The Brain: As I Know It
I do a lot of thinking throughout the day.
Some of it is non-productive like; “When are the Cubs ever going to be real baseball team?” or “What if I won the lottery?” or “How happy I would be if Jake the Wonder Dog would stop licking his privates when people are visiting.”
Some of my thinking is very non-productive such as; “I wish I was smarter”. or “Hey idiot, why don’t you learn how to drive!” or “Wow are those ever big?”
Every once in a while I veer over to productive thinking usually along these lines: “I think the world needs to hear about virtues.” or “I believe we can create a company around that idea.” or I should get up and go tell Susie I love her.”
Over the years my brain has truly amazed me. Let me show why I believe that.
Once there was a man who was a successful drug dealer. He was making a seven-figure a year income. He had all the man toys that a seven-figure a year income can provide. He had nice homes, several luxury sports cars, bespoke suits, over 200 pairs of shoes, dined in all the right restaurants, attended (backstage) all the big rock n’ roll shows, dated models, and never wanted for a single physical thing in life.
Then there was another man who was quite different from the first. This man pushed his body to the limit. He was an ultra-distance runner. He started by running 5Ks, then quickly went through 10Ks, half-marathons, marathons, and ultra marathons. Then he started running even longer distances. He ran 335 miles from Houston to Dallas, Texas. He ran 665 miles from Copper Harbor, Michigan to Pontiac Stadium outside of Detroit. Eventually, he ran 3,160 miles across the United States.
Now let me introduce you to a third man. This man climbed the corporate ladder quickly and became a member of the management team for a Global 100 manufacturing firm. While with this company he developed the metrics for identifying high-potential and high-performing associates. He then developed a program to ensure these associates continued to grow within the organization.
Finally, let me present to you a man who very few know. He is quiet and studious. He takes his role in life quite serious and seeks to share what little wisdom God has graced him with. Several years ago he was baptized into the ancient Christian Church known as the Eastern Orthodox Church. Officially it is the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church, but he doesn’t mention that often. It just makes people wonder if he is Bulgarian (he is not) and it takes a long time to explain why he belongs to a Bulgarian Church when he isn’t Bulgarian, so he skips over that part. He prays frequently for his family, those he knows, and the world around him. He sincerely believes in his heart that prayer changes things, especially when nothing else seems to. He is much quieter than the other men and is happiest when it is simply his wife, his pets, his grandson (whom he adores more than life itself) and himself.
All four of these men know each other. In fact, you might say they know each other intimately, although not in a sexual way. They recognize a little bit of themselves in each other. They have a special feel for what the other might be thinking. They sense the emotions and thoughts of each other.
All four of these men are me.
Now back to the thinking I do. How is it that these four men can exist within one human being? If we rule out schizophrenia (which we can), how can this happen? I believe I know the answer.
The brain is capable of far more than we think. It is capable of rewiring itself. We know, from what scientists have seen with those who have had brain damage, the neurons will begin to seek alternate routes of connection. I am no scientists and I’m certainly not a brain specialists or psychologist of any kind, but I know what I have lived through. I know how I have taken the grey matter I have been bequeathed and changed how I think. I know it wasn’t easy. Plain and simple, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. In some ways it took years to make the transition. I am the living, breathing proof lives can and do change for the better.
The reason I am telling this story again, I have told it a different way before, is I hope to spread hope to anyone who is struggling, either with changing or one who isn’t changing. There is always hope. Hope never weakens. It is always there.