Our minds give us back what we give them

Is it not always frustrating when we try to think of an innovative idea, for instance, a new business, and our minds go completely blank, or at best, all we can think of are the commonest and most bland ones.


It is something we all go through, even those with the best minds amongst us.

However, I believe that the problem is one of understanding the human mind in a completely different context.

As far as I am concerned, the human mind should be viewed as a different entity from the individual who carries it.

In other words, your mind is separate from you.

An example that I would like to use is that of viewing your mind as your own personal computer.

As someone who studied computer programming some years back, I know that what a computer needs to be inputted into it by the operator is data and a set of instructions on how to process that data.

The computer would already have the necessary software and hardware.

Therefore, what the operator would receive as the output would largely depend on the data and instructions given to the computer – nothing more, and nothing less.

These two – the data and instructions are interconnected – as no matter what data one inputs into the computer, the instructions would always determine the outputted information.

Before I delve deeper in what I am getting at, let me provide another example.

You can also view your mind as a separate person from you.

As such, what you should expect from your mind is what it ‘thinks’ of you – and what it ‘thinks’ of you wholly depends on what you ‘told’ it about yourself.

If you told your mind that you could not do certain things, for example, ‘I don’t like planning’, or ‘I’m not good with numbers’, or ‘I hate things that want thinking too much’ – your mind will record that about you.

Additionally, if you limit yourself and do not see yourself beyond being mediocre, your brain will also record that about you.

This will be similar to the instructions the operator would input into a computer.

Then comes the issue of the knowledge one accumulates.

As much as school is very important, but as Mark Twain once said, ‘I have never allowed my schooling to  interfere with my education’.

Real knowledge is seldom gathered at school, but in real life through lots of research and personal experience.

School is merely a place were children are indoctrinated with certain ideas, and a certain way of thinking – which they dare not challenge, as they will fail.

In fact, if not handled properly, schooling can actually impede one’s thinking and reasoning capacity.

Therefore, as one accumulates all the knowledge in life they can gather, it is obviously stored in the mind – similar to the data stored in a computer.

The time will come when you now want some output from your mind, just as an operator would require from a computer.

What you will get is proportional to the knowledge gathered – data inputted – and the thoughts about yourself – instructions.

As such, if the knowledge gathered is little, the input will also be little.

Similarly, if the instructions inputted – beliefs about oneself – are limited, so will the output.

Herein lies our problem as individuals.

The reason most of us become blank when we try to come up with innovative ideas is basically dependent on what we know and what we believe about ourselves.

A person who may accumulate as much knowledge as possible, yet think very little of themselves, should never expect his or her mind to output anything significant.

This is as a result of the limitations about themselves that they would have already told their minds – the instructions.

The mind would have a list of innovative ideas, but will match them to the limitations that you would have already instructed it.

The mind operates more like a search algorithm, such that as it goes through the innovative ideas already inputted in your mind, it matches them with the limitations that you placed on yourself, as a result you get a blank or only mediocre ideas.

The only business ideas you find your mind giving you are ‘bhero’, or musika.

That can be so frustrating indeed!

The mind would simply be saying to  itself, ‘He can’t do this’, ‘He can’t do this’, ‘He can’t do this’, therefore, eliminating any possible ideas.

All this is done by your mind as an independent entity, whilst you wait for it to think of something and tell you.

That is why I said that the mind should be viewed as a separate individual.

I does not necessarily mean that a person who is not coming up with innovative ideas would not be thinking hard enough.

It would be because the mind is a separate entity and has a mind of its own – a processor.

So no matter how hard that person scratches their head, no innovative idea will ever be provided by their mind.

Therefore, what is needed is to change the instructions – or one’s mindset.

An individual needs to genuinely believe that they are capable of achieving anything – set no limitations.

As the saying goes, ‘ If your dream does not scare you, then it is not big enough’.

In such a scenario, when the mind is programmed to believe that you can achieve anything and there are no inhibitions or limitations, it will output some of the most innovative ideas for you.

Suddenly, you realise that the dilapidated Ferris Wheel, or Big Wheel, you always see at the Harare Exhibition Park could actually be renovated into a ‘restaurant in the sky’ where diners can have their meals on the wheel, whilst it turns slowly and providing them with the most magnificent view of the surrounded area.

You realise that a number of investors would actually love to invest in your business idea, and you go for it.

Such is how the mind works.

For the mind to give you the most innovative ideas, it solely depends on what you choose to input into it, and what you tell it about yourself – as the mind will simply give you what you gave it.

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a Programmes Director at the Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZimJustice), but writes in his personal capacity. Please WhatsApp/call: +263782283975, or email: [email protected]com

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