THE POWER OF THE MIND is an amazing thing. You’ve heard the stories, right? There’s been an accident and a child’s legs are stuck underneath the frame of a car. The 90lb mother lifts the 2-ton metal behemoth like it’s her Michael Kors bag. Okay, I know those things can be gigantic but you catch the drift.
That amazing feat has been labeled Hysterical or Superhuman Strength. Doctors and scientists have dismissed this because of the lack of empirical data, but don’t outrightly deny the possibility. Of course there are videos and photos of such occurrences, but then I’ll ask if you’ve seen the latest Marvel Comics movie on the big screen. I don’t have to tell you that videos and photos can be so ingeniously faked they’re almost impossible to distinguish from reality.
So the only true data to be captured would be to test that 90lb mother during, or right after she tossed that car like the Hulk. And I doubt that situation will ever happen. Moms care about one thing first: the kidums.
So, how do I calculate the formula: Power of the Mind = I can?
You’re probably thinking: It was just adrenaline that helped that scrawny woman lift that car. And you’d be correct! That is the chemical that allowed her body to do what it needed to do and the doctors concur. Let’s take it a step further. How did she engage that adrenaline? Yes, the situation demanded or initiated her flight or fight response system that in turn engaged the adrenaline to drive the body into action. But–and I know you’re with me–it was the brain that put the whole thing in motion.
By now you’re thinking: Well–DUH…
But don’t just DUH me yet. I have a story to tell you. But first, let me reiterate: It was the brain that told the body what to do.
aka The Proudest Moment of My Life
When I was around 7 years old, my mom encouraged me to play Little League Tee Ball (what a laugh.) Now forgive me, that was some time ago and my swiss-cheese brain is a little forgetful when it comes to minute details, but I think we just called it softball instead of tee-ball. I think officials changed the name because they thought softball was for girls or something like that. If anyone remembers, please let me know in the comments below. For now, we’ll go with tee-ball.
I was the worst player on the team, not to mention the chubbiest player. I did, however, lose over 100lbs before entering high school, but that’s another story – another time. I was always picked last when the captains were choosing teams and ALWAYS put out in right field. I would stand there, watching the birds calling out in the sky overhead. My mom thought it was endearing and my dad would just shake his head. Few memories stick with us at that age. That was one of them.
It was forever–before the season unravelled and we were down to the last game. Our team was up to bat – bases loaded – score tied – last inning – last player on deck. I’ll give you one guess who that poor last player was, waiting in the dugout with the pressure weighing down on his helmet…
Scanning the skies–oh look, there’s my bird–over right field, I was waiting in the dugout and biting my lip. Your’s truly was up to bat. I was about to face my doom. It was the play of a lifetime. It was make or break it time and our team had one shot, just one. And Dizzy-Strike-Out-Dean was about to step up to the plate (I hadn’t hit a ball yet). My team members were grumbling to themselves, throwing down catcher’s mitts, even the coach sat back down on the bench and threw his hands up in the air. Then off to the sidelines I heard my name called.
It was my mother…
Normally, she never would’ve done that. I used to beg her, “Please, Mom! Drop me off around the side of the building! I don’t want everyone in school seeing my Mommy drop me off.“
It was the last game.
What did it matter?
I walked–bat dragging behind me, shoulders slumped. She knelt beside me and cupped my chin in her hand, her eyes lovingly roaming about my face before stopping and staring into mine. Then she smiled a smile that couldn’t have beamed more pride if she’d wanted it to, then she whispered into my ear, “Remember the important story I used to read to you all the time of the little choo-choo that could?“
I nodded my head thinking she was crazy and that her embarrassment had finally matched my fathers. I was little, but not that little.
“I want you to remember everything the coach said about knees bent, leaning on your toes and holding your bat way back.“
Glancing over my shoulder I said, “I know–I know, Ma. They’re waiting.”
“That’s okay,” she replied. “Just one more thing. When the pitcher is getting ready to throw the ball, I want you to do like the little choo-choo. What did he do?“
“Ma! I have to go!”
She gave me The Eye and said, “Promise me.“
In my childhood, when Moms gave the eye it meant business. With no escape in sight, I nodded my head, promising to do what the little choo-choo did and ran to the plate.
I can still hear my teammates, echoing in my head unto this day, as I stood at the plate–bat pulled so far back my shoulders were pinched together, knees bent, balancing on my toes: Oh, no, not fatso Kutzler! We’re doomed… The pitcher started winding up. It was happening–the worst day of my 7 y/o life was commencing.
Then something happened…
I began to focus.
Everything fell silent; I could hear my breathing and then even that sound ceased. The world was winding down and the pitcher slowly arched his arm as if someone had pushed his slo-mo button. I imagined the groans coming from the dugout but I couldn’t hear them anymore if they were there. Nothing was breaking through my concentration. Then came the pitch; like a sluggish drawbridge he swung forward, baseball clenched between fingers like a diamond in a setting. Then, the prongs gave way and…
Slow and low at first, like an old phonograph in my head starting up and gaining speed: think, think, think I can, I think I can, I think I can…
The ball was now halfway between the pitcher’s mound and home plate: I think I can, I think I can, I know, I know, I know I can, I know I can…
It was do or die: BASEBALL IMPACT IMMINENT!
