priming the mind

Priming the Mind

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”

Albert Einstein

Is it possible to extreme make-over your mind?

PRIME: (verb) 1. To make ready; prepare 2. To prepare (a surface) for painting by covering with size, primer, or an undercoat. 3. To inform or instruct beforehand; coach.

PRIME: (noun) 1. First in excellence, quality, or value.

I am reading a book called “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point). I am on Chapter Two: “The Locked Door: The Secret Life of Snap Decisions” and am particularly fascinated by a test that psychologist John Bargh had devised. Simple enough tests to unscramble words but they weren’t as straightforward as they appeared. What appeared to look like a language test was really a test on the adaptive unconscious.

Here’s a few of the examples used in the Blink book…

sky the seamless gray is
us bingo sing play let
shoes give replace old the

Go ahead and unscramble the words to make a simple sentence. I struggled a bit, got a headache and then put it aside. There are key words that the psychologist found SUGGESTED to the mind to THINK being OLD. He changed the test and sprinkled in words like “bold”, “rude,” and another “respect” and “courteous” and then had a PART two experiment, the people tested were then told to talk go out and speak to someone for their next assignment (the next someone was “engaged” in a staged 10 minute conversation with another person. Those who were primed with the aggressive words interrupted on average after about 5 minutes. But the people primed to be polite NEVER interrupted.

Several examples of tests followed where people were primed to think about what it would mean to be a professor, to think about pranks, to think about race before taking a test. The test results showed that priming the mind affected the test results.

Is free will an illusion? How much of the time are we running on auto pilot? How susceptible are we to outside influences?

Priming the Mind was the topic of my blog radio show today. Though I “primed” myself with being committed to doing the show, I also was dealing with residual stress of very little sleep and recovering from car trouble anxieties from the day before. I had not done as much preparation as I usually do, I did not have a special guest and I did not invite my friends to call in.

It was a great recipe for struggle and I languished during the first half of the show before I got that talking about positivity is one thing and acting is another thing. Normally when having a bad day, I would have friends for support or I would relax, play the piano, read a book… DO SOMETHING.. but I was anchored to the show and the moment.

And so I did the only thing that made sense to be happy and stop struggling… I did not cut off the show short, instead, I just left the show for a moment, I disappeared and called a friend to call in and keep me company.

If I’m here to write about priming one’s mind toward success and happiness, it doesn’t make sense to languish in struggle forever. I didn’t want to archive failure into my blogtalk radio files. The second half of the show demonstrates not entertaining the doldrums and using some sense to turn things around.



~ by jnetsworld on July 21, 2007.


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