On becoming a supernatural agent
BY ARI LAHDEKORPI
In this age of research and analysis, much has been written about the mind. All of this study has created an entire industry dedicated to improving our lot in life. Call it the “self‑help movement” or “pop psychology”, the areas of our perceptions, and our internal scripting, have become familiar territory to those who look to find new ways to be motivated and encouraged.
In studying and understanding animal behaviour, researchers have looked into the factors that create certain behaviourial actions and traits. This is called determinism. Three areas of
determinism have been identified and commonly accepted. They are genetic determinism, psychic determinism, and environmental determinism.
In the genetic model, we are all puppets to our DNA. What we are is in our blood. This model plays into the notion that if you belong to a given family line, you are inclined to act a certain way. The psychic model suggests that it is the deep-rooted scripts that were established when we were children that affect our feelings and attitudes in our adult life. This is the basis of Pavlov's experiments with his dog, a bell, and some tasty treats…you know, ring the bell, the dog salivates. It's conditioned response.
The environmental model considers that our surroundings will shape our opinions and thought process. This is the belief that you are a product of the demands placed on you and around you.
The contrasts between the genetic model and the psychic model are the foundations of the old “nature or nurture” arguments that were parodied in My Fair Lady. The
environmental model seems to suggest that we have no control over our own minds and we are blown around by the most influential winds at any given time in our lives.
While one could argue that there are elements of truth in all of the determinist models, to buy the notion that we as people do not have any control over our nature is not only inaccurate, it sells us short. The one primary characteristic of being a rational, aware human being is that we have control over our thoughts and attitudes. We can look inside ourselves to consider our instinctive responses, and even change them! It is death to a sales career to believe that the way we once felt or acted is how we will always think, act, and do. The worst thing we can do to ourselves is to blame our actions or inactions on something outside of our own control.
If we follow the determinist model and consider the “natural” state of the human character, it is not a pretty picture — certainly not an image that any person would enjoy seeing in themselves. We would find that at our core, we are frightened, lazy, self‑centred beings only interested in our own best interests. That type of thinking only serves to justify the Machiavellian notion that “the end justifies the means”.
As humans we do have the ability to rise above the natural state of our instincts. It's not an easy task, and may not be our initial tendency. That is why we applaud the martyrs and the heroes that set aside their own self‑interests for what we sense is a greater good.
The word “super” comes from the Latin root “supra”, which means “above”, or “placed over”. As conscious human beings we have the ability to “place over” our natural tendencies a better
In other words, we have the power to become “supra‑natural” in our thinking. Something other than what our “natural” instincts might suggest. By rewriting our instinctual, emotional, and personal “scripts”, we can become “supernatural agents”!
Here are three keys to rewriting our old scripting;
1 ) Accept the fact that the way you see the world around you is highly personal. It is totally skewed toward your own interests and background. You cannot be objective at face value.
2 ) Learn to identify where another “field of vision” might lie. As much as you are able, always put yourself in someone else’s shoes in all circumstances you face. Some self‑help gurus have likened this to turning the map to see the route differently.
3 ) Know that you have the freedom to chose how circumstances and events in your life will affect you. Omar Sharif's famous line in the classic David Lean film, Lawrence of Arabia, says it all: “Nothing is written unless you write it (in your own mind) “.
With a little reflection, we can all shake off the chains that hold us back and become supernatural.
It's part of being human.
Ari Lahdekorpi is broker with Real TV Realty Inc. in Thunder Bay, Ont.