I closed my eyes – I CAN – I CAN – and swung the bat with all the might of a 7 y/o Superhero! I – CAN – DO – IT!
The sound – so loud in my ears – I thought I’d really lost my hearing because there wasn’t another sound after it. Then the baseball pigeon-holed in my view, soaring into the sky, right past the bird! And then at first, I heard my teammates screaming, “RUN! RUN!” When the shock wore off, my chubby little legs kicked in and I tore off for first base. I was so occupied with watching the ball, just like the birds out in right field that I ran into the first baseman!
He helped me up, patted my back, pointed to the sky and calmly said, “Walk.“
I looked up and realized the ball was heading for Babbling Brook, the stream that ran along the highway at the back of the field. I could see the other team’s outfielders, both right and left, running for the stream – they weren’t bird-watching. But there was no way they’d get that ball, it flew over the trees lining the water and dividing it from the highway, but that didn’t stop me from running like I was on fire.
I ran like a fat little Forrest Gump. I wasn’t taking any chances and when I slid into home-base, (my first time) I saw the proud tears of joy in my mother’s eyes through the pools erupting in mine.
So, does my formula add up?
No? Okay, I was bad at math, too. But unlike algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus, unless you’re a Theoretical Physisist like Steven Hawking,<–writes awesomely eye opening books btw–you’re more likely to find my math formula more useful in real life.
Let me spell out the formula: POWER OF THE MIND = I CAN DO IT
Some may role their eyes at my calculations, (Umm, you’re probably rolling them now) others will scoff, but there’s no denying the results. Just ask my teammates. It was the proudest day in my life! There isn’t anything (within reason Wisenheimer) that you cannot do by simply telling yourself you can. If you’re in the mindset that something is impossible to accomplish, what do you think your brain is saying to you in those moments? Negativity (and oh, boy, there will be posts on negativity) accomplishes only one thing: HOLDING YOU BACK! The power of positivity (and that’s all it really is) can move mountains, in your brain and in life.
Remember before the story I reiterated it was the brain that told the body what to do? Okay, I know what you’re thinking: your mother’s evil eye told you to do it. Yes, The Eye always got what it wanted or my hiney got what it didn’t!
But it was her words, whispered directly into my brain, that became anchored. I was the worst player on the team, seriously. There were no redeeming aspects of my sportsmanship unless you counted bird-watching. Truth be told: I really didn’t want to play. I only did it because my mother asked me to make my father happy.
In that moment of action, I allowed nothing but the words of that little choo-choo (and my mother) to fill my head. Just like the little engine, I said to myself, “I think I can, I know I can, I can, I CAN DO IT!” Like a broken record, the message repeating itself over and over in my head, in my brain, until it finally told my body what it needed to do.
The mind is a powerful thing. Next time, don’t scoff at the amazing stories when you hear them. In this universe of infinite possibilities, at the center, sits our brain, the epicenter of all life. Negativity can be draining, do not let it (or anything else) stop you from doing something that you’re capable of doing. Be ALL you can be, all you WANT to be. Don’t let self-doubt, lack of skill or anything else the world may tell you that you aren’t capable of or stop you from doing anything. Just start out with i think i can and let it cough and chug and spit its way to I CAN. Because I know you can do it. And if my little story isn’t enough to convince you, take a look at someone that truly knows no bounds or limitations: Nick Vujici.
I couldn’t let this lengthy post be over without telling you of my bittersweet ending to the best day in my life. But first, let me be honest: the story I told you about— of my Tee-ball career? It was all true, except for one thing…
It was a she, not he.
The shame of my performance would not allow my conscience to divulge the fact, even though I know girls and boys are equal. Just try telling that to a seven-year-old. Which is where this post brought me back to.
As for the bittersweet…
After the last game of the season (which, btw, my single little play won the team a 1st place trophy) a pool party had been planned. It was supposed to be a special treat, but ask any fat kid how excited he’d be going to a pool party with a bunch of skinny team mates, especially if said-fatty was the worst player, ever.
But seeing how I’d scored the team a trophy thanks to my brain (and mom), I was especially excited to go! Everyone loved me after that. There was no way they’d snicker at me stuffed into an inner-tube. It was me! I won that trophy for the team and I couldn’t wait to happily rub it in their skinny little noses.
The plan was to meet at the ball field on Sunday at noon, then follow the coach to his house, where the underground pool sat glistening. Mom and I waited and waited, it was almost 1-o’clock and not a soul was there except that bird. Then I dug the tattered and torn summer roster out of my duffle bag, the one the coach handed out the beginning of the season: Pool Party Saturday at Noon!
I’d completely missed the pool party. I missed my biggest moment of satisfaction. Disappointment started to rise up from my toes like an atomic mushroom-cloud, then I turned to my mother and said, “Ya, know what…It’s okay, Ma. At least I found out that I can do it, if I really want to and that’s all that matters, right, Ma?”
Those tears were back in her eyes as she nodded and started the car.
Then I said, “Let’s go home and read. I think I’ll start that Stephen King novel, The Shining.”