What is more important, our mind or our matter?Are we the circumstances we face or the way we internally process these circumstances? Is life what it is or is it what we make it?

I’ve been cooking a stew in my mind on this trail of thought but I always came up missing, some elusive special ingredient I just couldn’t place, to tie it all together – a conclusion. So, I started talking to various people on the subject and after some very thought provoking, mind blowing conversations, these are some of the ideas that were created or reiterated:

(In no particular order.)

Your mind is a limitless tool. It would be quite silly to deny the potential influence of your body, surroundings and any other physical elements on how you use your mind. Even so its capacity has been proven, time and time again, to have transformative force over our physical matter. Case in point: the brothers who recently went viral after a video of them being accepted into Stanford and Harvard made its way onto the internet. Their story is what makes them truly remarkable: they made it through school living with a constant fear of being evicted from their home, raised by a single mother, surviving just below bare minimum. A common result from such a difficult background would be the exact opposite of what they managed to achieve: top grades in their school and full scholarships to some of the most prestigious schools globally. All that and an Ellen interview. So what are they and all the other ‘extraordinary’ people we can think of doing different? How are they defying the odds?

It’s all in the mind.

This is not a therapy style pep talk or some hippie positive vibes post. This is a matter of simple deduction. It is about looking at the exceptions to the rule and pinpointing common traits and trends. I recently watched “The Greatest Showman” a musical telling the story of Phineas Taylor Barnum – the man who founded the Barnum & Bailey circus and mass popularized the circus. His humble beginnings as a tailor’s son saw him fall in love with the daughter of a high profile client of his father’s and eventually marry her and build the circus empire with her. His success was rooted in his belief in ‘a million dreams’ for the world he was determined to create. Long before he held it in his hands, he had seen it in his mind and believed in its realisation.

Think of any exceptional person you know. Someone who lives in a way or has achieved things that would otherwise be referred to as ‘unbelievable’. Even for these people, there are probably thousands of reasons why they shouldn’t have become what they have become, thousands of ways in which the odds were reasonably against them. These people who dare to believe in the unbelievable, who are willing to break the mould of what is acceptable and expected are likely the ones who live the most extraordinary, fulfilling lives. Simply put, “whether you believe you can or you believe you cannot, you are right”

Where your attention goes, your energy flows. It is our duty to make sure our thoughts and the belief system we subscribe to match our goals and aspirations. If Lionel Messi had focused on his potentially fatal heart disease instead of his passion for football, I might not be waiting two hours for a text back because of an El Classico game in which he is playing. If Bruno Mars had focused on the leaking roof of the abandoned hut in a zoo where he was living instead of his dreams of being a performer, we would all be denied the opportunity to experience one of the greatest performers of our time. This list is endless but the point remains that we have a choice over what we commit our minds to and thus we have a say in who we become. Also, it is not the absence of challenges and difficulty that creates success, it is built through our intentional responses to the struggles we must all inevitably face.

Our limitless creative capacity is also not immune to physical triggers and so, like we must tend to and keep our physical bodies in good health, we must be as careful, vigilant and intentional with our mental faculties. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your beautiful mind on track:

Affirm yourself. Whether it is standing in a mirror giving yourself a pep talk, or simply whispering your affirmations to yourself – think and speak of your ideal self, believing that it is already who you truly are.

Express your thoughts and ideas. Don’t keep those world changing thoughts trapped in your head. Express yourself, let them come out to play.

Remain curious. Listen carefully to people, question everything and read widely.

Exercise your physical body to make sure your neurons and hormones are on the same team as your positive thoughts. You will be more energized, alert and ultimately more creative.

Practise gratitude. It is a lot harder to hold negative thoughts when you are thinking about all the things you have to be thankful for. At the beginning and end of each day, give thanks.

Pray. Do what you need to do to firmly state your intentions to all that is around you. This will align your life. Finally….

Do not be afraid to act on your inspired thoughts, Worst case scenario, it doesn’t work out and you’re right back at start – but so what? Act again. Then again and again.

Often we underestimate our power and pull the victim card blaming our circumstances, pasts, defined roles, society, fate or destiny for the way our lives are or will turn out. I challenge you to take the reins of your mind and begin to intentionally create the life you truly want. I am. On a daily basis I am manifesting my deepest desires and while I recognise I am not fully in control, I am choosing to take charge of what I do have control over – my perception of and response to my matter, my mind.

I know now that whether I live the life of my dreams relies heavily on whether I truly believe I can. I hope you are inspired to believe in yourself and your wildest dreams, to tailor your mind to maneuvering your matter and achieving the unbelievable and impossible.

I hope you keep your thoughts and words positive, knowing you have nothing to lose by hoping for the best.

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Tasha Teyie