Posted: July 3, 2020 in: Personal Empowerment, Pain-2-Power

Why Independence is Tied to Happiness, Performance and Success

I believe the human mind has built in psychological and neurological safety valves that prevent its subjugation.  God, Nature or the Universe (as you like it) evolved the hardware and software of our central nervous system to set off louder and louder alarms when our inspirations, ideas and intentions are thwarted by others who try to squelch them or do so inadvertently.

Here’s just one example:  Creative thought and activity increases the level of the chemical messenger dopamine in the brain.  When dopamine is in short supply, our mood, energy and sense of well-being can plummet.  If someone imposes real limitations on your creative thinking—or if you do that to yourSELF—you’ll become less energized, less happy and less able to move forward in life.

That may all seem obvious, but it is elegant design.  It means that the lives we live and goals we set and organizations we build have to include room for independence of mind (so closely linked to creativity) or they will run into noticeable resistance.

Another example:  Try to not pursue your true goals, express your real opinions and make the most of your God-given talents and you will almost certainly experience depression or anxiety or irritability to such an extent that you will be moved “to figure out what is wrong.”  Again, that may sound obvious, but that is nothing short of miraculous.  It is the mind or soul or both turning to itSELF to figure out what is in the way of a higher level of contentment or consciousness.

You can’t—literally—be just fine by being less than you were meant to be, from all time.  Your true dreams aren’t just nice possibilities; they’re reservoirs of potential energy.  Try to keep them bottled up, and they’ll create “underground” pressure you experience as distress, stress or even physical ailments.  And anyone who tries to limit you creatively or spiritually or intellectually will never have access to you, but only a shadow of what you could actually share.  That’s a built-in safety valve, too—against living your life under someone’s thumb.

A friend of mine collects performance cars.  He knows that he needs to take them out on the highway and “exercise them,” or they’ll start to fail.  Fluids and oils go stale.  Seals dry up.  Our creative, independent minds are no different.  You can’t happily drive yourself 20 miles an hour when you’re a performance vehicle (and you are).  You can, you should and, ultimately, you must find the gas pedal.


Dr. Keith Ablow


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