I’d like to share with you a very inspirational experience I had meeting an incredible man. He is such a great reminder of how reality is shaped by our perceptions or how things occur for us. The power of our mind, our mindset, changes our reality and, therefore, shapes our existence. Joel Travera is the second-most wounded warrior to survive any war. After he was blown up in Iraq, his injuries were so severe that he endured over 110 surgeries. Doctors said he was not going to live. However, this was not Joel’s mindset; not living was not an option. Joel went from the high probability of death to being told he would bedridden for life, then to being told he was certain to be in a wheelchair for life. And today he walks. Not only does he walk, but he lives. He has very little use of his arms, he is double leg amputee, and he is blind, yet he hunts, fishes, has a social life, and has an incredible sense of humor and outlook on life despite any physical challenges he faces. He has the mindset that he is not going to let his physical limitations and injuries restrict him from living a full life. He doesn’t resist his physical challenges and limitations, and he deals with them with grace, ease, and a mindset to overcome.
Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that, for every force, there is an equal and opposite reactionary force. The law of kinetics shows us that forces and torques are simply mutual interaction between objects, as in locomotion. The foot exerts a force every time it touches the ground and the ground exerts an equal and opposite force on the foot. I have discovered that this concept also seems to hold true in circumstances and situations that are not considered solid matter, such as what we think to be true, what we believe, or how we approach conversations and situations. More times than not, how we think, what our way of being is, what we say, how we act, and with what and whom we are dealing is directly correlated to what we receive in return. When we carry our point of view (POV) or a certain mindset forcefully into contact with another, and if the other person is in an opposing POV, there can be a hard stop to any movement in the conversation or to any resolve to become aligned. Often, the more force we bring to a conversation, we will find that we get that equal opposition of resistance.
Solid matter, at least in terms of solid objects, is pretty well stated as being what it is–solid. We may use a solid object for another purpose, yet a towel is a towel, a water bottle a container for holding liquids, a yoga mat is a place to practice and meditate. As much as you try to change one object into another object, you probably will not be able to. I have tried many times in our teacher trainings to transform my water bottle into my computer and I still can’t do it. Now, maybe one day I will be able to shift solid matter by my will, but is surely hasn’t happened yet— although I am always open to the possibility! But what does solid matter have to do with mindsets?
The crazy thing is, for most of us anyway, that our mindsets, perceptions, POVs, beliefs systems, right-nesses about things, situations, cultures and other people occur to us as being as dense and real as solid matter—as solid as the object on which you are reading this article. I have witnessed this first hand while working with people from all over the world. The mindset is so set, like in stone, that it occurs as impossible to people to change it. By the way, the brain doesn’t want mindsets to change because it wants to use them to predict the future. When our brain says, “This is what it is and this is the way it is,” how we are and how we act is in direct correlation to how our mindset occurs for us.
None of this is to take anything away from your perceptions and mindsets. Rather, it’s just a reminder that your perceptions and mindsets are not solid. Since they are not made of solid matter, you would think that a mindset should be the easiest thing to change. We have the choice to hold onto a belief system or POV as if it is as hard as a rock, yet we also can drop it like a hot stone at any moment and change our minds. There’s nothing wrong with our perceptions; as human beings, we have them and like to listen from a perspective of what we like and don’t like, this is right or this is wrong, this is good or this is bad, that should or shouldn’t be, I agree or I disagree. Yet, consider that when you are holding a position so strongly and you bring that force into a conversation or situation, you may find that you get an equal or opposite force unless the other person already agrees with you.
Most of us do not have the physical limitations that Joel has, the pain that he had, and the challenges with which he had to deal, and none of that stops him. Today, I can tell you that meeting this man is nothing but an inspiration and that he is the joy that he brings to people’s lives. His positive outlook is on everything is outstanding, and, as something that most of us cannot comprehend, it could even be what we would call a miracle.
Cheers to the power to choose your mindsets!