posted by Orrin Woodward on October 4, 2010
It’s hard to light yourself on fire with your dream when you are busy wetting yourself with your dread.
All achievers, in every field, visualize successful outcomes before making them a reality. From athletes, salespeople, musicians, business owners, and many others, top performers understand the power of vision. The ability of your subconscious mind to lead you towards your dominating vision is little known and rarely tapped into amongst the masses, but his must change. If someone plans on breaking out of the crowd, learning to feed the subconscious mind the vision of the future isn’t a nice add on, but an absolute necessity. Author Vince Poscente, a world class athlete, wrote in his entertaining and informative book, The Ant & the Elephant, on the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind, teaching that the conscious mind in one second of thinking through words stimulates 2,000 neurons, while the sub-conscious mind in a second of imagining through images stimulates 4 billion neurons. That’s 4,000,000,000 neurons, literally 2 million times more neurons stimulated in your subconscious mind than your conscious mind in one second of activity. Poscente called the conscious mind the and and the subconscious mind an elephant. Loving analogies, I have used the ant and elephant concept numerous times to teach people the power in their imagination. The great Albert Einstein said, many years ago, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” so these concepts are not new, just rarely applied in people’s lives.
Henry David Thoreau, a famous American transcendentalist wrote, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation,” believing few ever accomplished what they dreamed, quietly resigning themselves to their fate. Sadly, a true picture of most lives, but it doesn’t have to be this way, changing one critical habit can make all the difference. Feeding the elephant subconscious is the key to breaking out of the crowd. Many people will discipline their ant to perform work, creating habits that produce results and routine like waking up, leaving for lunch, and leaving work, all routinized by daily disciplined habits, but few seem to discipline their elephant in the same capacity. If people would learn to discipline their elephant like most already discipline their ant, we would have a productivity revolution in the world. I like to imagine the discipline of your elephant as aligning your elephant to move in the same direction as your ant. If they are moving in the same direction, the ant can hop on the back of the elephant and ride to success. But, if not aligned in the same direction, one has a huge problem, the ant and elephant are in a tug of war over which direction to move, causing a civil war inside one’s brain, leading to indecision and inaction. Examine your own thinking and imagination. Are you moving in the direction of your dreams by focusing only rationally disciplining your ant? This is an important step in the process, but not all of the steps in the process. You must also take time to feed your elephant since an elephant can travel much faster than an ant, making the trip to success easier and more enjoyable.
Simply put, if you are heading out into the jungle, having an ant and an elephant as your resources, why are you hopping on the back of the ant instead of the elephant? Leaving the elephant behind, while expecting the ant to carry you to success is back breaking work for the ant and a frustrating ride for you. Perhaps, a better plan would be to feed the elephant the image of an oasis (your dream) off in the distance, exciting the elephant to charge ahead, hopping the ant and you on its back all the way to success. Don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t some magical elixir, but a logical plan to utilize your whole brain to achieve what you want out of life. It will still take work, effort and drive to achieve, but by lining up the ant and the elephant, you end the civil war inside of your mind, creating the conditions for massive success. This civil war, inside of one’s mind is what short circuits success, not a persons starting conditions. It’s not the outside circumstances that count near as much as the inside alignment. You may not control the outside issues, but you certainly are responsible for the inside as feeding the ant and elephant is an inside job. If you want success, don’t waste another day riding the ant, go back to base camp and ignite the elephant with an image of a brighter tomorrow.
The elephant refuses to starve, meaning if you will not feed your elephant someone else gladly will for you. Every advertisement watched on TV is geared towards your elephant, not giving a list of functions, features and benefits to your ant, but feeding your elephant an image of success by using its products feeling. Advertising agents speak right past your ant, feeding your neglected elephant, creating needs in your elephant by repetition of the messaged image over and over. People end up buying things that they don’t really need, not even understanding rationally why they did it. Remember, people make decisions emotionally (elephant) and then explain it rationally (ant). Let me use just one example, of many, from TV advertising. As a kid, I loved sports, watching football, basketball and baseball anytime that I could. I must have seen thousands of beer commercials over the years. Slogans like, “Taste Great; Less Filling,” and many others, still are in my head after all of these years; even though, I have watched little, if any, TV in over a decade. All beer ads are fed to your elephant, not your ant. Have you ever seen a beer ad where they explain the ratio of carbonated water to barley and hops? Can you imagine an ant version beer ad explaining how alcohol blocks oxygen from the brain, causing impaired thinking and motor skills? I don’t think we will see an ant ad in our lifetime. Instead the ads implant images into your elephant. The ads run images of guys popping open a beer, and mysteriously beautiful women, many clad in bikinis pop up out of nowhere. Rationally, guys know this isn’t going to happen, but the elephant charges to pick up the beer anyway. Maybe the first time you see the ad, your elephant resisted, but through constant exposure, feeding the elephant daily, eventually you will act out your elephants vision. We know this to be true; otherwise, ad executives would not pay for time slots on TV. I didn’t create a beer drinking habit in high school because I was training all the time for sports, fearful it would hurt my performance, but after high school all that changed. Finishing an intramural basketball game, I found myself creating the habit of heading to the bar with the guys for a cold one. It wasn’t until years afterward that I realized my elephant had been programmed by someone else, acting out the vision that high paid TV ad executives had given me. Your elephant will charge, the only question is, is it charging for your dream or someone else’s?
If dreams are compelling visions of the future being fed to your elephant, then dreads are fearful visions of the future being fed to your elephant. Just as a dream inspires your elephant into action, dreads immobilize your elephant through fear and worry. Your elephant move in the direction of the images provided to it, why feed it the images of your fears? Everyone has fears, but winners learn to feed their elephants images of faith. Thinking of a better tomorrow with your ant, while feeding your elephant your dreads of a fearful tomorrow is a perfect example of the civil war. Align your elephant dreams with your ant thinking, and you will change your destiny. Every winner has the confidence inside of them, knowing where they are going, believing they will get there, willing to endure any hardship to fulfill their calling. You cannot set yourself on fire with your dream when you are busy wetting on yourself with your dread. Do not leave this page without a clear plan to start feeding your elephant YOUR vision of the future. Quit worrying about what has already happened; quit worrying about what might happen; instead, start focusing on what you want to happen, aligning your ant and elephant to make it happen. Success is available to all when you decide to discipline your elephant with your dreams as much as you discipline your ant with your responsibilities. God Bless, Orrin Woodward